Feeling Low

Today isn’t really going very well so far, I gotta say. I’ve barely slept, Brody didn’t poo before I left this morning, I’m supposed to be doing a radio play tonight after work, but at the moment have zero cast confirmed so will likely have to push it to next week.

And I’m upset.

I think maybe hurt and/or angry is what I’m feeling most, but I’ll file it all under the umbrella term of “upset”. That’ll work for now.

I have a friend, who has a friend, and sometimes I look at their connection and think it’s closer to what I’m looking for in a friend. Not all friends; just one good one who I feel like I can trust and count on, and talk to about pretty much anything, if I want to. The connection they share isn’t quite what I’m looking for, either, but it seems closer than anything I’ve got going on myself. From the outside, at least.

Anyway, my friend mentioned her friend’s name during the conversation, and I commented on how her friend was a good friend for her. She responded that I am, too…which is great, but we weren’t talking about me. Then she said that they have being single and straight in common, and to me that felt like a punch in the face. It’s not the first time I’ve been singled out for not being straight, but again – we were not talking about me.

I mentioned that a comment like that would seem to disregard the connection they have, as they have way more in common than that. What I didn’t add is that, to me, those two things are very surface and/or inconsequential factors upon which to base a friendship. I don’t really look for people who are single and not straight to be my friends. I choose people I like – as people. Not relationship status or sexual orientation. I get that it was just an off-handed comment meant in jest, but it bothered me a lot. Still bothers me now, obviously.

Once again, I feel set apart, and for something that has as little to do with my ability to be a friend as I have control over it. Sorry I’m not straight enough to fit in, I guess? Only I’m not really sorry. From what I can tell, in general, men connect with other men on a different level than they do with women, and likewise women connect more deeply with one another on an emotional level than they do with men. When they aren’t trying to compete with one another, of course. But the potential is always there, so that’s what I’m referring to.

So in that sense, I feel kind of sorry for straight people, as they won’t ever know or truly understand that level of intensity and complete intimacy that comes with same sex relationships. Theirs will always be a little off balance. Though on the flip side, they also won’t know how it feels to never really have your relationships be socially acceptable and “normal” (ie not stared at nor commented upon). Nor will they know the shame and humiliation that comes from having a homeless guy yell “shut up dyke” and then spit at you as you walk by with a friend, for example. You know – there’s a trade-off.

What has actually upset me about an innocent little comment? I’m not sure. When I was getting ready for work this morning I texted that being single probably felt much the same no matter what your orientation was. If love is love, then no love probably feels similar regardless of who’s not loving you. She responded that she hadn’t intended to make it sound different.

And that’s the thing. Obviously she didn’t intend to hurt or anger or umbrella upset me with it – and yet it did those things, anyway. I guess one thing, aside from setting me apart as different yet again, is that it seemed to not only diminish their connection, but to also suggest that ours is even less than that, because we don’t even have straightness in common. That sexual orientation came up as a factor even in jest…bothered me. Maybe because I don’t really think about it anymore. It kind of shocked me, I guess, that she apparently does; that she sees it as a difference between us even if I don’t. And worse, that she might even see it as a difference that makes me less-than when compared to her straight friends.

Now, don’t get me wrong – there is a lot of love coming at me from this person, and while I struggle to figure out where I stand and whether or not I’m pulling my weight in this particular friendship, this also isn’t the first time a comment has been made which sets me apart from the others due solely to my perceived sexual orientation. I think this is just the first time it’s really bothered me.

Maybe it’s just because I view their connection as stronger than ours already, or more valuable to her than ours, and that I wish she and I were closer than we are. So when it’s pointed out that they are both single and straight, and that’s two of the things they have in common (and the only two mentioned) – like, I’m single, too. For coming up on 8 years now. But I’m not as straight as they are, so it came across to me as one of the main differences between us – and one of the main reasons why my connection with her isn’t as strong, nor as valuable, and why we are not closer than we are.

And fortunately or unfortunately, it’s not really something I can fix.

So while I understand that the vast majority of the above is all in my head, it doesn’t make much difference in how low I feel today as a result. Reality is subjective, after all, so knowing none of it is intended to make me feel this way…doesn’t mean I don’t still feel it.

Uncomfortably Numb

Man, I have no idea WHAT is going on today!  Haha #storyofmylife

A couple of things I think I forgot to mention about Saturday – that Mark Hamill had his dog, Millie, at his table when I was in line, but she’d left by the time I got up there, and that I finally did manage to shake his hand as we went in for the photo op.

Though it’s possible I already said one or both of those things.  I can’t remember.

Yesterday, the final day, was more of the same.  Early morning, interviews, pain, fatigue, line ups, laughter, tears…mostly a blur, at any rate.

I took some SWEET pics over the weekend, though!  Pretty pleased with how they turned out, yet at the same time, unsurprised with public reaction to them.  Or, more accurately, the lack thereof!  Haha

Was very grateful to finally get home last night, though when a woman found Brody or me or both of us so scary that she ran screaming into the street as we approached her on the sidewalk, my first thought after we passed was that the incident had pretty much capped off my day nicely!

What else?  I’m pretty numb today.  A ton of emotion over the past few weeks has been overwhelming, and I’ve yet to attempt to process any of it.  At this point, I probably won’t.  Certainly not to the extent that’s needed.

Me not giving myself what I need is sort of an ongoing theme, though.  😜

The numbness I feel is on every level, though, not just emotional.  Mentally, my brain is a fog, I’m pretty sure I’m coming down with something, my limbs don’t really feel attached to the rest of my body, and while nothing physically hurts, really, nothing feels very good, either.

I’m far from present.

My heart still aches, but even that pain feels somewhat removed. Which isn’t better, exactly.  It’s still there, but I am disconnected from everything, and everyone, including myself.

I’m alone and can’t even rely on me today!  Feels very strange…and yet mostly like I maybe just need a nap!  😜

Also, I realize that I whine a lot.  It’s my blog, though, so suck it.

There Is No Try

Once again, I’m too tired and distracted to really know what I feel like talking about. I can think of tons of things I don’t feel like talking about, but that doesn’t really help! Haha

I think part of the reason my weekend didn’t go well was a distinct lack of planning. I told the birds that it was possible that the only reason I made it out there at all yesterday was because it was the one plan I did have going into the weekend. Thus, it was the only thing I accomplished.

Anyway, my plan for this week is to pick a focus and stick to it. Fan Expo isn’t for another week and a half, so I can leave that a little longer. The only thing left to do ahead of time, I think, is to purchase the other photo op I want, anyway. So that can all wait, at least until I get a few other things out of the way first.

Wednesday evening, the Mind Reels will be recording our fourth radio play – a thus far all-girl (plus Tim) episode of Flash Gordon from 1935, I believe. I’ve got the scripts together, and have to email details to the awesome cast we have coming in. I also have to respond to a few of their questions before the day, too. Maybe later today, if I can find time.

We’ll also be announcing the fan-chosen winners of our very first awards show, the Reelies. That’s another project that got away from me, so I’ll be happy to have it done, at least for this year. It’s not ending up at all like I had planned, but little does. It should still be fun, however, and I’ll whip up a post to go along with the video link. Unfortunately, we won’t be going live for any of it, but there are a couple of things I can possibly do to keep people involved a bit on Wednesday night, and definitely after the video is posted, highlight our new Instagram account, and possibly even plug Patreon a little.

Speaking of Patreon, we are getting close to my target for launching the page, so I need to turn some attention toward getting that set up this week, as well. I am still hoping to launch on my birthday (because it’s the beginning of the month), but that hope fades with each passing day, so I’ll see what I can do between now and then. I keep battling the voice inside that says to just quit before I start, because the venture will likely be an abysmal failure, anyway, and why bother putting all this time and energy into something that is probably going to fall so flat? So I keep reminding myself – so what if it does? As with my Guinness World Record attempt and event, I have already learned a lot and stand to learn so much more by pushing through with it. As such, there will be more skills to add to my resume for later or just-in-case. And besides, if I don’t do it, I’m always going to wonder if I would have gotten anywhere with it, so it’s better to just try and see how it goes. I can always pull the plug later on, if need be.

It definitely won’t go anywhere if I don’t even try, right?

Or…just do it. There is no try.

So Reelies/radio play, Patreon finishing touches, and Fan Expo. That’s mostly all just Mind Reels stuff. I don’t know if there is anything pressing in my real life – I have to keep careful track of my budget for the next little while, as the slightest mistake could spell more trouble than I can fix. I’m seeing my dentist tonight so she can have a look at my split tooth and possibly patch the pain away ahead of my actual appointment set for a couple of weeks from now. I’ll have to check into my volunteer schedule because I won’t be able to do it over the long weekend, as I’ll be at Fan Expo for most of it. But that can wait. This week – just regular stuff – budget, groceries, dishes and other little cleaning tasks at home, perhaps re-planting some of my wildflowers into bigger pots (though that also likely won’t be this week, so never mind), hopefully getting more sleep because I am really struggling right now. Nothing too special. I guess the Mind Reels takes up most of my extra time, at the moment. Which is fine, as it’s usually more interesting than my real life, anyway.

I have a lot of questions in my head; things I need to sort out about myself sometime soon. But not today. It’s Monday, and there are other things I also need to do. Sometimes it’s just difficult to tell which is more pressing. Which is closer to living life as opposed to just awaiting its inevitable end?

Maybe someday the gaps between the personal and “professional” – between private and public – won’t seem so far apart.

Commuting And Dating

This morning on the subway, a quasi-cute guy offered to switch spots with me so I could lean against the wall instead of standing in the middle of the connecting section between cars. I usually go stand in that area because most people don’t, and there is always more space there than, say, near the doors, where everyone feels the need to congregate. For reasons I don’t understand.

Anyway.

I had my headphones on and had moved to stand in between the two guys who were already in the connecting section of that part of the train, as usual. I was reading headlines over people’s shoulders, gawking at the various ads placed around my part of the train, and vaguely listening to whatever was playing on my headphones. Just thinking and riding along, as I do.

All of a sudden, the guy behind me kind of waved his hand to one side of me – not in an annoying way, just in a way that suggested he may have been trying to get my attention, or that he was possibly just stretching. I turned my head toward his hand, and he lifted his phone up next to me and pointed at it. He’d opened his notepad on there and typed, “Would you like to stand against the wall for support?”

Since the new trains have been in play, I can’t remember anyone ever offering me that spot before. Occasionally I get offered a seat, but never the wall, nor even a doorway.

I turned to look at him, and smiled as I thanked him but declined, and he smiled back in such a way as to make him cuter than he perhaps actually was. I don’t mean that in a cruel way – I just wasn’t sure how else to word it. In essence, it was a very sweet smile, and engaging, if only for a fleeting moment, in this case. I think that’s one of the things that I like about people; when they smile at me nice. It makes them stand out to me, more than someone who is just kind of there. It makes them seem more present, or something.

I resumed my transit reverie, and not long after, I read a headline over someone’s shoulder that caught my eye. It said something about listing 5 honest reasons why the writer was on a dating hiatus, or something. I’m often curious as to why some people choose to be single (I mean, this article was obviously written by a woman, though I never confirmed it, to be honest), especially when I want to see if any of their reasons align with what mine might be.

None of the reasons listed this time did, however.

The writer stated that they were in their early 30’s, or so (bless), and seemed to be in that stage of life where all of your friends are marrying and having children, and you’re not, so you start thinking about whether or not you want to do that, too. Or something. I can’t really remember what I was thinking back then.

At any rate, there were the usual reasons like, “I don’t like the options I have to choose from” and “I’m tired of having sex with someone I like rather than someone I love”. Those kinds of things. I can’t even remember all five reasons right now.

Rather than try to read more of it over a fellow traveller’s shoulder, I started thinking about why I’m on a dating hiatus myself. I don’t think I ever would have called it that, for starters. I say simply, “I don’t date”, but I guess that’s not entirely true, either. I think I would date, if I happened to bump into someone who intrigued me. I’m just not in the mood to go out looking for someone to intrigue me. I’m lazy like that these days.

Obviously, the main reason I choose not to date right now is because I have feelings for someone who isn’t able to reciprocate them in the same way, and there isn’t really a way to replace that person with someone else. Rather, another person will come along someday who intrigues me in a different way, and that’s where my heart will go. But I don’t think it can be forced. Whenever I’ve tried in the past, I wind up feeling angry at myself for trying so hard to “settle for less” – or at least for trying to force myself to ignore my actual feelings and feign other ones. Plus, it’s obvious to me in those situations that I’m not giving it my all, and while the other person may or may not deserve more of me, that I’m not giving it means whatever it is will be destined to fail, anyway.

And that’s something, too – the people I potentially want to get to know better don’t usually feel the same way about me, and those who do are often of no interest to me. I realize that could devolve into a “poor me” melodramatic situation (and it has before), but for me right now, as I write this, it’s more just frustrating, and tiring, and not something I’m interested in diving into the thick of at this point in my life. I’d rather go home to the dog and cats and be content than try to force myself to feel differently about anyone.

I can make up all the “reasons” in the world – I don’t have time, I don’t like people, I’m focused on other things, I want to stay home with the animals, people are stupid, I’m tired, I’m broke, I lose myself in relationships and I’m just beginning to like myself again, I’m still in love with my ex, I don’t want to date just for the sake of dating, I’m complicated and no one really gets me so I’d rather be alone, I am a rock, I am an island…wait…scratch that last part. At any rate, all of those things hold at least a grain of truth, and there are still more not listed. But the simple fact is that dating hasn’t gone well for me so far – it’s difficult, and consuming and I’m not good at it and inevitably wind up feeling like a failure in life, and who wants to feel that all the time? Who wants to feel like a disappointment to someone they care about?

I don’t, and I can’t even stop feeling like I let my friends down constantly, let alone someone with whom I am in a romantic relationship. I mean, it’s never all bad, of course. Sometimes it’s amazing, to feel connected to someone else. It’s amazing to feel like I’m in love, and that I am loved in return. It’s amazing to not feel alone in the world sometimes. But when those feelings go away, what replaces them feels worse, usually.

I think mainly I don’t date because I’m afraid of feeling all that again. Which I realize I’ve written to seem like it’s a reason, but I know that – like the entire above list – is not a reason so much as it is an excuse.

And for now, I am fine with that. Not great, but also not forever. For now, though, I am fine with making excuses. When that changes – and it will – I’ll make the choice to do things differently again. But it’ll be my choice, and therein is where I find my satisfaction.

Because the understanding that I am actually okay either way is perhaps the most amazing feeling of all.

Seeking Home

I remember the day I realized I really couldn’t go home again.

It had felt at the time like everything had happened pretty much all at once. I mean, my parents had already divorced and sold the house my brother and I grew up in – the house they’d built, in fact – years before, but that still smarted some (she says, as though it doesn’t still).

I’d returned to Toronto as a failure at life, and subletted probably the worst apartment I’ve ever seen, let alone lived in, which I was later forced to sign a year lease on, so I was definitely ready to get out of there once my lease was up. I tried to rent a cute little Jr 1-bedroom in the building I’d lived in before trying to move to the US, but my application was turned down immediately because I’d filed for bankruptcy.

That stung, too, as I’d just been living there less than two years prior, and there had been no problems with my tenancy then. As well, I had virtually no debt, and a full time job, so in that sense, I could have been the perfect tenant. But I get it. Bad credit is bad credit, so I moved on, and tried to quell the fear that I’d have to take something as equally horrible as the space I was trying to escape.

It occurred to me then, that my childhood home was gone, the home I’d created with the person I loved was gone, and the building where I’d first learned to live completely on my own (with Kate the kitten, of course), was also gone.

Well, none of them were gone gone – just inaccessible to me. Which in my mind and heart was pretty much the same thing.

It’s funny, though, because I’ve always had this idea in my head as to what “home” meant to me; what it would feel like when I made it for myself. I don’t think I’ve ever actually lived anywhere which felt like that, though. Some have been close, but so far the best I’ve done is create a protective barrier to keep the outside world at bay when I need it. Haven’t really gotten to the homey feeling I’m looking for yet.

Anyway, all of that, naturally, led to me landing the amazing apartment I have now. It’s far from perfect, especially now with all the construction and such next door, but it’s my space, and I love it. Kate only got to enjoy it for a matter of months before she died, which will also always hurt my heart, because I always wanted her to have a better life than what I was able to provide. Same for the critters in my care now, though I’m able to give them better than I could Kate, and I’m still learning all the time, so that’s something.

Anyway, we’re making it home-like for us, and that’s the important part. Any other home I had are forever out of reach; lost to memory. All we can do is make new ones as we go along.

Maybe someday, one will even stick.

Tiny Baby Steps

I recognize that I need to get my life together, but I also realize that a statement like that comes across as far more daunting and melodramatic than it ever needs to be. Without really thinking about it, I’ve already begun taking steps to affect change in my world – possibly since my last therapy session a couple of months ago. She said something that, while true, was actually more on point than even she knew. More than even I knew, at the time. I just kind of realized it later on.

I mean, I definitely got a boost when a friend helped to update my resume earlier this year. I went from thinking I had nothing to offer any employer, let alone my current one, to thinking I kind of rock. And since I still have as much an idea of what I want to be when I grow up as I did when I was a kid, taking time to really break things down and see what life has taught me thus far is probably a good step, if only because it makes me feel a bit better about myself sometimes.

If this volunteering thing works out, that ought to make a difference in how I feel overall, too. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not volunteering out of the goodness of my heart or to help anyone or anything like that. I’m volunteering because I want to do something that no one will pay me to do. And I can do it on weekends, which is a huge bonus. But it’s for me, to hopefully put me in a better frame of mind, give me a ton of different things to learn, challenge me, and help me grow. Hopefully. If it doesn’t work out, I think I might actually be left feeling worse than I do not having done it yet, but we’ll see. I remain nervous, excited, and cautiously optimistic. At least for the next few days.

I’m having trouble really talking to anyone about anything. I’ve been making a list of things to tell someone in particular, but not sure I’ll actually do so if and when I get the chance. And I can’t talk about most of it to just anyone – let alone all of things I’m leaving off said list because I can’t talk about them at all. Blah. Communication is hard.  It’s partly why I am so closed off most of the time.

Also because I’m very finicky in my choice of people. Even more so than Piper is with food.

My focus is all over the place as far as personal projects go, but this past week or so I’ve been ignoring most of them in favour of focusing on matters closer to home. The cats and dogs I keep in captivity, family, even some friends. Especially in terms of the apartment and critters who live with me, I’ve taken super tiny baby steps to perhaps better our general lives. If I keep working on it, and taking those tiny steps. I have a tendency to get so excited about the possible end result that I wind up never getting past the first or second stage, and leave myself dreaming about what might have been. Right now, I felt good once I’d made a decision, I felt good when I came up with a first stage plan, and I felt good when I took the initial steps to put that stage in motion. My hope is that I will continue to feel good with each baby step, and instead of thinking about the end, I’ll try to focus on the feeling each of those steps gives me on the way there. Then it’s a win-win, really.

This post probably sounds more cheery than it actually is, but whatever. I still feel more negative than positive, but I don’t feel the need to write it all the time. There’s a difference.

And that’s a start.

On Loss and Depression and Stuff

A combination of things that came up within a couple of days of one another reminded me of something I’d noticed about myself some time ago, but still haven’t fully come to terms with as of yet.

One was talking with my buddy and hearing him say how he used to love hanging out in his backyard, and how he should start doing more of that now that the weather is nice. His backyard, it turns out, is ridiculously amazing, and I can’t wait to hang out in it again, myself. Never give that up, dude! Haha

Another was a passage in the book I am currently reading, Wit’s End by Karen Joy Fowler. It mentioned something about how, when one experiences a loss of pretty much any sort, one ceases to be the same person they once were. Sometimes there are massive changes, and sometimes it’s just something little – something you used to enjoy that you don’t anymore. Or that you still do enjoy, but which you’ve forgotten in your attempt to deal with said loss.

I mean, people change as they grow older, anyway, of course, but I feel like this is something a bit different. Sometimes it happens because we equate at least some aspect of the thing with whoever was lost, and we no longer derive enjoyment from it as a result. Sometimes it’s more the depression that comes after a loss, or – in my case – that’s triggered by the loss. It’s hard to feign enthusiasm about something you used to love when you’re just not feeling it anymore.

And it’s confusing.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve remembered loving something, yet been too detached inside to still feel like I love anything, let alone any particular thing. Usually I keep trying to do it, anyway, even if I no longer get much enjoyment out of it. Then the sense of emptiness and of disappointment that accompanies the attempt to enjoy something I remember loving before pushes me down even further. The sense of let-down; that I’ve let myself down, and that I’ve let others down. Especially with fandom-related things, where the sense of community was once so strong. Though, really, I think the fans pretty much ruined fandom for me, for the most part. I think that was more one of the losses, for me, realizing I didn’t feel like I had that anymore.

In most cases, though, the thing itself didn’t change; I just don’t feel the same about it anymore. I changed, while the thing remained the same. And if I can’t still feel like I love the same thing as I once did, then who’s to say I can love something else as much? What if I can’t find the next things I love?

What if I can’t love at all?

Well, that escalated quickly. #melodrama #pms

Anyway, there is a definite difference between realizing you don’t love something anymore – be it due to a particular loss, or depression, or just aging and personal growth – and realizing that you do still love it, but you’ve been letting life and circumstances keep you from doing it more and/or enjoying it to its full extent. It’s not always simply a case of “fake it ’til you make it”, or of just doing it and relying on whatever it is to turn your mood around.

Sometimes it’s not about a mood.

Actual depression isn’t something that can be fixed by pretending to be happy, or thinking happy thoughts. It’s not about being sad all the time. It’s more about not being happy, if you want to simplify it, but from what I can tell, even that’s not very accurate. In my experience, it’s usually more of a lack of feeling anything at all; a deadening of the senses, of emotion, of thought. Of course, I have also been on medication for it regularly since 2009, and off and on for years before that, so it’s quite likely that the meds are doing their job and I can no longer accurately remember what it was like before I started taking them again, when everything was still very raw.

I do remember a few occasions where I suddenly realized that some of the things which had previously made me happy were no longer doing so. I remember being confused by that sensation. I remember not being certain if I would ever really feel joy again, but being more concerned with getting out of the emotional hole I was stuck in for a time. The purpose of the meds was to take the edge off so that I could work more productively both with my therapist, and in my daily life. Not employment work, so much as just being able to express awareness of my own feelings and understand what I needed to do to take better care of myself. To even want to take better care of myself. It’s a delicate balance – it’s not like I don’t still feel; I just have more time in a middle ground instead of highs and lows – but it’s a balance nonetheless.

Sometimes that’s enough. And sometimes spending time in your sweet backyard is really all you need for now. 🙂

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Last night, I finally finished reading my friend’s book, The Summer Of Letting Go. Okay, so maybe Gae Polisner aren’t friends in the traditional sense. I mean, we’ve never met in person. But we met as writers, which is almost as good. And I actually would like to meet her in person someday, especially if such a meeting included her little doggie. Charlie pics and videos have gotten me through many a bad day, after all!

But I digress. I’d already been ugly crying over a particularly powerful episode of Chicago Fire, and then decided to read a bit before trying to sleep. I was closer to the end of the book than I’d thought, though, so I ended up staying up a bit late to finish it. And ugly cry some more.

Dammit Gae!

So, first off, it’s a really good book. I’m not about to write a review of it here, or anything, though (I will, however, try to remember to do it on Amazon and the like), because that’s not quite what this post is about. It’s more about the emotions it brought up in me.

I can’t claim any kinship with the protagonist – my little brother is alive, I don’t feel like my parents hate me, and I’m not a teenager. I don’t have a Lisette, nor a Bradley. Nor a Frankie Sky (though…maybe Brody would fit that bill, a bit). But there is definitely something in the way she blames herself for her brother’s death, and understands and accepts that everyone else must, as well. It’s not even something that needs to be discussed. It just is. She understands it as simply her reality, and the way she interacts with everyone else in her world is a result of believing that they understand reality the same way she does.

There is something innately relateable in that to me. Something powerful that goes deeper than circumstance, and brings up some pretty powerful emotions. That everything comes to a head at the end of the book, and that I chose to read it last night when similar emotions have already been building up inside of me, as well, made it a kind of perfect storm for ugly crying.

It actually still affected me this morning, too.

This sense that someone I love beyond reason, of whom I think very highly, could think far less of me, and in some cases actually hate me, is a feeling I fully understand. I don’t even have to know specifically why. Just that I am inherently detestable to those whose opinions matter most to me. That even if they love me back, at first, that will change soon enough. I don’t even try to fight it anymore. I just expect it, and accept it when it happens.

Even as I type this, I know how it sounds, and I’m sure there are people who think that telling me that’s not the case will impact my understanding of my own inner world in some positive way. It won’t. I know it’s rubbish, on a logic level. But further inside on a level even I can’t see, lurks something else. And writing any of it down isn’t a request for someone to try and argue it. It’s more an exercise in locating words to adequately describe a particular sensation; something which has always been there, and just never spoken about. Until now. See, that’s the thing with writing stuff down sometimes. Having someone else tell me something that lies inside of me isn’t true, or isn’t real, doesn’t actually change anything. Be me giving voice to it takes away its power; like shining a light into a dark corner and seeing for myself that there’s actually nothing there to worry about. Someone else telling me they turned on a light and didn’t see anything means nothing to me. I have to see for myself. That’s how one grows, really. Do the work yourself; don’t expect anyone else to do it for you. And trying to do it for someone else takes away their own voice; their own power.

This isn’t intended to be me saying, “I am unloveable and will never know happiness” or whatever it sounds/reads like. It’s about me admitting to myself that I sometimes feel that way, that it affects how I relate to other people – particularly the ones I want to feel closest to – and that if I can recognize it, put words to it, maybe I can diffuse it.

There is an enormous difference between thinking things in your head when you are alone, and actually trying to say them out loud, or write them down, or what have you. The transfer from vague thought and emotion into something more concrete…it loses something; some of its power. That holds true to really great thoughts and emotions, too, of course. There’s just no perfect way to convey our most powerful inner realities to anyone else, even though we all feel a lot of the same things.

We just don’t all feel them quite the same way.

Which can be frustrating. But when you do get something out; when you see the lightbulb come on in someone else’s eyes and know without a doubt that they get it; that they understand. A crazy kind of connection gets established in that moment, and even if the shared understanding is of something horrible, you know at least that you are no longer alone in it. And that’s worth all the frustration and effort, I think.

As for me…I’m not great at liking myself, usually, so it’s easy for me to believe that those I hold in highest regard wouldn’t, either. Part of me is always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and when it does, I claim that I knew it would happen, because that’s how things go for me. FML and all that.

It was pointed out to me long ago that it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy to hold back for fear of being hurt if and when the other person stops being such a large part of your life. And I get that, so I try (sometimes) to curb the machinations of the dark beast within and force myself to aim for the lightbulb moments as much as I can. It’s not easy, and I fail more often than I’d like to admit, even to myself. I do get confused about what actually is true sometimes, though, and that’s where I fall into my own trap.

I guess, at least for now, I need to try harder to enjoy the time I do have, and spend less time trying to predict when it will end.

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Beauty In Pain

Today’s thoughts are brought to you by a random series of non-events which ended up leading me down a bit of a memory lane trip this morning, and it wasn’t actually too bad.

First off, I was looking for some kind of long-sleeved shirt to wear over my t-shirt, because my body temperature is always all over the place at work, depending on where I am and what I’m doing, so I usually bring layers. I had already worn the two that were light enough for today earlier this week, so I went digging in my closet in search of something else that could work.

I glanced past my many plaid flanel shirts and landed on a rugby shirt I’d bought over a decade ago, but had rarely worn. It seemed to be the right amount of layer so I threw it on and left for work. On the way in, though, I realized something – the shirt kind of fits me again.

It’s definitely more comfortable than it used to be. I bought it before I gained 40-ish lbs over a school year, and it just never felt like a good fit again after that. Not until today, anyway. I mean, it’s not my new old favourite shirt, or anything, but I definitely noticed the difference in how it feels to wear it today. The collar is still all un-ironed and flippy, and it still wasn’t really created with breasts in mind, but it definitely feels more comfortable and less awkward than it has in a very long time.

I was reminded of a photo taken of me (and some zombies) from 2007, after a Midnight Madness screening at TIFF that year. I’ve always loved the picture and hated the picture, and I’m wearing the same shirt in it while trying to look less overweight than I was.

Horizontal stripes, guys. There’s no winning that battle.

Anyway, it took a while, but I finally found the photo in question, and put it alongside one I got taken today:

That Was Then

I realize it’s not that huge a difference, but to me it kind of is. And regardless, that’s not really what I wanted to talk about. In searching for the zombie photo, I came across my old, sad, secret blog, and tumbled down the rabbit hole a little bit as a result.

I’d created it to vent and to just kind of work out some of my overwhelming emotions in a way that would add to the work being done in my therapy sessions each week. In other words, I needed it to be real and true to whatever I felt like saying at the time – unedited – but not hurt or alarm anyone who might read it. An online dumping ground. I didn’t make it private because I felt like some other person in the world might relate to it on some level and I didn’t want to deprive them of that, but it wasn’t something I really advertised, or anything. Not even to my therapist, because sometimes I also talked about her. Haha

I’d stopped writing much on that blog for a few reasons, the main one being that I’d started posting other things on it, as well, and didn’t want anyone finding the sad just because they wanted to read what I thought of a particular film, or what was going on with my possible (at the time) MS diagnosis. I still wanted people to be able to read that stuff if they wanted to, but without having to deal with me depression and whining and the like. So I created an author blog, and an MS blog, joined up with the Mind Reels and eventually created this one as more of a catch-all for all of that. For most of it, anyway. I still don’t feel like bringing the secret one on board, and very rarely post anything there because I am always posting here, instead!

Scrolling through those posts this morning, though, looking for the zombie pic for a comparison, was kind of an exercise and a half. There was so much I’d – not forgotten, but hadn’t thought about in a long time – that I revisited, and it was rather remarkable. So many sad photos I’d found online to represent how I was feeling, and so many memories I hadn’t realized I’d written down. I used to keep a journal occasionally, but this was my first attempt at essentially journaling in an online forum. One that was essentially public, no less, and which contained more pain than anything else.

Some of it was actually rather beautiful.

There’s a couple of devastating posts about when Kate the Kitten died – one which declared basically just that; that I’d lost my best friend and was truly alone – and one that I wrote to remember our last hours together. I didn’t want to forget a single detail, if I could help it. I also didn’t want to re-read it this morning as my work day began, though, so I kept scrolling.

Apparently, I’d written a poem for my therapist for her birthday. I had completely forgotten about it until I saw the post for it today. I wonder if I ever gave it to her?

There was at least one sad haiku, memories of things past that were resurrected in that present and linked within posts. Most just described what was going on in my outer world, and how they affected my inner life.

I found myself expanding several posts and reading them with the years of hindsight that developed in between. Seeing things that were said to me and interpreted one way at the time, but viewed in a slightly different light now. Not better, necessarily – this isn’t one of those “if I’d known then what I know now” kind of things. In some ways, it’s actually sadder now, but that’s not the point.

The point, or one of them, is that the pain is kind of beautiful – in its honesty, its rawness, its lonely desolation. It’s interesting to look at it now, and remember how it felt, and realize that I still feel the same, but not as low down in the pit. I mean, I’m also medicated, so there’s that. Sometimes self-medicated, too, of course. I’m the same person as I was, but I’m not. Have I grown wiser? No. Do I wish I could go back and choose to not do any of it? Not really, because I wouldn’t be who I am now, and Lord knows who I would be, so yeah. Glad it’s all hindsight and not foresight.

That line in the Garth Brooks song, “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance”…I always felt like that was me; that I’d love to not hurt so much sometimes, but I don’t want to give up the happy moments just to avoid the unhappy ones. Now, though, looking back at how starkly beautiful even the pain can be, it makes me think maybe I don’t want to miss any of it.

Maybe embracing both, and accepting both, is how we get strong. Maybe that’s how we get beautiful.

Is It Just Me?

Sometimes hats give me headaches.

Sometimes ponytails do, too. Or did, when I had long hair. Possibly will again now that my hair is longer than it’s been in well over a decade.

Does anyone else ever have weird things go on with their bodies, but because it happens all the time to you, you find yourself wondering if you’re the only one, or if people just don’t mention it in casual conversation?

Like, not weird like a third nipple or extra digit or anything like that. Just odd aches and pains or other sensations that seem to have no obvious root cause. I remember reading a book when I was younger wherein a character – I think a teenaged boy – walked down a hallway at night, and reference was made to his toes popping. My toes totally used to pop all the time – possibly still do, but either not as much or I’ve just gotten so used to it that I don’t even notice anymore – but that was the only reference I’d ever come across in the general public. I don’t even know why they popped so much back then – is it a growing thing, or something? I don’t even know. As far as I could tell, until I read that book, I was the only person on the planet with toes that made popping/cracking sounds as I walked. It was just never spoken of before, nor since, really, whether it was weird and unique or not.

I’m thinking it’s a pretty common thing, though, if it was mentioned briefly in a book.

I’ve felt for a long time that bodies are just plain odd, and that there is still more that we don’t know about them than we do. Or maybe “odd” is the wrong word. Maybe I mean more complicated and unpredictable. It’s kind of remarkable that we all look basically alike, as a species, and yet there are literally billions of differences. Maybe even countless differences. We don’t all grow the same, parts don’t all work the same, things don’t all develop the same way, and then there are all the things that can go wrong throughout the course of a lifetime.

Having MS has introduced a whole new equation into my relationship with my body, too. For the most part now, when something different happens – some new pain, tingling sensation, numbness, vision problems – whatever the issue is that’s been introduced, my first thought is that it must just be an MS thing. For the most part, it’s all little things, temporary things, but my go-to explanation is MS.

Which…hopefully I don’t dismiss any symptoms of something else as just an MS thing! That has the potention for badness. So far, however, I’m usually floating between “it’s an MS thing”, or “it’s a my wacky body thing”, or sometimes even “it’s happened for as long as I can remember, so it might just be my body, or maybe I had MS the whole time and it’s always been an MS thing”. Who knows, really?

It’s funny, though, when a thread of commonality is found with another person, the sensation of relief, and humour and just momentary connection that’s made in that instant of recognition. That vocalization of “oh my God ME TOO!” holds so much emotion and connection in just a few simple words, and creates a bond of similarity between two otherwise different beings.

I have a ton of such little things, aside from the popping toes. Most of them involve pain, because that’s more noticeable and easier to remember when blogging. Examples include: if someone makes me laugh while I am eating, I invariably end up with a piercing pain at the back of my jaw – where my upper and lower jaws hinge together, actually. Like, horrible stabbing pain. Sometimes when I am walking I’ll suddenly be struck by pain so awful I wonder if my toes have actually all broken right off, and are just kept on my foot by skin and my shoes. In my mind, I picture them flapping uselessly, and painfully, in my sock. It’s so bad I end up with a pronounced limp until the feeling passes. Often for no reason I can think of, a stitch of pain in my side or across my chest will hit hard and fast, and be so bad that I can not draw a full breath until it passes, as well.

In the not painful but super annoying category, I sometimes experience a sudden ringing in either one ear or both, and usually it’s so loud that I actually can’t hear much of anything for a few seconds. It always fades quickly, though. A drive-by ringing. And for as long as I can remember, whenever I’ve had a certain level of nightmare, a muscle somewhere in my mid-lower back goes into spasm and not only wakes me up, but takes a concerted effort to calm down enough that I can stop my back from arching. I long ago began to equate that sensation with terror, so even when I’ve gotten a massage before, I’ve had to tell the person to stay away from that area of my back entirely. I can’t tell exactly where the muscle is, and by the time I realize it’s close, the muscle has been triggered and it feels all manner of not good. So brutal.

Has anyone else noticed that it’s very difficult to hear anything when you’re yawning – almost like being under water? Or is that just me?

I’m telling you – bodies are weird! And living inside them is an adventure and a half, whether we asked for it, or not! And we’re all doing it differently, with tiny sparks of common experience thrown in for good measure. I think we even experience feelings in different ways, just as we all process information and the world around us from differing perspectives.

And there are billions of us. No wonder we can’t get along, so hung up on difference as we are. The human race needs more “OMG ME TOO” moments in our days, methinks.