More Dreams And Carpe Diem Notions

It’s entirely possible that last night’s dream was a kind of warning, in a way. Though it’s just as likely that it was my brain’s way of expressing guilt and, like, concern.

Either way, it wasn’t entirely unpleasant, and I saw some people in the dream who I haven’t seen in life for a long time, so that was cool. Same with the dream I had the night before – so much was going on, and it largely revolved around people who haven’t really been in my life for several years…more than a decade, in most cases. It’s interesting (to me) that both dreams involved people and situations from roughly the same period of time in my waking life, and yet they didn’t seem to be connected at all. It was a period of much change in my world, and those two dreams managed to reflect very different facets of some of those changes.

Unless last night’s was really just a guilt dream, after all. But still. It chose an interesting route with which to express itself, that’s for sure.

I think whether it was warning or guilt, too, it probably has some merit to it, as well. It definitely got me thinking this morning, and even though I am just as exhausted as I have been in recent days, anyway, that dream has given me a bit more focus today, and that’s a good thing. Maybe nothing will come of any of it, but for now, it’s really got me intent on at least investigating a few avenues. It lit a small fire under my butt, so at the very least, I am using that as incentive today!

I’ve also started planning the next radio play reading, and have begun to reach out to possible cast members to see who might be available. I want to get the announcement of Reelie award winners out of the way before we do this next play, as the script is short and we should have time to do both. All of that should also bring me closer to being able to launch the Mind Reels Patreon page – which would be kind of cool to do for my birthday, but at the same time, I won’t be able to promote it much around then because I’ll be at Fan Expo meeting my boy Luke Skywalker!

So I’ll probably be distracted.

But we’ll see how it goes.

Back to the dream – like, it took place in the school where I did my practicum during my year of teacher’s college. After graduation, I went back several times to visit everyone, and just spend some time in a classroom when I could. I miss being able to do that, I realized. I miss that school in particular, and it’s funny how any time I think about trying to go back to a teaching environment, my mind always imagines it to be done there; at that school, and with those people. Many if not most of the teachers don’t even work there anymore, and even the Principal is someone I don’t know now. The students have, of course, moved on long ago. My little grade 6 kids would be in their 20’s by now! What the hell?! How old am I?! I can’t even imagine it, who they are now; the adults they have grown up to be.

I have no idea what the future holds for me and my non-existent teaching career. What’s more is that I have no idea what I’d even want where education is concerned, if anything. I used to have this whole plan laid out, and then everything came together and fell apart – then came together even more and thus fell apart again more completely – so now I’m just…I don’t know. I go back and forth on it all the time, really. Sometimes to extremes where my feelings about it are concerned. I’m a pretty terrible teacher in the traditional sense, I know. But there are so many non-traditional opportunities out there now; so many different ways of doing things, and more room for forging ones own path a little bit. Not to mention the fact that I am really not the same person I was then. I’ve upgraded. Haha

A large part of the realistic issue, of course, is salary. Like always, I have responsibilities that go beyond taking care of my own needs, and I’m not willing to risk failing in fulfilling those just so I can try something out. I would have to find some sort of balance between risk and security in that, too, if ever I were to take the leap again. Or any leap, really, especially where employment is concerned. These days, I’m mostly just very grateful to have a job which pays the bills and allows me to keep everybody fed with a roof over our heads. Even on my worst days, I am highly reluctant to mess with that again, because I’ve been there when it falls through and I’ve lost it all. I’m not eager to take that chance again.

Just because I’m being cautious, though, doesn’t mean my eyes aren’t open. If there is something more out there for me, I still intend to seize it when I can.

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Carrying Things

I’m one of those people who can usually be found carrying around a lot of things. Physically and, like, emotionally, too, I guess, but I was thinking more about the physical stuff I drag around with me every day. I’m not sure how long it’s been going on, nor when I turned it into part of my conscious decision-making process, but I often will dream about packing quickly while trying to leave wherever I am, and having a hard time remembering to bring everything I might need.

I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Which has resulted in my having a lot that I don’t need.

I think I’ve pretty much always had a plan in my head; the “what would I do if” sort of running through possible scenarios over and over. A zombie escape plan, sure, but so much more than that, too. Knowing that I can’t prepare for any and every possibility doesn’t really stop me from trying, though. I’ve spent the majority of my life watching, trying to anticipate what might happen next.

That I’m generally wrong doesn’t stop me from trying, either.

I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

That I probably wouldn’t even survive half of the things I come up with doesn’t stop me from trying, either, actually.

In that vein, I also carry around some guilt and indecision as to how I imagine I would spend my last days, if I knew they were numbered. I mean, they are numbered for all of us, of course, but if I knew the number that was left, I like to think I would do things differently from how I do things now. I have ideas as to those I would want to spend that last bit of time with, and of the things I would like to spend that time doing. Those ideas don’t mesh with reality, and they certainly don’t mesh with what’s expected of me. I’m always torn between those things – what I want versus what others want for me, and/or expect from me. I go back and forth between what I think I would choose to do. If it was just my days which were numbered, I think I would probably do what was expected or needed by those I’d be leaving behind. They are the ones who would have to live with my choices after I’m gone.

If it was an apocalyptic thing and we were pretty much all doomed, then maybe I would finally decide to do as much of what I want, with those I want to do it with, as possible. Maybe I would finally take care of my own needs, knowing that it was unlikely that any of us would have to live with my choices for very long after I make them. The sad thing is, those on my wishlist don’t really have me on theirs – or wouldn’t, in the event of apocalypse times. So it’s quite likely that, even if I tried to do things for me, I wouldn’t really be able to pull them off the way I’d want to, if at all. There’d still be an imbalance, only I would be the one making hopeful requests of those who’d rather be elsewhere. And for me there’s no balance in that, either.

I think I’d rather be the one who sacrifices what they most want than be the one someone else has to turn down in order to be where they most want. Or worse, be the one someone else sacrifices what they really want in order to give in to my needs. Not sure even the imminent end of times could assuage that level of guilt! Haha

Here’s the thing, though. None of us will live forever. Every day is one day closer to our own personal end. Yet so many of us are not living our lives in ways which fulfil us.

Maybe it’s time I start finding the balance between what I want and what is requested of me from others, and make my life more my own.

Maybe if I can do that, I’ll find it easier to dream-pack someday.

Stupid Stress

So stressed today, guys!

Too much going on, so I’m feeling kind of frazzled, or something.

More input than output, so to speak.

My little guy, Jack Bear, was throwing up this morning – I think for the first time in his young life – which was comical at first, but became less so when I realized he couldn’t stop. He kept bringing up bile until there was nothing left inside him, then he went to lie down under the bed for a few minutes. When he came back out, he meowed a greeting to me, and went over to rub against Brody. The puppy makes him feel better. He purred when I pet him, and slow-blinked with me, and didn’t seem to have a fever or anything when I checked his ears, so hopefully whatever it was is now finished. I’m hopeful that he’ll be back to his usual self when I get home tonight, though also a tad afraid of what sort of vomit-fuelled destruction I might return home to! Poor baby boy.

Leaving work early today to go to my volunteer orientation. All manner of nervous about that, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll decide after if it’s really something I want to commit to. No idea what time I’ll get home, and I have a billion dishes to wash, as well as the need to make something I can bring for lunch tomorrow. Though also possibly a movie date with the bestie…with popcorn for dinner being a powerful added incentive for that, to boot!

It’s ridiculous the amount of guilt I feel about leaving work early and doing something for myself. Yet my computer issues from yesterday continue, making it harder to do my job effectively, and the frustration building inside me is absurd. I was considering just not going to the orientation. And just not volunteering. I’m already nervous about it, and now I feel guilty about leaving early when so many things are going wrong. It’s silly. All so silly. I’m trying to maintain the mindset that tomorrow is another day, and to just go to the orientation and lose the guilt over it. Easier said than done, but I’m getting there.

Regardless, it’s just one more day of work before the long weekend is upon us, so at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Somehow the long weekend has filled up with things to do, too, though. That ought to make next week extra long, work-wise!

Tomorrow, the Mind Reels will be recording our first retro radio play! I’ve been stressed about that, too, because it was starting to look like we’d have to change the date again, but we’ve managed to get enough people together to pull it off, and now I am just plain stoked for it! You can watch the whole thing unfold on live video here: http://livestream.com/accounts/10837752/events/5652277

The plan is to stream it online from start to finish – divvying up the roles, doing a read-through or two of the script and figuring out how to do the various sound effects that will be required, then making the official recording, which will be posted up on the Smithee.TV iTunes page soon after. We’re hoping to do one play a month, with a variety of different cast members each time. I’m already thrilled with the three people we have joining us for this first one, and I can’t even imagine how much hilarious fun it’s going to be! I’ve already been casting each of the main roles in my head, and am eager to see what everyone else thinks when we get there tomorrow!

I’m going to end there so I can focus on getting a few more things done before I leave work for the day. I want to make things as easy as possible for myself tomorrow, because pretty much everyone I rely on for help will be off!

More soon!

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.

On Rules And Getting Therapized

Have you ever noticed how many rules, and guidelines and laws are created specifically to stop stupid people and/or assholes from doing things they should logically just know not to do? And it always highlights the possible punishment, not the fact that doing it makes you stupid and/or an asshole.

Like the emergency alarm on subway trains. It clearly states that it’s for medical, fire or police-worth emergencies. Emergencies. For when you need professional help in some or all of those areas. But just stating that much isn’t even enough, there also has to be the threat of a fine. Because it’s not bad enough that you tied up an entire line because you missed your stop, or need some air or whatever. For some, the only reason NOT to activate the alarm and grind everything to a halt is the threat of a fine. Losing money is a legitimate threat, whereas being an asshole and/or stupid apparently is not.

Don’t run up to dogs because you might get bit. Totally fine if you scare them with your unpredictable and aggressive actions – when you’re stupid and/or an asshole. But geez, you might get bit. And, of course, you’d blame the dog, but that’s a different rant. The only reason for some people to NOT scare an animal is the threat of personal harm, rather than any sort of empathy for causing distress to another individual.

How about just trying harder to not be stupid and/or an asshole, for a change? Unless you are comfortable in your stupidity and/or assholiness, in which case there should just be laws against you.

Anyway.

Finally saw my therapist again this morning! Was very late for work as a result, but totally worth it. I’ll do it again if need be, but I joked with her to stop leaving town for my days off and/or paydays. Haha

It was great to see her, as always, and her new puppy is ridiculous. His name is Cole, he’s a Scottie, and he is young, so basically comprised of fur and tongue. He loves belly rubs (at which I am expert thanks to Brody) and giving kisses. Not great at therapy-dogging yet, but he’ll get there. He’s very accepting, and somewhat distracting until he calms down. I can’t blame him, though. He did just meet one of his new best friends, after all!

(I mean me. I’m his new best friend.)

I didn’t get my list out until later in the session, just to make sure I’d hit everything I wanted to. It’s hard because we haven’t seen one another in so long. There was a period of catching up in the beginning (and doggie distraction). She remarked immediately on my hair, weight loss, and new tattoo, which was funny. Most of the stuff I just mentioned in kind of blanket statements, because there’s just not enough time to cover everything in depth. Or anything, really, when there’s that much build up. I opened several doors to several conversations that we’ll have, hopefully, over the next little while.

Some things we touched on more than others. There was a fairly big discussion about whether or not I can actually ask for things I need, which led to whether or not I feel like I deserve such things enough to ask for them. I guess that’s closer to the root of my communication problem when it comes to talking to people who aren’t being paid to listen to me. There was a similar thread about guilt, and about being “nice” and “polite”; about hurting other people’s feelings by taking care of my own and whether or not I want to do that.

In a weird segue, we talked a bit about my very first therapist. She said she liked when I talked about her because it seemed like we’d had a great connection. And we did. It far exceeded what I’d thought therapy would be like, and tested my ability to be open and do the work in the safe environment she’d provided. I talked today about how it was also the first time I’d experienced how cruddy the system can be, when decisions are made by unseen forces in offices instead of in the room. Decisions that affect lives. Both of us were affected when we were forced apart – she was angry, I was sad and panicked and feeling abandoned on some level that didn’t listen to logic. I guess it was hard to open up again after that because suddenly it all felt so temporary, and not within my control to say when it would stop. It’s hard to do all that work, and then be cut off by people who’d had nothing to do with it all along, and then try to find a way to work your way back to that space with someone else.

I haven’t so far, actually. Not quite like that. Different this time, but equally gratifying, for the most part. I know my guard is still up in some areas, but at the same time, I’m not there for the same reasons as I was almost 20 years ago. Everything is very different in my world now; I am very different. So we deal with me now, anyway, instead of whoever I was then.

Anyway, for the most part, I gave her the Cliff’s Notes on the things I want to talk about – including the fact that I want to talk at all. Maybe this way I can manage not to feel the need to burden my poor friends with some of this stuff, too. Hopefully. On the way to work after, I made notes in my phone to expand on the 4 or 5 main things I want to dig into more next time, too. Because, naturally, I thought of a few more things I wanted to say after I left. Happens every freaking time!

Oh! She also showed me a book that might help get creativity flowing again, which is awesome. I took a picture of the cover so I can look it up later, and she said that if I can’t afford it right away but want to investigate it more, she can scan the first chapter and send it to me.

But that I have to ask her for it.

#clevergirl

Addendum to For Michelle Nolden Post

In conversation with a friend regarding some parts of yesterday’s post, I had a couple of thoughts to add:

It’s so freaking frustrating, isn’t it?

 Even when you’re kind of prepared, like, if the jogger hadn’t have been just a jogger, I’m not sure I would have done any better.  I just couldn’t stand not knowing what was coming for even a second longer.  I’d frozen before that night, and I have frozen since.  I’m also always am a little unsure as to whether or not I’d played a part in whatever happened.

For example, my first actual girlfriend was a huge alcoholic.  The kind that gets super drunk really fast, completely changes personalities (in her case, violent as hell), and then forgets everything (on purpose or not, I never knew for sure) by the next morning.  I never knew who was coming home at the end of the day.  She’d either make me dinner or toss me around.  One time we were screaming at each other, and I remember she asked what was wrong with ME.

 I said I didn’t know.  Totally took what little wind I’d had out of my sails.

 I used to wonder, though, if I knew what she was like when she drank, did I ever, like, push the envelope?  Did I ever say or do anything that might have brought on her rage?  And if I did, was it then my fault instead of hers?

 If it’s happening to someone else, I am so completely logical about the situation and able to react in a more protective way.  I see fault and proclaim judgement all over the place. 

When it happens to me, though, suddenly I’m not sure what’s right and wrong or deserved or not.  Things are never as clear when it’s me.

 

Ironically, another thing that happened when I was away at school is something I’ve only told one person.  That very same first girlfriend.  And she has since passed away from cancer, I hear.

I wonder if it’s a thing with women in general, where we feel less certain of our own rights or place In the world, so we don’t defend ourselves as much.  Some totally do – bitches be out there not taking any crap from anyone!  But the vast majority…I feel like we try to smooth things over and…what’s the word?  Placate?  Especially when it’s someone we know and trust, and/or someone in a position of power.  I feel like we maybe try to take too much of the responsibility, and the guys/people doing stuff aren’t taking enough. 

I guess it’s our society, really, though.  It’s much easier and often safer to just work it out ourselves, rather than try to prove wrongdoing to someone else who may or may not be sympathetic.  Most rape cases appear to put the victim on trial more than the perpetrator.  What the hell is THAT about?  How is it any kind of justice to force someone to face their attacker and, if they can’t remember stuff, or didn’t act the way they were supposed to after, use that to decide the attacker’s guilt or innocence?  The one on trial should be treated like they are the one on trial.  Not the other way around.


 

For Michelle Nolden

Michelle Nolden is one of those actresses who turns up in things all the time (because she’s so talented), but that you keep thinking of her as “that girl” until a role comes along wherein her performance is so strong that her name is finally retained in your brain, and she ceases to be “that girl”.

For me, with her, that role is of Dr. Dawn Bell on CTV’s Saving Hope.

It’s funny, too, because in the beginning, I hated Dawn. She was Charlie’s (Michael Shanks) ex-wife, she pulled the plug on him when he was in a coma (but he lived, luckily for all), and she was a thorn in the show’s main love story’s side for quite awhile. Always cropping up to cause trouble for Charlie and Alex (the impossibly gorgeous Erica Durance). To boot, she became everyone’s boss as Chief of Surgery, and she ran a tight ship. It was annoying.

Over time, however, something changed, and Dawn slowly became one of my favourite recurring characters on the show. When I saw Michelle Nolden’s name in the opening credits (because by then I totally knew her name), I was certain viewers were in for a treat.

Like, more than usual, because I freaking love this show.

Anyway, once I got to that point, I reached out to her agent to see if it would be possible for her to join The Mind Reels at any point over our Guinness World Record-breaking weekend. It turned out that she had to work a long, emotional day on set, but that she would try to stop by if she could. I was ecstatic, and said we’d definitely make time for her if she was able to be there at all.

Much to my joy – and, if I’m being honest, surprise – she DID make it, after all! I saw her come into the hotel lobby that first night and completely forgot I was interviewing someone. I said, “Michelle is here! Yay!” and flagged my team down to make sure they knew to sneak her in between guests. I wasn’t feeling well already that night, so I barely remember what we talked about, but I know there was some discussion of the evolution and growth of Dawn’s character arc, and I gave her condolences for what happened to Dawn’s little sweater-wearing guinea pig that she didn’t even want but then fell in love with.

Since then, we’ve been wanting to bring Michelle into the studio for a better/longer chat, but there hasn’t been time or opportunity – yet. I’ll keep checking in with her agent until we make it happen, though!

However, turns out Ms Michelle Nolden won a Canadian Screen Award last night, and Tim and I made sure we were there to congratulate her on the red carpet in the press area after she left the stage!

You see, this season in particular has been insane for Dawn, and while there wasn’t time for chit chat, I do have a few things I wanted to tell Michelle about how her performance has affected me, and how much I feel it comes from a place of truth.

So I’ll do that here, instead.

There’s an episode – and anyone who’s seen it will know exactly what I’m talking about – wherein Dawn is raped – violently – by her colleague/boyfriend (Shaun Benson)…in her office. It was so powerfully filmed and performed by both actors that I can’t even remember anything else that happened in the episode. Just that, and the immediate aftermath. The rape scene was violent and disturbing without being graphic – a tight shot on Michelle’s horrified eyes with Shaun’s voice whispering in her ear. Gah!

To be clear, I know and adore Shaun Benson. I think he’s a fantastic talent. But part of me wished he wasn’t THAT fantastic as I watched that scene, because it was like watching a nightmare, and it’s stayed with me ever since. Damn you, Shaun!

There were red flags, of course; little warning signs that viewers and Dawn could pick up on, and then promptly ignore because he’s just so damn charming, and in a position of power, to boot. I still don’t think I expected what eventually happened to be as powerful and real as it was, though. In her office?! With windows everywhere, the space that she’s made her own. Her refuge from the trials and stress from running a hospital. And all the power she had job-wise didn’t make a lick of difference in the face of her attacker. Not only was it someone she trusted, but it was also done in such a way that everything Dawn had believed about her world was torn apart and demolished. Everything. She had nothing left to hold on to.

Well, almost nothing.

The next time we see Dawn it’s at the end of the episode, and she is alone again in her office. She is bruised, and in tears, her sensible work skirt ripped almost completely off. Her sanctuary looks much the same as always, but it no longer feels safe. Not to Dawn, and not to any viewer who’d just witnessed what transpired there.

In my mind, I wanted to hug her and get the police and all the big guys she works with and go beat the shit out of Shaun…’s character (haha He really is that good). I wanted to scream from the rooftops about the crime that had been committed, and go get the bad guy once and for all. I wanted him to lose everything, just as he’d taken everything from her.

Instead, I watched the scene play out as it was written, and was thunderstruck by how absolutely right it was. Dawn frantically searched in her desk drawers for something, and when she finally located it, she sat on the top of her desk, composed her features, and began to sew her skirt back together.

I lost it.

It hit me like a truck…how appearances inform our interiors sometimes…the attempt at retrieving a semblance of normalcy and some sense of control over something. Over anything, even if it’s something as simple as mending a ripped skirt. It wasn’t about pride nor humiliation. Not even fear, or anger at what had just happened to her. Dawn’s facial expression changed and her concentration was total. In that moment, that skirt was all she had.

When I was in University…I want to say third year? I decided to walk the few short blocks to McDonald’s (as you do) and grab myself some dinner. It was around this time of year, so even though it was only 7pm-ish, it was already dark. It was also unseasonably warm, though, so I was feeling pretty giddy with the touch of spring in the evening air.

I passed a young guy about my age, standing under a streetlight by one of the houses lining that portion of the street. Once I got by him, however, I could hear his footsteps on the sidewalk behind me. Warning bells went off in my mind, but I shoved them aside, because paranoia can be a dangerous thing, and usually when we think something is cause for concern, it ends up being nothing, and then we feel dumb.

Like, can’t a guy walk down the same street as me? Who the heck do I think I am?

I got near McDonald’s, and turned to go up a little grassy hill that led to the drive-thru and parking lot. As soon as I’d stepped off the sidewalk, though, I was banged into from behind, and felt two powerful-ish arms pin my arms to my sides. Well, my hands were in my pockets, so they got pinned there.

It all happened so fast, I was still thinking that it was someone I knew, just being a jerk. The force of him slamming into me actually pushed me further up the little hill, and he didn’t have his balance enough to lock his hands, so I ended up a step or two in front of him for a second. I turned to look at him, expecting a friend, and saw a stranger instead. He wasn’t looking at me, but rather past me, to where the cars were lined up in the drive-thru. I think at that point he realized we could both be seen, so he turned and jogged away. Or walked away. I don’t really remember. Just that it all seemed so normal, and wouldn’t draw attention to him either way.

And what did I do, you ask? Now that I was momentarily safe and had just basically been assaulted (see I can’t even call it anything specific because it still sits as a possibly jerky but innocent boys will be boys act), but it could have been way worse but now I was in full view of lots of people in a public place?

I went inside and ordered a Big Mac combo.

Yep. I didn’t make a sound. I didn’t try to confront him, or call for help. I simply composed myself enough to order the dinner I’d been looking forward to, and then sat down at a table by myself.

I tried to eat, but got nauseous, so I threw most of it away. Kept the fountain Coke, though.

I wasn’t sure what to do at that point. Had I been targeted? Or was being a female alone on a busy street enough to warrant what he’d tried to do. What had he tried to do? Rob me? Beat me up? Kill me? Rape me? Where had he gone? Was he still out there, watching me through the windows of the restaurant and waiting for me to come out? How would I get home? Could I stay in McDonald’s until morning?

So many questions.

I couldn’t figure out how I felt, nor how I should feel. I wasn’t sure of his intentions, and wasn’t sure I had a right to be angry or afraid or upset. I had no idea what to do.

I sat and thought and waited and finally decided to take a chance on crossing the parking lot to the phone booth on the corner. It still didn’t occur to me to ask for help, because I felt like…not that I’d deserved what happened, but more that nothing much had happened. I didn’t feel I had a right to expect anyone to come to my aid. My brain kept coming up with excuses for the guy, even. Maybe he’d just stumbled and lost his balance. Maybe he’d thought I was someone else and left when he realized his mistake. All kinds of crap went through my mind.

And because I’m old now, there were no cell phones. I had to get to the phone booth on the corner. At least it was lit up, and there were lots of cars nearby. Cars he could also be hiding behind, but maybe he wouldn’t know I would try for the phone. I didn’t know.

So I finally got my courage up (or stupidity…tough to tell sometimes) and speed-walked to the phone booth. I’d gotten a quarter out and had it in my hand to save time. I called the home of friends who lived down the street. I’d actually passed their place on the way.

Thankfully, they rocked.

They came to get me, en masse, and while I’m pretty sure Izzy in particular would have rather tracked the guy down and beat the tar out of him with her bare hands, they all convinced me to call the police. That the guy had done wrong, and that a crime had been committed, and that it was worth reporting.

They walked me back home, and stayed with me while I made the call, and together we waited for a police officer to arrive. Even though I was going through a myriad of emotions by then (including wishing I’d beat the tar out of him myself and humiliated him and perhaps ruined any chance he’d had of procreating), one thing that kept nagging at me was that maybe I was wrong. Maybe I’d misread what had happened and misunderstood the whole thing.

Maybe I was wrong.

I worried that the cop wouldn’t believe me, or brush it off as the non-incident I feared it was, or that he would believe me but the guy would never be found and how would any of it ever be proven, anyway? I thought at most it would end up on the back-burner and eventually forgotten.

The policeman arrived, and even though he was kind of cute and had a kind face, I wondered briefly about the decision to send a male officer over to talk to a female who’d just encountered a less-kind male. He was, however, pretty great. Took us all for a ride in his police car (I got to ride in the front, though), so I could show him where everything happened.

The problem, of course, is that a lot of it was murky in my mind. I could not remember exactly which house he’d been standing by. I couldn’t remember the colour of his clothes, or his hair, or even if he’d been wearing a hat. I could see him in my mind, but I couldn’t see him at the same time. There were no details. Unfortunately, even when there are warning bells and red flags, I don’t go into super spy mode and memorize every detail possible. Stuff happens, and I apparently can’t quite recall the main points to any helpful degree. The chance of catching him was getting slimmer. It was a University town, after all. Maybe he was just visiting, and didn’t go to school there at all. Who knew?

Definitely not me.

My lack of recall, coupled with my inability to completely agree that the guy had done anything really all that wrong was crippling, and as a result, my case got more flimsy by the moment.

The police officer, however, was on top of it. Less than two weeks later, he called me and wanted to come over with a photo line-up for me to look at. Apparently some other poor girl had been sexually assaulted in the same area, with the same basic desciption of her attacker.

(Insert guilt forever that I wasn’t able to stop him from going after other girls)

I looked through a book of mug shots and more candid photos, all of guys who were roughly the same age and description as my guy. The officer told me to take my time, and even pick out a few photos, if any of them had certain qualities that reminded me of the guy. He said I didn’t have to be certain; that I could kind of pick parts of some of them to give a better idea of what little I recalled about the dude. He said the guy may or may not even be in the line-up. It was just to get a better idea.

I chose 3 different photos, two of them were on the same page. One was mostly based on angle, because when I’d turned to look at him, he was no longer facing me directly. It was more of a profile view. I can’t really remember what drew me to the second photo. But the third, there was just something about the third. I couldn’t shake it. I kept going through more photos and always came back to that one. Finally I just pointed it out and said that it maybe wasn’t exactly as I remembered (vaguely remembered), but that it was the closest one. I wasn’t confident enough to proclaim, “THAT’S THE GUY!”, but it was the only one which felt close enough to be accurate in the light of day.

The officer wrote everything down, and then collected his things. He told me he wasn’t allowed to confirm or deny if the one I’d pointed out was the same guy they’d arrested in the other attack. I said I understood.

And then he winked at me.

We had our “man”.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone over that night – and a few other incidents which have occurred over the years – and re-written it all in my mind. I change how I reacted, I…sometimes become kind of violent, and I always, always stand up for me and mine.

My reality, for whatever reason, has always been very different. I freeze, I shrink, I keep walking, I put my head down, I stay quiet and still, I ignore the signs, I make excuses for the perpetrator, I wonder if there was something I’d done to cause it in the first place. After the fact, I am all indignant righteous rage. But during? I just have never figured out how to go against my very instincts and react differently.

The following year I was walking home from an evening class, and heard footsteps behind me, running up the sidewalk. I flashed back to that other time I’d felt the warning bells, and in a moment of pure terror, I spun around at the last second to at least greet my inevitable end head on.

But the jogger went right on by.

I see something like this portrayed so realistically – and intimately – on screen, and I’m all, “I would have done THIS!” But at the same time, I know from repeated experience that I would not. I only wish I would have.

That is what struck me the most about that episode of Saving Hope. Sometimes there are no heroes rushing in to save you. Sometimes you don’t suddenly know street fighting. Sometimes you don’t keep weapons on hand and aren’t afraid to use them.

Sometimes you don’t do what you “should” do, or even what you think you’d do.

Sometimes, all you can do in the moment is order a Big Mac, or mend your torn skirt.