Three

Today is a bit crazy for me, guys.  I have not one, not two, but three appointments to get to!

First up this morning is my regular check in with my neurologist.  I think all I have to remember is to get a new req for the blood lab.  Unless I think of anything else on the way up there.

Then I’m heading to see my dentist so that I can get fitted for my crown.  Haha

The cutoff is noon today, but my lovely dentist convinced the lab to let me in about an hour late, so I’ll be able to get the crown placed right before the office is closed for the holidays.  I’ve been worried about breaking the tooth again after all that I’ve done to save it, so I’m glad it’ll finally soon be protected.  Not glad of the expense, but so be it, I guess.

After that, I’ll rush to work several hours late, and put in about 5 hours to get as much done as possible by the end of the day.

My last stop will be with my therapist, for what will likely be our final session before the new year.  I’m hoping to have enough time between now and then to compile a list of the things I most need to talk about, because the odds of me forgetting something important are pretty high right now.

And I hate when I forget important things.

So yeah.  Big day for me, yet not a polar bear in sight.  Weird how that works out sometimes!

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Photographic Memory

Throughout the course of human civilization memory has been transient, plastic. The girl who broke your heart can, in time, become simply the girl you lived with ten years ago. Given more time she becomes either the one who got away or the one you can’t believe you almost married. But now, in the reign of the photographic image, the past is no longer malleable. It can no longer shift meaning in order to facilitate the narrative of your present circumstances.

We are now, all of us, cinematographers for the movie of our own lives. Not the star. Not the director. Not even the writer!”

There was more to that tirade – part of a speech given by a character who hated photography, in a book I read recently. It’s far too weighty a subject for me to cover in one post, and certainly on a day like today when I am so easily distracted. But while it would have been easy for me to dismiss the whole notion, there was part of me that could see where the character was coming from, and even agree with parts of his reasoning.

For me, photographs have always been more of a way of retaining memories; of capturing and chronicling moments in time to preserve for the future. Not even, like, future generations, per se. But in large part because I am afraid of forgetting my life, and in seeking to retain as much of it as possible, I’ve always taken as many pictures as I can. It was different back when you couldn’t see your shot until you’d had the film developed, and the little counter on your camera told you how many photos you had left to take before you needed a new roll. I was more economical then.

Now, my freaking phone has a camera in it, so I take pictures of pretty much everything! And then store them in a digital space, invisible to the naked eye. That’s a transition I’ve made more slowly than most, and I still have a crap-ton of photos printed out and kept in albums all over my apartment.

However, delivery and storage methods aside, the pictures I take are usually done with the same intent – to preserve my life. Also, to show off my cool, creative eye. But mostly for the sake of retaining memories in a visual way.

I remember hearing or reading somewhere that taking a picture actually makes a moment less retain-able in the memory banks than observing it with your own eyes. As in, not through a lens, and not on a screen, but actually watching it and even interacting with it. That statement made me worry that I may have been doing things wrong, so just in case, I now try to do both – to watch and also to chronicle the important moments I want to keep.

This book’s character goes even further with it, however, and suggests that we’re not even a part of our own lives anymore; that we’re merely filming our lives instead of living them and forging them and creating them. That goes well beyond being able to remember things down the road, and instead states that we’re actually outsiders in our lives. Just watching life happen between the frames, so swept up in what’s passing that we’ve forgotten to exist in the now; to take hold of and manifest our own now’s.

Not the star. Not the director. Not even the writer. Memory is all but carved in stone via a photograph, and we’re unable to grow and change and evolve past things that happened, because we’ve made them permanent fixtures. We’ve made the past – and all of the emotion caught up in it – a permanent, unchangeable part of the present. The stories of our lives are being told through the eyes of everyone else.

Maybe all we’re really doing is watching it pass by.

Big Head Tag-along

That was my nickname for a time.

Not sure it would apply quite the same anymore, but what does, really?  There is still truth in it, so it sticks like syrup to my persona and its perception.

Some people, I look forward to seeing.  I get excited every time and imagine how it will be.  It is never how I imagine it, of course, and there is a certain distancing in the resulting disappointment as my mind attempts to realign imagination with reality.

I forget the distance, however, and build them back up in my mind prior to our next encounter, ignoring the sensemble that it will all feel wrong again.  That I will feel wrong again.

Big head tag-along.

Other people, I forget – in the time apart – how they make me feel when we see one another, and am swept up in giddy surprise each time.  My mind struggles to hold onto those feeling during the in between times, but it ultimately fails, and the sensations of emotions I felt in those moments fade away into the moments passing by us afterward.

Most people I just don’t think much about until I’m given cause to remember; to recollect and forget again soon after.

Memory is a funny thing.  It can be so strong as to keep the past alive in us, yet often in flimsy incomplete fragments, as those life has been lived as glimpsed through a veil by someone else; there and not there.  Ours and not ours.

My connection to the present world and its inhabitants is as vague and fragile as the memories between the moments.  It’s easy to sometimes wonder if they ever really there at all, the connections, or if I am just glimpsing yours, and tagging along for a spell.

Only to forget again in the moments in between.

Life, Transit, and Holding Onto Alysia

Had kind of a harrowing morning – not for me, but for others. Came the closest I think I ever have to watching not one, not two, but three squirrels get mowed down by vehicles while I was out with Brody. One was literally right next to us, but on the street instead of safely on the sidewalk. Luckily all of them escaped, but my heart did not. The drivers didn’t even slow down. There’s zero need to be driving that fast on a residential street, especially with a school right there. You can slow down enough to at least try and avoid taking a life. I mean – it’s life. If you can’t respect a life, then what else is there, really?

Then on the subway a woman next to me collapsed just after we left the station, so we had to wait until we got to the next station before the train could stop and someone could come take a look at her. I feel like that whole system is flawed. Everyone around her reacted appropriately – she was determined to get up so people helped her and got her into a seat while another person activated the emergency alarm after someone else said to. Part of me was thinking that it wasn’t really necessary – the woman insisted she was fine, although they did help her off the train once we got to the next station. And she said she didn’t need medical assistance, which – I don’t know if she ended up getting any, or not. But everyone in that part of the train reacted quickly to take care of her, which was great to witness.

However, there’s also the delay to the entire line every time that alarm is activated. They have to stop and investigate, and the vast majority of the time the person isn’t in need of medical/fire/police intervention, so much as they just need some air. Which – don’t even get me started on how the transit system neglects to take into account the fact that we are all dressed for being outside, and therefore do not need the heat cranked when we step on board the train during the winter months. There’s not enough room for all those people AND their layers of clothing and outerwear once they’ve removed as much as possible to adapt to the sudden heat. It’s ridiculous. Just circulate the damn air, already.

Anyway, what was I trying to say? I know it’s unrealistic to expect people to wait a moment before activating the emergency alarm, to ensure that it’s actually an emergency that requires further intervention and assistance. But at the same time, activating it immediately didn’t make any difference. The train still had to proceed to the next station before anything could be done, and by then the woman was doing much better, and could have just gotten off at the next stop, anyway. I guess I just wish there was a way to alert the train operators to what was going on without having to hold up the whole line longer than necessary. I don’t know. I don’t really have any solutions. I just was thinking about it this morning after everything happened because it didn’t feel quite right to me, while also realizing I didn’t know how it could be better or more efficient.

Yesterday I wrote about the end of my first relationship, and actually still feel pretty good about the process of writing it all down. I wrote most of the words I didn’t want to write, and the few I left out actually weren’t required for getting the point across, so I call that a win. I wouldn’t say it was easy, at all, but it definitely wasn’t as difficult as I feared it would be. I also didn’t feel down after; my different mood and mindset since starting this little project has remained in effect, despite reliving some of the more heart-shattering moments from my little lesbian relationship journey. That process may also be somewhat responsible for the little crush I have going on lately, which I haven’t had for quite some time. Maybe it’s a coincidence and they aren’t at all related, but maybe it’s not. Either way, I intend to continue with both writing and crushing for the next little bit, at least, and see how things go. Like, for me, I mean. I don’t expect anything in my real life to change, but I am thus far noticing a change inside me – in terms of mood and state of mind, mostly – and so far it’s all positive, so I want to see if that continues at all, or if it’s just a temporary high brought on by alcohol and lack of sleep. Haha

Last night and today, I’ve been thinking a lot about Alysia. I realized that I am starting to forget things; about her, and about our friendship. She’s been gone, like, 2 and a half years now. That’s far longer than I knew her. We were friends for months, not years, and while the length of time has zero to do with how much I loved that kid (our connection wasn’t instant, but still pretty close), it came as a shock to realize not only how long it’s been already, but also how much longer there is to go without her being in my life. I’m starting to feel almost disconnected from her now. Not in an “I’m over it” kind of way, but rather in the sense that I can’t feel her as well anymore, her presence in my world. I’m forgetting little details, and I only have a small yet finite number of my own memories to draw from as it is. That I’ve known and loved her mom and brother so much longer than I knew her is…not wrong, exactly, but not right, either.

It’s hurting my heart and pissing me off at the same time.

The only upside is that it makes me want to just sit and hug Brody all the more right now. That much, at least, is never a bad thing.

Spinning Plates, And The Like

Man, last night was fun!

The Mind Reels did our third Old Timey Retro Radio Play episode, and as always, it was a blast! We had five guests, four of whom were doing the read with us for the first time, and one who’s happily been with us every time so far! We had to fiddle with gender roles a bit, as we only had one female guest (and me) but more roles for women than for men (for a change). Luckily, everyone came to play, and the guys decided to keep the roles as female, but played them with a gusto that made the end result even better than I could have possibly imagined! Tim and I also worked out a back-up strategy so that we can get the content posted more quickly ourselves, rather than waiting for it to appear on the Smithee sites (which it will eventually, but we are growing impatient so have a lesser quality version to go up on our sites more quickly – best of both worlds, really), so everyone will get to enjoy the final audio/video read, and just miss the hysterical practice cold-read. So excited to share these with everyone! Thus far all of the guests have been turning in some hilarious performances, and I feel like it’s only getting better as we go along! We may be onto something here!

I giggled all the way home…and then again all the way to work this morning. So much fun, guys!

Also, when I got home last night (after taking care of the critters, of course), I sat down with a Rogers Live Chat agent to sort out my new billing issues now that I’ve upgraded my internet package. Thanks to Cindy in Moncton, NB, that went even better than I’d hoped, as well, and I’m already so pleased with the upgrade that I basically can’t wait to just go online all the time. For everything. It’ll be like second year university when the house we were renting had a BBQ so we literally barbecued everything we could think of for the first few weeks of school that autumn! It’s like a new toy, and I can’t wait to play.

But wait is exactly what I’ll do – for a tad longer. I have other plans tonight. 🙂

I still have a ridiculous amount of things to do, even as I slowly drop potential projects from the list. I have to be so freaking careful with my budget this month, too. Like, every month, but this one especially because of Fan Expo and new Rogers billing and the fact that I can’t quite seem to get any sort of routine down in my every day life. I’m having trouble anticipating upcoming expenditures – even simple things like what I figure I’ll need to spend on groceries for myself and the critters. For some reason, it’s suddenly become a big question mark, even if I don’t buy anything different from last month. I think it’s because there is just SO MUCH going on, and so many changes and decisions and sacrificing some things in favour of others. It’s a constant balancing act, and I haven’t been sleeping much so my mind has a difficult time retaining it all. It does, anyway, but more so in recent weeks. Every time I make a decision between two things, for example, a third thing will crop up and another choice will need to be made.

That’s how it feels to me, at least. Like trying to keep all of my plates spinning on their wee poles – but sometimes forgetting one of them even exists until I notice that it’s about to fall. It’s exciting, but a tad stressful, too. I worry I’ll forget something important one of these days; something I can’t catch in time and rebound back from.

In the meantime, though, I’ll just go get another chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s and try to remain calm and alert. Alert-ish. #sotired

Boxing Memories

Had a bit of a nightmare last night. Or, not exactly that, but a highly unpleasant dream. Not frightening in any way, really, but definitely left me feeling heavy after; a feeling which won’t be departing any time soon. The details aren’t important, and while the content of the dream I had after I went back to sleep was much more enjoyable, even that added to the heaviness when I awoke this morning. Just in a different way.

I’m resigned to this feeling now, I think. At least to sit with it for a time, and see how things go.

I’m not up to fighting it anymore right now.

I wish I could write more truth. And write it better than anything I am able to write now. The book I am reading currently is filled with snippets of truth laid out so simply before the reader that one could easily look right past it without pausing to take it in and realize what it actually is. I started taking pictures of certain passages with my phone; moments that ring true to me and that I want to remember beyond the pages of the book itself.

I considered finishing the book last night before bed, but I’m not quite ready to be done with it yet. I also haven’t decided what I’m reading next. So I dawdle.

There was a line about catching a brief glimpse of the contents of a box, and while not able to list off each individual item, seeing enough to realize that it’s all “the things a person in love collects when she’s not loved in return”. I read that line and my mind immediately went to all the little boxes of random items collected during past relationships of my own. At the time, they were mementos, which turned into painful reminders of what was lost after the relationship ended. And yet kept in a box at the back of my closet…or wherever…I think there are a few of them, but all scattered about and buried under other possessions. For what reason would I, or anyone else, keep such things?

I mean, definitely a large part of it is my irrational fear of forgetting my life. Even though I know I won’t likely forget any of those people (they are part of who I am now, and most of them are still in my life, to some degree or other), and even though I could look at many of those random items now and have no idea what the fuck they are supposed to be reminding me of, or what memory they are tied to – even though I logically know all this, there is still a feeling of comfort in having those things around. In knowing that I could look at them if I wanted to, and that at least some memories are still in there.

I imagine there is also some sort of therapeutic value in tucking everything about a person from your past away into a box and putting it out of sight, but still within reach. Not burning the bridge, but not using it anymore, either. I’ve never been the sort to try and forget a person, especially not if their only crime was in not loving me back the same way I loved them. It’s not usually an anger-inducing feeling, on my end; more resignation, and a sense of “well of course not – why would someone like you love someone like me this same way” sort of thing. Which isn’t meant to come across as mopey as it no doubt sounds. I tend to view it more as a confirmation of something I already know, or at least suspect. I have a hard time holding it against other people, when it’s something I already feel myself.

I realize there is the whole self-fulfilling prophecy argument to be made, too, but again – logic doesn’t really dictate feeling, at least not in my experience. So I get it – but I don’t feel it, so save your breath on that one!

Anyway, the thing which struck me more about the whole sentence in the book and how it relates to my life is in the idea that one can know they are not loved in return, and yet choose to love, anyway. Choose to allow themselves to love. It wouldn’t just be a risk, then, but a foregone conclusion that the relationship – friendship – whatever it is, will come to an end. Not necessarily in a permanent, no contact ever again kind of way, but that whatever it is for each person will change, and not be the same again for either of them. Maybe they grow apart, maybe they betray one another in some way, maybe they have an explosive break-up and really do never see one another again. Maybe they grow to hate the one they once loved. There are all kinds of ways that love dies; and all manner of reasons. But choosing to love, anyway, even when you already know you’re not loved back the same way – it could be a bit noble, or needy, or outright dumb – but the fact is that someone chose love, and maybe the box of random memories serves as more a reminder of having made that choice, rather than of the specific circumstances themselves.

Or I could just be trying to make myself feel better about saving so much crap, and justifying that to no one who asked. Well, except myself.

It’s funny, too, how much space is taken up with mementos of relationships past. One of my best and arguably healthiest relationships – which I don’t really talk about because it’s hard to make someone who wasn’t there understand – is pretty much relegated to the pages of a journal I kept at the time, and a framed photograph that hangs on the wall. I don’t think she got a box, and yet the few physical items I do have are some of the most personal and…intimate, but not in the way you’re thinking…items I’ve kept from pretty much any other relationship I’ve had. It’s not much, but it’s some of the most powerful.

My last relationship is literally everywhere. There is a bin in my closet of things, but that’s mostly because there’s just not space to put everything where it can be visible. Believe me, plenty of the memories we created together are visible. From a hanging over my bed, to some of the clothes that I wear, to a ring on my finger – moments of ours are all around me, and very much a part of me, even now.

Maybe more now than then, in many ways.

One ex is kept almost entirely in a shoebox – but a nice one. It’s decorated.

My first actual relationship is I believe in an empty Kleenex box. Or two. That plastic window with the slit makes it easy to add small objects and paper notes. Like a piggy bank but not. I think there are photos and letters in one of the folders or envelopes on my bookshelf, too, but it’s been so long since I even looked at them that I am not exactly sure where they are now, or if I even still have them.

Friendship stuff is even more scattered, but just as important, and just as much a part of who I am now. All through school I boxed everything up together by year. After graduating with my first undergrad degree is where things get a little sketchy; strewn about and less organized.

I’m pretty certain I still have a pop cap that a boy I liked gave me (as a joke) in first year university, though. It meant nothing, and yet still something, somehow.

My most recent best friend has finally found herself a nice new one with a penis, which is amazing for her, as it’s what she’s been wanting for a very long time. I’m honoured to have been chosen as the one to hold his place for him until he could get there, though a little sad for myself now. Haha The important thing is that she’s finally happy, and I am better at intermittent friendshipping, anyway, so I don’t have to worry about failing nearly so often now. That’s definitely a good thing. It was making me sad to constantly come up short, so while I’ll definitely miss our time together, I know that everything is much better for her now. She’s finally in the kind of good place she deserves, and that makes me happy. 🙂

I meant to write more about truth than I have, but I got distracted by boxes of memories and why I would still keep them. I am not even sure I’ve completely delved as far into those reasons as I could or should, but this post somehow got long again. I will say that I’ve been struggling much more lately about how much truth to reveal to those who know me, as well as which specific details should be shared. I don’t think I understand, like, normal human interactions. Haha

I often try to mimic or match what I see from others – like if someone tells me something personal, I try to return that by sharing something equally personal about myself. If I can determine a proper scale of personal-ness, of course. It seems more difficult to me lately, though. I don’t know if that’s because I have more things that I could speak openly about that are different from before – like current events instead of just the past – or if I’m getting less from those around me so I’m not sure when I’ve crossed the TMI line, and thus stay silent more often due to more uncertainty. I don’t know. I don’t know.

For some reason, so much feels new to me now. It’s not like I’ve never had friends or relationships before, but either I’m different or they’re different or, more likely, both. I haven’t figured out how to navigate the world, I guess. The way I used to doesn’t work for me anymore, and I have yet to discover a way that does.

I’d probably have more luck if I spent less time talking to a dog and three cats, huh?

To Be Continued

Well, it happened.

I completely forgot to write a blog post yesterday.

I thought about it a couple of times, but was so busy doing other things I eventually just forgot all together.

When the realization hit around 5am this morning, I was overwhelmed with a number of emotions, the main one being disappointment in myself.  Anger with myself, too, but mostly just really disappointed.  It’s a worse feeling, anyway, right?  Most of us would prefer for someone to be angry with us than disappointed in us, if we could choose.  In my mind I was even trying to make excuses for myself – to myself – before realizing how ridiculous and ineffective that was.  So I took Brody for a walk and went back to sleep for a bit.

I have to go for my MRI soon, so will write more when I get back. Not that two posts today would make up for missing yesterday, but the funny thing is that I really WANTED to write about yesterday.  A ton of things happened, and a few in particular I am eager to examine here.  Not all good, but also not all bad, so finding the balance will be key, as always.

For now, I will just note that I am still disappointed, still…grumpy, if not exactly angry…but that I also recognize that A) I can’t do anything to change it now, B) it’s far from the end of the world, and C) this is my blog so I accidentally broke one of my own rules and while it sucks in theory, it’s a tiny detail that means very little in the grand scheme of things.  Trying to find excuses or ways to make up for it are far less important than the act of just moving on, and so that’s what I’m going to do.

To be continued.