wake me up when October ends

I was doing well in terms of stick­ing to my bi-week­ly writ­ing sched­ule. Putting my mind to some­thing and being respon­si­ble to myself became a nur­tur­ing rou­tine. Then October came and I lost the plot.

pretty girl with bangs

It can’t just be love, right? I can’t be the only one who thinks she’s beau­ti­ful. Her gen­tle smile has me con­vinced it’s an objec­tive fact.

It’s the appoint­ments: den­tists, gas­tros, perios, shrinks. They all hap­pen to fall with­in a few weeks, some of them up to three times. I know they’re all there to help me, but I’ve had a frus­trat­ing and dif­fi­cult his­to­ry with most med­ical pro­fes­sion­als. At this point, I sim­ply would­n’t have the patience to sit in a wait­ing room if it weren’t for Heather there to sup­port me every time. At least I found a com­pe­tent psy­chi­a­trist; the first one who’s ever tru­ly lis­tened to me before pre­scrib­ing any med­ica­tion1.

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  1. One of the most impor­tant ques­tions he asked was whether or not the hos­pi­tal fol­lowed up with me after my sui­cide attempt. The answer, of course, being a resound­ing NOPE. []

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.

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unreliable narrator

I’ve recent­ly been faced with the chal­lenge of nav­i­gat­ing diver­gent his­to­ries with­in a shared nar­ra­tive.

It’s the rea­son I won­der what my ex-bestie tells peo­ple regard­ing our falling out; I have the feel­ing it’s some­thing along the lines of, “I don’t know”, even though I made it extreme­ly clear exact­ly why I was unsat­is­fied and unhap­py in our friend­ship. It’s the same rea­son I sus­pect my mom tells peo­ple that we did­n’t get along when some­one asks if she has any kids, instead of “I hurt my son so much that he refus­es to have any­thing to do with me”. Sure, each expla­na­tion might be close to the truth, but they’re far enough away from it that I’d con­sid­er each one a lie.

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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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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.

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