Posts in category "Random"

hello? is this thing on?

The world still turns, even when it’s in lock­down, and there’s been much to say.

If only writ­ing came as eas­i­ly as it used to. The bulk of my entries have been a com­pul­sion, a way to sort out thoughts and feel­ings when I had no one to talk to.

Then I start­ed dat­ing Heather — my first time cohab­i­tat­ing with a roman­tic part­ner — and sud­den­ly had an out­let that was both acces­si­ble and val­i­dat­ing1. It became eas­i­er to turn to her than find the words for a screen that nev­er spoke back.

My time in ther­a­py has also giv­en me bet­ter emo­tion­al mod­er­a­tion; a skill to deal with the dis­tress that comes from depres­sion and trau­ma. Instead of spi­ral­ing into pan­ic or rage, I’ve learned to embrace dif­fi­cult feel­ings and let them pass through me. Scary thoughts and painful mem­o­ries don’t con­trol me the way they used to. A healthy trade for the loss of inspi­ra­tion.

In that sense, I hold an evolv­ing style and sub­ject mat­ter to be pos­i­tive devel­op­ments. After all, I began this blog almost 20 years ago. If I was fill­ing the space with the same things as I was back then it would be an embar­rass­ing sign I had­n’t grown at all. I imag­ine I’ll always have more things to say as long as I con­tin­ue learn­ing, even if the impe­tus is lack­ing.

It makes me won­der why oth­ers stopped blog­ging (or why they start­ed in the first place). Checking my RSS feed is still a habit, but nowa­days I’m left invari­ably dis­ap­point­ed and feel­ing more dis­con­nect­ed than ever. Social media has become too shal­low for my tastes. Medium too imper­son­al. YouTube too obnox­ious and osten­ta­tious and increas­ing­ly com­mer­cial, with Twitch being even worse on all those counts.

And yet there’s relief to be found in the fact that no one knows I’m writ­ing any­more2. This space is no longer sacred when I feel oblig­ed to or inhib­it­ed by an audi­ence. Self-imposed exile became an impor­tant step towards reclaim­ing the sense of con­trol I’d lost. My sto­ry isn’t fin­ished, and per­haps enough time away has giv­en me the dis­tance I need to be com­fort­able shar­ing myself again.

  1. The fact that she’s usu­al­ly on the same intel­lec­tu­al lev­el (or high­er) is also an impor­tant fac­tor. []
  2. With a few notable excep­tions, I’m sure. []

no man an island

Loneliness, or the fear of aban­don­ment when­ev­er I was dat­ing some­one, have been reoc­cur­ring themes since my child­hood.

I’ve nev­er regret­ted the deci­sion to cut out my par­ents for the sake of my men­tal health, but that still means I lost the only peo­ple who had a respon­si­bil­i­ty to help and accept me (as ter­ri­ble as they were at liv­ing up to that). It was a nec­es­sary but trau­mat­ic choice. Then I had a falling out with my ex-bestie, which came about after I real­ized he was­n’t the type of per­son I need­ed or want­ed in my life, and fur­ther robbed me of sta­bil­i­ty. ____ became my best friend after that (even though I was extreme­ly reluc­tant to label her as such after my expe­ri­ences), until I final­ly stood up for myself and she decid­ed she did­n’t want to be held account­able for her actions. Heather and I com­pared notes after­wards to dis­cov­er she was avoid­ing me every time I was in a cri­sis1. I’ve had a life­time of sig­nif­i­cant rela­tion­ships with emo­tion­al­ly igno­rant peo­ple who would nev­er apol­o­gize or admit that they’ve ever hurt me.

Then there’s Pat, who acknowl­edged he was a being a poor friend for not stay­ing in con­tact the last time I spoke with him. Maybe it was the fact that I was cry­ing that pres­sured him into promis­ing to call me more often. That was about sev­en years ago, and I haven’t heard from him since. I’m still mourn­ing my rela­tion­ship with Shawn for the same rea­son; a per­son who lit­er­al­ly saved my life who no longer has time for me in his. Relationships with pos­i­tive peo­ple whom I loved and looked up to, that with­ered when I stopped ini­ti­at­ing con­tact, leav­ing me with more ques­tions than answers. Relationships where I’ve done noth­ing wrong and still suf­fer a loss. Part of me can’t help but feel con­fused, and scared that any­one in my life may dis­ap­pear sim­ply cause they’ve lost inter­est.

Surviving the fall­out of each expe­ri­ence meant I came out with real­ly messed up expec­ta­tions when­ev­er it comes to oth­er peo­ple. Even now, it’s hard for me to feel safe, no mat­ter how close I am to some­one.

My first tru­ly secure rela­tion­ship — one where I could express dif­fi­cult thoughts and feel­ings with­out being blamed or aban­doned or inval­i­dat­ed — start­ed in my mid-30s with Heather2. When my depres­sion and col­i­tis kept me iso­lat­ed the last few years, I was par­tic­u­lar­ly wor­ried about being over­ly depen­dent on her. At the slight­est hint of trou­ble, it felt like my world was com­ing down because she was my world3. When I turned to oth­er peo­ple for help dur­ing my lost week­end, I soon real­ized I have a won­der­ful net­work of friends and fam­i­ly.

Continue read­ing “no man an island”…

  1. During a par­tic­u­lar­ly bad day a few years back, Heather asked her to send me a text in sup­port. She replied, “Jeff and I don’t text”. Not only was that com­plete­ly untrue, it was a real­ly shit­ty excuse for her to do noth­ing. []
  2. I’ve since learned a great deal about the qual­i­ties that make a rela­tion­ship healthy and suc­cess­ful. Consequently, my stan­dards have risen. []
  3. Part of my ven­ture into polyamor­ism is because I want to expand my sup­port net­work. I’m inter­est­ed in hav­ing more peo­ple care about me, per­haps cause I’m eter­nal­ly try­ing to fill the hole left by my par­ents. []

reprieve

With bones weary, a lion shuf­fles along the bank of a nar­row stream, seek­ing a gap to cross with­out get­ting wet. His gait is unsteady and laboured. A lop­sided clump of hair frames his face, edges dark­en­ing along the mane. The gamut of scars he wears — from light scratch­es that have fad­ed in the sun­light to deep­er wounds that are still heal­ing — add depth to his coat, and speak of the bat­tles he’s sur­vived.

He does­n’t make the jump. His back paws dip in the water but he walks on with­out shak­ing a leg. With a pen­sive nose raised high, he explores the bound­ary of his ter­ri­to­ry.

Sets of eyes watch him as he trots. They keep their dis­tance at first, then more pairs join the fur­ther out he goes. Before real­iz­ing it, he finds him­self amongst a clan of hye­nas, scat­tered and curi­ous and very alert. They grad­u­al­ly cir­cle and close in.

Continue read­ing “reprieve”…

those who leave but never leave you

I’m sor­ry she nev­er replied, but I’m also glad you fig­ured out that she does­n’t owe you an answer. I think that says a lot about how much you’ve grown and how far you’ve come as a per­son.

It was no small step to reach out after all this time and the things you’ve been through togeth­er. I think you did the right thing cause of the way things end­ed. Offering to make amends by putting your feel­ings out there was more gen­er­ous than I’d expect of any­one.

After all, you nev­er deserved to be led on like that. I wish I could explain why she did­n’t give you the space you need­ed at first. I’m sor­ry you weren’t strong enough at the time to stand up for your­self, but it does­n’t mean you deserved it. It was­n’t fair. You were lone­ly and vul­ner­a­ble and it was the last thing your heart need­ed to heal. I don’t blame you for hav­ing a hard time get­ting over her after that.

That’s why you had every right to ask for anoth­er break. Needing it was nev­er a reflec­tion or judg­ment on who she was. Just because she did­n’t like it does­n’t mean you did any­thing wrong. In fact, she should have respect­ed you and your request instead of get­ting upset or tak­ing it as a val­u­a­tion on her as a per­son.

I’m sor­ry she nev­er acknowl­edged your pain or her role in it. I’m sor­ry part of you still feels so bad­ly messed up. I’m sor­ry you nev­er had a chance to tell her.

The fact that you haven’t heard back is like­ly a sign of how much she tru­ly cares about you. That does­n’t mean you have to stop lov­ing her. Your feel­ings are com­plete­ly valid. It’s okay to love some­one from a dis­tance. It does­n’t make you a bad part­ner or per­son.

So take as much time as you need. There’s no right or wrong way to mourn the end of a rela­tion­ship.

introducing Percy

Losing Dolly at the begin­ning of the year was absolute­ly dev­as­tat­ing. However, I was also buoyed by the fact that we sud­den­ly had space for a new cat in the house. What bet­ter way to help me through the mourn­ing process than to have a new life keep­ing me com­pa­ny while Heather’s at work? And since her dream was always to have an orange tab­by, I set about find­ing her the per­fect kit­ten from the Humane Society back in January.

cat in box

I thought he was still teething, but it turns out he just real­ly likes chew­ing things. Also, sleep­ing in box­es.

Kittens tend to go with­in a few hours of being put up for adop­tion, so at one point I was check­ing the web­site every hour for avail­able can­di­dates. When there hap­pened to be a tiny male tab­by at 14 weeks old on the oth­er side of town, I drove over imme­di­ate­ly and found him in a cage sleep­ing with his sis­ter (a beau­ti­ful lit­tle cal­i­co). It broke my heart to split them up, but I also knew she’d soon be snatched up her­self.

Continue read­ing “intro­duc­ing Percy”…