Posts tagged with "communication"

escape artist

Suzanne is forty years old and has nev­er had a close rela­tion­ship. She spends most of her spare time read­ing books and brows­ing the web. Suzanne is most com­fort­able with casu­al, friend­ly rela­tion­ships where noth­ing very per­son­al is dis­cussed.

Suzanne is mar­ried to a man who is out of touch with his feel­ings. He’s more inter­est­ed in being mar­ried than in being mar­ried to Suzanne par­tic­u­lar­ly. He has few friends, and does not expect close­ness from Suzanne. He wants a woman just so he can ful­fill the con­ven­tion­al role of hus­band. Their rela­tion­ship is based on tra­di­tion­al roles, not on real inti­ma­cy. They rarely con­fide in each oth­er.

Suzanne has smoked mar­i­jua­na her entire adult life. She insists that she is not addict­ed — she tells her­self she only does it for recre­ation, and that she has con­trol. Besides using drugs on a reg­u­lar basis, she tends to drink in set­tings when she does­n’t feel as social­ly capa­ble as oth­ers.

Suzanne became depressed, but was not in touch with her feel­ings of aban­don­ment and defec­tive­ness. She spent much of her life mak­ing sure she was not in touch, and try­ing to escape her feel­ings.

Continue read­ing “escape artist”…


It’s tak­en me a gen­er­ous dis­tance, as well as a healthy break from the pain, to real­ize I don’t under­stand what my mom thought of me. In my ear­li­est years, I believed she loved me, cause none of her demands were unrea­son­able. After all, chil­dren are often help­less and don’t even know what’s best for them­selves. Then I grew up, and devel­oped an iden­ti­ty of my own. That meant I had dis­tinc­tive needs sep­a­rate from hers, and she would deny every one of them unless they were in line with what she want­ed. It was impos­si­ble for me to believe there was any love at all when she was the cause of so much of my pain. I’ve since come to real­ize that rela­tion­ships are full of nuances, and that it’s pos­si­ble to love some­one whole­heart­ed­ly and be ter­ri­ble for them at the same time.

Continue read­ing “back­sto­ry”…

make the road by walking

I can tell I’m get­ting over­whelmed cause of the mis­takes I’m mak­ing. Fruit is going bad on the counter before I have a chance to eat/cook it, a dose of med­ica­tion is for­got­ten here and there, missed pay­ments lead to inter­est fees; I’m los­ing con­trol of lit­tle details that are nor­mal­ly sim­ple mat­ters for me.


Maybe it’s cause I’m con­stant­ly try­ing to catch up. On projects I keep putting off cause of my respon­si­bil­i­ties. On life after los­ing the last two years to a depres­sion that left me cry­ing more often than not. On top of all that, I’m try­ing to jug­gle a job, a rela­tion­ship, and the ener­gy it takes for me to heal, while enjoy­ing every moment as it comes. Even though I’m in a safe and sta­ble place now, I still strug­gle to cope with how quick­ly things are chang­ing. I miss being able to record my thoughts and expe­ri­ences here, but I can’t afford the time it takes to get into that zone.1

The hard­est part is explain­ing to peo­ple why I’ve been out of touch for so long. It means going into a painful (and recent) his­to­ry, and it’s not easy to get into that emo­tion­al space, let alone think about things that are dif­fi­cult to relive, let alone open up to some­one, let alone wor­ry about how they’re going to react.

  1. I’m try­ing to accept that it’s okay to wait before writ­ing about cer­tain ideas. It took me sev­en years before I could fig­ure out how to write about my mom, and that meant a lot of grow­ing before I could under­stand the whole sit­u­a­tion and final­ly put the sub­ject to rest. There’s so much more I still have to say, about things both good and bad. It’s just hard to get used to the idea that this will become a jour­nal of the past instead of a diary of the present. []


This is pret­ty much the most awe­some sit­u­a­tion I can think of. A jam ses­sion with Nic on beats and bass, Jesse rap­ping and on organ + glock­en­spiel, Audra on clar­inet, and me on ukulele. Figuring out what sounds best, mod­i­fy­ing arrange­ments, prac­tic­ing until it feels right.

The night was actu­al­ly a rehearsal for Jesse’s upcom­ing Canadian liv­ing room tour, the last stop of which is in Ottawa, at the same place I first met Jesse and Audra and Jacob.



Because Jesse’s sis­ter is only avail­able on the east­ern tour dates, that left a spot for one instru­ment on the final tour date, which I’ll excit­ed­ly be fill­ing with my ukulele. It’s only for three songs (and singing one part of a three part har­mo­ny) but it’s going to be so much fun.

Here’s Jesse singing and rhyming and con­duct­ing us and play­ing the glock­en­spiel at the same time. It’s a new track off his upcom­ing album with an obvi­ous theme about video, except in this ver­sion he made an arrange­ment of Video Tape by Radiohead and VCR by The XX to book­end the vers­es. I’d nev­er heard VCR, so Jesse had to teach me the chords on the fly.

I record­ed this on my iPhone so I could prac­tice on my own; I won’t have a chance to see them for anoth­er rehearsal before they go on tour. I’d nev­er heard the song before, and it was our first time play­ing it through togeth­er but every­one knew when to stop. It felt com­plete­ly nat­ur­al. We were com­mu­ni­cat­ing with­out words, our instincts cul­mi­nat­ing in that won­der­ful­ly sol­id uni­son.

Even though I’m still rusty, it felt amaz­ing to be play­ing an instru­ment with oth­er peo­ple again. And this time with mate­r­i­al that’s fuck­ing genius, not the same old con­ser­va­to­ry pieces some teacher choos­es for you. At one point I was play­ing around on the ukulele when Jesse had to get the phone, and Nic start­ed putting beats to what I was doing and it made me want to steal Nic for all my prac­tic­ing.

See Jesse Dangerously in your town:

Friday, July 23rd — The Bird House in Halifax, NS — 6156 Duncan Street, 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 24th — The Galley in Fredericton, NB — 1–178 Westmorland Street, 7:00 p.m (with fem­i­nist/an­ti-cap­i­tal­ist gum­boot troupe Rebelles).
Sunday, July 25th — Gallerie Rye in Montreal, PQ — 1331a Rue Ste Catherine Est, 8:00 p.m (with the veg­an ukulele of Nicola IV).
Monday, July 26th — 160 Workshops in Ottawa, ON — 160 Primrose Avenue, 8:00 p.m. (with electronic/acoustic singer-song­writer Jacob Earl).

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Introduction

An ex e‑mailed me out of the blue the oth­er day. She blamed it on the fall weath­er, caus­ing her to rem­i­nisce and Google my name. We had­n’t seen or spo­ken to each oth­er in over five years.

After feel­ing each oth­er out for the first part of the exchange, we caught up on each oth­ers lives. She’s been mar­ried for three years. Moved out to Kingston after liv­ing through the pol­lu­tion and over-stim­u­la­tion of down­town Toronto. She has a full-time job while work­ing toward her Master of Education part-time. Her hus­band’s an artist at heart, she says, try­ing to make a liv­ing off cre­ative writ­ing. No kids yet, but instead, two cats, Emily Wednesday and Shadow.

Me? I moved to Ottawa for uni­ver­si­ty, bought a house, recent­ly got out of a rela­tion­ship, been work­ing as the mar­ket­ing and IT man­ag­er at a den­tal lab­o­ra­to­ry. Oh, and I have one cat, but I’m think­ing of a sec­ond.

There were some things I’d been mean­ing to ask her for a while. Going through a series of rela­tion­ships since ours has changed my per­spec­tive, and I’ve always won­dered whether she’s grown in this way as well. I put a few ques­tions to her, but she told me, in an ami­able way, that she was­n’t com­plete­ly com­fort­able indulging my curiosi­ties.

What she had no prob­lem talk­ing about before was now taboo and off lim­its. Was she afraid of upset­ting her hus­band by dis­cussing such per­son­al things with an ex-boyfriend, or did she sim­ply change so much?

There are a lot of things I’d like to say to my ex-girl­friends, but the nature of a break-up can be that of ran­cor. Communication breaks down. People lose per­spec­tive. I’ve always had a tremen­dous need to express myself, per­haps to the detri­ment of my rela­tion­ships, but dig­ging up what’s past and buried for the sake clo­sure seems a bit self­ish. After hav­ing this ex tell me that she was uncom­fort­able, I real­ized that it may have been rather inap­pro­pri­ate of me.

It’s only here that I can say what I want.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen