Posts in category "Daily Life"

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.

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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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almost like the blues

Now in the dark world where I dwell, ugly things, and surprising things, and sometimes little wondrous things, spill out in me constantly, and I can count on nothing.

—A Scanner Darkly

Winter has traditionally been a difficult time. In my youth, the holidays were filled with family gatherings where I never found my place1. Then I started coming into my own, but everyone else began spending time with their significant others, leaving me an observer with a surrogate family. Eventually, I grew the need for a connection with people who could better understand the person I’d become, and again found myself in exile.

cat with bass guitar

This year is no different. The weather has been particularly punishing, with extreme cold fronts that make any form of travel a literal pain. It’s a fine line between inspiration and oppression when trapped in a winter wonderland. Even after a week of Darren’s company, along with new instruments and some of the stickiest of the icky, I haven’t been able to shake this feeling of loneliness.

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  1. Now I realize that being forced to spend a night with a random assortment of people is a crapshoot at best. []

keeping the rage tender

Fall has fallen, and I was ready. I was waiting. I was trapped for months on end, when my body wouldn’t cooperate or anxiety got the better of me. Even hearing Townes Van Zandt sing to me about snow in Raton was enough to make me miss winter again. I’d live vicariously in any form of visual media I could find, just to remember what it was like to feel the tingle of sun on my skin.

Now I can go out, but on my own terms and for the sake of it, not just therapy or a doctor’s appointment. It’s given Heather and I a chance to date — to dress up for each other, to trade secret glances about people who might be the other’s type, to hold hands and show each other off — instead of all the coping we were left doing after falling into the relationship so suddenly.

portrait of Heather and Jeff

Rachel Weisz has nothing on dem brows.

Ever since she began her career, I found it difficult to deal with how little we saw each other. It felt like we were barely connecting or having meaningful experiences when we had such limited time. Now that she has a better shift and a carpool, we have an extra hour and a half together on weekdays. Combined with Jesse committing to hangouts twice a month to play games or jam, it’s made a huge difference in the way I approach my goals and plan my time.

They’re small steps, but after so much regression, I tend to be happy with any movement in the right direction. Still, I wonder if I’ll ever find a balance that won’t leave me frantic, one that’s conducive to getting my introvert needs met while letting me feel secure in my relationships.

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whales in the bodies of tiny fish

It’s been months since I had an appointment with my therapist. I’ve needed the time to work on myself before making further progress with him; a sign that I’m at a point where there’s a sense of direction, instead of relentless confusion and dread. Now it’s a matter of absorbing the concepts I should know by now, developing healthier emotional habits, and letting time heal what reason cannot. As my body recovers from the physical repercussions of depression, finding the energy to do these things gets a bit easier each season1.

As a result, I’ve been picking up new responsibilities in my primary relationship, which I have to carefully balance with my personal goals. Maybe that’s why my wants have become such simple matters. Some days, I look forward to nothing more than eating ice cream after dinner, or playing a game until my thumbs are raw. The distillation of my dreams has given me another childhood, which I’m determined not to squander.

underboob

Part of the reason I stopped taking pictures is because I needed to believe Heather was real. To prove to myself that she wouldn’t suddenly disappear and only exist as a collection of pixels on my screen, like others lovers of my past2. Mostly it was because everything was terrible, and just being conscious was a burden. Some days I was too sad to walk or eat, let alone decide what lens to put on my camera or how to frame a shot. The start of any relationship tends to be a time of wonder and excitement for me, but I don’t remember those years with particular fondness3.

Continue reading “whales in the bodies of tiny fish”…

  1. There have been many steps back on the journey forward, enough for the progress to be indiscernible from a week-to-week (or even month-by-month) basis. []
  2. It’s strange to realize that my drive to photograph things was partially a way of dealing with my abandonment issues. []
  3. At least I feel secure in the knowledge that Heather stuck by me when I was literally at my worst. []