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.

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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.

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a reckless careening of emotions and actions

That’s how you described yourself, soon after your dad died. A girl lost in grief, trying to drink and smoke and work and fuck her way out. Living her life like she was the only one who hadn’t figured out what to do with it.

It’s hard to imagine you being so sad once. Or sad at all, and secure enough to admit loneliness. You even had the objectiveness to know that you shrank from others even though you didn’t make yourself happy. That’s why I keep going through these entries in your old blog. Not just a dream journal, but a journal of dreams. Before you became trapped in a domestic life and your heart turned into a lump of stone.

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Princess Dolly, 2003–2018

Dolores was more than a pet. She was capable of profound love (or burning hatred), and that loyalty made her feel more like a little person than a companion. With the ability to recognize people through windows, I’d often find her sitting on the sill at the front of the house, waiting to greet me with a chorus of raspy meows when I came home from work; a ritual only special guests may be privy to, if they’ve presented the princess with enough presents.

I adopted her in university, and she was a constant presence through many residences, housemates, girlfriends — we even shared our space with other cats for years at a time. When finding me after a few moments apart, she’d come lean against me with an arched back, inviting me to scoop her up, and I’d make a point of spending a bit of time to cradling her like a baby, even if I was just passing through. Sometimes we’d lie in the blankets and stare into each other’s eyes; there was as much comfort to be found in her purring as my warmth and attention.

I could tell our bond was special from the start, and being fearful that I’d never share anything like it with another cat again, always made sure to cherish every second.

Continue reading “Princess Dolly, 2003–2018″…

it’s complicated

At the very least, theirs was a friendship of unusual ardor.

Terms like “acquaintance”, “friend”, and “lover” tend to denote defined roles. This makes for convenient social constructs, where we have an idea of the nature of the relationship, even when not directly involved. Responsibilities of one group — care, affection, respect, commitment, trust, will to cooperate — don’t often overlap with another. When they do, terms like “work wife” or “friend with benefits” might be used; re-characterizations of previous terms for a lack of better ones1.

It took me longer than I’d like to admit before I realized how rarely relationships can be so neatly labelled. Not every “friend” considers it an honour to be trusted with the spare set of house keys (and would I really consider them a friend if they’re not to be relied on in an emergency?). Not every romantic partner is interested in exclusivity or commitment. Not every sexual encounter goes as far as penetration, or even contact (which is why it’s possible to have an affair of the heart).

Suffering the loss of many important people has also taught me that relationships often evolve, as we grow and circumstances change. Whether it was due to some breaking point or simply the passage of time, most of my significant relationships have come and gone. Now I can’t help but tread carefully when I’m about to invest my emotions in someone, whether that means prioritizing them in my life, opening up with my secrets, or letting myself like them; that’s when I’m as scared of being hurt as I am of losing them.

  1. I’ve seen “metamour” defined as a person who’s in an intimate (romantic or sexual) relationship with an intimate partner of yours, but I like to use it as a catchall for anyone who falls between categories. Perhaps if English was a richer language, there’d be less ostracization of unconventional arrangements or needs. []