Tag Archives: our stories

one Sunday afternoon

I’m sitting at the kitchen table, drinking my third mug of coffee, flipping through the pages of my mother’s old phone book. What I hope to glean through doing this, I have no clue.

Names had been added and crossed out. I recognize my own handwriting in it, my mother’s, my father’s. I recognize the handwriting of a family friend, who used to live in Kingston, but now I wonder if she, too, has died. Probably.

There are names in it that I don’t recognize, names beside which there are Hungarian addresses. Excavating a life becomes difficult, post-mortem – as in life, we only seem to discover the things they want us to know while the rest is buried within them, within the past.

This tracking of my genealogical history has been difficult and unsatisfying. There are more questions that arise than answers, even in this time of technology and the relentless categorization and tracking of data. I do online searches today and find nothing. Ten years ago I could plug in the name of a person and find all kinds of various hits, but now that data is controlled and funnelled through a “smart” A.I. program, only the ones it thinks are relevant pop up. Only what the world deems important comes to our eyes.

So it’s always the squeaky wheel, the loudest voice, the most vociferous opinion that we see on the platforms which for two decades provided us with a wealth of information.

Today? Not so much. I might as well hole up somewhere with a box of microfiche and get to it. I feel like answers might be found in Hungary, but my command of the language has suffered much since my mother’s death, and was never that proficient to begin with. English is my language of choice, the language I have been educated in, learned to be curious in, to think in.

In light of the discussions within my ancestral healing group over the last several weeks, I mourn that loss of language, because within the language, its context and use, are the secrets of my past, the ones I can intuit in my bones.

Words hold meanings, the memories of things. In one language a word could mean the same thing as in another, superficially, but in each language it has a timbre to it that is relevant to the people whose mouths made those words, who spoke those words, a meaning that I will never really know as a member of a diaspora.

These meanings… they can be passed down, if people choose to, but often there is too much of a burden that is carried in their wake, one each generation that comes before the next wants to burden itself with but to not pass on to the ones that come after because they want them to have a better life, a brighter outlook, an untainted future.

But with that loss, there is also a loss of rootedness, a kind of cultural and historic amnesia. It is no small wonder that we find ourselves in a world that holds itself to nothing, that consumes without thought, where everything within it becomes disposable. Some days I wonder if we’ll recover from this illness of spirit, for that is truly what it feels like.

We find ourselves living on the lands of others, people who have suffered, just as our old peoples had, at the hands of others. They are still here, listening to the murmurings of the waterways, the flailing of the trees as they fall to deforestation, to the sound of the thick blood of the earth as it is getting bled out while its face is pitted with the byproducts that make teenage acne look like a walk in the park.

Our elders had gone silent in an effort to shield us from the pains they carried over centuries. We had a chance for a new start, but without their wisdom and the knowledge of all that came before, we made the same mistakes all over again.

When I was a teenager, I distinctly remember refusing to acknowledge any worth to the words of my parents. The separation required to become an adult is a tough journey, especially if those that teach us have become complacent in the comfort of their own lives by the time they come to witness our transformation, and don’t find a good way to guide us, to lead us through by example.

Maybe they are still struggling too.

Maybe by that point we’ve already seen too much of the darker sides of humanity to want to trust anyone else in this process.

I was young and brash, yet I was also sheltered, naive, and wholly unprepared for the world and its people, especially the ones who saw me coming and couldn’t help themselves in taking advantage of me – but I didn’t know that I had this deficit until it gouged holes in my spirit. I took advantage too, in my own way. I suppose that is how I learnt, but I can’t help but feel that there must be a better way to do this.

So here I am, on a Sunday afternoon, alternately staring out of the dining room window, typing this with two fingers on my phone’s keypad, listening to the birds calling outside (seagulls, crows, and another I can’t identify), to the chirping of the cross-walk signal, wondering what I will do with the rest of my day.

There is so much I want to do. I have a long list of chores that I keep ignoring, books that I want to read piling up into stacks that I may never finish reading in this lifetime, stories I have written but that have languished uncompleted, dishes piled in the sink that need washing, a refrigerator that needs to be sorted and cleared, choices to make on food plans for the week, clothes that need to be laundered and stowed, a cat litter box to clean out… to name a few.

In this overload of choices, I often choose… nothing.

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thoughts on a Sunday morning

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It’s sunny this morning. I sit comfortably on the couch in the living room, watching steam rise from the roof as I gaze outside the window. A manic little fruit fly is insisting that it do a kamikaze nosedive into my coffee mug which rests upon, along with my feet, the wicker chest across from the couch. The sky is still a rich blue, not yet washed out by weeks and months of rain. The trees, some of which have been spewing leaves for at least a month, are still mostly green leafed, though some have been nipped by the chilly night air and are showing signs of yellowing. The sun feels warm against my skin, bits of leg exposed between where my flannel pyjama pant ends and my knit slippers begin.

My cat, unimaginatively named “Kitty”, restlessly paces from room to room, mewling quietly in frustration; she wants to be let outside, because the rain has stopped and it’s sunny, but I can’t risk her coming up the back porch, which is still tarped and received another layer of plastic coating recently, requiring 48 hours to set properly. Soon the view from the rear of the house will be restored. All is quiet and still in the house, besides the cat, but street noises filter in through the slightly cracked windows: a car alarm, emergency vehicle sirens (I have never been able to distinguish the separate agencies), the acceleration of buses and the shushing of tires against pavement, the squawking of crows and geese spearing their way through the sky in arrow formation.

I have things to do today. Chore things, and things that I’ve signed up for that I haven’t done, like reading pages of a book, and spending some time on self-contemplation and journaling, and to make moussaka (which will probably be made very late, because I only remembered to thaw out the frozen ground lamb trays at 4:15 this morning while sitting on the toilet contemplating what it was that I would have to do today because yesterday I mostly did nothing).

I wanted to write, too, to work on my story (or one of the many), and this is where I balk. Which one? Where to take it? I’d rather read some more on technique and how-to and endless pages of online text and blogs and Facebook wall posts than sit down and figure that out. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I really don’t know, or the inkling is so faint that it will take too much work to unearth, and there is already enough work that I have to do, isn’t this supposed to be the pleasurable part?

And then I think of pleasure, that kind, the kind that is mostly absent from my life and is otherwise self-inflicted if it happens at all. I miss it. I love the textures and the smells and the feeling of skin against skin and coarse pubic hair and how a person tastes and of course the obvious things as well, but it always has been more for me than plugging things into orifices -it’s a means of connecting with a person in physical and superphysical ways- and it’s obviously not that way for others; not all others.

The kettle has boiled and I’ve moved from coffee to tea. A stream of engine rumbling comes in from outside, perhaps a motorcycle procession, with lots of horn honking and intermittent whistle blows. I’m tempted to go outside to see what is going on, but I’m not sure which direction it’s all coming from, and I am, after all, still in my flannel pyjamas. I open the back door to see if the coating on the deck has set – it has. I let the cat out and she listens to the rumbling for a moment and decides she wants back in.

The rumbling persists, along with the honking and the whistle blowing. I am finally intrigued enough to move off the couch.

[* * * Pause while I go to the end of the street to investigate, in my flannel pyjamas and knit slippers slipped into my Birkenstocks. * * * ]

It turns out that there is an annual Vancouver Motorcycle Toy Run that starts from the Coquitlam Centre parking lot and rides up the road by the house up to the PNE. Mystery solved.

I resume my position on the couch with my wireless keyboard set cross on my lap and my iPad propped up on my knees. The cat wants onto my lap and decides that the iPad will serve as a suitable object to rub against, for the lack of a hand. I observe the little clumps of cat fur that litter the living room floor.

The cat has taken to yanking out tufts of fur with her mouth. This started shortly after her run in with another neighbourhood cat that ended in our living room and with her limping around for the better part of a week. She seems fine now, physically, but she is a tender thing, neurally, and it takes her lengthy stretches of time to come to terms with things that rattle her.

I find it difficult to ignore the mirror she holds up, parallels in our behaviour, since under high stress I have always reached for my hair and yanked, not figuratively but literally. During a particularly trying time in my early twenties I’d fully razed a whole area along my temples, so much so that it hurt to the touch, it had become so raw. It was then that they named it for me, this thing I was doing: trichotillomania. Along with the lip biting and inner cheek chewing, I’m sure they all relate to how I’ve learnt to deal with anxiety, and they all have fancy names in the DSM for body focused repetitive compulsive behaviours.

But the tufts of fur are yet another reminder of the growing list of “things” I must attend to but tend to ignore until I don’t. There’s laundry to be done, too, and dusting. I can’t seem to find it in me to do these things routinely. I used to. I was regimented, which perhaps had been worked into me by my mother despite them being unnatural inclinations. I love spatial esthetics and tidiness, but the clean part doesn’t bother me as much, not anymore (though truth be told, I will admit to being a bit of a germophobe, so while dust and cat fur balls don’t really faze me, I’ll wash my hands a gazillion times while preparing food, and will scrub the sink out to make sure that it doesn’t become a petrie dish of sorts).

Much has changed since I’ve ventured off on my own, without eyes to judge the places I fail to live up to invisible expectations. After her death ten years ago, while I missed my mother terribly (still do), as time went on it was as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, as though I could finally be who I really was and wanted to be.

It’s been a messy ball of yarn, this untangling of self, this figuring out which part was me and which part was conditioning and which parts I wanted to keep and which parts could use a fresh coat of paint. I never imagined that it would be so… complicated… but it has been.

This slow unfurling of self has been good, though, allowing for mindful and gentle observing, because if we can’t be that way with ourselves, how can we be that way with the world? It all starts with ourselves, it seems, no exceptions, otherwise we will judge the world and those in it as harshly as we judge ourselves, whether we admit it or not, and that is an epic fail, in my opinion. It hobbles us emotionally and keeps us from being able to connect with each other in meaningful ways, and what else, besides connection, is the highest goal of human life?

leaning in

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This evening I attended a Lean In get-together at work. They fed us delicious scoobie snacks, plied us with lovely wine and gifted us with swag (the book by Sheryl Sandberg and a tee shirt).

It was interesting. It made me realize all the more that while I immensely value the firm and all its fixings (kind of like a big Thanksgiving dinner), it is time for me to move on to something that will enable me to be that much closer to my own delight. To dream (and thus forcing me to also focus on clarifying what that is, exactly) a bigger dream.

I think with any kind of mentorship (from either perspective) there must be some sort of mutual sharing; we learn from our teachers who in turn learn from their teaching, from their pupils as much as of themselves by virtue of self-observation, in a sort of symbiotic exchange. At least that is what the highest striving would be, for me personally.

What struck me the most this evening was something one of our litigators said during a segment when people were sharing their own experiences on how they “leaned in” during their careers. She said that we (women, because we were largely a female gathering, but I think it applies universally) must learn to become our own advocates. That is something I’ve had many challenges with, partly out of not having enough confidence in my own sense of expertise and skill, or if I felt it was there, uncomfortable with (what essentially feels like) flaunting it to my advantage.

Another said that we must learn to be vocal about and point out our accomplishments, and not to expect others to notice them on their own.

That whole horn tooting thing is something that is difficult to embrace when we (read: I) have a natural tendency toward self deprecation. I’ve been taught to be humble and not to boast. That pride in one’s work is acceptable but not so that it is off-putting or belittles others in the process. And that, despite my accomplishments, there is always room for improvement, and that one ought not to sit on one’s laurels lest we become complacent and lazy.

I think many times I’ve stood down from exploring an opportunity simply based on the fact that I think the person hiring would look at me (and my resume) and question why I was applying for something that was clearly out of my league.

The truth of the matter is, though, as many men realized long before women ever did, that the thrill is had when one is on that fine edge between knowing and stretching, where finesse and expertise are just there, within view but only just out of reach, a prize to strive toward on the journey to the next one.

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I’m tired tonight. Bone tired, despite resting for most of the weekend. Despite the appearance of the sun yesterday and today, and absorbing same like a sponge during forays outdoors over the weekend and at lunch time today.

This is a tiredness of the soul, I think. I sit this evening in semi-darkness, light filtering from the overhead stove light and the lamp at the kitchen entrance into the dining area where I sit at the table with my iPad propped up, the wireless keyboard submitting without complaint to the tapping of my fingertips as I type this. From the lamp’s switch hangs a tiny porcelain rabbit charm with a carnelian bead and faceted crystal strung on a red knotted string – a talisman that is supposed to bring luck and prosperity. I am not feeling very lucky. Or prosperous. Still, I hope that the tide will shift. Soon.

A dream that I had (last night? the night before?) resurfaces as I dig deeper into this sorrow that has bobbed to my surface: I dreamt of Steve and how he pulled out these haphazardly folded, crumpled up blue jeans from one of his travel bags and it is teeming with insects – worms, mealy and earth varieties, pill bugs, grubs of all shapes and sizes, and hands them to me to wash. My aversion to the bugs is outweighed by a sort of stoic resolve in knowing my responsibility, so I drop the pants into the washing machine and get the cycle going. I can’t remember much more than this. Perhaps more will come, but I think this is enough to work with, if I choose to dissect this message from my psyche.

I haven’t examined this dream too much yet. I’m sure it means many things, on several levels. Today I finally popped our marriage dissolution agreement into the mail; I’d signed it about a month ago but then it languished on my desk at work for another month. The signing of it took about a year for me to accomplish. Why this has been such a difficult process for me, I have no idea. It will be four years that we have moved apart (geographically) at the end of this June. By that point it had already been ten months that we had made the decision to part ways, on the basis that whatever love that may have been present at some point during our marriage was no longer there. This end of April would have marked the twentieth anniversary of our wedding. In many ways I am still mourning the end of something, or perhaps mourning the fact that the something that I had hoped would be our marriage never was, and now I am old. I’m not so old that I can’t function or take care of myself, but my youth is gone, and with it, it feels like, also my dreams, particularly those regarding a loving, nurturing, intimate relationship with a another.

All this talk about loving self first in order to be able to love another… on some level it makes sense, of course, but I think that growing to love self through loving another and receiving that other’s love makes more sense to me. I think we all like, maybe even love, things about ourselves. Wholly loving every aspect of ourselves is a more difficult task, and certainly doing so with another is perhaps as difficult. Yet I think it is possible, but it all hinges on how two people relate to each other.

How can we be accepting of our shadow parts when the person closest to us – the one we so desperately wish to entrust the secrets of our soul to – is unable to fully embrace the very parts we ourselves are appalled with, and mirrors back to us the same disgust and nonacceptance we perceive at our core? If the dark sides of ourselves aren’t acceptable to the person who is supposed to love us, then how can we function in the relationship, how can it thrive? How can we evolve and shift our view of our shadow parts if we are asked to disown them, to “fix” them, instead of integrating them in a more positive way and shifting them so that they serve us rather than stymie us?

So I put it to the Universe: let it bring me someone who can see these shadows within me and find them to be beautiful facets of who I am – tweaked a little, perhaps, but still wholly acceptable and loveable in spite of them (and that I may do the same in kind).

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I thought I’d begin the weekend, on this eve of the 21st anniversary of my father’s passing, with sharing an excerpt from a book I have been waiting to see and finally got to download a preview of on my iPad:

“Because, you see, when something bad happens that’s big enough to make you question your entire life, all the other hurts that are hanging around, all the wounds you’ve collected during your lifetime, will come out of the shadows and ask to be healed too.

It’s entirely possible to squash your pain down and carry on with your life, but one day it will catch up with you. One day a little tear will appear in the blanket and then, with an almighty rip, all your crap comes tumbling out. This is a good thing in the long run.”

excerpt from
this i know: notes on unraveling the heart
by Susannah Conway

Wishing you all moments of healing and epiphany and thanksgiving.

serendipity (or the glass half full)

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So yesterday morning the bus that takes me to the train station didn’t show up, causing me and four other people waiting at the stop to run a few blocks to catch another bus to take us to yet another bus which would take us downtown. At the bus stop for the second bus, two more people join us from the route, one who I’ve recently gotten to know better (and who invited me to the book club thing Tuesday night) and another who I see on the bus and train all the time but whom I’ve never spoken to.

We end up sitting next to each other and get to chatting – she is leaving this Sunday to go to Iceland for a two month residency, so I ask whether she blogs and whether she will blog about it if she does. We exchange blog information (hers on a nice business card, mine scrawled on a steno pad sheet) and I discover I know her name… she is one of two artists whose name appears on an info plaque of the little bridge I cross every morning, providing some details about the creative conception of the decorative elements of the design of the bridge, a plaque I’ve read a hundred times if not once and thought “what an interesting name” each time I read it. The universe works in mysterious ways.

(To see more of Fae’s work and follow her blog, click HERE.)

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Sometimes it does get better… sometimes it doesn’t

Wow… I haven’t posted in over a half a year…

How have you been? Easter came and went here in the Great Northwest, and we had a four day weekend, which was nice. Glad that Canadians haven’t gone so secular that we don’t get a day off on either end of an Easter weekend. It was even sunny for a chunk of it. I made roast lamb for Easter dinner and it was good.

I decided to take a couple of extra days off to rest up. I’ve been feeling run down and just down in general. Maybe I should go to the head shrinker and take some happy pills.

I spent yesterday watching Torchwood on Netflix and working in an art journal. It’s been so long since I’ve felt moved to work in it that I’m just glad I can still do it. Things are hurting inside… my creative process feels splintered and broken… so odd, really. Like I’m walking on glass in there, barefoot, as I root around inspecting my inner landscape for inspiration.

Someone recently told me (in a fit of spite) that he didn’t like my art work and that it was nightmarish. He had mostly only looked at my art journals, I think, and made his assessment based on that. Truth be told I have never made art for others’ consumption… it has always been an outlet for letting out what creeps in my inner corridors… and if I let you all see what truly creeps in there, “nightmarish” wouldn’t even scratch the surface I reckon. I always look on with envy when I see people make pretty things… pretty paintings using pretty colours, purely focused on aesthetic and looking happy, or being informative and helpful and useful–someone whose blog folks would want to visit weekly just to glean some inspiration from. I was never that person, but I really did try to be.

Our landlord has advised that they may be selling the place, so I guess I will need to start putting out feelers for a new place, still in the vicinity. Close by, so that Gabriel doesn’t have to change schools.

I hate moving. I’ve moved so much over the last two decades that I’m kind of burnt out on moving, but it appears I may not have a choice… and I get to go it alone. Gabriel is parroting his dad’s words about my needing to “get rid of some more of [my] stuff”.  I don’t have that much stuff… I’ve gotten rid of so much already and I’m just not prepared to get rid of more at the moment. Maybe I will once I start packing again and get discouraged by the volume of stuff that needs to get sorted and stored, which in turn will need to be found room for on the other end.

I got news that the ex is coming up in a couple of weekends to pick Gabriel up to head to Seattle for the weekend. He’s coming with divorce papers, something that we’ve been procrastinating on but clearly need to file eventually.

It’s weird… I’ve been a wife and mother for so long I’m not sure how to be anything else, and for the last several years it has been as though I’ve been working on partial programming… like there’s a role that I’m still enacting but without the other player in place… so only part of who I’ve become gets voiced and the other part feels lost.

And even that part is shifting slowly. Eventually Gabriel will move back to California and I will find myself having to start my “life” over from scratch, at 50, because somewhere along the way I’ve lost my way and forgotten my purpose.  I feel like Mr. Smith in the Matrix.

Whatever… I’m sure things will begin to get clearer as I go along… at least that is my hope.

When you’re young you have a drive to “become” something… build toward a satisfying career… let the hormones rage and have lots of sex… find a mate… get married… ranch babies… get the house and picket fence… fit into a dynamic like puzzle pieces. Now I feel like the lost puzzle piece… like somewhere there’s this completed puzzle with a piece missing and it’s me… but I’ll never find it because its time has come and gone. I suppose I’m feeling sorry for myself, just a little bit.

But I’m tired, too. Of being in a wife persona… or a mother one (though I don’t suppose we ever stop being one of those once we pop out a kid). I don’t think Gabriel appreciates me for who I am as an individual. I’m merely a provider of mom-ish stuff like clean laundry and meals and allowance and nagging about homework. He’s too busy with discovering himself to really see me clearly… and maybe I don’t see myself clearly either, so how can he?

So… I’ve successfully managed to alienate myself from any close ties, and have but a handful of friends, most of them also rather impersonal at this point, so not anyone I’d feel comfortable deeply confiding in or asking to borrow money from, in a pinch. It’s all very Howard Hughes-ish but I can’t even be the rich eccentric–I am instead to be the poor one. You know, over the last year and a half or so I’ve had to pawn most of my mother’s jewelry so that I could keep us in groceries when the next pay check was too far away. It’s probably my inability to manage money properly that’s to blame, and a string of unfortunate events that put me in a jam that seems to never find its end.

I’m in midlife and still wondering when I’ll have the wherewithal to equip and prepare myself for the rest of my life. Everyone who really gave any shit about me is gone, and I don’t think there’s anyone left that really cares. (Oh… there’s the pity party raging again.)

And another scary thing… that faith that I’ve carried with me for the longest time… the one I had in a higher power, that I’d turn to for comfort and strength? I’ve lost faith in it. I don’t think there is a god, and religion is all a load of hooey… something humans constructed in order to give their miserable lives meaning, or to give themselves more purpose than there is any right to be.

Random… I think it’s all random… not even luck, just a numbers game without any rhyme or reason to how things fall. Maybe it’s true about that quantum physics stuff… the part about our observing something affecting the outcome. Maybe if we expect shit we’ll get it whereas if we expect gold we’ll get that too. But I don’t think it has anything to do with worthiness or of being deserving or not, or based on good deeds done or undone, or repentance… or our being at the mercy of some benevolent patriarchal megalomaniac.

So… I haven’t been able to create in a while. I guess being disillusioned and feeling hopeless isn’t conducive to a prolific creative output.

So each day I have to remind myself of the things that I am grateful for. Like a sunny day, or some flowers blooming, or a good piece of chocolate, or a hug from my child, or the fact that I don’t have to drive a car to get to work, or that there’s enough food in the fridge until my next pay day and a bit of cash in my pocket to spare, in case of a small emergency. I’m fucked if it’s a big one.

Anyway… thinking of you in between my bouts of cranky… hope you’re holding up well.

Breaking down to make whole

As I sit here this morning, sipping my coffee and staring down at my hot stone massage rocks, I’m thinking one of those would be most welcome. I’ve torn apart the living area and now have piles of things everywhere (though it really is much better than it was when I first started, as I’ve reshelved many books already).

This all started with my wanting to get rid of some magazines, progressed to having the shelving put up in the art closet, to of course culminate in the moving around of furniture and a massive reorganization of all of my currently visible possessions. The good news is that I now know (for the most part) which books are living in these three bookshelves.

Well… back to the coffee and the longing for a massage. As I unloaded shelves and pushed furniture around (because each time I’d try to budge it with books still in it, it would merely creak and sway-I could almost hear a “yeah right, lady”), I believe I’ve had my own little all day workout session. Moving can do that.

Well the point of all of this is not to share the physical challenges of my under muscled self, or of the supposed lack of space, but rather of the process through which order is created from chaos. It parallels the healing process, and healing is an ongoing process, is it not?

When I was younger (and sparser of possessions, no doubt) I would clear and organize my belongings regularly. Ordering them makes them useful, because without order you don’t know what tools and implements and RESOURCES you have to work with. You know… like buying the same jam each time you go to the grocery store because you like it so much but can’t remember whether you have any left only to get home to find (after digging through the cupboards) that you’d already gone through that exercise twice and now have three jars.

So I am happily going through and organizing… everything from the cupboard contents to my inner ones. I know that this doesn’t mean I won’t have to unload the bookshelves again in the future in order to move furniture around (in fact I am quite certain I will do so in the near future) but until then I know what I have to work with.

And with that I leave you with an interesting and inspiring video from Angi Sullins, who shares thoughts on the richness of the creative product that arises from ash. In the end we are our own burnt offerings, to our better and more arable future selves, and the cycle repeats itself like the balls going round and round in a perpetual motion machine.

Finding solace in peonies… and other thoughts

I’ve been tired lately. I always worry about how far I can push this anemia bit before I keel over, my body finally giving up in defeat. The urge to chew on ice cubes coupled with the fatigue always signals iron deficiency. I am almost out of iron tabs, and I’m tired of popping them regularly, truth be told. There’s got to be a better way, especially since the absorbency rate of the iron tabs is not very good. A couple of years ago, when I went to have cataract surgery in the US, they made me do a pre-op general physical and found that I was “extremely” anemic.

That’s nothing new, since I’ve been having this issue for a little over a decade now (at least that was when it was diagnosed). Late last summer I had some blood work done and the levels were so low that I’m sure in the US they would have hooked me up and transfused me… but not here. Maybe I’m going to the wrong clinic. I think it’s time to go elsewhere and get some real help. I would like to get to the cause and eliminate it, not patch it up with supplements. It’s hard to believe that my menstrual cycle would be capable of draining me to the point of anemia. But who knows? I don’t need the plumbing anymore, so maybe it should be removed. Maybe it’s a good time to remodel.

So along with the anemia usually comes the melancholy. Combine the fatigue with the lack of nutrients and blood oxygenation, and the result is a rather sorry-ass Adriane. I started reading a book yesterday morning (The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen) and read some more at lunch, and then on the train ride home. By the time the evening folded itself into night, I was well engrossed, despite my initial doubts. I finished it this afternoon, but last night as I read into the meaty middle of the book, there were several passages that made me weep. They, of course, had to do with relationships between the characters.

I keep thinking that I’m done with the longing bit… with the whole wanting to be with someone. And then when I read a sappy part in a book I realize that I wish I had that too, and that despite where I am now, and where I have been, there is a part of me that is hopeful to some day feel that sense of belonging… that feeling of being “home” with someone. Is that possible? Or does it only exist in fairy tales? I’d like to believe that it’s true, that people can find each other and “see” each other, in that Avatar-ish way. See past the flaws and embrace the soul beneath the hubris and detritus, or in spite of them. That’s what I thought I’d found. I can’t really fully explain this sense of being at a loss that I am still feeling now. I keep thinking that I’m doing fine, going about and minding my own business, and then suddenly I realize that I am hurting again. Hurting and mourning the loss of what I thought was… or could have been… if only.

Yet… if only I hadn’t been such an idiot. If only I had let go before getting sucked into the depths of something that truly, had I been marginally honest with myself and honoured my gut instincts, was clearly not going to go anywhere but south, and would have clearly seen it resulting in the world of hurt that it ended up resulting in. I suppose, on some level, I’m feeling like Sally (from the movie When Harry Met Sally) when her ex, with whom she had a relatively amicable parting, ends up marrying someone and starting a family and she realizes that it wasn’t that he didn’t want to marry, he just didn’t want to marry HER. And it rips into you in a way that only it can. And you wonder why. You wonder what makes them so special and you so UNspecial that you lacked that quality that made you “it.”

I’ve yet to feel that I’m “it” in my life. I wonder if I ever will. Not that I feel that I need to be validated… it’s not about that. It’s about really being seen, and loved, deeply. It’s about acceptance. It’s about sharing on the deepest of levels. It’s about friendship. It’s about belonging… not to another, but with someone… or rather, perhaps it’s somewhere, like a boat finding its’ mooring.

It’s perhaps about worship… mutual worship. What’s wrong with that? I think sometimes the highest form of spirituality is the one experienced between two people who are truly and genuinely in love. Beloveds… like the ones Rumi writes about, not in a mythical or abstract sense, but really and truly experiencing that with another human being. I think, if there is a Creator, and that Creator is living vicariously through each of us, multitudinously, that the point of this exercise is to experience each other in that way. But maybe the Creator is feeling a mite anemic too, because I don’t think it’s the norm. Or maybe I am somehow deficient and it’s experienced by more people than I could ever imagine, just not me.

The other day, while in the lunch room at work, I picked up one of the magazines littering the tables and found an awesome excerpt from a book by Abigail Thomas entitled In The Fullness of Time. What a fantastic little bit of prose that was. It’s now on my wish list. She writes about how she is beyond feeling the need for a relationship… that the thought, or the theory of it, is appealing… enticing… even titillating, but when push comes to shove, it’s better off left to the realm of fantasy, where it doesn’t interfere with the sweet freedom of doing whatever one wants whenever one wants to. It’s a matter of priority. Being selfish becomes the way of being, when you’re alone. Perhaps we lose the ability to compromise–like an unused muscle, it atrophies from neglect.

I feel that way, oftentimes. That’s the part that thinks it’s hardly worth the effort at this point in my life, to try to weave mine with another’s. Too much water under the bridge, to many peculiarities developed, habits formed and inflexibilities worn like calluses. I wonder how we even think to try, when we’re young. What makes us imagine that we’ll succeed. So many don’t. Any yet, hope springs eternal… at least until somewhere in mid-life where we say “fuck it” (at least figuratively).

Anyway… I’m sounding more and more morose… despite cheering myself up yesterday with a bouquet of peonies. They’re so beautiful… delicate and yet their scent is so bold and pervasive… no getting around the smell if they’re in a room. I can smell them as I’m laying in bed, and they’re sitting in a vase around two corners and down a hall on the window sill in the kitchen. They’re so beautiful, too… the different colours, palettes changing even as they unfurl and spread open like big fluffy powder puffs.

Well… time to head to sleep. Put myself out of my misery. Perhaps I’ll feel more like myself tomorrow, whatever “myself” is supposed to feel like on a good day. I feel only partially mended, like I’m still walking around and the chunk in my middle has a big hole in it, the sides pulled together with thread in an effort to sew up the gap, but it’s not fused back, flesh to flesh. And I wonder how long it will take to get to right again. This mourning is different from the ones I’ve had before.

When my mom passed on, I dove into my art for solace. I created a LOT of stuff during that time. It helped me heal. And I wrote, too. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to find my creative mojo on the tail end of this one. Even with my break up of my decade and a half long marriage, as slow and prolonged as it was, I was able to do a lot of self-care… self-preservation and nurturing… not to say that I didn’t hurt and need time to heal, but I was proactive in the process, and seemed to be able to get to a higher vibrational level, by virtue of the loads of meditation and spirit work I was doing at the time. I can’t even find solace in that now. NOthing moves me. Except, perhaps, loosing myself in movies… and lately the odd book.

The only thing that is making me happy is the fact that I have a new job that is exactly the kind of job that I need at the moment. A sort of routine driven, and relatively non-demanding daily grind with some good egg people and a dependable and respectable salary and benefits.

And this is all the writing that I can muster these days. Short story length letters that end up somehow morphing into blog posts. It seems that the only story that I am capable of writing at the moment is the telling of my own.

Ordinary Sparkling Moments

A special package arrived in the mail today. A little over a year ago, I volunteered to be a “Book Fairy” for Christine Mason Miller’s project to spread the message of “Ordinary Sparkling Moments: Reflections on Success and Contentment.” I write about my Book Fairy experience in this post (click HERE).

Anyway… back to now. A year has elapsed and I find myself struggling to find the sparkle in most everything. Or rather, it’s a daily chore for me to find the sparkle in the ordinary moments of my life. A relationship that I’d invested a year of my time in recently fizzled out like old ginger ale. What is left of my “professional life” is equally lifeless, and the fact of the matter is, it never had much life to it in the first place.

You see, it’s because like Christine, I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I didn’t make any other contingency plans, and after my plan A fell through (through no other fault by my own), and so many other plans that followed never amounted to anything, I continue to want to be something I still feel I am not… not quite. I certainly make art, in some form or other, but I have never made a living at it. Instead I drift, much like a gypsy, from one job to the next, never finding a niche in anything because the truth of the matter is I just don’t fit anywhere, really, especially an office.

I’m quiet, and thoughtful, and slow, and reserved, mostly, but wild and brash in ways that might surprise those who have not seen that side of me. And I have a temper, too, and as I age, it is getting more difficult to reign in. And I get bored really quickly if I am not fully occupied, and have further come to discover that an eight hour work day is just too long of a time to spend sitting at a desk, in front of a computer.

So where does that leave me? I don’t know. I am still searching for some sort of balance between my extremely active mind, creative spirit and insatiable curiosity. Why… WHY was I born this way? It’s excruciating.

While I ought to be busy working out the details of what kind of data to input into a spreadsheet, my mind drifts to a million things…

It was sunny today, so I could smell the spring in the air. In my mind, I spent a portion of the day wandering the streets of Vancouver, feeling the sun on my skin and smelling the thickening pollen in the air. Amidst meetings and email replies and spreadsheet tweaking, my mind juggled several story ideas, alternately fleshing out both of them, watching my characters become more animated and alive as the day progressed. I envisioned myself tending to bee hives and harvesting honey. I saw myself straddling a potter’s wheel and throwing perfectly proportioned mugs, and carving faces and bees into clay to later become beads and embellishments. There were molded bath bombs made and ceramic boxes in which to store them, and the inkling of a logo developed, as well as an etsy shop. My mind never stops…

And yet… by the time the evenings arrive, after an hour long drive and preparing dinner, I am usually too bushed to start on anything. So the wonderful ideas that I’ve harboured all day become stored in my memory banks (or my iPhone notes) for when my energy levels catch back up with the rest of me. Some days I forgo the cooking (or slap something together very quickly) and decide that I must do something. So this evening, with the arrival of the book, and the fact that it was such a beautiful sparkling sunny day, I’ve decided to write a blog post. Long neglected blog that it has been.

Unlike Christine, and her desire to be an artist, I have never felt the need to inspire others in a tangible way. I have no need to encourage or cajole others into being their best selves. I can barely manage to do that myself, so how can I deliver such a message convincingly? I thought, for a while, that I ought to be a creativity coach, and do just that. But the fact of the matter is, my mind wanders far too much. I read five books at once. I have multiple ongoing projects (many unfinished), and flit from one thing to the next like the bees I so wish to care for. I frankly don’t want the responsibility.

On the other hand, if what I write manages to inspire someone else, simply by sharing my own experience or by telling a story, then I can certainly do THAT sort of thing. I don’t know what inspires others… what makes them tick. We are all so similar in so many fundamental ways, and yet so different.

A friend of mine posted something to her Facebook page today, this widget thing that shows you how rich you are compared to everyone else in the world, based upon your annual income. I was the 231,544,348th richest person in the world, based on my earnings last year. Well, that’s nowhere near the top, to say the least, but even though $73 could buy a new mobile health clinic for AIDS orphans in Uganda, my grocery bill for two runs me about $200 a week, not counting incidentals (like toilet paper, etc.). It’s all relative, isn’t it?

So anyway… back to the sparkling moments. Life has been so much something other than smooth sailing for so long. If life was a bed, I definitely woke up on the wrong side of it. Not that it hasn’t been good at all. No… some incredibly awesome things have transpired. My son, for instance, is a treasure. Some of my friends are the most amazing and awesome people I have ever had the honour to journey with. At times when I was the most disheartened, complete strangers have materialized to reinforce my lagging faith in humanity. And I’ve seen beautiful things -natural or otherwise- and lived in amazing places.

The funny part is that we always think someone else has it better than we do, and that our lot is by far worse than everyone else’s. We’re always the most hard done by, in our minds, in comparison to everyone else. The truth is, though, that we all carry burdens of one sort or another, and they are equally weighty in the end. And those sparkling moments? They’re hard to see, from all of the detritus that litters our lives, sometimes, but if we dig a little bit, we can usually find the gems shining through the rubble, no matter how much crap they’re buried under.

So… in gratitude of the gems… and the sparkling moments, one of which, on this day, happens to be the arrival of this most excellent book.