It’s taken me a generous distance, as well as a healthy break from the pain, to realize I don’t understand what my mom thought of me. In my earliest years, I believed she loved me, cause none of her demands were unreasonable. After all, children are often helpless and don’t even know what’s best for themselves. Then I grew up, and developed an identity of my own. That meant I had distinctive needs separate from hers, and she would deny every one of them unless they were in line with what she wanted. It was impossible for me to believe there was any love at all when she was the cause of so much of my pain. I’ve since come to realize that relationships are full of nuances, and that it’s possible to love someone wholeheartedly and be terrible for them at the same time.
I can tell I’m getting overwhelmed cause of the mistakes I’m making. Fruit is going bad on the counter before I have a chance to eat/cook it, a dose of medication is forgotten here and there, missed payments lead to interest fees; I’m losing control of little details that are normally simple matters for me.
Maybe it’s cause I’m constantly trying to catch up. On projects I keep putting off cause of my responsibilities. On life after losing the last two years to a depression that left me crying more often than not. On top of all that, I’m trying to juggle a job, a relationship, and the energy it takes for me to heal, while enjoying every moment as it comes. Even though I’m in a safe and stable place now, I still struggle to cope with how quickly things are changing. I miss being able to record my thoughts and experiences here, but I can’t afford the time it takes to get into that zone.1
The hardest part is explaining to people why I’ve been out of touch for so long. It means going into a painful (and recent) history, and it’s not easy to get into that emotional space, let alone think about things that are difficult to relive, let alone open up to someone, let alone worry about how they’re going to react.
- I’m trying to accept that it’s okay to wait before writing about certain ideas. It took me seven years before I could figure out how to write about my mom, and that meant a lot of growing before I could understand the whole situation and finally put the subject to rest. There’s so much more I still have to say, about things both good and bad. It’s just hard to get used to the idea that this will become a journal of the past instead of a diary of the present. [↩]
This is pretty much the most awesome situation I can think of. A jam session with Nic on beats and bass, Jesse rapping and on organ + glockenspiel, Audra on clarinet, and me on ukulele. Figuring out what sounds best, modifying arrangements, practicing until it feels right.
The night was actually a rehearsal for Jesse’s upcoming Canadian living room tour, the last stop of which is in Ottawa, at the same place I first met Jesse and Audra and Jacob.
Because Jesse’s sister is only available on the eastern tour dates, that left a spot for one instrument on the final tour date, which I’ll excitedly be filling with my ukulele. It’s only for three songs (and singing one part of a three part harmony) but it’s going to be so much fun.
Here’s Jesse singing and rhyming and conducting us and playing the glockenspiel at the same time. It’s a new track off his upcoming album with an obvious theme about video, except in this version he made an arrangement of Video Tape by Radiohead and VCR by The XX to bookend the verses. I’d never heard VCR, so Jesse had to teach me the chords on the fly.
I recorded this on my iPhone so I could practice on my own; I won’t have a chance to see them for another rehearsal before they go on tour. I’d never heard the song before, and it was our first time playing it through together but everyone knew when to stop. It felt completely natural. We were communicating without words, our instincts culminating in that wonderfully solid unison.
Even though I’m still rusty, it felt amazing to be playing an instrument with other people again. And this time with material that’s fucking genius, not the same old conservatory pieces some teacher chooses for you. At one point I was playing around on the ukulele when Jesse had to get the phone, and Nic started putting beats to what I was doing and it made me want to steal Nic for all my practicing.
See Jesse Dangerously in your town:
Friday, July 23rd — The Bird House in Halifax, NS — 6156 Duncan Street, 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 24th — The Galley in Fredericton, NB — 1–178 Westmorland Street, 7:00 p.m (with feminist/anti-capitalist gumboot troupe Rebelles).
Sunday, July 25th — Gallerie Rye in Montreal, PQ — 1331a Rue Ste Catherine Est, 8:00 p.m (with the vegan ukulele of Nicola IV).
Monday, July 26th — 160 Workshops in Ottawa, ON — 160 Primrose Avenue, 8:00 p.m. (with electronic/acoustic singer-songwriter Jacob Earl).
An ex e-mailed me out of the blue the other day. She blamed it on the fall weather, causing her to reminisce and Google my name. We hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in over five years.
After feeling each other out for the first part of the exchange, we caught up on each others lives. She’s been married for three years. Moved out to Kingston after living through the pollution and over-stimulation of downtown Toronto. She has a full-time job while working toward her Master of Education part-time. Her husband’s an artist at heart, she says, trying to make a living off creative writing. No kids yet, but instead, two cats, Emily Wednesday and Shadow.
Me? I moved to Ottawa for university, bought a house, recently got out of a relationship, been working as the marketing and IT manager at a dental laboratory. Oh, and I have one cat, but I’m thinking of a second.
There were some things I’d been meaning to ask her for a while. Going through a series of relationships since ours has changed my perspective, and I’ve always wondered whether she’s grown in this way as well. I put a few questions to her, but she told me, in an amiable way, that she wasn’t completely comfortable indulging my curiosities.
There are a lot of things I’d like to say to my ex-girlfriends, but the nature of a break-up can be that of rancor. Communication breaks down. People lose perspective. I’ve always had a tremendous need to express myself, perhaps to the detriment of my relationships, but digging up what’s past and buried for the sake closure seems a bit selfish. After having this ex tell me that she was uncomfortable, I realized that it may have been rather inappropriate of me.
It’s only here that I can say what I want.
The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series
Promised myself I’d be in bed by nine, but my nervousness has made me too jittery to sleep.
“Poignant”, he said, just as I was thinking the word, and it made me realize that if there’s one thing I do try to be, it’s poignant. I don’t know why. Perhaps it shows good communication. Perhaps there’s mental relief in knowing that one is not alone, that others can understand and may feel the same way.