Posts in category "Random"

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”…

quiet revolution

Depression has added an extra cost to every­thing I do. Something as sim­ple as buy­ing gro­ceries means mak­ing sure my ener­gy lev­els are care­ful­ly paced for a few days before I leave the house, and being too burned out to do any form of inter­ac­tion for a few days after. If some­thing goes wrong dur­ing the process — a night of poor sleep, a sick cat, a loss of moti­va­tion, a col­i­tis flare-up — and I run out of spoons, the prob­lems cas­cade and I end up hav­ing to can­cel my plans.

That’s why I choose to spend time with peo­ple who under­stand what it tru­ly costs me to func­tion; they hap­pen to be the ones who are con­sis­tent­ly reli­able, very under­stand­ing if I have to can­cel, and put as much effort into main­tain­ing the rela­tion­ship as I do.1

Heather portrait

Heather start­ed taper­ing off her dose of ven­lafax­ine cause she feels sta­ble enough to take the risk2, and wants to start work­ing with­out the asso­ci­at­ed men­tal haze. Even though music is still a joy­less expe­ri­ence, the fact that she’s get­ting excit­ed about Halloween again is a sign that she’s final­ly heal­ing.

She does­n’t mind car­ry­ing more emo­tion­al labour (and I remain will­ful­ly igno­rant, for the time being), cause she knows I’m play­ing life on hard mode. My job is to make sure she feels appre­ci­at­ed for doing more than her fair share. The crises we’ve been weath­er­ing togeth­er since we met means our hon­ey­moon phase was cut short, but nei­ther of us mind, cause inti­ma­cy is what we were miss­ing for so long.3

self portrait at 35

The fact that it takes me few­er days be to com­fort­able around any­one when my inse­cu­ri­ties get the bet­ter of me means I’m gain­ing some small form of equa­nim­i­ty. I still have moments when I feel too dam­aged to be hap­py, too worth­less to be loved, or too bro­ken to be fixed, but it takes me less time to realign my per­cep­tions with real­i­ty. The lows aren’t as debil­i­tat­ing­ly deep either.

I’ve been using the momen­tum to take small steps out of my com­fort zone; spend­ing more time in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions, learn­ing to be emo­tion­al­ly vul­ner­a­ble, explor­ing new ways of express­ing myself4, pro­cess­ing parts of the past I’ve tried my best to for­get. Even though I’m anx­ious to feel nor­mal again, I’m forced to rec­og­nize my lim­i­ta­tions and keep myself paced. I know I’m not where I want to be, but I’m mov­ing in the right direc­tion. That’s enough to keep me going for now.

  1. Also, per­haps not-coin­ci­den­tal­ly, usu­al­ly peo­ple who have deal with some form of depres­sion or chron­ic ill­ness in their lives. []
  2. I still have no idea whether mine are keep­ing me afloat, but the fact that I don’t suf­fer any side-effects means I’ll be on them for the fore­see­able future. []
  3. Finding my under­wear washed and fold­ed one day — a respon­si­bil­i­ty I’ve nev­er shared with any girl­friend — gave me the weird­est bon­er. []
  4. The only lux­u­ry pur­chase for me this year has been an Impact LX-49 MIDI con­troller. []

Troon, from Knomo

My Canon 5D Mark II has been a faith­ful com­pan­ion for five years. It’s fol­lowed me on even the most mun­dane trips, as I want­ed to be sure no expe­ri­ence was lost in the years where I found myself grow­ing beyond the fur­thest plans I’d made. However, it’s remained tucked away in the clos­et for the last while, as part of an effort to more mind­ful of each moment; moments that may be lost when I’m find­ing the right angle or wait­ing for the right scene.

As a result, the trusty LowePro Fastpack I used to take every­where — with space enough for a cam­era body, three lens­es, and an assort­ment of odds and ends — no longer fit my lifestyle and needs. Fortunately, I was giv­en a chance to try out Knomo’s Troon mes­sen­ger bag, and dis­cov­ered it’s the per­fect fit for my new jour­neys.

Knomo Troon messenger bag

Continue read­ing “Troon, from Knomo”…

lessons learned on the path to awakening

Order mat­ters. Timing is impor­tant. It’s help­ful to arrive at the point where things can only get bet­ter, but los­ing every­thing takes time. Making mis­takes is okay. Being unable to cope is okay. Not being ready to say it back is okay. Life is a bal­ance between hold­ing on and let­ting go. Some peo­ple should nev­er have chil­dren. You’re only over some­one when you don’t need to make a con­scious effort to stop think­ing about them. The first step in tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty for your needs is com­mu­ni­cat­ing those needs.

cat

Cats are lit­tle bun­dles of non-judg­men­tal, unas­sum­ing, food-con­di­tion­al love.

I need to be with lis­ten­ers more than talk­ers. A day spent writ­ing let­ters that will nev­er be read isn’t a waste. Some peo­ple don’t know how to help, but that does­n’t mean they don’t care. It’s impor­tant to make peace with one’s suf­fer­ing. You nev­er stop grow­ing with the right peo­ple in your life. She nev­er loved me more than the words I wrote. The last thing I want is to be ignored when I open up. It’s okay when friends pri­or­i­tize their kids before me. It’s okay to pri­or­i­tize myself before any­one else. Always be mind­ful of long hair when cud­dling.

Foxhole party

There are peo­ple who love me enough to save my life (and pants are option­al at their par­ties).

The ones with a lit­tle bit of dark­ness to them tend to be more inter­est­ing. If a guy in a suit is cute like me, that means I’m cute like him. Lisa is my third cat and that’s enough for now. I deserve to be hap­py. A bad trip does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean a bad expe­ri­ence. Strength is often qui­et, recep­tive deter­mi­na­tion, rather than chest-thump­ing pushi­ness. Being kind to dif­fi­cult peo­ple is just as impor­tant as being kind to bene­fac­tors and friends; being kind to myself is most impor­tant of all.