Catch-Up Notes

Couple of things…

I had some really tough conversations last week. Tough for me, anyway. I struggled to be real and present in each one, and am fairly confident that I succeeded each time. It was difficult, but entirely worth it. I’m hoping to be able to keep that up, at least with each of the parties involved. One was with my therapist, so obviously I want to maintain that level of work between us as much as possible. One was with one of my best friends. And one was with someone new in my life.

All required different things from me, of course, but one were very easy for me, and I’m glad I didn’t let that stop me from having them. Definitely a good, positive step, all in all.

I volunteered yesterday, as usual. The gang was pretty much all there, and we worked well together, so tasks were completed quickly. That left a little extra time to spend with the animals, which basically made me feel like I’d really done little actual work at all. I hung with the skunks a bit longer as I spot cleaned their enclosure, etc. Pepe and Flower were out, so that left Sumo, Bambi and Thumper to deal with me being in their space talking to them and such. They did great, despite being somewhat afraid of me. Their curiosity is winning out more and more often now.

I played with Aspen the lynx, I held Cricket the baby kangaroo, I held Hamburglar the ferret briefly (way too much energy, that guy), and a couple of the rats, as well. I hung out in the kangaroo enclosure while they checked me out and Willow the capybara spent a few minutes licking my forearm. And I talked to the birds.

One started doing the Super Grover “near, far” thing, which was new to me, and cracked me up endlessly! Just all on his own, chatting away to himself.

Near….far!!!” hahaha

Maybe the best thing that happened, though, was that the hello birds finally started saying hello to me again. It’s been a couple of months since they spoke directly to me, and I’ve missed it like crazy. It was so good to interact with them again at last!

My heart-breaking but beautiful package arrived for me on Saturday, too. It’s perfect, even though I wish it was for a completely different use.

I’ve been doing some prep work on what I believe will be my next blog. I’m hopeful that it will serve much better than this one has, and be more…just…more.

As always, I guess, we’ll see how it goes.

On Yesterday

I had quite a day yesterday.

As previously mentioned, I had three appointments, and also had to put in some time at work. It ended up not being much work time, but at least I got things done.

Saw my neuro for my regular 6-month check-in. The appointment itself went quite quickly, as usual, but it started late, so I didn’t have much time in between that and my dental appointment. Still, it was enough to scarf down something to eat and give Brody a quick pee break before I headed back out for the rest of the day.

Got fitted for my crown, and despite some pain and discomfort and a foul taste in my mouth after, I actually had a fairly decent time at the dentist. I like her and everyone in her office, so the atmosphere is always friendly and pleasant, even when the actual procedure isn’t the most fun ever.

Plus, I showed them my Hudson pictures, and we talked about Brody and cats and such. That kind of thing is always nice.

I went straight to work after that, and arrived just in time for Tim’s last day pizza party, so I had a slice and then ate the lunch I bought. The temporary crown on my tooth feels weird – it’s changed my bite, for now – so eating is a bit more of a chore than usual, but with any luck, it’ll all be better next week. Just in time for the holidays.

After work I had about an hour to kill before my therapy session was set to begin, so I ended up hanging out with someone I might like, and though we didn’t do anything specific, I once again had a really nice time. Two for two with that one, so far!

My final appointment of the day was with my lovely therapist, and even though I warned her that I might be frazzled from a busy day, she said I could unwind with her. I like having that safe space to go to sometimes, and it actually does feel like a bit of a weight is lifted even just when I walk in the door. Last night was no different in that regard. I love the dynamic we created right out of the gate, and we’ve really only built on it over the years. I covered a few things that I wanted to deal with right away, and then we moved to the topic(s) that require the most attention and work right now. I wouldn’t have said that it was a difficult session – it didn’t feel difficult – but it took a definite toll, and once I realized that, I understood how much effort I’d actually put into it. I fought with myself and won, and it was both draining and invigorating all at once.

So, so good.

As we were leaving (I was the last appointment in her day, too, so we walked to the subway together after), I told her about an idea I had for after this blog is done, and she seemed to be quite excited about it, as well. We’d finished the session by talking about a little thing I’d done a few days ago, and how it had made me feel, and she gave me a few ideas with which to build upon it. The new idea I had is also kind of related to that same thing, so at the moment, at least, it feels like an exciting new path for me.

We’ll see how things go over the next few weeks, I guess!

Fear, Alone Time and Writing

This morning was, I think, the first time I’ve ever been afraid on the subway. It was only a few moments, but I’d promised Brody I’d be home a bit early tonight, and there was a sudden brief flash of time where it occurred to me that I might not ever be home again. My train pulled into the busy Yonge and Bloor station, commuters bustled off and on, all of us settled into our morning routines. The door chimes signalled that the doors were about to close – but they didn’t. Then the floor shuddered as the engine of the train shut down. Moments later, all of the lights went out.

Everyone was looking around, as though any of us could see the cause of the shutdown from our positions inside the train, and I realized that if a bomb were to go off, most of us would be screwed. Busiest subway station during rush hour, I was near the front of the train so would likely get the brunt of the blast if it was meant to take off the head of the snake, so to speak. And not only are we all crammed into the train, but the force of any blast would carry destruction down the tunnels, as well. It’s basically a big tube into which we were all trapped.

I wondered about the things people think about when they find themselves in the midst of a random attack, if they have time to think at all.

As it turned out, there was no bomb, but rather a trespasser at track level at College station. All of the power to the line had to be shut down so that the deadly third rail would be rendered inactive until the unauthorized individual could be removed. My fear turned to anger mixed with resignation, and as I waited for my journey to continue onward toward work, I listened to the update announcements – power off at College, emergency alarm activated on at least two different trains, possibly three. Thankfully they put the air back on in my train, as it takes exactly no time for the stench of the surrounding humanity to fill the nostrils once the air has stopped circulating.

The worst thing about public transit is the public.

In other news, I had a pretty sweet evening last night. I created it by myself, for myself, and it was pretty awesome, all things considered. It was all very simple – got flowers, which made my apartment smell amazing, then made popcorn, opened a cold beer, and watched TV with Brody. Well…Brody was all about the popcorn, not so much the TV. But all three cats and the dog eventually all just curled up in their spots and we hung out together. It was really nice.

I did have to laugh at the image of me walking home with cat litter in one hand, and flowers I’d gotten for myself in the other. Crazy cat lady spinster, I totally am! Yet, also content. I’d tidied my apartment a bit over the weekend, too, so everything felt fresh and cozy; my treasures all shined up and surrounding me with little reminders of who I am. I was home for a few hours, and it felt great.

I also just received word that the library’s Writer in Residence will indeed meet with me to chat about the opening excerpt of Carving The Light (my first novel), so I sent in my preferred time slots (leaving Saturday mornings and early afternoons open for the inevitable zoo visits I’ll be taking often very soon now that my bear is back in town), and will see which one ends up being mine. I want to refresh my memory going in this time, and maybe even have a clearer idea of what I want to do with the story, so that I get as much as I can out of this discussion. Things like this always get me excited about writing. Just talking about it ignites my passion for it. It’ll be interesting to see how things feel once I’ve spent some time speaking with another author about it all again!

I Need A Nap

Not feeling very great today, and not sure what to write about. I didn’t get much sleep and now I’m a bit dizzy on top of being tired, so it’s more difficult to focus. How is it only Tuesday? Haha

Over the weekend, I sold the wee felted Falkor I’d made, and so it shipped out yesterday after work. There is now enough money in my Paypal account to purchase something special I found on Etsy that I need, but I’m so paranoid about the buyer of my wee felted Falkor deciding she doesn’t want it, or something, that I’m going to wait a while longer before purchasing it. To make sure everything goes through smoothly. I paid a bit extra to ship with a tracking number, so hopefully it will get to its destination safe and sound. Hopefully the recipient will love it and not want to send it back. He’s really cute, wee felted Falkor. I almost didn’t want to sell him. But if all goes well, I’ll have something unique and perfect for what I need it for.

Sorry to be so vague, but whatever. I’ll talk about it in more detail if and when I am finally able to purchase the item.

Man, I really don’t know what I feel like talking about. I feel like napping, not talking. My mouth aches and my mind spins and my heart feels…not numb, but just…cautiously present. Haha

Maybe it’s napping, while the rest of me cannot.

Jealous.

Last night I was watching TV and texting with a friend and rubbing Brody’s belly when I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to the TV at all; so wrapped up in conversation was I. So I turned it off to watch from the beginning some other time (ah PVR). I actually can’t remember the last time I talked with anyone like that, let alone this person in particular. I feel like most of the conversations we have take place in my head, so I’m glad of glad it was in text form this time, because having it written down is a good way of proving it happened at all. It’s not even so much what was said or discussed, so much as how completely focused I was on it. I just sat and typed and thought and read and responded. I wasn’t doing other stuff, or talking to anyone else or thinking about other things. Brody reminded me when it was time to go back outside, and I managed to look up from my phone long enough to notice the skunk sniffing about in the next yard over, so Brody and I headed back home again. But otherwise, I was just in a string of moments with a friend I love, and it was nice. Some of the subject matter wasn’t nice, per se, but the sense of both of us being present in the same moments at the same time was really nice, to me. It was the first time in a very long time that I haven’t felt the need to carry on the conversation in my mind due to my holding so much back from the real one. There are a couple of things I meant to say, of course, but for the first time I felt like they could keep – in exchange for time to sleep – and that the chance to say them will present itself again soon.

In the meantime, maybe that’s partly why I’m so tired today, too. Emotions can be exhausting.

Starry Sky and Decisions

When out with Brody last night, a small cluster of stars/planets caught my eye, as I’d never noticed them before. Which – I know almost nothing about the night sky, or day sky, for that matter – but I do notice it a lot. In a way, I might actually notice it more here in the city, just because there is so much less to see of it, but it’s always kind of caught my eye.

One of my fondest memories to this day was the night my friend and I took blankets to the park and stretched out in the middle of a baseball diamond to watch some of the Perseid meteor shower back when we were young. I still lived in Creemore then, and the conversation he and I had that night ranged over an insane variety of topics, to the point where shooting stars almost became an after-thought; a distraction from our talk.

Anyway, I’d downloaded the Sky Map app for my iPhone a couple of years ago, and used it all the time, so I’ve been missing it on occasion since I switched to Android. The cluster that caught my eye last night was the last straw, and I downloaded it to my current phone as soon as Brody and I got back inside. Turns out Saturn and Mars were both super bright last night, and they were part of what I’d noticed. I actually had to stop and stare at the stars to see if any of them moved, because I was sure at least one of those lights had to be a plane. So bright! I wish I could have taken a picture, but not even my real camera would do such a thing justice. Besides, I read somewhere that memories of things we experience with our own eyes are retained more clearly by the mind than those obtained via photograph or video and the like. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but in last night’s case, I really only had the one choice, anyway, so I went with it!

In other news, I’ve been getting the finishing touches together for our radio play reading tomorrow, as well as the Reelie awards announcements which will precede the play. I’m pretty excited already, and by the time we do it, I imagine I will be even more so! This is, however, the most racist, sexist script we’ve tackled thus far, so hopefully none of it triggers anyone or makes them feel bad in any way. I’m hoping we can…like…overall, the script is ridiculous. The writing and plot and characters are just silly, which is really all you need for a sci-fi radio show that was intended to entertain and nothing else. Well, also to sell stuff, usually.

Anyway, this one is Flash Gordon from 1935, and while I started off just laughing at how terrible it was, I was eventually just kind of uncomfortable with some of it. I even had a brief thought about not doing it, and choosing a different script, instead. But ignoring things doesn’t make them go away, and it changes nothing, whereas admitting we are uncomfortable is, at least, a starting point to something more meaningful. Maybe some of the power in such words and behaviours of the time can be stripped away simply by mocking it, too. Humour can be many things, including a tool for making a broader statement.

It’s going to be interesting, at any rate. And hopefully good ridiculous fun!

My lovely dentist put a very temporary patch on my tooth last night, so for now I am in way less pain than I was since it got cracked, but a decision has to be made very soon as to what to do next. She thinks it’s still salvageable, but is sending me to another dentist for a second opinion chat in the meantime. This tooth had a root canal done, and so far THAT is holding up really well, but without a crown all this time, the top part of the tooth is crumbling pretty quickly now, and won’t hold out much longer. She’s not even sure there is still time, but there is a potential extra step that could be taken before the crown that might still save it. If not, taking it out would really be the only choice. No way could I ever afford an implant. I can’t even afford the crown, which is why I haven’t gotten it yet!

On the one hand, it’s my tooth and therefore a part of me. I’ve already had the root canal and the dentist said there is still good strong tooth underneath, so it seems kind of sad to give up on it after everything already done to try and save it. On the other hand, it’s a back molar, and taking it out won’t really affect anything in the long run, at this point. Plus, that’s an option I can more easily afford. So it’s looking more and more like it’s the option I’ll be going with. First I’ll see what the other dentist has to say.

And then maybe just sit on it a bit longer before I decide.

Hodgepodge of Nothing to Say

You know, I was feeling pretty good this morning – not physically, of course, but in every other way. Then I got to work and between how that’s going, and people and the internet and just, like…what the hell, Universe? I don’t even eat cornflakes, so why ya gotta go pissin’ in ’em, anyway?

Ridiculous.

Labels – do they bring us together and give us community? Or further divide us? Because how it feels when you don’t fit into the labels you define yourself with and/or with which others define you, would suggest the latter. And yet we keep coming up with more. We oversimplify and categorize and ignore less and less of the unique individual beneath the groupings.

It’s weird.

This is what some online comment/arguments/conversations look like to me:

Person 1 – I sometimes enjoy watching fish swim around. It’s calming to me.

Person 2 – I can’t believe people like you actually exist! I love the colour orange! In fact, oranges – which are MADE from orange – are super healthy, and you’re obviously an idiot who doesn’t deserve to live.

Note how they aren’t even talking about the same thing. Not on the same page, not in the same book – pretty sure not even on the same planet. It’s not even an argument at that point, because two completely different things are being said. Tearing a strip off someone without bothering to understand what you’re responding to is just silly, people.

At best.

Today has gone so awry in tiny ways that I can’t even remember what I wanted to say. I’m hungry, though, so I’ll eat shortly and maybe just look at pictures I took, or something.

I went through my budget this morning, because I realized I’d miscalculated last week by forgetting one of my more major expenses. I knew I wasn’t as well off this month as it had seemed. I don’t know if I can make it work now, but I’m definitely going to do my best! We’ll see what happens over the next two weeks!

I keep coming up with more things I should perhaps cut out of my to do list, but I’m not sure which ones I’m most okay with ditching. This whole skipping antidepressant doses is messing with my mind and heart, so I’m trying to be careful about which doors I close right now. Trying not to make too many regrettable mistakes, but sometimes it’s hard!

Plus, I keep coming up with more things to add to the list, which is ridiculous, but that is how my brain works. Always thinking of more.

Sometimes I don’t quite know why I do as much as I do, when those I am supposed to be doing them with are actually doing so much less.

Maybe I should just do more for me.

But maybe that would be a mistake, too. So I’ll wait a while and not make any hard decisions until I feel more confident in my ability to make them.

Where possible, anyway!

Relationships And Stuff

Had a lovely, much-needed brunch with one of the people closest to me.  I managed to get some things off my mind; maybe not in as much detail as I needed to in some cases, but better than nothing, which is how I usually roll.  Plus, friends are not therapists.  I have to learn to save my selfishness for the one who’s being paid to listen to my shit.

I do feel less nervous about my first volunteer shift to tomorrow, so that’s good.  I just really need to figure out a better balance between showing up and completely  monopolizing a conversation just so I can unload my own crap.  I’m not good at friendshipping.

I’m not good at relationshipping of any kind, really.  And I’m not looking for anything new, but I still feel like I lost something, and I think part of me is still trying to find that.  I don’t know how to go back to who I was before, but I also don’t know who I am now in terms of relating to other people, nor who I want to be.  If I can even grow more, at this point.  I think in general, most of us just stop.

I’ve never really been a fan of change, after all.

My last romantic relationship was my most epic life fail (even though on an emotional level it’s still kind of a thing for me – does that make me more pathetic or less, I wonder) but the one before that was the one that damaged my belief in myself, and thus took a larger, longer-lasting toll.  That was the one that confirmed some things for me; whether they are true or not doesn’t matter.  Chicken or egg, some things just are.  Reality is subjective most of the time, anyway.  Maybe all the time.

Most relationships of any sort happen when I am not looking for them, of course, though now I feel like I’m…more lost.  Unsure of myself, who I am, what I want.  What will I be when I grow up?  Too late.  I grew up a long time ago, and turns out I’d be nothing of note.

But great at it, don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes I just wonder what else I am too late for; what else I missed out on while I was trying (and failing) to figure out how to human.

Tomorrow is a big day.

 

My Opinion…On Opinions

Opinions.

Everybody’s got them. Everyone is entitled to them.

Lately it feels as though more and more people are voicing them and/or sharing them on the internet, too. About everything. Even if someone doesn’t know a single fact about the subject upon which they are speaking, they are allowed – we all are allowed – to go ahead and spew forth whatever opinion we have on said matter. It’s pretty much our God-given right, and we’re going to exercise it every chance we get, dammit.

The thing is – and this is just my opinion (see what I did there?) – I’m not certain that a) any of our opinions actually matter to anyone but us, especially the uninformed ones, because b) we’re so busy screaming our opinions from the rooftops that we’re not bothering to listen to nor consider the opinion of another, but rather how to respond to them so that they’ll know they are wrong, and c) we’re basically all contributing to the rapid decline of intelligence and critical thinking in our own species.

You know…that thing that sets us apart from and above all the lowly non-human beasts of the planet.

Like, can opinions even be wrong? They can be formed upon misinformation, but can the actual opinion itself be incorrect? By definition, isn’t it really just how we feel about something based on what we believe we know about it? Wouldn’t something more concrete be more like a fact? Opinions can even change (on the rare occasion anyone bothers to inform theirs on something of a continuous basis), so can something so fluid really be considered wrong? Why are we all so eager to prove ourselves and those who agree with us to be correct in something we only feel rather than know?

If I say I feel light-headed one day, can someone else tell me that’s not how I feel? I would think that we should at least be able to agree to disagree, and yet, in most cases, the vast majority of what I see in the world – the public world – is that people can’t even do that.

I think this.”

You’re wrong, because I think this!”

We can both be right, from a certain point of view, and we can both be wrong. So sayeth Obi-Wan, kinda.

But I’m not sure opinion can be measured in a pissing contest, which is basically all we’re doing now. We’re all just peeing and then arguing about who’s pee is correct.

The funny thing is, none of our opinions even matter anymore, if they ever did. Instead of opening a discourse, all we are doing is peeing our pee, and letting others judge our pee – usually while they are also peeing and we are judging theirs – and no one is listening. I’m not listening to you, you’re not listening to me, no one else is listening to either of us.

Unless we already agree. Then we both pee and pat one another on the back for a job well done.

I was actually just thinking about this the other day. I was wondering if I should try to pass on to whoever will listen some of the things that I have learned in life thus far? Or should I focus on continued learning? Because I am fairly certain that I can not do both, at least not with any degree of success. I feel like I can focus on finding the right words to convey bits of knowledge-like gems gleaned over the past almost 44 years, or I can focus on paying attention to the world around me, and struggling to understand it better; to perhaps even understand another being’s experience with this planet, if only a tiny morsel of it.

In the latter pursuit, someone’s well-expressed opinion can help in learning a great deal, though probably the best teacher is experience – paired with mistakes – and finished off with a healthy dose of connections made in between. But it is imperative to good learning for a person to remain focused; to pay attention. To watch in silence more than speaking.

In the former quest, it’s vital to express thoughts and opinions well, and to re-frame words in different ways, in order to not only get them across, but to also confirm that you are doing so. Questions need to be asked to make sure the listener is on the same page before moving on, lest you leave them behind and with nothing to take away from the conversation at all.

Don’t be so busy talking that you forget to check in. If no one is listening at all, then you’ve failed on both counts – learning and sharing.

Neither are easy, but both are – or should be – necessary to some degree. I just feel like I personally need to focus more on one or the other for a little while. I keep thinking about trying to teach and share, but in the end, it’s my own somewhat selfish thirst for understanding that pushes me to keep watching.

And judging the rest of you. I mean, let’s be real – nobody’s perfect. At least I can admit it, though. Sometimes to my detriment, but still. I understand that I have much more to learn than I have already learned, and that even my perceived knowledge or understanding is deeply flawed, so that there is always room to grow. I am also really not good at confrontation. I find I can’t express myself very well when I am upset or passionate about whatever subject is being “discussed”. You know what, though? I don’t think the rest of you are, either. I don’t think anyone is. I’m not sure it’s even possible to have a personal, emotional stake in something and yet remain removed enough for logic and reason to overcome emotion. It’s just that most of you don’t care to give voice to your opinions so that others may come to understand them. You just think that peeing louder makes your pee more right.

And the thing is, for the most part, you don’t really know. You feel like you do, but you don’t. None of us do. But we say it, anyway, because it’s our opinion and we are entitled to it.

Maybe that’s why I prefer to just stay home with the dog and cats who live with me. I don’t have to remind myself to not read their comments.

The word ‘opinion’ looks like ‘onion’ when you type it enough.

Learn To React Out Loud

I’ve realized that most of what I know of my friends and their lives – including the ones I talk to almost every day – is gleaned from posts they make online, as opposed to anything said to me directly. That realization hurt at first, until I made the realization on top of it that I do pretty much the same thing.

Except that I don’t really post much online, either.

It’s possible that’s where some of my communication frustration is coming from. Haha

I lean more toward not posting things online in public forums because a) when it’s in writing it’s harder to revise and re-state, b) the general public has no business in most of my bizness, and c) I’m of the notion that those I do choose to share with are closer to me in some way; I trust them with more of me.

So be it in person or via text/email, I much prefer small groups and individual conversations to mass online postings. In a way I choose those trusted few very carefully, but in another way I really just run on instinct. I’m crazy naïve, and of course just want to be liked (emotionally I’m, like, 8 years old on a good day, but most of the time I’m pretty much still an unborn fetus), so my instincts are often steered wrong just by those factors alone. I usually consider what I want to say before I say it (so writing is easier; I’m just not a fan of the public), but I also try to consider who I’ve decided to say it to.

Writing a personal blog each day is ridiculous for someone like me, but one can’t grow and improve unless one ventures out of their comfort zone once in awhile, and thus far I’ve remained mostly inside my comfort zone as far as this little project is concerned. I want to say I’ll work on changing that, but even as I think about typing it, I am also tempted to just let it be. So we’ll see, I guess. I want to keep those closer to me, the chosen few, still closer than this, and to venture further outside my comfort zone with them, too. With them more, actually.

But I guess sometimes I can talk about something other than what I did today, or whatever.

Like fear.

What are you afraid of” and “what scares you” are questions that come up all the time, to celebrities, to potential relationship partners, to friends sitting around a campfire splitting a bottle/several bottles of wine.

I’m not saying alcohol is necessary for conversation, but it definitely helps!

I once did a presentation in high school about fear. I actually can’t remember what it was for, or what I even talked about, specifically. I just remember I started off my presentation with the first 20 minutes of the original When A Stranger Calls. The whole, “have you checked the children” babysitter/phone call bit.

The calls are coming from inside the house!!!”

Guys! Some of the scariest 20 minutes put on film, if you’re me. And apparently if you are some of my classmates that day.

I, myself, am afraid of lots of things. Most things, really, but to varying degrees. I learned very early on in life to not react to some things, because my reactions would make everything worse. If someone thinks it’s funny to scare you and they don’t get the reaction they wanted, they stop trying. I bottle a lot of that shit up, even to this day. Sometimes it’s even practical – if you encounter a wild animal, don’t run. It makes you look like prey. So freezing up on the outside and screaming on the inside can actually be helpful in some situations.

Not in most, though, so training your instincts to do that is not the greatest idea, and it’s incredibly difficult to re-train yourself to scream on the outside once you’re older. I’m still trying to learn how to react out loud; to actively defend myself instead of freezing up.

I’m afraid of any kind of violation, be it of my person or of my home/safe space. Both at once would be unimaginably horrible. Yet I do imagine it, all the time.

I am afraid of the elements, mostly wind and fire. And water, though I guess the chance of a tidal wave coming off Lake Ontario is pretty slim. I think I am less afraid of dying in some sort of natural disaster as I am of losing someone to it. The animals; friends; family. I spend so much time being afraid and trying to prepare and/or avoid catastrophe that I feel like I would survive, but lose someone important to me, and spend the rest of my life re-playing it over and over in my head, trying to make the outcome different. Even losing Alysia – I wasn’t there, but there are still nights even now when I imagine all I would have tried to do to get those kids and Frankie the Kitten out of there safe. I mean, all I think or wish I would have been able to do. Just…anything to make the reality different. I would possibly just freeze in that situation, too, but not necessarily.

I remember once when I was living with Lizz in our cute little house, I was home alone, in the living room, when I heard a cat jump down from her bedroom window and in trotted Kate. Moments later, another thump of paws hitting the floor and Dodger appeared to grace me with his handsome presence.

Then there was a third sound in the back bedroom, and we only had two cats.

They both heard it, too, and together the three of us stared at the dark hallway until a massive raccoon sidled into the light, looked at us, then went into the kitchen to eat all the cat food.

Frozen in my chair, I placed a panicked call to Lizz, who was on her way home from work, and kept an eye on the cats and our unwanted visitor. Everything was fine – more or less – until the raccoon made its way back into the hallway and disappeared. About 2 seconds later, Dodger and Kate took off running after it. I’d heard about how vicious raccoons could be, and how quickly they could kill a cat, and panic washed over me again, but this time it kicked me into action instead. I raced after the cats, yelling the whole time, and they were so startled that they came back immediately. I kept them with me until Lizz came home, but by then the huge critter had made its way back outside through the window from whence it came.

Or from wherece it came.

Anyway, the point is, I was terrified and I froze, but once I was more terrified for the cats, I sprang into action hero mode, if only for a few seconds.

I’m afraid of spiders, though more because of their unpredictability and the whole jumping thing. I don’t like the jumping. Nor the crawling in my mouth while I sleep. Bugs in general…let’s just stay as separate from one another as possible.

So yeah – basically I am afraid of weather, animals/insects, and other people. This is what makes it difficult to leave the house.

However, I am also afraid of embarrassing myself. It’s a different kind of fear, but it ends up having the same result. Often, my ability to freeze and not react has helped me not embarrass myself, though. Or, at least, embarrass myself less.

Like, my first MRI, I did all this research so I’d know what to expect, but still, as I slid into the tube and felt the machine pin my arms to my sides, and looked up to see the cage over my head and the top of the tube inches away from that, I sucked my breath in – and froze. The tech asked if I was okay, and I said “yeah”, which forced me to expel a little bit of air, just to make sound come out. I felt like kicking and screaming and oh-HELL-no-ing my way right back out of there, but that would have been humiliating. One of the techs was hot and I didn’t want to make a bad impression, so I reminded myself to breathe, and let even more of that air out. Then in, then out. And repeat.

Since then, I’ve been admittedly kind of an expert on the whole MRI thing, and even give a little coaching to anyone I meet in the waiting room who’s nervous about it themselves.

I don’t like causing a scene. It gets me into more trouble than it’s worth sometimes, but once in awhile it helps. I just never really found the balance, because I’m still so focused on the freeze and stay silent than I am on what a more appropriate and beneficial reaction would be in some circumstances.

I haven’t found other ways to defend myself, even though my go-to doesn’t really work out very well most of the time.

Interviews Yesterday

Sometimes I put off eating my lunch so I can think of something to write about. When I am at work, anyway, because I use my lunch break to write, usually.

I am hungry, though, and can’t think of anything specific I want to say except that I am hella tired, so I’ll talk about my evening yesterday and that’ll help explain why I’m even more tired today.

I was already pretty exhausted and rundown yesterday, but was able to leave work early and go chat in the studio for the first time in ages. Our guests were two lovely ladies from Dark Matter – one I sort of already knew, and one I’d only met briefly before during Comicon in March. I was ridiculously excited to see them and knew that their friendship alone would mean that there would be a ton of energy and laughter during our conversation.

Then I found out – basically right before they arrived – that we were also going live for the first time in…I don’t even know how long. That added an extra level of fun because some people were watching and interacting with us on Twitter as we were recording. Sometimes it not only added to the conversation, but also sort of directed its flow, too. It was very cool, and I always love when things happen more organically like that.

As well, we were of course silly and joked around a lot, as we do, but we also had some pretty amazing conversations about things that just sort of came up. Our “interviews” pretty much always turn into more of a conversation than anything else, but this one was even more so. The girls asked us questions, too, which led to opinions and thoughts being shared on some really interesting topics. Things like race and gender as portrayed on television and in film – and asked for specifically during the casting process, or character development, how series and films are marketed to the public, and how they are received by said public around the world. There were comparisons between Canada, the US and the UK, and the kind of content each produce, as well as my general dislike of the phrase “strong female character”. I can’t even remember everything right now, just that my mind was still working some things out last night, and apparently overnight, because I had some kind of weird and involved dreams.

It was all very engaging, and entertaining (at least for us), and had me feeling all energized and wired by the time we left to go do Hot Docs interviews. Which we almost had to rush for, because we’d also all completely lost track of time! Usually we try to go about a half hour to 40 minutes as the “long version”, which gets posted on iTunes as an audio file later. Then we follow with a 10-15 minute sort of recap, but slightly more focused, and that gets posted on YouTube as a video file. This time, though, we realized at just over an hour that we should probably wrap it up and get our butts in gear so we wouldn’t be late for the Hot Docs side of things!

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, we ended up having two incredible (though much shorter) conversations with the people we spoke to about their respective films after! Up first was the one I’ve been looking forward to from the start, with the subject and one of the directors of the film, Wizard Mode. I was only about two minutes into the screener when I texted Tim to tell him I already loved the young subject, pinball champion Robert Gagno. Robert has the sweetest smile ever, is very introspective and eloquent with the thoughts he chooses to share, and obviously a badass pinball master. He’s also on the Autism spectrum, which makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable. But the pinball aspect wasn’t what sold me on the film overall. It was Robert himself. It was his eyes, and his smile, and his curly hair – and most of all it was how much he had to say. Not to mention how much of it was relateable for me. It was how young he is, and how hard he tries to express himself, and how incredibly good he is at it. So many of the things he talked about in the film, I felt I could really relate to and understand – and I was kind of shocked at how much better he is at expressing some of that stuff than I am. He kid’s, like, what – 20-something? And so introspective and self-aware that it puts most of us to shame, really. I guess that comes from existing so much inside your own head, but still.

Getting to shake his hand and look him in the eye and talk to him was pretty awesome on its own, but even better was watching him light up every time he talked about pinball. I love watching people express their passion for something, even if I don’t share it. I mean, I could have challenged Robert to a game of pinball, but it would be like him playing against, say, a tree. No contest. But man, I’d love to watch him play in person. Even on film it’s amazing. I can’t even imagine being there to see it live.

I feel like, for me – and this comes from someone who knows next to nothing about living on the spectrum – the very coolest part of the whole block of time we got to spend with Robert was right near the end when he opted to tell us that he thought he might go out to eat after, because he was hungry. It’s just a little thing, but I felt like it was something personal he’d chosen to share with us. Every other time he spoke, he’d been prompted to, either by one of us or the director, Nathan Drillot. That statement, though, that was all Robert just deciding on his own that he wanted to tell us something, and since I get the feeling he doesn’t just randomly share with strangers all the time, it meant the most to me. It made me think he was at least a little more comfortable with us by that point than he was at the start, and I love that possibility.

Our last interview was about a film whose subject is so devastating to me we almost couldn’t talk about it without getting choked up. Homeless people and their dogs. I chose to leave Kate the Kitten behind in Colorado because I’d planned to couch surf and couldn’t take her along, and also because I thought it would just be for a few weeks. It took about five months to find a crappy apartment and get moved into it before I could have her flown back to Toronto, and it sucked pretty hardcore, I must say. Never want to have to do that again, any of it.

Now with three cats and a doggie counting on me to provide them with a home and food and love? I honestly don’t know what I would do. I am not sure I could live without them…give them up to someone else to look after. But I don’t know how I could live with myself if I made them remain homeless with me. Even now, I make sure I have enough food and stuff for them each month, and if I’m cutting things close financially, I’ll eat less, or more cheaply or go without anything I don’t really need. They come first, because they are my responsibility. But what if I really couldn’t provide food and shelter for any of us anymore? Would it be selfish to keep them with me? Or would it be selfish to leave them to be someone else’s responisbility and just focus on taking care of myself? Would they even thrive elsewhere? Flynn alone requires much more patience than most people would be willing to give, and she and Piper at least would have to stay together. The boys would probably be okay without me specifically, but not necessarily. I’m really the only person Jack’s ever known, because he’s been my baby boy since he was 9 weeks old. I don’t know what the better choice would be for them, and I’m the only one who could make it for them.

I can’t imagine what that choice would be like; what it would do to a person. I hope to never find out.