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!

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.

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.

Learning

I was going to write better, but now I’m caught up in a movie, so I’m distracted, but whatever.  I’ll keep it short.

I did some new stuff while volunteering today.  Well, new to me, anyway.  I actually started my shift off with it, and then it took me forever, and then I stayed longer than I have thus far.  It was just a simple task – change the food and water dishes in a whack of different enclosures – but each one presented a new challenge, and there was a ton to remember.

Chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, opossums…everyone had a different set of things to remember; what they eat, how much they eat and drink, how to avoid getting pecked at by the silky chicken who dislikes women, paying attention to the iguana when you’re bent over to make sure he doesn’t climb on your back.  All kinds of things, but different for each of them.

It was a lot for a lesion-addled brain which hadn’t slept enough due to a certain televised concert celebrating a – some would say – national treasure, keeping me up too late, to take in.

But I did it.

I barely managed to avoid being clipped by that silky chicken, and had to focus very hard to not pick up and snuggle every baby rabbit at my feet, but I did it.  It was stressful, because I put a lot of pressure on myself to do things right, if I can, but it was also cool because it was new and – for me – challenging.  It made my sleepy brain do some actual work.

I did a few other things – spot cleaned the small animal room (and managed not to get bit by ferrets, so that’s an ongoing plus), and washed some dishes and such, and of course took care of changing the small parrot papers, which is kinda my thing.  I don’t know why it’s my thing, or why I want it to be and like it to be my thing, but it is.  I don’t even know everybody’s name yet, but changing the papers at the bottom of all the small bird cages is the one thing I’ve done every shift, and I find myself kinda looking forward to it.  I talked to the birds more today than I have other times, and while I’m sure I’m just tired, I felt like they kind of recognized me this time.  Regardless, I am definitely getting better at it.  Still just as messy but I am faster and more confident now, too, which is probably why I felt like the sense of familiarity was returned.  I even got the sense that the little red bird who dislikes everyone, disliked me a little less than usual today.

At one point it even got sort of quiet in there; just two of us working away on our own tasks, a little music playing and a variety of calm animal sounds here and there.  It was peaceful, on occasion.

I stayed nearly an hour longer than usual, and was so freaking hungry by the time I got  home that I was stumbling around a bit while I put groceries away.  Then I took Brody out for a loo break, made a bad life choice that resulted in SO MANY BURRS, got them mostly all out, then finally ate something.

I can’t even remember  what specifically I wanted to say, including how I felt about my volunteer experience today, so I’ll just cut this ramble off now.

Is it just me, or did Gord seem to get stronger as he went along last night?  He seemed to me to be more…Gordie…by the end of the show than he was at the beginning.  Either way – what a show to remember.

#inGordwetrust

Feeling My Way

Just found out that a brand new Wendy’s location has opened up mere blocks from where I work.

We are all gonna get so fat now! $0.99 Frosty?! Whaaaat?!

Do we not use the symbol for “cent” anymore? I don’t see it on this keyboard. I guess that says something about how much things cost. And that we no longer have pennies. Apparently, it’ll cost you at least a nickel to hear my thoughts now.

I have no idea what to talk about today, either. There is, as always, a lot on my mind, but I’m having trouble sorting through it all and staying focused.

I tend to carry things around with me – literally – to help me remember them. Mostly printouts of things, or lists in my phone. This morning I pulled out all of the paper reminders I had in my bag and went through to see what was currently important. It’s not that the other stuff isn’t also important – just that these particular things have my attention at the moment, and in the near future. My resume needs to be updated and re-organized, if only so I have it up-to-date and presentable in case I suddenly need it for anything. I’ve got notes for some of my writing projects – the picture book about hearts and a re-imagined extension to some of Carving The Light. I was thinking I might try to write it as a screenplay – possibly through the month of August, and I was considering signing up for a challenge like NaNoWriMo, but with screenplays instead of novels. As if I have time, but it would at least get me started. Often that is the toughest step.

Even though all of the steps are currently tough. Haha

I put out some feelers earlier today regarding Mind Reels stuff, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m having trouble committing to that, because I feel like I am the only one who is doing so. But I like it, so I don’t really want to walk away from it all together. I am just not sure how much to put into it anymore. I guess we’ll see. No need to decide anything on that front any time soon, anyway.

I’m finding this weaning off antidepressants thing pretty interesting. The first time I tried it, several years ago, I was an insane mess within a few days, and went right back on them. The second time, I barely noticed because I was happy and travelling back and forth to Colorado and kept forgetting to take them, until one day I realized I was pretty much off them. I saw on my Facebook memories the other day that I’d tried a year or so ago to take them every other day, but it had made me physically ill, over and above everything else. So I went back on them again.

Now I don’t know what I’m doing, and I definitely notice a difference in how I feel – mentally, emotionally and physically – but it’s not as bad as it was some of those other times. And I’m in no rush – just picked up a new refill last week which I haven’t even started yet – so we’ll just see how each day goes, and week, and take things as they come.

I imagine PMS is going to be more horrible than usual, so that might make go back to them full time.

For now, though – in that as in so many things – I’m just feeling my way along.

Recollecting Pain

Apparently I’ve made 200 posts on this blog now.  Huh.

I was thinking about that saying about how people will always remember how you made them feel.  I think that’s probably true, but then I wondered if there were certain feelings that people would remember more vividly than others.  I’m pretty sure that, if there are, mine would be hurt.  Emotional pain, both caused to and caused by me, as well as the pain of loss.  I of course remember other things – happiness, safety, love, laughter.  But the one emotion that I feel most vividly upon recollection – almost as though it’s fresh and new again – is hurt.

Not sure if I feel it most because that’s what I hold onto, or if I hold onto it because it’s what I feel most.  I don’t imagine it matters either way, though.  I think it just is what it is.

I also don’t know how I can carry so much rage around all the time, yet lack so much violence.  It’s front of my mind most of the time, yet far down the list of actions.

So far, anyway.

Man I’m weary.

I can’t remember what else I wanted to say.  Kinda fitting, actually.

A post is a post is a post.

 

Seeing Differences

When I was accepted to teacher’s college, I found I’d been placed in a rather unique section of the program called Urban Diversity. I was in the 10th group of cohorts for that particular program, and it was kind of interesting to see all the different people who were in my class, as well as who, for the most part, would become my friend by the end of the school year.

The Urban Diversity section of the Education program focused more on teaching children in classrooms and schools which are more reflective of the city’s diverse population. I remember someone once commented on how “white” my Grade 6 class was, and I countered with the fact that about 80% of them didn’t speak English as their first language, which would obviously contain a different set of struggles from those who were being taught by someone of a different skin tone.

Anyway, it was cool to look at the notion of teaching each child, as opposed to teaching a classroom of children. Seeing difference, and teaching to it, was the opposite of everything I thought society had taught me thus far, but as soon as it was discussed on, like, Day One, it all suddenly made sense to me. The whole “everyone is equal” model doesn’t really work. Everyone is not equal, and punishing those who are ahead by forcing them to slow down, or leaving behind anyone who can’t keep up, is just silly, and counter-productive.

So I learned about teaching from a different perspective, compared to the other sections within the Education program, and it stressed me out. I was painfully aware of not being able to fully teach to each child, and of how things I said or did could be received by one child far differently from how it was interpreted by another. I hurt one of my best Grade 8 kid’s feelings because I stopped calling on her for a time. She thought I hated her; I thought I was trying to give other quieter kids a chance to speak. We got it sorted out, but I’ll never forget how flabbergasted I was that she could think I didn’t like her. She was my go-to kid if things ever became too frustrating because I knew she always got it. That was an important lesson to learn, and to keep learning. Because everyone is different, after all.

But it didn’t help with my non-existent teaching career, in that I never really got my feet under me and felt the confidence I would need in my abilities to run a classroom.

I can’t run a classroom. Haha

Anyway, in the Education classroom, on non-teaching days, I sat at the Table of Misfit Toys with my regulars. My friends, the other oddballs who didn’t quite fit in. We were often the most fun, and sometimes other teacher candidates would join us just because we were that awesome. I still liked almost everyone else in the room, of course. I just didn’t have much in common with them, and felt like I didn’t fit in as well as I did with my eclectic mix.

What’s interesting is what I was told later from my main guy, Marc. I haven’t seen him in well over a decade, but at the time, we were quite close, and went through a lot together, even after the school year ended. He’s a brilliant young guy, whose brain never stops working things out, and has one of the best, warmest smiles ever. It goes right to his eyes. I actually hate that we lost touch, and keep hoping we’ll just bump into one another again someday.

So anyway, Marc got into grad school, and did his Masters of Education, as well. He was, therefore, still in touch with the man who had created the Urban Diversity division, Dr. Patrick Solomon. Dr. Solomon sadly passed away some time ago from stupid cancer, but he left quite a legacy in his wake. He was the first person I met when I got to campus on Day One (he walked me to class), and hugged me on stage during our graduation ceremonies. According to Marc, Dr. Solomon confided in him once that our table of misfits, for the most part, all started off the program in the mindset/headspace of where he wanted everyone to end up. That was not only an enormous compliment, but also explained why we’d gotten so frustrated so often when we were doing the learning instead of the teaching. I was of the understanding that there was something we just weren’t getting (there was even an extra IEP for me at one point – , whereas the reality was that we’d already gotten it, but had to sit through the rest of the year not progressing while we waited for the rest of the class to catch up.

That’s not necessarily meant to come across as bragging, though I suppose it kind of is, but more to explain the fish-out-of-water sensation that I’d felt for so long, and that I knew I was capable of passing on to kids in my classes. Classes I’d never have, as it turned out, but at the time, it was a hefty weight on my mind.

It’s occurred to me in recent days that I’m feeling much that same way again now, sometimes. I think that’s why I can’t express myself in a way that anyone else quite understands. Partly because I am just not articulate, and partly because I’ve already gone through all the stuff they’re saying and trying to progress further, but I have to keep going back to the last save point, so to speak, to see if I can catch everyone else up; get us all on the same page, before I can turn the page. We just rarely seem to get there, which means I rarely go any further myself, even just in my own head.

Maybe this is part of how the internet is making us dumber. We’re exposed to more people, so we spend even more time trying to find common ground and get on the same page that we actually never get through the first chapter, let alone past it. We spend more time feeling and reacting than we do thinking, because it’s instant. Or, as fast as we can type. The fact that so much conversation is done online instead of in person means that more is misunderstood due to lack of vocal inflection, body language, and eye contact. Everything looks black and white on the page, so we’re all starting to think that’s what the world is. One or the other; all or nothing; left or right (haha CToT xo).

But it’s not. There are more shades of grey than we can even sense, and it’s exciting and invigorating to explore them, but we never do. There’s just no time, which is funny, considering how quick and automated things are now compared to life prior to the Industrial Revolution, say.

Not that I am old enough to remember that.

I do remember the 80’s, though, and parts of the 70’s…I remember life before the world was opened up to us via the World Wide Web. I remember phones with rotary dials and cords that got tangled up and stretched to shit. I remember no cable and only 3 channels via antenna. I remember going outside to play, riding my bike around town, going home when the streetlights came on, handwriting letters, and book reports and essays. I remember when computer mainframes took up entire rooms, and cordless phones were new and enormous.

I remember when everything was slower, and yet there was more time to think.