Another Busy Weekend Ahead

Alright! Had a huge long bout of insomnia last night (as in, more than usual) so am feeling a tad rough and headache-y today, but have managed to be at least a little bit productive at the start of my day!

Cancelled both Guinness World Record attempts I’d been approved to make – Largest Online Photo Album of Animals (my plan was to highlight the Toronto Zoo’s residents to help raise awareness as well as give zoo-goers a place to showcase their photos), and Longest Chain of Paper Hearts. My plan for that one was to get a Mind Reels booth at Toronto Comicon in March, and coincide that event with a launch of my children’s book about hearts. I wanted to get visitors to our table to help cut out paper hearts all weekend, and assemble them into a huge chain together at the end. The attempt/book launch was to tie in with other ideas we have for a con table, rather than be a stand-alone event in and of itself.

Speaking of which, I really need to find an artist one of these days, to help flesh out a few things with me.

At any rate, neither attempt was ever likely to happen, at least not any time soon, so I’ve scratched them off my long and vague To Do list. As well, I cancelled a subscription, which will save me a bit of money, and declined this month’s feature title in the Disney movie club.

Another packed weekend is staring me in the face, but at least I’m feeling physically better than the past couple of weeks. Not much, mind you, because #nosleep, but better nonetheless.  Do not be surprised if I don’t post much or at all over the next few weekends, actually.  Maybe next month sometime my schedule will go back to something normal-ish (for me).  I’ll be glad when I’m not writing this anymore and have time to focus on different, more useful (for me) writing, I think!  But if it gets me into the habit of writing every day, regardless, then it will have not been a complete waste, at least!

Will be sending out invites to start casting the next radio play soon – probably early next week, if not later today. I want to do it before the end of the month, though I am frustrated with our inability to go live with anything.

I’m frustrated with a lot of things.

I’ve taken to envisioning shooting people lately. Just random people who piss me off. It feels a bit like a cathartic release to imagine it – firing little rage bullets at the guy wearing his backpack on a crowded subway, or strolling along on the wrong side of the sidewalk (walk on the right, pass on the left, people), or driving too fast on residential streets in particular. Not in a they-deserve-to-die kind of way, but in a releasing of anger from inside of me. I mean, we’re all going to die whether we deserve it or not, but my imagination is more along the lines of a mental slap in the face, but more violent, and thus more satisfying. I never picture it as a hail of bullets spraying everywhere, either. I’ve often maintained that a gun is the weapon of a coward, but at least in my mind each shot is deliberate, and focused and up close. It’s personal. Each individual knows they are my target, and sometimes I even tell them why, like that scene in Dogma when Matt Damon wanted to smite everyone in the boardroom because they didn’t bless him when he sneezed. Only in my case, because everything happens in my mind, I keep my mouth shut and move on with my day, but carry less anger around as I do so.

I’m so completely not a violent nor confrontational person in practice, but the scenarios which play out in my head are everything I’m not. Which I guess is a good way to be, really. Much better than the opposite, anyway.

I managed to fall asleep for 45 minutes or so this morning, I think, before my alarm went off. Naturally, I had a really stressful and emotional dream during that time, to ensure I awoke even more exhausted than necessary for a Friday. I was moving slow, left late, but still got to work on time. The rest of the week I’ve been leaving early and getting to work late, so even that much went better this morning than it has been the rest of the week.

I just…need to get through the weekend without being even more of a mess by Monday morning!

Beauty In Pain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That Was Then

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

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

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

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

Some of it was actually rather beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tis The Season

So, I’ve decided to add another category called Rants & Random High Assholiness. Basically a spot for me to vent about…well, it’ll likely be about people most of the time. They’re what makes me angry every day. I’d joked awhile ago about how I wanted to write a guide to help members of the general public be less asshole-y, and while I’m not sure I’ll actually write such a guide, I thought it couldn’t hurt to create a spot where I could dump such random nuggets of wisdom…largely in rant form.

This is my first post in that direction, though it’s not specifically a rant. Just a couple of things I was thinking about on my way to work, and these things have come up in my mind before, so I thought I’d go ahead and drop ’em here for a change. The only real problem today is that I am hugely distracted and busy, so I don’t have much time, but a post is a post is a post, so here goes.

It was a slippery walk to the subway this morning. I fell, but so far today only once. I’m pretty sure the world has a hate on for pedestrians, because nothing is really set up to make our lives at all easier. The roads are clear, but everything gets pushed to the side, to become a swamp of slush and rock salt and mud, which we get to wade through just so we can cross the nice clean street. Then the particularly douchey drivers think it’s hilarious to roll on by as close to the curb as possible so they can spray the swamp slush all over us. Wwalking on a snow-and-slush-covered sidewalk is a workout just to keep from slipping and falling (which I failed at this morning), and then some people all but pave the sidewalk with salt, so everything from the mid-calf down gets destroyed. And since salt just creates more slush (it’s not a substitute for shovelling, people!), it makes everything more slippery and messy than it would have been otherwise, which means that when you finally slip and fall, you can’t just brush that shit off like you can with snow. It stays with you until laundry day.

So my morning started with a slip-and-slide walk on the sidewalk (complete with drain covers and the like, which are extra slippery when wet – not a euphamism), then a wade through a slush swamp to cross the street – carefully avoiding those white lines of doom that get painted on crosswalks to make things even more harrowing – a quick dip in the slush swamp at the other side of the street (get to keep that mess until laundry day), and then a Risky Business-esque shuffle-slide downhill and across some fancy (aka more slippery) sidewalk stones to the intersection outside the subway station.

The subway ride was uneventful but for all the regular noobs who seem to have no idea that there is an acre of space in the middle of the train, as they would prefer to sardine themselves into the doorways, instead. Then, as I was about to board the streetcar to complete the last leg of my journey to work, some tool pulls up in his truck, RIGHT in front of the streetcar door. At a red light. So we had to go around that fool just to get on board.

There are a billion examples of why being a pedestrian is akin to being the lower life-form on the totem pole (anything non-human is, of course, the lowest, as they apparently aren’t even worth stopping for), but winter seems to bring the most of them to the surface.  Pedestrians are out in the elements, drivers are not.  Exercise a little patience once in awhile to be less of a dick.  That goes for any season, really, not just winter.

But speaking of winter, I wonder what it’s like living in places that don’t have as many seasons as we do here in Canada? Like here, everyone measures the turning of the seasons in different ways. Some measure by calendar dates, some via groundhog, some use the weather and/or temperature as an indication of which season it is. And everyone’s IQ drops as soon as there is the slightest hint of precipitation in the air. Long winter, early spring – everyone has their own way of determining what defines a season.

Guys – what does the groundhog do if there are 7 more weeks of winter, instead of 6?