This Day, Though

Ugh this day, man.

I was able to go back to sleep after taking Brody out and feeding everyone this morning.  For, like, an hour.  Still so over-tired.

Managed to get some things done today, though, so there’s that.   Worked out my remaining budget and I think thus far I am on point.  Bought the photo op that’s been tradition for every con we’ve both been at.  It’s been probably four years or so, though.  I hope she still remembers me this time.

We’ll see.

If no further unexpected expenses come up this week (I’m looking at you, emergency dental bill), I should be okay to pick up the last remaining items I most hope to get at Fan Expo over the weekend, and still pay rent.  That list includes the Mark Hamill autograph I’ve been craving most of my life…or at least since I got Carrie Fisher’s auto on the pic of the two of them ten years ago.  I shall shortly turn my attention to being more press-like, and write up a post or two forThe Mind Reels about what to expect from Toronto’s biggest geek show.

Brody and I went around the block today, which we haven’t done in a while.  It was just supposed to be a quick loo break, but he seemed so happy, I decided we may as well just go for it.  He got a bit over-heated, but not too bad at all, and it didn’t take long to cool down again once we got back inside.  So that was nice.  I like hanging with that little guy.

The other big thing I accomplished today was to get the Mind Reels’ Patreon page more or less ready to launch on Thursday September 1st.  I’m pretty pleased with how it’s looking now, too.  I had a couple of ideas yesterday to make it look more how I want it to, and was able to implement most of them today.  I am super excited to launch, but also nervous to see what level of fail I may achieve this time.

I’ll be running a contest for anyone who pledges at or above a certain level each month ($7 to be precise) to see if I can drum up a little incentive early on.  We’ll randomly draw from those Patrons to win a signed script from one of our first 5 radio plays!  Which is kinda cool, I think?  On top of all the regular rewards that come with each pledge tier level?

Anyway, I’m nervous but doing it, anyway.  Www.patreon.com/TheMindReels is where we will be once we launch.  I can’t find a way to set a date and time to activate it, though, so I’ll have to do it manually in the morning when I wake up that day.  It’ll also be my birthday, so I’ll probably remember to do it!  Haha

Tomorrow is a volunteer day, and then I have a few more things on the To Do list to take care of.  Hopefully not too many, though.  I tend to be really sore and exhausted after my shifts.

And I’m already pretty sore and exhausted as it is.

Relationships And Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow is a big day.

 

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!

Psychotherapy

I have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow morning.

I’m hella nervous because it’s been a very long time since we last saw one another. I can’t even remember when I was there last. I think it was sometime in 2015, though I didn’t go often then, either. I was a once-a-week client for a few years, but as my regular expenses climbed whilst my income did not, it got a lot harder to continue paying the fee so regularly. I wasn’t needing to be there as often, either, because things settled down, and the meds have been doing their job. Granted, I cut back to the lowest dose because it’s more affordable, and last time I switched back to the generic brand, because I can more easily afford that on top of the attrocity that is MS medication prices. So I guess that might have stirred things up, balance-wise, too, making me want to get back in there.

Mostly, though, it’s just time.

Things have been building up for quite some time, and the fact that I don’t get weekdays off anymore kind of sucks. Some things, like this, are really only available on weekdays, and some other things, like the zoo, are just better. I found out that she’ll be away for the days I booked off this month, and I didn’t want to wait for June, so on impulse, I emailed her last night, and decided to just take the first session time in the morning, and go to work late. It will not be great going to work after such a thing, but it’s better than not going to the session at all.

I’ve moved the last of my available cash over to my main account so that I can take it out on the way home and have it ready to hand over in the morning. Then I just have to make it to Friday payday, which should be feasible, barring any unforeseen issues.

While I am mostly nervous about it (I have started a list in my phone to remind me of what I want to discuss so I won’t forget anything important), I am also part excited, and part relieved. We’ve been through a lot together, she and I, and it’ll be great to see her again, AND meet her new puppy! Her doggie and I also got quite close (I stopped using her downtown office space and started seeing her at her home office, which included love from Kylie, her unofficial therapy dog), but she had to be euthanized last year at some point, I think. This will be the first time I’m there with no Kylie to lie on my feet and make a fuss over my arrival, but I’m told there is a new little guy for me to meet, so I am looking forward to that.

I’ve been seeing this woman for just over 7 years, since early 2009, and even though we haven’t seen one another in a long time, I am confident in our ability to get caught up and back on track. We work well together. There were a few times when I even acted as a guinea pig for different techniques she was learning in her courses, which was interesting. I got those sessions for free, and most of them were actually pretty cool. One was not, but most of them were. I like learning unexpected things in equally unexpected ways.

For a time, near the start, our relationship was not entirely…not that it wasn’t professional, per se, but it wasn’t the usual kind of therapist-client working relationship. We were, at least in part, more like friends sometimes. We talked about it a couple of times, and eventually things shifted a little to be what it’s like now. I think I just needed something different at one point, and she provided that. After that, however, I think it makes our sessions that much better. We have a different kind of comfort level because of that unique beginning, and so far as I can tell, it only makes the work we do more valuable and beneficial for me. It makes it possible for me to go several months – maybe even a year – without going in, and still feel confident that we’ll still be able to accomplish things over the course of our hour. It won’t just be all catch up and surface talk. She knows me, and knows how to help me dig deeper.

She even knows when I’m trying to avoid doing so. It’s rather uncanny. And annoying. Haha

It’s going to be interesting, in a good way. I’ll still be glad to have done it, as well as glad to have gotten it over with. And then I’ll start trying to figure out when I can afford to go in again. Hopefully sometime next month. My benefits cover registered massages up to a certain point, but not registered psychotherapy. Go figure.

Priorities are a slippery slope, I guess!

Canadian Screen Week and Navigating Grief

So, this coming Monday is the start of Canadian Screen Week, which has quickly settled into position as my new favourite event of the year.  On the whole, Canada has never been very vocal about its own awesomeness, so to have a week-long celebration of the Canadian film and television industry is a huge step in recognizing some of the things we do really well.  Patting ourselves  on the back isn’t something we do very often, and I’m finding that it’s not only fun to do, but also something we have earned the right to do once in awhile.

Plus, I have friends in the nominee list each year, and that tickles me some.  I am proud of them.

This year, The Mind Reels will be covering Canadian Screen Week – and especially the big awards ceremony broadcast gala next Sunday – with a larger presence than we ever have before.  We’re adding a few new elements to our coverage, and continuing on with the tried and true things we’ve done before.

As crazy excited as I am about it, though, all of it also comes tied intrinsically to memories of losing one my closest friends (and Brody’s momma), Alysia Graham, in the #JAKEhouse fire during this week two years ago.

On this particular day in 2014, I was nervous about covering a non-broadcast gala by myself for the first time.  Tim wasn’t able to make it, but I felt The Mind Reels needed to continue our presence at the events, at least in some form, as a sort of thank you to Touchwood PR for allowing us to participate as much as they do.  I never want to give the impression that we are any less grateful than we are for all the support we receive from those amazing Touchwood peeps!

I knew I wouldn’t be doing any interviews that night, because it seemed weird to do it without Tim, and besides that, I really was nervous as hell.  I remember trying to figure out how much beer I could pound to calm my nerves but not be THAT girl in the press room.  But aside from beer, what actually ended up being my saving grace that night?

Alysia.

We’d joked about trying to sneak her in with me AS Tim, but in reality,  that girl gave up a few hours of her night at home to text me constant support as I tried to settle into my place in the press room on my own.  Thanks to her – her support, her humour, and her ability to seem present even from across the city – I was able to calm down enough to figure out a kind of perfect (for me) plan of attack.

Part of my luck was in the fact that my nominated friends ended up freaking winning in their categories!  The winners were brought back to a red carpet area in the press room, where photos could be taken and quick interviews could be had.  Rather than setting myself up there, though, I hung back a bit, and as they left the red carpet, I grabbed a few seconds for hugs, handshakes and a quick silly selfie.  I had the idea because I thought it would be fun to send them to Alysia as I took them.  As well, however, I realized that I could Instagram them and share to social media in real time, using all the appropriate tags, and it would make for a rather fun and unique bit of coverage for the event as a whole.

Thanks to that kiddo’s generosity with her time that night, I not only got past my nerves enough to survive the night, but I also stumbled across what’s become a bit of a Mind Reels staple moving forward, and had a great time doing it.

Little did I know – in no way could anyone know – that just 2 days later, that vibrant young girl would be gone, and the world forever changed as a result.  I think even now there is a part of me that still can’t understand how someone so present could suddenly just not be here anymore.  My mind railed against it for a long time after, so I think true grieving for me didn’t begin until I let myself accept it.  Until I let myself feel it, and stopped trying to control it or compare it to what anyone else was feeling.

Grief is a weird thing, isn’t it?  We all go through it, many times, over the course of our lives.  To varying degrees, sure, but we all have to live with it.  And yet it’s so different for everyone.  There’s no right or wrong way to navigate grief.  There’s no guidebook or manual to show you how to get through it.  I’m not even sure anyone CAN get through grief.  I think you just learn to live with it, and it becomes a part of a new you.

It’s kind of painfully ironic to me that my brief friendship with Alysia could have me feeling more like myself, but that then losing her so suddenly could change me so much more.  If I thought it was confusing before, trying to figure myself out, it became infinitely more so after.  The world turned upside down and inside out and fell off its axis and my emotions became so raw I not only didn’t know how to express them, but I also stopped being able to contain or monitor or edit them.  Sometimes, things just come out now; still now. And most of the time, I don’t know why, nor what to do with any of it.

By this time last year, I was consumed with dread over the pending first anniversary of the fire.  I was having regular panic attacks and had no idea how to face it or get through it to the following day.  I didn’t know how to help her family and friends, who had quickly become my family and friends, too, because it was the only way I felt like I could keep her close.  To keep her people close, and help take care of them for her, as best I could.  If I could at all.  And part of that fear, I think, was not only surrounding that first anniversary, but also in the vast of uncertainty of…what next?  What about March 8th?  What the fuck would any of us do then?  When the year of firsts is over, what are we supposed to do in the days that follow?

What happens when there are no more firsts?

My terror was that focus might then revert to lasts.  And I wasn’t sure how to move forward into a life of lasts, let alone how to be a useful support to those who’d lost her more than I.

This year is a little different.  Not more or less difficult, but different nonetheless.  The panic and dread is not as overwhelming, I think because we have gotten through March 7th, March 8th, and almost an entire year after that.  And the focus has not changed to lasts, as I’d feared.  I’m actually scheduled to work on March 7th, which I’m not sure was the best idea ever, but hopefully it will at least be distracting to a point.

Hopefully.  I’m a bit worried about it, actually.  Maybe I can meet up with people after work for a bit, just to mark the day together, or something.  We’ll see.

As for March 8th, I have THAT day off, and unintentionally filled it with things I can look forward to.  An appointment with my neurologist in the morning (okay I look forward to that less, but it’s good to have someone keeping an eye on my health), a trip to the zoo to – among other things – meet some baby panda cubs for the first time (and maybe with luck a baby rhino dude), then back home and downtown to cover the first awards gala of Canadian Screen Week 2016!

I think the new me – the one I am still trying to figure out as I navigate through daily life now – will always consider this a difficult and bittersweet time of year; a time of ups and downs and memories both amazing and horrible.

But I’m learning to accept that this, too, is a part of who I am now.

And in all of the things I am learning about the process of grief- for me – one of the smallest has turned out to represent one of the biggest achievements.

Like it or not, for better or for worse, I now know I can still find a way to make it to March 8th.