ecstasy but not happiness

We left on a Thursday, travelling by train with tickets my uncle bought us. My younger self would have enjoyed making a mix to go with the undulating patter of tracks and the passing of seasonal landscapes in my window. I could let songs and albums measure my time spent traveling. Now I measure time in hunger and pills.

Union Station Toronto

But even as I age and the skyline grows less recognizable, the old stomping grounds remain comfortingly familiar. They say everyone’s an exile in New York. Well, in Toronto — where each municipality is a world unto itself, separated by miles of twisting highways and hours of traffic — everybody’s home.

Continue reading “ecstasy but not happiness”…

semi-poly

I hope I’m not belabouring the point when I say I’ve suffered a lonely existence. For much of my life, I’ve kept those closest to me at arms-length, out of a subconscious fear that they’d hurt me. I could never turn to my parents for any kind of support, cause they were more concerned about how I made them appear than how I felt; I had no siblings with which to form an alliance when they became my greatest enemy. The best friend I carried into adulthood was a person who never truly understood me, and my best friend after that abandoned me at the first sign of difficulty.

Managing my relationship needs has been a lifelong struggle. Much of the growing I’ve done (or been forced to do) is intertwined with the solitude I’ve faced; being able to change myself gives me a small sense of control in what would otherwise be a messy and chaotic existence. An added difficulty is that I keep evolving, and my social needs evolve in turn. It takes years to develop the kinds of relationships that nurture me. I’m in the middle of a transition, and my support network is the smallest it’s ever been.

Living with a partner has helped, but at some point my attachment to Heather grew unhealthy. It’s not fair for me to put so much pressure on her to be my lover, friend, therapist, caretaker, gaming buddy…everything. When I start to resent her for my needs going unmet, I know I’m in a bad place and need to check myself.

Continue reading “semi-poly”…

not choosing fear

Stepping out of my comfort zone lately means letting someone hear my material before it’s ready, saying I love you without the expectation of hearing it back, posting pictures of myself I find unflattering, being an attentive listener during difficult conversations, worrying that spouses will know my secrets but telling friends anyway, listening to songs that remind me of her, holding important people accountable for hurting me, asking for help before I need it, accepting the fact that no one can be everything I need all the time, loving someone from a distance, letting boys hold me when I’m upset,

girl kissing boy

daring to dream that things will be okay,

putting myself first in the destructive relationships I can’t escape, saying no instead of finding excuses, making love without some kind of reassurance about my looks first, letting myself miss the people I no longer like, being first to call after exchanging numbers, not knowing when I’ll be home and going out anyway, hoping I’m not judged every time I ask her to do that thing I like, giving myself space from people who adore me but don’t nurture me, not trying to please everyone all the time, playing even though I have a decent chance of losing, not cutting someone out after they’ve wronged me, reconciling with old lovers, empathizing with people I hate, going out when I’m not high, spending time around people I find difficult, saying sorry and meaning it, trying to hit chord tones in genres I never listen to, and paying attention to the friends who call me on my shit.

the purge

In the last few years, I’ve gained a significant amount of confidence in my actions and decisions, especially when it comes to relationships. It took a lot of growing, and two things helped most:

  1. having a better understanding of other people’s experiences in general (i.e. I needed to gain more empathy)
  2. surviving enough crises that conflicts or difficult conversations — or even my own feelings — were no longer debilitatingly scary

Even though I’m more comfortable with my social behaviour, I still struggle with loneliness. Being more socially capable means I can pursue relationships more purposefully and without regrets; it doesn’t mean my world is immediately filled with loving, stimulating people and needs are suddenly being met.

Continue reading “the purge”…

an eternally new now

I’ve grown hesitant when it comes to writing about my emotional state. More often than not, I’m in a completely different headspace by the time I hit publish. It’s left me feeling like I’m perpetually waiting for a chapter to end before I have enough perspective to get something down. Days turn into weeks into months into scenes getting ever smaller in the rear-view mirror. By the time I have the words, I’m lost in a new scene again.

It hasn’t given me much of a chance to be mindful or present. I can only hope my camera will help me remember the details as they pass.

4/20 protest on Parliament Hill

The 4/20 protest on Parliament Hill this year was blessed with mild weather and good friends.

Most recently, I’ve been having contiguous days that weren’t filled with misery or hopelessness, and the fact that I can make “days” plural is a small wonder. I can’t explain it on anything other than a new dose of anti-depressants — 2mg of aripiprazole to top off the 100mg prescription of desvenlafaxine I’m already taking — but I can tell it’s working. The bottom isn’t as deep when I’m feeling low. My reaction to any setback isn’t immediately giving up (on life). Being buoyed by two little milligrams feels like a cheap answer after searching desperately for meaning and reason for all the pain for so long, but I’ll take it gladly.

Continue reading “an eternally new now”…