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.