witching hour polls and random musings

IMG_3763_2.JPGSend in the devourers of sadness. Let them creep from the shadows.

Hungrily and cautiously they circle. Clustered together. Whispering strategies. Planning their approach. Sizing up my wounds. Assessing my defences and my strength. Eyes flashing with excitement. Lips parted. Ready for a taste.

But what they don’t know is this. I have lured them with my tears. I know they are here. I am ready. I have set the trap.

I toss bait into the divide between myself and them. A single injury. A little scrap to start. A tasty one though. An offering that has been marinating for weeks. A morsel that is seasoned with betrayal and confusion. It should be enough to draw them closer.

I wait. Holding my breath.

I sense (more than see) the creature slink forward. Head and eyes darting left darting right. Staying close to the ground. Scrambling on all fours. All sinew and bone. Gaunt. It is starvation and desperation more than bravery that has made it the first to move. If it waits it might get nothing as the others will push it aside once the banquet truly begins. Plus this one has a special love for wounds of duplicity. It seizes the scrap that drips with the kind of poison that can only be administered by someone close enough to pour it down your throat. Someone in the inner circle. The creature swallows it whole without hesitation before sprinting back to the pack.

I sigh with relief and allow myself a single moment to feel the delicious absence of that particular toxin. I can already feel healthy cells flooding to reclaim that territory.

The beasts are now bordering on frenzy. They have crept closer and their circles around me are getting tighter and tighter. I offer them more. Carefully selecting appetizers to peak rather than sate their hunger. Building their excitement for the main course. Tiny piece by tiny piece. Scraps of heartbreak, fear, and loss. They are ready.

I am ready.

I close my eyes and feel their cold breath on my skin. They are hushed and waiting. I hear a single moan and I know it is time. I crack open my chest and expose my whole heart. For a moment everything is still. I hear the drip drip drip of my darkest grief landing on the dry unyielding earth. Swirling on the surface. Unabsorbed.

Then they move. All at once. Descending upon me in a swarm of blind desire and pure hunger. Vampirically draining the sadness from my veins. Drinking in the heaviness, the hate, the resentment, the denial. Filling themselves with my most awful memories and my most painful wounds. They drink until there is no darkness left in me. The exsanguination is complete.

One by one they move on. They do not look back as they depart. They feel strong and invincible once more.

I lie still and keep my eyes closed until I am sure they aren’t coming back. Until I know with absolute certainty that my dangerous plan has worked. I scan for scar tissue and open wounds. There are none.

I open my eyes and drag myself to hands and knees. Taking a moment to let my body recalibrate. My head is swirling. I am drunk on the sensation of light that has begun to infuse my body. There is space where there was once solidity and movement where there was once dormancy.

I push myself to stand and take a cautious step forward. Barely touching the ground. I do not look back as I depart. I feel strong and invincible once more.


Screen Shot 2018-05-20 at 10.09.49 AM.pngON THIS DAY … 5 YEARS AGO

I just stumbled upon this “on this day” flashback on facebook. This photo brings up a lot memories that now lurk mostly beneath the surface of consciousness and many intense feelings that I’d prefer to not relive … it’s almost painful for me to look at it. However, it’s probably the most poignant photo that I have of myself … not because of the picture itself (although Lisa is a pure genius and such a lovely soul – GO SEE HER if you need pics taken) … but because of the moment it captured.

It was taken in May 2013. Exactly one year after my marriage had ended in a swirl of chaos and confusion and deep wounds. I have only one tattoo at this point. The first one I chose. It says “abhaya” which is the sanskrit word for fearlessness. I had it permanently etched on my inner right forearm … my warrior arm … to remind myself that I could handle anything.

I could handle a full-time (and then some) job with a lot of responsibility. I could handle single parenting one of my teenaged stepsons who took a powerful stand with incredible consequences and chose to live with me. I could handle finding ways to support and stay connected to my other teenaged stepson who was the first of us to escape the madness and try to find some stability in his life. I could handle (almost) paying my bills every month despite the mountain of debt that had piled up in my name over 10 years of marriage. I could handle making sure that Sidney (our beautiful dog) had a good life and that I was giving back to him in gratitude for all he had done for the boys and I. I could handle the effort it took to rebuild myself – getting physically healthy, reconnecting with friends, finding pockets of goodness in each and every day, rediscovering my voice and my creativity, shedding layers and layers and layers.

I could handle breathing. That was tricky sometimes. For that first year after my marriage ended … I often felt like I was gasping for air. Literally and metaphorically. I was scrambling into the light after spending much too long in the darkness. This picture is proof that I could do it. My smile is still more of a “fake it til you can make it” smile than the genuine full of happiness smiles that started to come shortly after this was taken. At this point, it still took a lot of effort to smile. It was awkward. I was out of practice.

The photo also allows me to honour all of the people who journeyed with me – sometimes from behind the scenes, sometimes actively by my side, and sometimes leading and dragging me along into possibilities that I didn’t yet know or trust. My family, my friends, and my community. Although the year had been unimaginably hard, it had also been one of the best years of my life. Me, Myles, and Sid living in our sweet little apartment in kits surrounded constantly by good people and good energy … it’s still one of my favourite times. We healed and came back to life. The earth became solid beneath our feet once more and we created lives that fit who we were (separately and together).

Although I didn’t know it at the time, this photo captured a powerful milestone. The milestone of survival and reclamation.

IMG_2111I was assaulted twice in the past week. Yup. On two separate occasions.

First time. I was driving along minding my own business and came to a stop at a red light. I happened to look to the right and noticed the driver of the car staring at me. He flashed a giant smile and waved. I scowled, gripped the steering wheel, and stared straight ahead using all of my jedi mind powers to make the light turn green. A full awkward 75 seconds later, I shot through the intersection and made my escape while nervously checking my mirrors to make sure I wasn’t being followed.

Second time. I was driving along minding my own business and came to a stop at a red light. I happened to look to the right and noticed the driver of the car staring at me. She flashed a giant smile and waved. Yup AGAIN. Same bullshit! I scowled and shook my head in bewilderment at her audacity. I actively avoided making further eye contact and eventually drove away without any further affronts. I felt relieved but shaken.

In the aftermath of these blatant daytime acts of aggression that occurred in full view of vancouver’s rush hour traffic public, I have wondered if there was something I did to invite the attacks. On both occasions, the sun was shining bright and the day was blissfully warm. I had my windows and sunroof wide open. Both incidents occurred at about 630 PM so I can only assume that, like me, my assailants were making their way home at the end of a work day. I had my favourite tunes blasting and was singing along. I was smiling. I looked … happy.

My theory.

My obvious happiness made two other people smile on two separate occasions. The fact that I had found happiness while stuck in gridlock traffic was miraculous enough that it infected a couple of people with whom I was sharing the road on those evenings. It made them smile too.

That part now makes sense.

What still doesn’t make sense is my reaction. I would like to say my response was unusual … for me and for the others who live in this city of mine. Sadly it’s not. In all seriousness, I have been thinking about those incidents and wondering why I didn’t just smile back and wondering why I found their smiles confusing, irritating, odd, and a bit aggressive. I don’t know if this is true in other cities but it’s like vancouverites have been trained for coolness (not the tragically hip kind of cool but in the kind of cool that makes us avoid connection with others). Vancouver is routinely described as an unfriendly place and I know many people who have arrived here with hope in their hearts only to leave a few months later because they found it too hard to find a social niche, too difficult to locate true community, and too damn lonely. This smiling at strangers thing almost never happens which I guess is why it threw me off. We don’t make eye contact with others, we don’t make friendly conversation with people in line-ups or at cafes, and we definitely do not smile at one another.

Honestly? I think that’s one of the main reasons I like to travel. Three of my fave destinations? My home town of St John’s Newfoundland, Venice Beach  / Santa Monica California, and Burning Man @ Black Rock City Nevada. Why? Because people in all of these places are so friendly!!! Not in a weird aggressive in your space kind of way but in a genuine liking of humanity kind of way. I feel welcomed and accepted and part of the community … even if I’m just dropping into the groove for a few days.

As for my two smilers … I doubt they are locals. Certainly not locals who have lived here for any length of time.

I feel like I need to sign up for some sort of retraining program or trauma reentry therapy. I need to learn to accept the smiles of strangers. I need to learn to effortlessly, gracefully, sincerely, warmly initiate and receive them. (I need to reclaim my smile … even if it’s the awkward “I’m in training to smile” version I was trying on in my grade 4 picture above.)

Vancouver … I love you but … we’ve gotta warm this place up a bit.

#smilesformiles #smilingtherevolution #smilesatstrangers

Let’s do this.

IMG_3639The things. The people. The smiles. Real and otherwise. I’m sorry I’ve been so confused lately. And so frustrated and so distracted. I feel like I’m being chased by rabid foxes all the time. They snarl in my ears when nobody is around. They slash at my skin with their jagged and razor sharp teeth. They leave fresh bruises and cuts every day … just little ones. Nothing spectacularly black and blue … nothing that runs with bright red blood … nothing that makes people understand the gravity and relentlessness of the battle. Nothing that makes people want to call 911 or set up a defensive perimeter around me. But. The truth is. I’m in constant fight or flight mode and I’m almost spent. Edges.

Just be yourself. Yourself but not too yourself. You know? Just a little less yourself. Not that much. Don’t make people uncomfortable.

Yeah. I understand. The sunshine. The ocean. The beaches, bicycles, and handstands. The music and road trips. The coffee, tattoos, art, and beautiful words. The pitbulls (especially the one with the golden eyes and giant heart who settled me like no other creature could … I miss him every single day). It’s all a bit too much right? It doesn’t show the other side. The 55 hour work week, the second job to make ends meet, the step-parenting worries, the routine day to day adult experiences. Trying to motivate others and stay motivated myself. The dirty dishes in the sink, the 8 million traffic lights, the chips and $5 wine for dinner. The effort it takes to summon up all that blue, gold, and glitter. The effort it takes to keep smiling. Edges.

Try not smiling this time. I don’t know. Happy but not that happy. It makes people insecure and irritated when you are that happy. It makes them sad. A little less happy. But don’t brood. Don’t complain. That would be even more irritating. Try somewhere in the middle.

Making people insecure is the last thing I want to do. I know I’m irritating people right now. I know I’m hurting people. My head is so full that words just spill out of my mouth to make room for more swirling thoughts. I’m being careless. I’m creating wounds in the people I care about the most. Maybe even wounds that can’t be healed. I’m fighting when I don’t need to fight. I know my eyes are flashing constantly and my voice is hollow and cold. Edges.

You know we love you.

I know. I love you too. Edges.

You can’t always have what you want. That’s not how life works.

But why not? I sincerely don’t understand. We only get one shot. Why wouldn’t we try to make life as beautiful as we possibly can? Take chances. See what exits just outside the lines. Maybe we’ll find our next favourite thing. Besides. What I want is pretty simple. Edges.

Settle down. Let’s just drop it.

I’m trying to. I really am. But I honestly don’t know how to let some of it go. I will try harder. For my own sanity and because I truly want to stop fighting with you. I want you to understand me. Or at least accept me. See inside me and notice the shape of my heart and how much space it takes up in my body. Sometimes I worry that it’s going to spill right through my rib cage and drip big gooey puddles onto the earth. Edges.

We’re just worried about you.

I know but I’m okay. Honestly. I know you sense my wildness and worry that the gypsy in me will take over. I know my decisions scare you sometimes but really … I will be fine. I promise. I’m struggling a bit right now. Trying to find my way with it all. And maybe it is the gypsy in me. Maybe it’s just spring and the restlessness I feel at this time every year. But I’ll figure it out. Things are recalibrating. They will settle soon. You don’t need to worry. Edge.

IMG_1228.JPGThe things. The people. The smiles. Real and otherwise. The wondering. Why. What. How. When. Just stop. Literally. Stop. Talking. Judging. Sneering. Whispering. Literally. Just. Stop. Fuck this feels heavy. Why is it so fucking heavy? Why so confusing? I don’t understand. The people. Seriously. What the fuck with the people? I don’t understand. I don’t judge you. What the fuck does it even matter? Edges.

Just be yourself. Yourself but not too yourself. You know? Just a little less yourself. Not that much. Don’t make people uncomfortable.

I don’t get it. Sunshine. Ocean. Beaches. Bicycles. Handstands. Music. Road trips. Coffee. Tattoos. Art. Beautiful words. Pitbulls. Blue. Gold. Glitter. More smiling. Edges.

Try not smiling this time. I don’t know. Happy but not that happy. It makes people insecure and irritated when you are that happy. It makes them sad. A little less happy. But don’t brood. Don’t complain. That would be even more irritating. Try somewhere in the middle.

The middle. The grey fucking middle. The vanilla fucking middle. The blend into the background fucking middle. The solid B minus C plus middle. Edges.

You know we love you.

Don’t be so fucking mean. Edges.

You can’t always have what you want. That’s not how life works.

Really? Watch this. More tattoos. Yes. Lots. Redbull and vodka. I’m gonna burn the man and some other shit too. Fuck the white picket fence and the white man in his late 50s early 60s who built it and owns all the fucking land. Fuck the wedding vows and the day job. Fuck the 2-car garage and the retirement plan. Fuck the bitchy mean soccer moms and their lecherous husbands. No mortgage. No savings. No benefits. No fixed address. Postal. Postal. Postal. FUCK ALL OF YOU. Edges.

Settle down. Let’s just drop it.

You can’t drop it without letting me defend myself. I’m trying to figure this out. Why is everyone fighting with me? I’m not even fighting. I don’t understand. Edges.

We’re just worried about you.

Fuck. You. Edge.