Friday, December 28, 2012

Great Expectations

It's been awhile. How was Christmas for ya'll? Mine was just dandy, with my mother and my best friend occupying my home, complete with turkey dinner and present opening on Christmas day. I went to midnight mass with some friends on the 24th at the Basicalla downtown and it was beautiful. I missed my grandmother a whole bunch but got some pictures of her that my mother brought with her from Alberta. I don't think I've ever had such a picture perfect holiday. It was the first in a long time with my mother, and it was good. That said, I'm thrilled to have my quiet home to myself again.

Life goes back to normal on Monday. But for now I'm enjoying the 45+ cm is snow that dumped in Montreal yesterday and relaxing in coffee shops.

New Years Eve is coming up and I don't think there is a holiday I enjoy less (except maybe V-day). It's mostly due to the heedy expectations the evening brings. Just think about how many romantic comedies arrive at their happy ending at a New Years Eve gala. Off the top of my head: When Harry Met Sally and... er, well you get my drift. The pressure of being at the right place in the right attire at the stroke of midnight holds so much hype. I've had some good times on Nye for sure but never have I experienced the ultimate magic that the movies and television portray. But then again isn't that the way it always is? We seem to be fed these grandiose expectations of moments by the media that never materialise in real life and so we find ourselves perpetually disappointed. This applies to all holidays, in particular Christmas, New Years Eve and of course the dreaded Valentines Day.

I'll admit I'm a sucker for it all. I have a soft spot for romantic idealism, things like the big gesture and the kiss at the perfect moment. Maybe I've watched too many rom-coms (which, if you know me at all, is very likely. I have an aversion to horror and thrillers, ok. Don't judge me.) but I get all worked up about these days. Still, the older I get the less I believe in happy endings, even if I'd like to. Reality has a way of creeping in and clubbing that idealism like a tiny baby seal (too soon?). I no longer believe that the person who doesn't call me is just too busy but really does like me. I no longer fantasize about running into my ex when I look so amazing that they suddenly realize they made a huge mistake and beg for another chance. Rejection might be tough to swallow but tougher still is constant disappointment. I'd rather take the hit to my ego and move on than pretend I'm going to get a movie worthy ending.

The truth is this: NYE is just another night. Don't spend more money than you can afford on a new dress or shirt, don't sweat it if you don't have a date to the party, and most of all leave when you're tired. Don't stay at the party until four AM waiting for the miracle to happen. You might only get a bad headache and a day in bed for your trouble. Dance when you want to, go where you want to (even if it's not the 'coolest' place to be) and enjoy your friends. I know that's what I'm gonna do, anyway. This year I'm going to leave the expectations to my dream world and take the night for exactly what it is; another night. Oh, and party my face off sober style because that's how I roll.

Dance floor, here I come. Party safe everyone.

Here's something fun to listen to/ watch while you wait for the new year:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thin Lines- A Question of Health

Happy Friday afternoon everyone.

Thanks to American's celebrating the colonization of native land this week, I'm off work today. I guess that's the bonus of working for a company who's clientele is mainly American. We have to work on Canadian holidays, but we get time off when everyone else is finishing out their 9-5 week. 

I'm not going to go on a rant about how sick celebrating "Thanksgiving" is, I'll save that for another time.

Today I want to talk about health. 

See, the thing is, I think I have a very blurry idea of what being "healthy" means. I know the old 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' adage, but what does that really mean nowadays when even apples contain mass amounts of chemicals? Yes, buy organic. Yes, buy local. I know these things, and even on my wire thin budget I do try. My biggest problem is that I don't put effort into cooking, ever.

I live alone and frankly cooking for one is a drag. When I get home from work I'm tired. I don't want to spend an hour chopping and stirring and waiting. Its the waiting that drives me crazy. So I go for quick. Or sometimes I don't eat anything at all at night. Then theres the fact that I smoke like crazy and I drink way too much coffee. I probably don't get enough water or vitamins or iron. I get sick alot, from stomach aches to flu's to other random ailments that make no sense. I lose my voice. I walk alot and in the summer I bike everywhere, but in the winter its harder to get exercise. I recently joined an indoor soccer team and we had our first game on Wednesday. I nearly fainted within the first five minutes.

I remember a time when I had boundless energy and was fit. Hell, two summers ago I was a roofer for five months. I was ripped! My muscles were crazy, and I ate more than I think I've ever eaten in my life. Now I work a desk job in an office. My old eating habits have returned, times a hundred.

And heres the honest to god truth: I've struggled with eating issues since I was thirteen. Its come and gone and come back in many different forms over the years. Now I'm all grown up. I eat one meal a day, sometimes only a small one and usually at work because people would notice if I didn't. The people at work actually joke about how much I eat and how its crazy that I'm so small considering what I consume. What they don't know is that I don't eat when I'm not there. What they don't know is that I constantly obsess about what I've consumed, how much I'm consuming, how small I am. I feed on it when people tell me how thin I'm looking, even if its with a tone of concern. In my twisted brain it means I'm doing something right.

I know this is the reason I get sick so often. I know that I am not healthy. I know this and so much more and yet it does nothing to change the behaviour and the thinking.

So here's my question for you guys: What do healthy habits look like to you? What do you do to take good care of your body? What do your eating habits look like?

I'm looking to get some perspective.

Lists of vitamins and supplements that help you are welcomed.

Easy recipes are welcomed.

If you've battled this, suggestions of things you've done to overcome it are doubly welcomed.

This is  Sonya Renee performing her poem "The Body Is Not An Apology".

Monday, October 29, 2012

The End Could Possibly, Maybe, Be Near

Hey guys.

So, there's alot to talk about tonight. I've missed a whole bunch of weeks, and a whole genetically modified super size bushel of things have happened in that time.

Let's start with right this minute before going into the past.

There's a super storm hurricane rocking the east coast of the U.S. Have you heard about this thing?! There calling it Frankenstorm because its basically a hurricane from the tropics mixed with a crazy storm from the north all whipped together with a full moon (which causes higher than usual tides on its own). It has shut down and evacuated huge parts of the eastern seaboard, including New York. The friggin' New York Stock Exchange is shutting down, and you know what it means when the big guys decide not to make money off of everyone else's backs for a day dont'cha? It means they're too scared to make money. And for those greedy fuckers, thats basically the equivalent of a cold day in hell. Which means we're all in for some crazy shit.

Montreal isn't expected to get the worst of it, only some 90km winds and massive rain. Yes. I said only 90km winds. Because you know what they're calling for in some parts of Southern Ontario near the lakes? 115km winds. Holy crap. Thats enough to blow down trees, lift over cars, and throw your daschund to the moon. ( Okay, maybe those last two were exaggerations but you get my drift. Get it- drift! ha.)

Now, I'm not making light of a very serious situation. Quite the opposite. I'm just coming to terms with how big they're saying this storm is. You know some folks at my office today hadn't even heard about it?! They had no idea what was happening. When I mentioned it they freaked out a little. I mean come on people! Listen to the radio or a news blog or sooooomething.

Because if you've been paying attention lately you'll also have noticed that big earthquakes are happening nearly everyday, everywhere in the world. Even coastal BC had a 7.7 earthquake on Saturday, the largest on record since 1949. Thats crazy. They're still feeling aftershocks from it. My friend in Costa Rica said they had a big one last week, Quebec had one earlier this month.

Now, I'm not one for conspiracy theories and superstition. Not at all. I tend to be very skeptical of everything, not just religion and fairy tales. But honestly, it kinda feels like 2012 might be happening. Freak storms, massive earthquakes and financial bankruptcy across the globe are happening so close together that it honestly feels like mother nature is laughing at us. And she's chuckling and smirking in that way you do when you're arm wrestling someone, only giving it half your strength and they're already sweating and breathing heavily. You know you're going to win, and you figure why not just let them struggle for a little while.

It kinda feels like mother nature is taunting us, knowing that at any moment she could just wipe us out like a kid with a bleach bottle in front of an ant hill. And all the while, we kind of know we deserve it.

And you know, we do deserve it. I'm just wondering if I should spend all my money on a trip somewhere before it all ends.

Heres a poem by my dear friend Jillian Christmas who currently resides in Vancouver. The last line slays me, and all this talk of natural disaster made me think of it.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Good news/ Bad news

Well holy crap.

Theres less than a week left until I fly off to Saskatoon for the Canadian Festival Of Spoken Word with the rest of the Montreal Slam Team. We've been prepping like crazy, and I think we're solid. We're ready. Its time for an intensive week of poetry, competition, old (and new) friends, and a little vacation. I'm excited to see all the poetry family from across the country come together. I think this year will be a great one. I like that Saskatoon is small, and we can walk everywhere we need to go (unlike last year in Toronto- which I've nicknamed the festival of taxi's). I'm really looking forward to this. Not to mention a week at home in Victoria with my people! Oh man. I need to lay on my waffle's (itsalongstoryi'lltellyouanothertime) couch and eat soup while hashing out all the gory details of the last year and a half. I can't wait to see them.

And I need a week of poetry. I need to be rejuvenated. I need to be on fire with passion and love for my people and my art.

I know, I'm emo. Whatever.
Because lately I feel like my life is at a stale mate. Its not terrible, don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining (too much) about my lot right now. It's alright. But still, creatively at least, I feel stagnant. Like my heart needs to be shocked alive again. It feels frozen, or at least lazy.
Yeah, maybe that's it, I have a lazy heart right now.

I'm not much liking it. So I'm hoping like hell a week of poetry will cure what ails me. Or at least remind me of why I do the things I do. Lately I've been thinking it isn't enough, to live like this for those moments when I get to do what I love. To quote Ani DiFranco; "It doesn't seem fair that I'm living for something I can't even define". She's talking about art, so I think it applies here.

To make matters worse; I lost my writing job today. Not because my work wasn't good, but because of cutbacks. Financial matters. They can't justify having two full time writers on staff, and I'm the newest edition so I'm the one to go. They've been letting people go left and right for a couple of weeks. Six people lost their jobs on Friday alone. Scary shit, man. And today was my turn. The company is keeping me on staff, but in a different capacity. I get to be a receptionist - jump for joy! Or not. 

I'm trying to be positive. At least I still have a job, a paycheck coming in and there are good people there that I sincerely like. I like that company so for now I'll do what I have to. But seriously- I thought things were really turning in my direction when I landed that position. I thought all the time working shitty jobs and praying like hell for something, anything where I could write for a living had finally paid off.

(my new panhandling face)
Guess I still have some more dues to pay. Unless you guys have some suggestions?! Anything? Keep in mind I live in a city where I'm not completely fluent in the local language. Options are limited.

This is why you should always have a back up plan. I really need to make one of those.

So whats your back up plan if things in your life ever go seriously awry? It can be anything, carreer-wise, relationship-wise, financially- anything. I need some inspiration. For a creative person, I can't seem to get creative with my own life. And words just aren't cutting it anymore, ya know? I need action.

Sorry, I don't have any poetry today. Here's a song I didn't write by an artist I really like.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Red pill/ Blue pill

Fall. What a season.

Autumn makes me nostalgic. It makes me miss faces I haven't seen in years and old familiar places. It makes me nest like an animal going into hibernation. Fall is a season to get your affairs in order before winter sets in and its time to buckle down through the parkas and the almost frostbitten toes.

I am getting my affairs in order, folks. 

Here's a little story;

When I was 16 I was diagnosed with acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This basically runs the gamut as far as "symptoms" are concerned; depression, anxiety, self harm, suicide attempts, eating disorder, flashbacks and dissasociation. I had them all. I was in need of serious help and so I was placed in a mental health facility for youth for a long time. I don't remember exactly, but it was almost 10 months I believe. Before that, I had spent a month in an adult ward at a different hospital waiting to be transferred. So in total it was about a year. This all happened in the fall.

I was on medication already for depression and the doctors spent that year figuring out the perfect cocktail to at least keep me stable. I hated it. I hated the institution and the doctors telling me that I needed to talk. I didn't want to talk, not to them at least. I had never talked to anyone about anything except for my best friend K. I was utterly beligerent and defiant as a teenager who certainly didn't trust anyone. I had good reason not to trust anyone.

When I left there, I stayed on my meds and did good for a little while. Then I fell harder into drugs and drinking. That had always been my fix, my cure. As far as I was concerned, the doctors and shrinks and social workers and counsellors could go to hell. I was going to do things my way, period.

Somehow, I think I stayed on my meds though. I kept taking them.

And then I sobered up. I got clean and two years after I decided that I had more tools to deal with life and came off all the medication.

Its been four years since then. I have mostly fought the overwhelming highs and lows to keep my life somewhat manageable. I have convinced myself that I am fine, that whatever happens I can deal with it. I have been adament, even through bitter lows and really bad decisions while I am on "ups", about never going back on medication. It's one of the accomplishments I am most proud of, to be free of these little pills that the doctors told me I might always need to take.

And then my bubble burst last week. I had a moment of clarity and I was able to be honest with myself for the first time in a long time. I am not ok and my emotions are far from manageable. They haven't been in a long time. I have extreme mood swings. I can have a great day, be in a great mood (which is always more "ecstatic" and "excitable" than just a good mood) and then crash so hard that I want to go back to doing drugs and drinking just to escape this cycle. I do impulsive things. Sometimes dangerous, impulsive things. My compulsions when I am happy have led me to things which I don't recognize. I don't recognize my own behaviour, because they are things I wouldn't and don't want to do. But yet I do them, over and over and over.

So I went to a doctor and told her my history, told her what is happening now. I feel weak, scared, and ashamed. I know that these things are not my fault. I know that I need to surrender and admit my powerlessness over my mental health issues, at least as far as "managing" it on my own. I can't do this alone anymore. So I went back on medication and I'm feeling only the side effects. It takes a few weeks for these things to balance out. I hope it will. I'm so tired of this cycle, of this tornado of emotions I am constantly in. I want to have a relationship, I want to maintain consistent friendships, I want to not cry at work or feel so excited that my skin is crawling with anxious energy. I want to be able to to rest normally, instead of swinging back and forth between insomnia and sleeping 14 hrs a night.

I know its going to take more than medication. I know they're not magic pills. I've been refered to a psychiatrist for re-evaluation, since the last one was over 10 years ago. I'm looking into therapy and counselling. I feel like I am going down another mental health services rabbit hole.

Except this time I'm willing to talk. And willingness just might be the key.

Monday, August 20, 2012

All Work and No Play- Summer's Almost Over

A thought just occured to me as I'm sitting on my bed writing, recording, and rehearsing new poems in cut off shorts and a bathing suit top- summer is almost over!

I was shopping on Saturday and the thought of winter boots and a new coat occured to me. I am going to be needing this things soon. No more leaving the house in a tank top and not bringing a sweater. It's getting damn cold at night now, and layers are a must if I'm not coming home to change. Also, its getting dark around 8:30pm instead of 10pm.

May I just take a moment to say: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Oh hell no. It feels like summer just started. How is it already the end of August?! I mean, its not like I have to go back to school and have the dreadfull feeling of classrooms and textbooks ahead. I pretty much sit in an office from nine to five all year round (yes, I know you're all thinking about how exciting and glamorous my life sounds right now). But there's just something so nostalgic about summer. It signifies alot of skin, parties, festivals and opportunities to go skinny dipping with that person you've had a crush on all winter long. Problem is, I feel like I didn't really take full advantage of the season this year. Probably because I have to wake up at 7am every morning and the thought of being out past 10pm makes me wanna vomit tired chunks of last nights optimism. I know that if I stay out late, tomorrow will be terrible. Its sacrificing an entire day where I feel less than human for a night that could possibly be epic.

Ya'll, I think I'm getting old because I started choosing having good, alert, human days instead of partying all night. This is definitely a sign that I am on a downhill slope to retirement homes and dinner at 4pm in front of a 20 year old episode of Wheel Of Fortune, right? I am not pleased by this.

As hard as I try though, the party just doesn't look that great to me anymore. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I don't drink and I don't do drugs (and no- I don't smoke weed, despite what my appearance may lead you to believe) so the bars aren't all that appealing.

And sure, I dance. I absolutely love to dance and I've got some damn fine moves if I don't say so myself. But you can't really dance in a crowded bar, or in a pub.

And yes, there are a TON of awesome shows and bands that I would give my left nipple (I'm rather fond of the right one) to go see. But they're expensive, and let's face it- nine to five job or not, I'm broke. I can't sacrifice a week's worth of food anymore to go see a show. Five years ago I wouldn't have hesitated but not anymore.

Maybe I'm becoming responsible. Which by the way is basically the word adults use to mean boring and safe. But I'm not going to lie, it kind of feels good. In a "I take care of myself and my loved ones" kind of way. That comes with a certain kind of pride that I'm not willing to trade for a killer show or a sleazy hook up (also, hook ups are just boring and generally underwhelming in comparison to actually knowing someone and sleeping with them).

So that sums up my thoughts tonight. I'm boring, winter is coming, and I have a hell of alot of work to do in preparation for CFSW in October. Oh, and once I figure out how to how to make a video poem from pictures, I'm going to upload a new recording of a brand new poem! Yay new poems!

Here's a link to the YouTube Channel, since Blogger is being a douche and won't let me put it straight on this post. By the way, my channel is emmannward. Follow me!

Don't get too depressed about the incoming chill. I'm sure we have a few good weeks left, at the very least. Play safe.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tomorrow Means Another Year Has Passed

Guess what?! Tomorrow is my birthday. Which means that another year has passed.

I dont know about you guys, but every year on the date of my birth I mentally jump up and down and silently yell "I survived another year!". In retrospect, that sounds kinda weird. But I do it because hell, that's an accomplishment in itself. When I was younger I did not think I would live past maybe twenty-three or twenty-four, and I'm well passed that now.

It's also a little time to reflect. What was I doing this time last year? How has this year changed me for better or worse?

And this year was a doozy. 

Last year on this day I had just arrived in Quebec four days earlier and I was heading down to the city from my family's place up in St.Hippolyte to celebrate and start my life in Montreal. I went to a Short Shorts party with the person who had alot of influence in my cross country move and whom believed I was in love with at the time (that didn't work out so well). I was grieving my grandmother, who died a week before I made it home. I was ecstatic, excited, terrified, overwhelmed and already homesick for Victoria.

And I only knew two people in this city. 

When I came here I didn't have much of a plan. I had no job lined up, an apartment to sublet for one month but otherwise no permanent living situation and very very little money. I just knew I wanted to come here and hoped for the best.

It did not start off well. That person I was dating ended things two weeks after I got here (shortly after attending my grandmother's funeral with me). I got a job in a diaper factory/ warehouse that only paid $10/hour and I got a crappy apartment that smelled terrible and whose only view was of a dirty white wall. It got no sunlight at all and I knew I had to live there at least for the duration of winter. But in the tiny window between arriving and when the snow started falling I managed to make some connections, a handful of awesome people that I was comfortable with. I am ever so grateful for that, at least.

Oh and then winter came.

Cold as balls-slush and snow-dark at 4pm-horribly lonely winter. It is a terrible season to be living alone in a new city with a broken heart making minimum wage. But again, those people I met and continued to meet were like a buoy in the middle of the ocean during a storm. There were Thanksgiving potlucks, ugly sweater parties, orphan Christmas dinners, and lots of good talks over Vietnamese Pho. And then in the thick of January's frost bite, my eldest brother died of cancer and my friend overdosed. There was alot of death this winter. A trip to Calgary and back. Alot of processing and mixed emotions, and more loneliness than you can shake a stick at.

Slowly but surely though, the light came. I got a new job, albeit telemarketing but still with much better pay. A better paycheck takes a bit of weight off your shoulders, at least on grocery day when you've finally got more than $20 with which to feed yourself for two weeks. Relief! I moved apartments to what I would call my ideal Montreal apartment. It gets sunshine! I wake up with it beaming on my face and can sit on one of two balconies (either facing the street to people watch or over looking my landlords beautiful backyard garden and Koi pond) to drink my morning coffee!

I've made more friends and connections and I know my way around now too. Last night my friend and I were at a show in middle-of-butt-fuck-nowhere and I got us back to a metro without looking at my GPS! Hell yeah! I'm a Montrealer now!

And most recently, I got work as a full time writer. I can't even describe to you the awe of this. No more phone sales! No more crappy retail! I actually get to use whatever talent I have and work in a creative environment. Holy-crap-hello-thing-I-never-thought-possible.

So that's the recap. I'm another year older, and even though it doesn't feel like it some days- I hope I'm a year wiser. I know that people are what is important, travelling through the days with other human beings and the connections we make with each other are what will save my ass everytime. Being a loving, caring person and offering solace to others. Lending an ear, an hour, or a kind smile in passing.

I learned that we're not here for very long and its the impact we make as we go that will always be remembered. I am so, so grateful to have had so many beautiful souls put in my path this year (you know who you are). Here's to another year and whatever may come.

Now, let's eat cake! xo.

We All Want What We Can't Have

Foreword; I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago but I didn't publish it until right now. Things have gotten a little better and I feel like I can breathe a little easier today. Still, everything I wrote holds true...

So I've been very neglectful. I didn't realize it had been so long until I looked here on Sunday. This blog is really just a symptom of my life- chaotic but somewhat organized, busy and forgetful and filled with uncertain purpose that changes on a daily basis. And yes, lately alot of things in my world have been neglected.

I've had a houseguest, and there's another one coming tomorrow morning (which I am incredibly excited about holyshitluckyiscomingtomontreal!!), I've been stressing about Slam Team responsibilities and my job is sucking the life out of me. *(since the writing of this post I have gotten a new position at work- as a writer! I start on Monday and I'm very excited)

Plus, I kind of went off the deep end a little while ago.

I seem to be falling apart alot lately. Which is ok. I give myself permission (sometimes) to do this, and I think it's important. I need to acknowledge that I don't have everything together all of the time, and the expectation that I should is completely unrealistic. Noone has it all together. I hope I never do because hell, I'd probably get bored. And I do! I get bored when things are good and I create chaos because that's my natural habitat. Give me a good crisis and I'll thrive. Your partner leave you, your house burnt down and you lost your job? No problem, lets get fixin'. Got hit by a car and can't leave your house because you're bed bound in a full body cast? Easy! I'll make a schedule of everyone we know to take care of you 24/7. I really truly thought crisis management might be a good career for me at one point. But it would probably take 20 or 30 years off my life in the end. Living in that perpetual high and taking care of everyone is just too much of a drug for me. So I seem to create these things in my own life.

I texted a good friend who has known me a very long time a few days ago to ask her simply; "have I always been a trainwreck?" She didn't respond for awhile. Her answer? "You've had a rough go at life, give yourself a break."

The truth is that lately I can't seem to help but make messes everywhere I go. I am a bulldozer. Or you know, a small child who screams for what they want and then gets it but quickly loses interest.

Isn't it interesting that in a time of instant gratification and endless access to information that nothing seems to last? Everything is fleeting, we read something and then instantly forget it. Children are being diagnosed with ADD because we are blaming them for the constant distractions that we ourselves created. There are no constants, at least in my life. A good example is a home, the place you grew up. Some people can point to that place and say "this is where I am from, this is my home". But alot of us didn't grow up like that. I have no compass from which to say which direction is due north, morally or socially.

So I'm always learning to navigate my inner world as well as my outer world. There are alot of things I am not capable of and I'm learning those limitations. There are others that I hope to be someday capable of but I have alot of work to do to get there.

And there are just some things that make me sad, that hurt my heart. Actions that I've taken and regrets I have. I know they say "no regrets" and "what's done is done" but I'm human and I feel remorse. I also feel shame, guilt and so many other things. I give myself permission to feel these things and then choose to change. To do better, to learn and seek guidance. I'll never figure it all out, and I'm certain of that. But maybe I can live one day without this weight on my chest.

Here's a poem I wrote awhile ago about feeling disconnected from body, heart, and mind.

Her Father's Daughter

She knows he only says he misses her
Because it’s what you’re supposed to say
She know that it doesn’t mean a thing.

These days
She prays for the willingness to care
what’s going on in his world
But like the blue moon she missed
The last time it came around
This, too, eludes her.

There is nothing but tiny strands of DNA
And a potential blood donor status
Between them.

This is not a Father’s Day greeting card
There is no mug
No tool set.

There is only the clicking sound
Of another calendar year passing
And the freckles that remind her
What bitterness tastes like  

These days
She prays that she is not her father’s daughter
With shaking hands
And a computer screen
At two a.m
In the basement
Trying to stay quiet

When her body has become a war crime
She committed against herself
And all her skin can see
Are the strange body parts
Of unknown men
Stained across the sheets

Still, she feels nothing.
Her mechanism for love has failed.

Sex as sport and leisure
Is not sustainable
When you cease to feel connection
With the sweat on an anonymous eyebrow
Or the person who tells you they love you.

Because still, you feel
That it means nothing
When they say
I miss you.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Burn It All Down

Holy crap...

You know the longer I'm alive, the less I'm convinced I know. Seriously you guys, I don't know anything about anything.

Have you ever been so sure about something, about the way you feel or what you want that it seems like fact and nothing could ever change it. You can go for months, even years this way. And then one day... poof! It changes. You see things in a different light, you taste something you used to love but don't anymore or you tie your left shoe up first instead of your right and it changes everything.

Or it can be slow, one day you wake up and you're just a little bit uncertain. And then it grows inside you and you can't shake this feeling that something just isn't right.

Well, I am questioning everything right now. I guess it's a good thing, but its unnerving to say the least. I'm even questioning if I want to be a poet. I haven't written anything (other than this blog) in months, I have no energy or motivation and I haven't even attempted it. I'm completely apathetic towards the only thing that has been a constant my entire life. I always wrote poetry and journalled. Its my thing ya'll. So this leads me to the big question that plagues most of us... what in the hell do I do with my life?

I'm not going to get all crazy on you. This question has the power to induce panic attacks. I'm just talking even the most basic of things. Let's say... relationships. For so long I've been saying how much I want a relationship, how I just want a partner to share my life with (and eventually have babies- yes I said it, I'm that girl). And now I'm not so sure. I mean, maybe I just can't handle it at this point in my life. Maybe I have too many unresolved issues and I haven't yet learned how to compromise well enough. But one of my most recent revelations has been a shocking one.

I am an introvert. I never knew. I always thought I was an incredibly social person who needed and loved to be around tons of people all the time. But in the last few years I've turned more and more inward. I need alone time to recharge and a whole lot of it. Otherwise I start getting all cranky and uncomfortable, I can't sort through my thoughts or check in with what I'm thinking. My brain gets scrambled and I don't like sharing my space very much. This can turn into resentment verrrrry quickly. And I'm starting to think it may make any kind of long term involvment impossible.

So yeah. remember that happy relationship train I was on when spring had just arrived and everyone was giddy about not wearing snow suits? I jumped off of it, and I'm sad. I just wasn't sure anymore. I promised myself a long time ago that I would spare both myself and future partners prolonged pain and not continue a relationship if I had any doubts. So, I ended it and I feel like I've lost a really amazing friend in the process. We may be able to be friends at some point, but right now there's a giant empty space in my life.

I know we're all just figuring this is 'life' thing out. I guess sometimes you gotta burn it all down to find what's right for you. I'm just wondering how many more times I'm going to light the match, and what I'm going to find when the smoke clears.

Here's a poem from Buddy Wakefield called In Landscape. It always seems like he has the words when I don't.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eat all the ice cream!

Oh hey there folks,

*Disclaimer; this blog post has nothing to do with poetry, my romantic life, my job or anything related to it. It is a completely random thought that jumped into my head earlier this evening and I felt the compulsion to share it with all of you. So... please enjoy my neurotic rant.

I have very, very exciting news. I think I may have finally figured it all out. And by all, I mean to say that I think I solved the conundrum of what makes Montreal such an appealing city.

I know, I know. Most of you are thinking; 'Well obviously its the arts and culture'.

What a boring answer! It couldn't be just that. How about the universities? The history? The cute french women dressed in polka dots riding bicycles with straw baskets on the front? (I am not stereotyping, I have seen it with my own eyes too many times to count).

I mean seriously, this place is a magnet for young people. I barely know anyone who hasn't at some point in their twentys lived here or thought 'I should move there". If Vancouver/Victoria is the Florida style retirement capital of this country, then Montreal is the sexy french version of Portlandia. So I got to thinking tonight on my bike ride home (Kody is finally fixed!) what is it about this place? I mean, if you're an anglophone who doesn't speak the dominant language and job opportunities for you are scarce at best, than what the hell is the huge attraction? Just look at me, I work at a call centre right now along with %70 of the rest of the young english population. Which is, by the way, something I said I wouldn't do when I first moved here. But eating ramen noodles out of used plastic tupperware and crying yourself to sleep in a freezing cold apartment every night gets old after awhile. So you make sacrifices to live in a place that seems magical for no apparent reason.

And then I got home, all sweaty and adrenaline filled from dodging cars, pedestrians and children everywhere (omgsummerreallyishere) and it suddenly hit me. I need an ice cream cone.

This has become a fairly unhealthy habit, amplified by the fact that I live on a street with two amazing ice cream shops. As if that's not bad enough, one of them is located directly across from my front door. It's trendy, has a terrace with cute little pink chairs and serves gourmet ice cream. Now, this is not my favourite place. I've always loved the downtrodden, somewhat simple and cheap kinds of establishments with yellowed walls and wobbly chairs. I also have an obsession with greasy truck stops and real old school diners (the kind that never has more than two people in it, is open 24hrs and serves the worst coffee possible), but that's an entirely different rant. So my place is about three blocks away, and my usual is a chocolate soft serve dipped into more chocolate. OMNOMNOMNOM soooooo good.

So on my way home eating my messy cone of heaven, it hit me. The dairy! The cheeses, the milk, the yogurt- the ice cream! That's not just Montreal- its Quebec. I mean, this place invented (I have no solid proof but I'm almost certain) cheese curds that people eat like chips. And why wouldn't you?! They're so damn good. This also explains poutine. It's not about the gravy, its all about the cheese. They put it with everything! I pity anyone who is lactose intolerant and lives in this province, because it is the mecca of all things dairy.

So there it is. The magic isn't about the circuses, the artsy loft parties or the festivals, its about the cow product. Just my humble opinion, but if I haven't mentioned it yet than I am saying it now; I freaking love this place. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Oh! Oh! Spring!

So, something amazing happened the other night. A small, simple moment that blew my mind. I was walking to the metro from my friend's house and as I passed a green space I smelled fresh, clean air. New grass! The tree's are starting to produce leaves, it's been raining for a couple weeks and the warm air smells like the pores of the earth are opening up and offering new oxygen. Not to sound like a total hippy, but I can already smell incense and hear the drums of the Tam Tam and holy crap are my feet are itching to be free from shoes. Its finaaaally here! Yipee!

There is seriously nothing better than springtime. 

And let's be honest, ya'll are so freaking good looking that once the skin starts showing everyone goes a little um, "crazy". I swear, the whole city is vibrating with the sound of layers and layers of winter coats peeling off. Everyone I know is hooking up, new relationships are starting all over the place and the winter romances are breaking up.

This brings to mind the expression "Fall in, Spring out". It applies to so many things, but mostly short term relationships. The panic of September when all the single people face another cold winter huddled alone with their respective pets aching for a warm body to press against, so we find each other and hunker down. Once spring comes everyone gets their baby makin' faces on and those relationships quickly dissolve. Call me what you will, but I've observed this time and time again (*Disclaimer; I am not saying that I have done this or that anyone knowingly does this, I'm merely noting that we hibernate for eight months of the year and tend not to want to do this alone).

We're only human, afterall. 

Now, there have been some major changes in my life recently, many of which I've already filled you in on and so I won't go over it all again. But let's just say that my mind is spinning a little. Last week I posted probably the cheesiest, most unabashedly giddy Facebook update of my entire online life. This is because it feels like everything I hoped for all winter long is happening or has happened in these last few weeks. I not only got on the Montreal Slam Team, but I freaking won Finals night and am the new Montreal Slam Champion. How did that happen?! I've only half-heartedly slammed this season as competetion is less and less appealing to me, but here I am. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty happy about it. CFSW in Saskatoon, here I come! So thats one thing.

...And in the neverending debate on how much of my private life to keep private and how much to divulge here, let's just say I'm one of those people on the new relationship train. Except it's a friend of mine, someone who is very dear to me and whom I've had a crush on since oh, I don't know, December. The only thing that keeps going through my head is "holy crap this is actually happening, I'm not daydreaming this anymore this is real". The shock will eventually wear off, but for now I'm stunned and happy and baffled all at once. And it doesn't feel like every other flimsy two month relationship I've been in for the last four years. It feels more like the beginning of something much deeper and sustainable in the long run, like the start of a new partnership. All I know is that I have never felt this kind of balance between level headedness and complete elation before. I have no doubt that I want to be with this person and that is something very, very new to me. Remember the poem I wrote in my post "Double Down" back in March? Yeah... same person, and I'm still all in.

On a final note for today, my butt hurts from riding my bike, my tattoo is healing pretty well and Spring means that Daisy is shedding like the dickens and everything I own is covered in cat hair.

I hope your first few real days of spring are jammed full with all the things only fresh air and sunshine can bring. Or you know, at least the start of summer calluses from your new flip flops. Those painful little things mark 3 more months of heat coming our way!  

Now, if only there was a beach nearby... 

Here's a little something to make your spring fever worse, I wrote it last year about a whirlwind romance I found myself in;

We are not a love poem.
We are a poem about fingers tracing patterns of lust
Into wide open backs
We are memories of teeth tasting necks
Of goose bumps along breasts
Of days spent drunk on naked skin.

We are unwritten songs discovered between shaking thighs
We are the fearless desire of familiar strangers
We are a new rhythm to an old dance
We both thought we knew so well
When your hands collided with my hips
And we shook from the fury
Of those first unexpected nights

I had been as dusty as a hardcover library book
You were a rain’s first kiss on hot cement
And we fed each other like coal for a hungry steam train
There were no stop signs
No hesitation marks on our hearts
Just the brush strokes of cheekbones
Writing the calligraphy of wanting on our bodies

And when I discovered the cadence of your pulse
Hidden in the attic of your shoulder blades
You found the resilience of my soul
In the waterfall of my spine
And we stayed there
as if time couldn’t exist
In this gallery of lust we’d created

But it did
And time did find us
Curled around each other whispering
No no not yet,
No we are not a love poem
Not yet. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April's Rollercoasters

Hey there,

So it's been awhile, I know. You know how sometimes life just takes you for awhile, you forget to write, you forget to do your laundry and wash the dishes and get so busy that sleep even seems like a luxury you can't afford? That's where I've been. Balancing life is a challenging task! I mean, I'm grateful that I have friends who want to see me, places to go and things to do, but holy mother of all that is good I need a vacation! Even just a couple days of in the woods with 5 good books, mass amounts of fancy cheese, bread and some clean air would probably be exactly what the doctor ordered. Maybe in a month I can get there.

Tonight I have Finals for Montreal's Throw Poetry Slam. Which will decide whether or not I go to my fourth CFSW (the Canadian National Poetry Slam Competetion) in October. This is a big night. And because I have something to prove, because of what happened in my home slam in Victoria after I won Finals night last year, I really want it this year. In part because I want to compete against Victoria (spite really can be a great motivator), but also because I freaking love Nationals.

It is the best time of the year. It's like a giant family reunion, except you like the majority of your relatives and when someone gets a little too drunk, instead of shouting all their resentments at you while swinging from a light fixture, they're yelling poetry. Poetry! It's a week filled with discussion about art, world views, debates about politics, the meaning and fulfillment of love, social issues and all sorts of other stimulating things. Plus, poets are really attractive people. On the whole, being surrounded by a large group of attractive people who are passionate about just about everything for an entire week is awesome. There's no other way to say it. It makes all the best parts of my body tingle with excitement.

So, I'm throwing down tonight. I got fresh little haircut this week, a brand new tattoo and I'm ready to rock this thing. Well, here's hoping!

In the mean time, please enjoy this video by one of my favorite poets Andrea Gibson. It's called How It Ends and describes almost exactly where I'm at this morning;

"Baby, I have no idea how this will end...
Maybe tomorrow, my absolute insanity combined
with the absolute obstacle course of your communication skills
will leave us like a love letter in a landfill..."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cats and Stereotypes

Hey there,

So it's April, and for once I got through April's Fools Day unscathed! Noone pulled any pranks this year it seems, noone even remembered! It is one day where I'm sincerely grateful I live alone and don't have any roomates to put plastic wrap on the toilet seat or change my shampoo for blue dye. I mean, waking up with your hand in a bowl of hot water and damp sheets may be amusing for them, but it also means you get to spend the entire day at the laundromat (my least favourite place on earth, second only to the suburbs of any city).

With the turn of the new month, I've also moved into a brand new flat! I have (in the following order of importance); two balconies, amazingly beautiful colourful painted walls, a clawfoot bathtub and a clothesline! Yes, I have a clothesline. Which if any of you have ever heard or read my poem "Sundress", you will know that hanging laundry on a clothesline wearing a summer dress is basically my idea of domestic heaven. Even if I don't live on a farm yet, I feel as if I'm one step closer. Not to mention I basically scored Montreal real estate heaven- an affordable two bedroom flat on the Plateau near a metro stacked with more charm and storage space than I know what to do with. I would be much more gleeful right now if I didn't immediately come down with a flu the day I moved in. You win some, you lose some. In a few days I will be healthy again and I'll still live here. With my cat.

Oh yeah, did I mention I adopted a cat?!

Yes, after a lifetime with a giant phobia of felines I now cohabitate with one. It's a long story which basically involves my friend guilting me into taking Daisy home for fear of her being sent to the pound and getting murdered. I mean, I'm scared of them but I don't hate them! You can't let her die! So now I fulfill every stereotype of a queer woman I can think of. Which is sort of great. Want to know what I did tonight?! I watched Gossip Girl (yes, I love bad TV) while soaking in my clawfoot bathtub, eating Strawberry Haagen-Daas and talking to my cat.

Its a good life. Here's a video from my Toronto Poetry Slam feature in October about how I refuse to call myself an adult. It's called "Dirty Laundry".

Have a good Wednesday everyone, sleep tight.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clumsy Hearts

Good evening all...

Its Tuesday night and I've been in bed since 7pm. My long weekend kind of blended over into the week, so tonight I'm in recovery mode. My heart, body, and mind are all spent. So I'm coining this week the "Irresponsible March Madness Blowout". I'm sure it will only get better as the week continues... or worse depending how you see it. Work was so epically awful today that I cried on the phone in between calls. The worst part of it all was trying to eat at the same time. Needless to say, it was messy. Thank goodness for a kind coworker who gave me Skittles midway through the morning or there was no way in hell I was even going to make it to lunch.

Which leads me to today's topic; timing. I am the queen of bad timing.

Example a) I meet an incredibly good looking girl (who we will call S) for the first time who happens to be a friend of a friend. So I tell my friend while S is the bathroom exactly what is going through my head (which is something to the effect of omnomnomnomnomn *drool*). My friend promptly tells me that S has just ended a long term relationship with a girl she almost married and is moving her things out in two days. This is incredibly bad timing. Oh, and it turns out I know her incredibly recent ex. Yeah, not good.

Another annoying habit of mine is that my heart does not seem to understand that people who either a) don't live in the same city b) don't live in the same country or c) don't speak the same language (while not total dealbreakers) are generally not suitable long term partner material. I have done this more times than I can count on both hands. Hell, I even moved across the country thinking that this time it would work out. The result; getting dumped in a new city two weeks after moving there and knowing almost noone.

In conclusion; I am clumsy, I have bad timing, and my heart is a gypsy that knows no borders. All of this equals long term singledom. Which is ok most of the time, but every now and again the loneliness feels like hot water on papercuts.

Here's a poem about it.


Bad Gypsy

I wonder if I will ever be the girl
Who has good timing
Or the woman who doesn't trip over cracks in the sidewalk
During a serious conversation
About someone else's god

It seems like I am fate's plaything
For unknowingly self destructing
I just don't these things coming
And my friends tell me
It's better when you're not looking

But they haven't yet been witness
To the shocking glory
Of a person who stands five foot two inches
Tripping over a strangers dog
While holding an ice cream cone
And hearing the sound of a toddler screaming
In a sticky mess of Rocky Road
This life has left its share of embarrassment
Burning in my freckles

All I can say
Is that my heart doesn't seem to understand
Borders or geography
And time and time again
My feet never seem to be in the same place as it
Maybe its just an excuse to keep the backpack
On the lower shelf waiting
To never commit to fully breathing

I'm discovering that maybe
I'm more of a romantic than a gypsy
But tonight,
I'm laying against the imprint your fingernails left
On yesterday's abandon
If i will ever be the girl with good timing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

About Being Brave

Happy Thursday ya'll.

I hope your week has been mostly smooth and Friday comes and goes quickly like ripping off a band-aid. All my nine to fivers- you know what I'm talking about. Sometimes that last day at the office feels longer than the whole week put together.

As for me, I'm free starting tonight! I'm headed to Ottawa (or as I like to call it, "the cottage") tomorrow to perform at a fun*raiser for CanAid Africa at UofO. Grateful to be getting on a bus and getting out of this town for a day. I just love being in motion way too much and my feet get so very itchy. And on that note...

I want to take a quick minute to acknowledge and show support for all the students on strike in opposition to tuition hikes in Quebec. Its a brave thing to not only stand up for what you believe is right, but to unite and organize in a peaceful way. I`ve seen pictures of what downtown looked like, and oh how I wish I could have been there. My question is; what will it take for this or any government to listen to its people? What action is most effective? I don't know, but the photos from today's march brought tears to my eyes.

Which leads me to thinking about how easily I can sacrifice my truth depending on the situation I'm in. I'm going to take a chance and be very honest here, knowing a couple of my coworkers may read this. If they do, I'm hoping that they will understand my fear in keeping myself fairly anonymous in this regard at work and respect at least that.

Its no secret to anyone who knows me that I'm queer. I am attracted to people, not gender. That being said, I am attracted more often than not to female gendered folk. I'm very open about this. In fact, I'm damn proud. And yet I've been working at this new office for over a month, and I've conviently omitted this in socializing and speaking with my colleagues. I've spoken only about the relationships I've had with men. The office is overwhelming hetero-normative, and in my workspace I am the only woman surrounded by men with very large ego's and somewhat misogonystic views as far as I've gathered.

My justification is that I don't feel "safe" to come out, or feel like I may be further ostracized. It may not be true, but it always feels so real. There are other factors as well, like the fact that I'm covered in tattoos and don't drink or do drugs. When everyone goes to smoke their joints on break, I hang out in front of the building feeling like I'm missing out. Juvenile, yes. But no matter how old I get, I still seem to be willing to exclude, change, or shadow my truth just beneath the surface in order to be a part of in situations where I'm uncomfortable. This is a part of me that makes me feel like a coward, and it's not something I'm proud of, but its something I think everyone can relate to even if we cant admit it sometimes.

So... heres a short poem. It's about internalized homophobia, and it's about struggling to be brave enough to share ourselves fully with the world around us and the ones we love.

Love and light.


The Courage To Hold Your Hand

One day I will ask you to find me moon dust in a wheat field on the long prairie drive to your mother’s farmhouse and you’ll reply that we’d have better luck in a lake made of jello on the outskirts of never-neverland, but you wont say no.

Two months later I will leave for an eight week tour. At the airport, you’ll give me a sparkly pendant on a silver chain and tell me that I am the only moon dust you will ever need. I will kiss you knowing two things; that public affection terrifies you, and that I am not coming home.

72 days and one missed flight later I will mail you a letter stamped with a Seattle Space Needle postmark. You won’t open it. You wont need to. The next day you will walk by my apartment and see two men moving my belongings into a truck. You will recognize the painting of two women skinny dipping that you gave me on our first anniversary, the clock that always kept you awake at night and the couch we never sat on.

48 hours later, you will see two women holding hands on St.Laurent and try to remember the last time we’d touched in public before the day I left but you wont be able to. You will mail me a letter that says only;

“Please forgive me, I hated myself more than I could love you.”

Only then will I fully understand how much you loved me.