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They were kids that I once knew.

11 Mar

I suppose that spring will always remind me.

If a marriage is a bloom, is a growing, breathing creature of change, winter is it’s anathema, spring it’s mother. A marriage develops in similar ways-the new green of yawning trees, the blinding naiveté like that of the lilacs growing in the ditch. (Of course, it also includes the thawing stench of secrets and hidden poos. It just wouldn’t be that certain shade of new without those hidden minefields.)  Then rushes in the burning warmth of late July, with the sweat and the late nights spent staring at the ceiling, too tempered to touch, too tempted to not.

If we’re lucky our marriage falls into autumn, glowing with the flames, cocooned in the comfort of drawing in, drowning in the scents that welcome us home.

If we’re unlucky, we fall prey to winter, and remain frozen in it, immobile and vacant.

My winter is past me now, a year out my limbs are new and wet, glimmering in the brightening light, and I feel renewed, validated and whole. But the memories of that winter, that long, interminable winter linger and drag, a vapour trail of pinched lips and leaking, bitter anger. 

But summer is near. I can smell it. I can feel it.

***

No one starts out that way. I imagine once we mattered to each other, that there was love, something more than teenage lust between us. I always felt that he was a memory I had forgotten, sprung to flesh. Perhaps at 20 or 23 he was, but closer to 30, it was more of a dream turned to nightmare as my mind and body morphed to the left and his roots grew closer to himself. Growth can be value but sometimes, it’s just cancer.

If I’m honest I loved him best as I could, but trapped in my own sadness, my unreasonable anger, my belief that my brokenness defined me. I loved him as a child, I loved him as a half grown feral. But that’s not real love, and that couldn’t break the cold walls. Often I wonder if we wanted it to, content instead to lobby back and forth the barbs and wires, afraid of life outside. Afraid of spring.

It’s easier with what you know, and on dark nights, it can be missed, that person who saw you every day for years and years and years. The strings that tie, not tight but tenuous. A whisper of connection. But not the real one. Not the connection that understands implicitly why tomatoes are so horribly icky outside of those sweet summer weeks when they taste only of the sun and the sweat from your hands.

It was never the connection that understood why my winter anger had to be let loose in silence instead of anger. It was never the connection that understood my strength was in allowing myself weakness. It was never a connection that said “you can, if you want.”

Spring brought me that. And I cannot be angry at the one who couldn’t give it to me, not anymore. He couldn’t. And I never would have let him.

It’s taken a year, a hard winter, and a love I never saw coming to admit that to myself.

It’s my spring gift, my Lenten contribution, my budding flower, this honesty.

***

We were just babies, the spring of our lives, new and blinded, terrified in some ways, excited. The world beckoned and we shrugged. Why not?

I smell spring and I think of our wedding, of the faces saying no, of the hope we had, the throw away faith that somehow it would work.

And like benevolent neglect in my garden each year it did. Until it finally didn’t.

“We have met the enemy and it is us.”

12 Jan

When I started Grade Nine,  all knees and elbows and lady parts I didn’t know what to do with, when I was 13 or maybe 14, I don’t remember, I walked into the yard of that new school, I screwed up my courage getting off that bus, walked towards the door and heard those words.

“You look like a boy. You dyke.”

Hardly anything to be terrified by. I was big, I was different, I was obviously uncomfortable in my skin. She jumped all over that. Her words were made scary by the look in her eyes. Feral. A 19 year old bullying a 14 year old-she’d have to be like a rabid dog.

She went away. And I learned not to give a shit.

*************************

I haven’t been bullied in a very long time. I’m not much for other people, and generally, if I don’t respect you, you can’t hurt me.

That is, until I done did a stupid, and suddenly it was ok the smear me against the wall over and over and over again.

Ever cringed when you open a link? Ever sat stupefied, reading about how you’ve sent “a band of vengeful followers” to do…something-my bidding I guess? Ever sat back and thought, well now, all I did was write something dumb-I didn’t make signs and write songs so every one would see-why am I the bad guy? Why do I keep reading things saying that my ability to be a parent should be questioned, that since I’m bipolar, everyone knows I’m going to abuse my children, it’s proven by studies!

I’ve had to stomach the internet’s version of the big, blind, mulleted, closeted lesbian bully. And it sucks ASS.

I haven’t said much. I’ve kept it, mostly, here, conversations with friends online, my head. I’ve thought about how no one seems to understand that a visit from CAS isn’t something to trifle with in the best of times, how they don’t get that fear, the fear the comes with knowing that 90% of the people you talk to think that because you’re mentally ill, you’re hazardous, and should perhaps be labelled as such. I’ve thought about context, and how no one seems to have any, cherry picking posts to illustrate their points, and refusing to look at the obvious joy I hold for my children.

I’ve thought about how I’ve been quiet through most of this, and taken it. How I’ve strived to be the better person, strived to silent the mob because no one believes all of a story anyway.

It didn’t matter.

I’ve read that I “got what was coming to me”

I’m sure I would have appreciated that if I had to spend the next month fighting to get my children back.

I’ve been called a “princess”

Because no one could be bothered to directly contact me before notifying hundreds of people.

I’ve read that I need counselling, that I’m destroying my daughter’s self worth.

Because my parenting can be judged based on what I write here, the place I let loose the dogs of my head.

I’ve read I did it all for traffic.

On a site without ad revenue, with an author who has turned down numerous chances to increase traffic.

Because I’m bipolar. Because I’m bipolar. Because I’m bipolar.

You get it yet? I can’t be trusted, because I’m bipolar. This only happened, because I’m bipolar. I must be questioned, my children protected, because I’m bipolar.

Someone got excited, and i could have lost my children. But I had it coming, right? I should pay for having the nerve to open my mouth without a smiley face or something just as inane attached to it.

The past week or so has felt like being attacked by invisible ghosts-opening my email could become this perilous foray into what people thought was wrong with me. Following a link to make sure nothing even worse was said left me unable to eat for the majority of 3 or 4 days. I’ve had the specter of that Grade Nine bully hanging over me, again because I’ve put something out there. I’ve opened myself up-I’ve hung the grand flag of weird.

I’ve admitted a mistake. I’ve admitted I am not perfect. I have not lied, backpaddled, or whined that the world isn’t fair. I’ve taken my lumps, and am now dealing with the fact that my name is slandered across the internet as some sort of cautionary tale for the mom-set, if I’m not being condescended to as a “mommy blog”. I’m being pointed to as a “what if”-remember the pregnant girl in the neighbourhood and one of your parents would wag a finger and tell you NO! Yeah, I’m that giant fricken belly.

I’m not a monster. I’m not a frivolous “mom” bouncing around making muffins and watching Oprah. I’m not out to eat my children, in fact I know I’m a DAMN good mother, and no amount of someone calling the police will change that certainty. I am a frail, tired human being somedays, just like you are. Difference being, I’m willing to admit it, and sometimes, my honesty gets the better of me. I spent years never saying anything meaningful to anyone, and I never want to live that way again.

And the judgement. Sigh….why can’t we all be the types of mother’s we are-be it happy bouncy muffin moms or moms like me, who despite roadblocks, love and parent their children fiercely, even if it’s a little differently. Why do we fight against each other, assume one side knows better? Why do I judge you sometimes, because you maybe don’t have the same problems, or any it seems.

Seems is apparently the word that got a LOT of us in trouble, and will continue to do so. It seemed like I was dangerous. It seemed like someone just wanted attention. It seems like I have minions. It seems like I don’t appreciate that someone cared.

Seems we all have something to learn.

” 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.

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.

“Given the nature of life, there may be no security, but only adventure.”

17 Aug

We’re in the grocery store, her and I, on a chaotic Saturday full of grocery tourists and genuinely harried couples and parents. Here and there a baby screams-not the “I’m hungry” cry but the “FUCK YOU I WANT OUT NOW!” cry which was the sole reason I NEVER took my children to the grocery store as infants. The screaming continues sporadically in the produce section, likely a mother unable to get out otherwise, and I cringe in sympathy. Crying doesn’t bother me anymore-it just makes me want to take the child so the parents can just get their shit done.

Of course, hearing the yuppie parents of one single, quiet maybe 2 year old boy explain in perfect enunciation that “We aren’t going to squish the bread today!” made me walk quickly away laughing. What 2 year old WON’T squish the bread? It’s fun! I don’t bother making any type of contact since I do know the type of parents-they won’t acknowledge me, they won’t exchange pithy jokes and comments. And this rings true later when we go to the cash behind them, and my comments with Vivian about the toy the little boy is lucky to get are ignored. Perhaps they’re busy, perhaps they’re deaf, but right then, rude was rude. I remind myself they could be many things going on, and gee he’s pretty darn cute.

I’m not the center of the universe.

Vivian, now used to grocery shopping, has morphed into the child we know and love from Saturday morning cartoons:

“Can I have this?”

“I want this. Can I have it?”

“It’s got SCOOBY DOO ON IT! I need it!”

“Please? Please?”

The entire trip involves me saying NO every 4.2 seconds. Reminding myself why I do prefer to do this alone.

But then it’s not as fun. She comes around the corner with a stack of beer cups held to her eyes like goggles, and I laugh and giggle and block the aisle. She walks into a display while doing this, and it’s all I can do to not fall down I’m laughing so hard. I can feel the soft glow of other people smiling as my world spirals to just Vivian and myself, our eyes and laughter. I forget about the asks and remember my fantastical little girl who creates such wonder and delight around her.

“Back to juice boxes.” I snigger.

I give her a little speech on how we’re gonna get a second Klean Kanteen for school, and this is just for now. She’s not paying attention, and I wonder if the speech was for her, or the people around her. She randomly chooses some sugar laden box, and we move on.

It hits me. I am buying school lunches.

In 2 weeks, give or take, she starts school. And most of me, mainly my ears, are ok with this. She’s growing up, she’s FIVE (holyshitwheredidthoseyearsgo?) and I need to back off. I let her run ahead, I let her lag behind. I trust her to make small decisions. It’s time to start pulling back. But holding juice boxes, granola bars, Joe Louis’ in my hands, I wanted to be sad. My mother stood there once, trying to decide what was best for lunch, what was needed, what I would eat out of sight. She held those boxes, reading. She imagined a life emptied, for a time, of her daughter.

Connection with a long dead mother in a grocery store. I felt her then, in front of plastic fruit snacks. I felt her indecision, her pride, her love, such warm love, for me, and for her granddaughter, for the woman she’d one day be. I felt the conflict of that first day, of letting go of your baby. I felt that it was ok to feel this-to want to hold closer than skin and push out, all at once. That this was the least of my trials in the years ahead.

We got home and I realized I forgot garbage bags, cat food, cheese. But I held something much sweeter to my chest.

The agony and defeat of Barbie

9 May

Tonight, I did something I swore I would never do.

(And no, those of you with your minds in the gutter, it doesn’t involve that.)

I bought Rosalyn a Barbie.

Granted, it’s a fairy barbie, with wings, but it’s still very white, very slim and very un womanly.

She loves it.

Anyone who has known me for any period of time knows that I loathe Barbie dolls. I really do. Maybe it’s because my mother never let me have any. (Because I’d chew their feet off, some sort of oral stress relief thing, not because of any feminist leanings that I know of) Maybe it’s because they’re so girly I don’t know what to do. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel they present even a vaguely adequate example of what a woman should look like. Maybe I just hate the plastic.

But I’m also not someone who is going to stand in the way of what my daughters gravitate to. Rosalyn reached for that Barbie in the store tonight as she’s reached for Spiderman, dinky cars or little people in the past. She desired it-not to please me, or her sister, but because she wanted it.

Isn’t that our ultimate goal, to help our daughters decide, for themselves, what they want? Look at many of us-raised to please, raised to ask what others want before us, raised to put the needs and wants of others before us every single time. I want to break this pattern, and I imagine many of you want to as well. It’s rare that we stop and say No, generally because we limit the choices to appropriate ones anyway, leaving it up to them to decide what they’re interested in. That’s how I know Vivian would like some anatomy toys, and maybe a Microscope when she’s a bit older. That’s how I know that Rosalyn loves bubbles and suddenly, Barbies.

Yes, what Barbie stands for bothers me. But she didn’t pick skanky Barbie or “Fashion Model” Barbie. She picked a doll with pink hair she can comb and a pink skirt just like hers. She picked childhood. She picked butterfly wings and dreams. And that matters to me too.

I’m uncomfortable with it in my house, I am. But sitting watching Ros have a conversation with “Bahbie” as she brushed her hair-I’m very comfortable with that.

Barbie pain-do you have it too?

Maritime What’er?

17 Mar

So, sometime in May (as yet to be determined since a certain Canadian singer/poet guy has thrown gunk in the mix) a group of us local writers (I am NOT saying blog…I refuse) are going to meet in a little Nova Scotia town, eat cupcakes, drink beer and talk about you. Yes, you.

Just kidding. I’m sure our in person conversations will be a little less intellectual than our online ones, especially once I get drunk. (I curse like a lonely sailor girls-fair warning)

I’ve been thinking about this trip a lot the last few days, and I’ve been getting a little anxious over the silliest things.

What if I’m the fattest, least educated, least successful person there?

Judging from everyone I see who has committed to attending, I will be. Everyone looks so lovely and content and successful. And I’m not, not really. I work a job I like, but it’s very much not what I wanted in a career (I don’t know what is) I have kids, I love my kids, but I don’t really know what it is to WANT kids. I know I’m not a moron, but there are no degrees plastered on my walls.

The indicators for success in our culture-I have none. Or at least I feel like I have none. I feel like a gaping failure compared to most of the women I interact with. So I’m skeevy.

I’m scared of meeting people who feel out of my league socially.

There. I said it.

I’ve already started composing reasons in my head why I can’t go, why I shouldn’t go, just so I can avoid the awkwardness of knowing I’m the least in the room, the weirdness of feeling shut out of conversations about things I know nothing about, and never will.

I don’t have res stories-I dropped out of university my first year, partly boredom, partly other shit. Almost as soon as I was notified that I was accepted into the Honours program, I dropped it. I didn’t hack it. I don’t have stories of parties and late night studying (at least not from university).

I have stories of going to work because I couldn’t get my shit together enough to just do it already.

And so the people I knew, I know, the people I held a bond with at some time, many are moving on in the world, making real money, securing their futures, building houses. I sit in some piece of shit house I don’t have the will to fix alone.

I see you other, successful women and I wonder how I got it all so wrong-how I managed to fuck up a life so completely.

Maybe it’s just the bipolar talking, through the jetlagged tired, but I always end up feeling like a dirty snot nosed little kid around a group of women, and I hate it. I hate feeling like a kid, looking up but never keeping up.

I’m sorry Britney Spears.

4 Jan

Who isn’t there honey? What caused that aching void that eats you up at night, that fills your body with toxicity, which keeps your hands shaking and your mouth turned up slightly in a nervous grin? What monster moves you, jerks your body from side to side, makes you late, makes you sick, makes you so unreal you nearly cease to exist?

Today, in more places than I could count, on freaking BBC News you were there, on a stretcher, in your glory. I can’t watch, I won’t watch, but despite myself I read. I read about a hammer being used to tear down a door, small children held as pawns, a woman surrounded by people incapable, or perhaps unwilling to help. I can imagine you there, huddled between the toilet and the wall, shaking, wailing silently into yourself, your money no protection or solace, maybe just the cold clink of a whisky sour in your hand, diluted only by tears. Maybe you stare into the distance, giggling through tears about ending it all, about the fantastic movie it will make some day, about how your sons will have money, in their trust, for years when you aren’t there.

Maybe you stare at your wrists and will it to be so.

They laugh when we call it bipolar, or post partum. How could we know? We only see what we see, what they let us see, what we want to see. But some of us know, oh how sorrowfully we know, the full depths of despair, that which cannot be quenched with things or placating voices, that place that calls to you late at night, the place which spurns even the fruit of your loins, and beckons, like a siren calling you home.

I ache for you Britney. I ache for what you’ve become-for what has happened, for what people have done to you. I can see some of me in you-two children too close, an itch that cannot be satisfied, a need to be recognized. A want for love and security and all those things Hallmark has told us were simple and true and available at any time. You want the dream, and dammit, you were supposed to have it. So what happened? Why did your brain, and body betray you so?

We’ll blame your mother now you know. Not your father, oh no. Just your mother. She who raised you, who raised two daughters who seem to not know any better. We’ll hitch up our pants and feel superior, clearing our throats we’ll say “Not my daughter, nope.” and gloat silently, unaware of what awaits us in 10 years or so.

It’s so easy to be right when we aren’t there yet. It’s so easy to forget that children are people, not merely stretches of light from their parents arms, but people, cacti that will do as they wish, especially with an entourage and millions of dollars. All the mothering in the world can’t fix the worldly overwhelming you endured.

You’ll make some people feel better about themselves, having someone to laugh at, to point at, to consider worse than them. You’ll be the worst case scenario, but they won’t write a book on how to survive you. You’ll be laughed at, mocked, judged, and eventually forgotten until you manage to slice through your delicate wrists, or you perform a comeback tour at 50. We’ve destroyed you, yet we will completely, and utterly forget you. Pop WILL eat itself.

I’m sorry Britney. Mother to Mother, crazy to crazy, I’m more sorry than you’ll ever know.

Death is the mother of Beauty; hence from her, alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams and our desires.

21 Nov

“Your grandmother loved horses. Your grandmother was even worse when she combed my hair-she gave me afro perms! Your grandmother hated mice. Your grandmother was the bravest person I will ever know.”

I tell Vivian stories of my mother like she’s real, like she exists and is just away on a long trip somewhere, maybe riding camels in the Sahara to bring Ngiri his Jungle Drums, maybe in Europe, drinking milky tea in some fabulous cafe.

That’s not right. My mother wouldn’t have wanted to travel. My mother would have rather been holed up somewhere with her sewing machine, maybe some pencils to draw with, some opera music. She’s sounds pretty awesome as I detail what I do remember-creative, open to new, “intellectual” things. But the truth, the things I’ll leave out until the girls are old, those things are colder and harder to remember.

Like how she relied mostly on corporal punishment, or at least that’s what stands out in my mind. How she had rigid ideas about what I should be, do or look like. How I was wrong for liking “boy” things.

I’m no more immune to making my mother a saint, or a devil than anyone else. When I was younger, I transferred my anger at her for leaving to anger over the fact that she’d hit me sometimes when I misbehaved. But I was wrong to judge her choices, and her behaviours. I was a stubborn, defiant precocious child who pushed each and every button imaginable. I was also shy, timid and mostly in my own head.

Now that I’m a parent, I understand my mother on a level I never did before. I understand the spanking. I understand the desire to mold me into some image that she held so dear-after all, she waited for a little girl for years. That I turned out to be the complete antithesis of the girl she envisioned wasn’t her fault. Her fault was her inability to let me be the girl I wanted, even if at the time, what I wanted to be was a boy.

She wanted many things for me, I’m sure. I stare at my daughters and try to imagine all the dreams my mother held for me, all the moments she wanted to share and yet lost. All the futures that weren’t.

********************************

“I love you Mommy, you’re beautiful.”

“You’re beautiful too Viv. And strong, and smart, and awesome.”

“Thanks Mum.”

***************************

I have dreams too. Dreams of cookies at Christmas, skating on crackly ice on black and clear nights, summer afternoons spent lazing in the backyard. Graduations, weddings, grandchildren. I see it stretching out in front of me like a ball of yarn, unspooled and tangled.

But dreams can die, or be broken. Knots form. Children have a tendency to not do what you think you want. All I want for them right now is their happiness-will that change? Will I become hung up on the colors they prefer, they boyfriends/girlfriends they choose, the friends they become attached to? Will I deny them my love over something as trivial as what they want with their life?

It is their life. The one failure I believe my mother had was not acknowledging MY life, and my right to find it. I comfort myself with the knowledge that adolescence would have been incredibly difficult if my mother would have been alive, although not as difficult as it was without her.

But I never grew to hate her, as so many friends did, at least for awhile. So many people threw those vile words “I hate you!” at their mothers for such little grievances, no new jeans, no lunch packed, no new haircut, while I sat and pined and wished I had a mother to hate. I was spared these indignities at least.

************************

Someday, I will take Vivian, middle name Dianne for my mother, I will take her and show her. This is where your mother grew up. This is where your mother lost a piece of her soul on a rainy April morning. This is where I began. This grave is where I grew older. This river is what washed away a multitude of tears.

This place, this town, that town I turned my back on so long ago, that place is where I really begin.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars.”

28 Sep

I scream that I want your life, but that’s not fair.

I sit on the bus staring at the dozen or so heads before me, and wonder why I think their lives are perfect. Who of they will die of cancer, will find out their child was raped? Who among them has already suffered?

I cannot judge. I am not in a place to judge. To look at others and believe that they have it better than I, that their lives are less full of pain and suffering and terror.

It’s a continuum, pain. A spectrum much as my own disease, and to each his own. My suffering may be someone else’s peace, as full of fear and loneliness as it may be.

Could I survive losing a child as Bon and Kate have, living with that hole underneath my heart forever? Could I do it with such grace? Never. That ache would echo in my chest for eternity, and I would forever be changed. Theirs is not the life I point to, and that’s just it.

I do not know you.

I do not know the person next to me at work, not really. I don’t know their past, their mind, their today. I do not know what their life has meant, or where it’s going.

I remind myself, shake it off, do not judge.

Do not judge. Ask they return the favour.

***********************

On my way to work, clutching coffee blurry eyed in the rain someone I once worked with walked by, hacking, saying hello. He said he was the working homeless, spoke of how he went to the soup kitchen and some of his ex-coworkers were there and refused him a second bowl of soup. How he reacted in a rage, and could feel them thinking ‘He hasn’t changed, not just one bit.”

I felt kinship, and a humiliating helplessness. I cannot fix him. I cannot make it better. But I can question why someone needing food only gets one bowl. I can imagine how painful it is to accept food from the very people who fired you. I can see the simple lines of incidents that could lead me to his very place, mistakes, moments, sudden stops in a doorway and suddenly, your life is very different indeed.

I liked him. I always enjoyed talking with him, and now-it’s reduced to words in passing on a street, and my impotent desire to help.

My life could very well be his, my misery compounded. I could be sleeping in front of Canadian Tire.

*********************

A friend brought in her 2 month old twins, all healthy and plump and snurgly. I held, no, I hogged them both for a time, reveling in a moment I never allowed myself to enjoy. The girl fell asleep in my arms, her tired eyes fluttering up for seconds, then back down with a sigh. I could have sat like that forever.

In a rush, the newness, the glorious newness returned to my body, the remembrance of all the futures you plotted as you watched your first born sleep. The smiles you wanted to stop on their faces, the small important victories of heads up and side rolls. The shiny smell of new baby in the house, the tiny diapers.

I mourned a little then, but I also found within me the ability to move past it, to look forward to the rest of my daughters lives, to school, to boyfriends (or girlfriends) and periods and PMS and ice creams and everything that life has before us. This part, this new life, the jarring impact, it’s now past us. We have aged and moved into an age.

And with age, I can now enjoy a long baby snuggle. Small victories folks.

************************

It’s raining today. When I was a child, I thought this meant god was crying.

Sometimes admitting you’re wrong is only part of the problem

1 Sep

vivkyleros.jpg

Waiting for the bus on this cool morning, fall in the air, I hear an old woman behind us.”Such wonderful children! They behave so well!”

I search around with my eyes quietly until I realize she’s talking about my daughters. I look back at the girls, who are sitting chatting with a little heartbreaker named Kyle, he of brush cut and toothy grin, sharing the stoop of a doorway.

“Oh, mine? Yes, they are, today.”

I minimize their goodness. I reduce the times when then act as I expect to smaller moments than I should. They ARE good kids. They DO listen. They are happy to be with me. They are learning. They speak kindly and properly to other children and adults.

************************************

(Vivian sees man in Cowboy hat)

“Wow! A man in a cowboy hat! Cool! Is he a cowboy?’

“Ask him Vivian.” I snicker a little, inside of course

“Are you a cowboy!” she bellows?

“No.” he grins “I just kinda like the hat.” He smiles gently at her. She beams back.

****************************

They spread joy and warmth where ever they go most days. They are fine children I should be proud of. They are the children I wanted when I first learned they would be mine.

It’s time to focus more on them, on how they are that makes me happy, rather than how they are that upsets me. When they misbehave, it’s more like a wolf attacked a sheep, it’s nature, and it’s necessary. How I react dictates how the day is spent.

Time to stop reacting to the things I hate most I wager.

**************************

We ride the bus home with Kyle and his Grandma. Vivian drills him on what he likes.

“Do you like Tigers?”

“YEAH!”

“Do you like snakes?”

“Yeah!”

and on and on and on it goes.

Where is my mind?

17 Jul

Hooooo doggie have I been manic the last few days. I’ve been cleaning and purging and rearranging and thinking and thinking and up last and it’s been nice.

And I’m afraid that I’ll jinx it and it will all go away. I like this feeling. This kind of manic isn’t harmful, doesn’t mess with my life in any bad ways. It’s productive, and makes me feel like a can do something, that I can get something accomplished like normal people. I don’t feel like this on a regular basis, and frankly, it sucks. I WANT to be this person. I want to be clean and organized and not buried under the detrius of my own mind.

In a nutshell, it will suck when this feeling leaves. And I just want to be normal. I’m tired of looking around everywhere and seeing people with nothing real to complain about complaining. I want to stop hearing about people who can easily afford an iphone. I want a piece of that blessed life complaining about the little things, I want a life that makes the little things seem big. Being manic makes me want all these things, but also brings out the little girl who wants to tell the other girls who have almost everything to stop their whining.

I want it easy. By this point in my life, I deserve things to be easy, don’t I? Yet suddenly, after a respite of a few years, all the drama and chaos started again, lending even more credence to my atheism and general annoyance with the people around me. I want my children to be my only challenge. Or my weight. Not everything.

I’m a fucking mental cripple. Without the crutches.

I’d like to stop feeling annoyed when other complain about things that seem so insignificant to me-it makes me feel judgy and superior for no good reason. Like I have it worse than they ever would. But pain is relative, and I’m not one to make a determination about who really has it worse. I’m just a mess who stays up until 2am obsessively untangling the knots in yarn.

Quite the metaphor for my life isn’t it.

My cleaning right now is in some small way a need to start over, to tear down the walls of my house and start over. In dreams, my mind was always dark, full of cobwebs and old plaster walls. Mold, rats and despair. They next time I visit, I’d like there to be a little bit of sun.

“How do i handle people who don’t like me”

20 Jun

Fuck em, that’s how. 🙂

I wish it was that easy. And in a way it is.

I’m not exactly easy to get along with in real life. I’m a snotty bitch, I put a LOT of stock in manners, sincerity, and honesty. I need the people around me to be themselves, instead of some construct they’ve created. I need people who can challenge my brain in good ways, people not afraid to bitch my head off. (Thinking of you on that one Stace) I need REAL people.

Needless to say, these requirements generally leave me a little…shorthanded in the friends department. Not that I much care. I’m essentially someone without the need for social contact beyond the odd outing. Even that drains me. I’ve never been much for people, unless I’m inebriated in some way, shape or form. Which explains most of high school actually. I don’t need people around me, and would mostly be quite happy if nearly everyone around me disappeared. People act like morons, and generally are happy to isolate themselves from anything important. I can’t stand that. Why be alive if you aren’t trying to further your knowledge or wisdom?

People won’t like you. Possibly even for reasons that have nothing to do with you. There are people I don’t like because I personally feel that the way they live isn’t appropriate for their age. There are people I don’t like because they never shut.the.fuck.up. There are people I don’t like because they are stupid, and would cut off their nose to spite their face. There are people I don’t like because I feel they are hypocritical, their views not matching their actions.

Many people don’t like me. And I’m fine with that. Who wants to belong to a club that doesn’t want you? I’m old enough to not give two shits, to move on and do something better with my time.

But maybe you’re 14, and stuck in some shitty school with no friends, or you have friends but other people make it clear that they don’t like you. In which case, my advice is simple. Fight the fuck back. Hand their ass to them verbally or physically. Stand up and make yourself known. You haven’t done anything, and if these other kids/people haven’t realized that they can keep their dislikes to themselves, they need a simple lesson.

I know, I know-violence is wrong. But you know what? That’s all some people listen to. And I’ve been that girl who was disliked and bullied for no good reason, and now? I wish I would have turned around and smashed that chick in the face a few times. But I’m stronger now than I was then.

At the end of the day, it’s also up to you to decide how much time and energy you want to expend caring about what they think. Do you really care? Do you really want to be liked by everyone? Tomatoes are wonderful, but I don’t like them. Nothing against tomatoes-they just aren’t my thing. And it’s like that with people. I do know many good people who I just can’t stand. Which is ok. Nowhere does it say you have to like everyone.

Be kind, be yourself, and live your life. Stay true to who YOU are, and everything else will fall into place.

I’ve been a snarky snark snark lately.

11 Jun

It’s amazing what 4 days of kid free living will do to a girl.

I’ve been, how shall we put this……an asshat the last few days. My moods have been swinging, I have had zero patience for either child, and I’ve been angry and yelly.

Part of this is stress. Aside from flying, I haven’t had a real day off in a few weeks. We’re working on a major project (total survey revamp across our company) and I’m a little busy. Between travel and working at home and the kids and the stuff I need to do around the house, I’m a little short on patience. Don’t get me wrong-I love working from home, the fact that my boss is so flexible is worth all the little 500.00 bonuses in the world. But it’s HARD. Anyone who tells you working at home with small kids is easy is lying through their teeth.

I think a lot of it is a need for some alone time right now. Sure, when I was travelling I was by myself, but there is something about smushing my ass into a tight seat and having no arm room that ruins it. Being up until 1 am working each night and sick with an infection didn’t help either.

More than anything the transition back to noise and talking and children was hard this time. To have a glimpse of life without them, what could have been-it was heady stuff. (And I don’t mention this in a “gee, I wanna leave way. Just as a fact) To have a couple of days where the only voices you hear are adults, where you can sit and listen to whatever music you want without whining or crying or being asked to turn it off, to casually eat a meal slowly while reading-these are things about being childless that I miss desperately right now.

I know that soon, I’ll have plenty of time to myself, that childhood is fleeting, fragile like glass, but dammit it felt good to have some room to breathe, to not have the velcro that are my children attached to me, to sleep in a bed without worry or fear of a child waking up crying. To feel for a minute or two that I was without cause or responsibility for someone else-to focus solely on my job and nothing else-I’ve missed these feelings!

And I’ve been angry readjusting to my life. But I never appreciated what I had before kids, the time, the space, the quiet. And I crave it-my body, my mind needs that mental space that’s been missing for the last 2 weeks or so (not counting the grocery trip, which was at 8pm after working from home with the kids all day). I need some time to decompress, to just be, to find a zen place in my heart and mind again.

I feel mostly, like I’m missing something. Something simple and profound and oh so very important. 

Children’s Song, R.S Thomas

We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry
With analytic eye,
And eavesdrop all our talk
With an amused look,
You cannot find the centre
Where we dance, where we play,
Where life is still asleep
Under the closed flower,
Under the smooth shell
Of eggs in the cupped nest
That mock the faded blue
Of your remoter heaven.

 

Partial Birth

2 May

Deep in my pro-choice heart, I’m trying to find the place where partial birth abortion lives.

I can’t find it.

I followed a link at This is me Maria, which described the process. Of course, being a pro-life website,  it’s meant to disgust and offend. But I cannot come to term with a procedure like that. Hell, I don’t even want to.

For years I wondered where my line is in the sand is. After having to children-after crowning and waiting to give that last push, I cannot stomach the thought of killing in this manner.

Pre-viability, clump of cells is one thing. 30 weeks is an entirely different story.

And maybe it’s because I don’t understand the point of getting to 7 months, and NOT just going to full term and giving the child for adoption. Maybe it’s cause I’m an adoptee, and that makes more sense. Maybe it’s because I do not see how we can NOT look at this as a child by this point. We fight so hard to save 25 week foetus’, and yet, 30 weeks can be aborted? I can’t make it jive-I just can’t.

I believe in a woman’s right to choice-I always will. But I have trouble stomaching this procedure, because it comes so very close to being murder. Part of me believes it to be murder. If the child delivered at 30 weeks naturally, and it had a hole poked in it, we would call it infanticide. So what’s the difference?

I feel so conflicted, and yet I don’t. There is a large part of my brain standing up to say this procedure is WRONG, horribly wrong. How could you get this far, feeling the creature move under your ribs, and then destroy it? This isn’t potential-this is a being.

It was so much easier when I didn’t have kids.

She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes…

3 Apr

heh.

I went to see my doctor today, and had my Wellbutrin wish granted. I’ll start tomorrow, since as usual, the pharmacy needs to order them in. (sigh….)

Any reading I’ve done have stated that it has minimal affect on sexual function and weight gain, and that it’s been fairly good at moderating bipolar’s in one study. It can’t hurt. It’s also know to help stop compulsive behaviours, which I can use right now.

Celexa was good for my mood, but man. How can you have a close relationship with your partner when you don’t want them near you? How can you want to do anything when eating any food makes you gassy and explosive?

I weighed myself. Despite my pants being FAR too tight, and feeling bloated as all hell, I haven’t gained a pound in a month and a half. People have confirmed that I look bigger. So what the FUCK?!?!

So I’m crossing my fingers that this will work. I just want my body to do it’s own thing, instead of something else. It seems like anymore, I just end up taking more and more pills.

It’s enough to make me want to grab Rosalyn’s ‘Elmo Bankie” and crawl under the deck.

So, we’ll see. I’d like to get under 250, my weight when pregnancy with Vivian, sometime this summer. It just seems like everytime I start making progress, something messes it up.

Le sigh.

Push it

31 Mar

I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to write about, and all I can think about is the fact that baring some wonderful medical advance I can’t concieve of just yet, I will be taking medication for the rest of my life.

My bipolar cannot be managed without medication. I know that now. When I look back on life unmedicated, it’s like a freight train running off the rails. It’s nothing wonderful, no creative world that I miss. It’s scary and unpredictable, hard on those around me, alienating.

Recently I had a coworker sit near me again. I haven’t really talked to this person in years, and I realized just how much the bipolar surge after Rosalyn was born, hell, even when I was pregnant, isolated me from the people around me. I remember being remotely fun, nice to be around, entertaining at one point. Why did I have to lose that?

Now that I can sit and “watch” my interactions with others, I can see the reticience in them, waiting for me to turn and lash out suddenly. I’ve destroyed some bridges in my life, and it’s hard to get them back. It’s odd to watch from the perspective of someone waiting for the other person to back away. It’s equally odd to watch them tentively respond back to me, surprised that I’m not acting like an ass.

For awhile, I was an ass, and I pushed everything away from me. Time to bring it back I think.

“i cannot handle being a mother anymore”

26 Mar

Somedays, I can’t either.

Somedays, the crushing weight of my being a mother sits on me like sleep paralysis, waiting for me to move, almost daring me to. It wags it’s finger in my face, telling me I’m a bad mother, an ungrateful mother, because I cannot keep up with my own children sometimes, because I pretend when my husband and I are out alone that we ARE alone, that no one waits for us at home, ready to cover us in wet kisses and sticky fingers.

It’s the responsibility that gets to me-the knowledge that forever, I am connected to these creatures-I can never leave them, not truly. They will always be a part of me. Their toes will forever be the toes that kicked me in the ribs.

But somedays it’s the drudgery, it’s getting up and feeding them, convincing clothes onto them, sitting with them, then working all day, arriving home in time to listen to them scream about not wanting to go to bed. Those days get to me. Those days test me, because they test my love for them, they test the bounds of my patience and temper. On those days, the bad mommy sometimes gets to come out and play for a bit.

I have been tempted in the past, to throw up my hands, and walk away from it. From all of it. Times when it’s gotten so hard, too hard, worse than I ever imagined, I wanted to walk down the road, climb up onto the highway, and begone. Never to be seen again. I thought it, many times.

But in my eyes, in my heart, I couldn’t do it, I never would. I could never walk out that door and not come back. Because being a mother isnot just a test-it’s a battle. Sometimes it’s lovely and gentle, other days, it’s bloody and loud and frightful. Somedays I don’t like it at all.

But somedays are so fragile and simple, I want to place them under glass so they never disappear. I draw on those days, to get me through the wrong ones.

24 Mar

I was watching Beverly Hills, 90210 earlier. (I do that-I have a weird nostalgia for early 90’s TV.) It was their graduation episode, which of course was full of maudlin moments and flashbacks.

It got me thinking.

When I was 18, my father likely watched me walk out the door at night, thinking how I have so many new experiences to look forward to, how the world was waiting for me, as he went back to watching bad made for TV movies. He saw my graduation as a beginning, the start of my real life maybe.

I didn’t. I was a pain in the ass before and during my grad, because I was completely emotionally mixed up. I was graduating with a class I didn’t really go to school with, since I had switched schools a bit. I missed my mother terribly, and had to deal with integrating my biological family into this that year.

I hated polyester, and especially hated having to spend money I really didn’t have on renting a gown I HAD to wear. I remember having very loud conversations about that. I didn’t have the money for graduation photos, or yearbooks or rings. Stuff many students take for granted, I couldn’t get. So I pretended, very well, that I didn’t care.

I cared though. It was that time in your life that was meant to be transformative, special, meaningful. I wanted something meaningful in my life, other than something painful. But it wasn’t to be. I saw it for something hollow.

I muttered as much to my father as the end scenes rolled, how I couldn’t wait to be out of high school, and on with my life, and how we didn’t sit there holding eachother’s hands smiling. I don’t much remember what we did after grad. From the group of friends I had, I was the only one graduating Grade 13-everyone else I knew had another year to go. So I was leaving everything I was familiar with behind, instead of us all leaving together.

And I was in love. So I was a little, confused about where my life was going.

The show tonight, the cultural impression of graduation is one of closure and beginnings, of surety, or direction and decisions. I never had that experience-I had multiple decisions to make in one summer-what university I wanted to go to, where I wanted to spend the summer, where my heart was taking me. I was also mourning the true, offical end of my childhood, and I was mourning it hard, but in quiet.

I was nothing sure. But I felt melancholy for high school as soon as it ended, even as I do now. I feel nostalgic only for that sense of freedom, the ability to do anything, at anytime that I had. But that is precisely what scares me about having daughters who are teenagers. I don’t know anything about mothering teenage girls, but I certainly remember what it’s like to BE a teenage girl. While I love and cherish many of my experiences, do I want them for my daughters? Do I want them to sit in a park with a friend and smoke pot all night when everyone else is at the prom?

No-I want them to have the frilliest, prettiest dresses they’ve ever seen-the one thing I never dared to have, or ask for. I want them to enjoy their years as teenagers, which I, in some ways, never could. I want them to watch 90210 and really get what’s being said.

(and OMFG! Their graduation was 1993! Am I THAT old?!?!?)

Britney Spears-Bald and Crazy?

18 Feb

baldy.jpg

Look at her eyes and tell me she isn’t manic. Tell me.

Is it attention, or is she as sick as she looks?

I don’t normally comment on celebrity crap since I don’t really care, but you can’t escape this “GASP! Shaved her head and OMFG! got a tattoo!” stuff that’s everywhere.

I can’t help but wonder though. Most bipolars go through manic periods where they are hypersexual, taking stupid risks, doing things that are relatively out of character.

I don’t care who you are. Marrying a walking vienna sausage like K-Fed is out of character. He’s a bloody troll.

She’s virtually ruined her career for a small time creep. She’s popped two kids out and divorced him. She’s been flashing her cooch at cameras, and now shaves her head, in public.

Could be a publicity stunt, but I keep staring at her and wondering what’s going on in her head. Is she spiralling and can’t control it? I know that feeling-it’s scary and exhilarating at the same time. She’s a mother, and yet, does she parent? Is she able to?

I normally can’t stand this woman, but something about her right now makes me incredibly sad. In many cultures, cutting all hair is a sign of mourning.

But hey, it could just be a brilliant PR stunt. But I can’t help but feel it’s something more.