Categotry Archives: Stories

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Miss Appropriate Or, Why I Stopped Looking In Mirrors

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Categories: Everything Else Drawer, True Stories, Tags: ,

Diane Groves' "Fishwishers" image used royalty-free from freeimages.com

Diane Groves’ “Fishwishers” image used royalty-free from freeimages.com

I walk up the street and catch a reflection of myself in the window. I look away. The woman in that window is a woman reflected. She has backward thoughts. She cannot look in to her own eyes. The woman reflected is alone in that window.

In mirrors she moves backward, mixing up her right and left hands. She has imperfections. Spots on her chin or an extra roll around her middle. She notes with too much rapidity every wrinkle forming at the corners of her eyes. She catalogues every change, every sag, every pull of gravity and the stretch of every mashed potato. She frowns at the flame-red stretch marks reaching up over her belly from fifteen, ten years ago’s Rapid Baby Expansion. She says she is not good enough because she is no longer twenty. She is fatter. Softer. Older.

She says this as if youth were a panacea. As if smooth skin and a taut belly were measures of a woman’s worth. As if what made a woman important was the way men looked at her, how they wanted her. You can’t blame her for thinking these things. All reflected women know these things to be self-evident. The women they see, the women they hear, from the time they are born, tell them that age is a hateful, fearful thing. That women lose their power once they turn 40. That men won’t want them if they don’t pluck their chin hairs, and that a woman’s desirability is a woman’s worth. This is what reflected women learn. This is who they are.

So I stop looking at her because she is misinformed. Mislead. Misinterpreting. Miss Appropriate.

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CRISIS! (Averted)

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Categories: Just for You, Something or other but True, True Stories, Tags: ,

From SantaI don’t know about you, but I still write letters to Santa every year. This year my letter, after the perfunctory inquiries about Mrs. Claus, the reindeer, and the state of Santa’s socks, included a request for the Clauses to look after my wee cousin as he undergoes some surgery. Usually the boys and I write our letters together, but secretly, so that nobody knows what’s in each others’ letters. Kind of like when you used to play “Mastermind” (that classic game of trying to guess the shit out of your partner’s twisted mind as it pertains to setting up a row of four differently-coloured beads – we rediscovered it over ExMass this year and I was reminded just how beastly the game truly is. I love it.); we scribble our greetings and requests, and sometimes line drawings of the cats while shielding the contents from one another because some secrets are still sacred, thank #Glob for that.

We got our letters off late this year, so I was a little worried that Santa wouldn’t get them before ExMass, what with the post being overbogged at this time of year, but I have to tell you. We received replies on “Christmas Adam” (which is, The Nipper asserts, “the day before Christmas Eve because Adam came first, after all”. And to think we aren’t churchgoers (nor, in fact, are we Christian…nor in fact particularly religious except for my own quest for enlightenment which is at best ramshackle and at worst pretty handwavey. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with handwavey enlightenment. It’s sure nice when it’s hot out).

ANYWAY.

Often, Santa also leaves a hand-written note after his visit on ExMass eve. This year’s note was pretty awesome. I’ve…um. I’ve redacted portions of it to protect the “innocent”:

Dear [redacted],

I hope you will be happy with these toys. I haven’t received [redacted]’s Christmas list yet, but I think I still know what he likes.

SantaLetter2014[Redacted], I have had to have a talk with Jingle the Elf. He mounted the crossbow backward on your Zombie Strike Crossbow, and then he had an accident that kind of messed up your whole order. Jingle was put on a strict “NO NOG” list and will be in charge of reindeer poop next year. Sorry.

Mrs. Claus has shipped replacement items for you. I hope they arrive by the time you get home. The Terradrone was particularly badly damaged. I’m having Elf Ralph make a new one from scratch.

[Redacted], you have had a good year in sports. I was going to bring you new skates but I guess you don’t need them!

Merry Christmas to all,

S

P.S. I had some soup. It was a nice change from cookies.

[Not shown] P.P.S. You guys have weird stockings.

I should explain that I forgot our ExMass sockings in the exact spot I dumped them, unceremoniously, in the middle of our upstairs hallway, last year after ExMass. I probably should have mentioned my utter lack of domestic tenacity in my letter to St. Nick, but he probably already knows. ANYWAY. Our “stockings” this year were a bunch of cardboard boxes. Yes, we *did* have a white trash Christmas. Thanks for asking.

The Nipper’s whatever the hell they were things that he asked for (I have never even heard of this stuff before, thereby putting me solidly in the “old fart” category) showed up at some point between New Year’s Eve and this past Sunday. I had heard some horrific banging coming from the rafters, which I assumed was the cold snapping the roof beams, but apparently was a wobbly reindeer, because The Nipper discovered some stuff (a crossbow and a weird and very creepy robot that shoots darts) on his upper bunk while getting ready for bed on Sunday. And there was a note that said more about Jingle the Elf and how he felt terrible and how there had been a meeting where he acknowledged a Nog problem.

I mean. That was cool and all.

But it was nowhere near as cool as what happened to me this morning.

I’m sure you remember me bitching about how I was having a RIDICULOUS time trying to buy gifts online (particularly from ThinkGeek, which makes me sad because I do love their stuff, but they refuse to ship to my address, for reasons that are long-winded and usually end in tears). Well. It turns out that SOMEONE ELSE noted my Bad Attitude this year.

Dear [Redacted]:

In due course after the seasonal rush it has come to my attention that you have received poor service in the assemblage and shipping execution of much-desired gifts to your post office box, an address at which you have lived for ages, and one at which you are easily reached by those with a greater capacity for both caring and drink.

krampusletter2014
As you suspect, your troubles were entirely due to the inebriated incompetency of Jingle the Elf, whom Santa has relocated to the stringent auspices of my department for the twelve-month ensuing. Jingle (whom some of the lower order here at the North Pole have simply taken to calling “Nog” as a sniggering homage to his propensity for the rum-laced libation) has been put to hard labour in the bowels of the internet for his various misdemeanors.

Rest assured that I can hear his piteous moans and occasional whimpers as he proofreads BuzzFeed lists and GoodReads reviews of Fifty Shades of Grey – about the worst punishment I could see fit to tax him with. I am, however, not without some small morsel of compassion and do allow him the opportunity to read Your Blog as reward for good behaviour. [Editor’s Note: That could actually be construed as punishment in four states and the Republic of Guelph.]

Having read of your Dorothy Parker, the Effin’ Cold Weather in Saskatchewan, and your love of classic literature, he has had An Idea.

Therefore, in an attempt to curry your favour (and perhaps get back into Santa’s good graces in so doing), Jingle asked me to forward to you this small token of his sincere repentance and his wishes for your Very Good Health and a Very Happy New Year.

K.

Enclosed, wrapped in black tissue paper, were cotton gauntlets printed with passages from Alice in Wonderland which, as you know, is one of my favourite favourites.

I GOT A LETTER FROM KRAMPUS, MOTHERFUCKERS! And gauntlets from Jingle “Nog” the Elf, who is on his journey to recovery, it would seem. HOW COOL IS THAT? (That’s might cool, yo. MIGHTY COOL.)

I love things.

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…when you look at it

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Categories: Just for You, True Stories, Tags:

image "old photograph" used royalty-free with permission from freeimages.com

image “old photograph” used royalty-free with permission from freeimages.com

So after yesterday’s Debbie Downer post, I thought I’d just say another thing along the same vein. And that is, that while there is a very important role that grief plays in dealing with loss, where the actual MAGIC happens is somewhere else. What that mourning stage does is gets some of the sadness and hurt out – you know, when you cry so hard, and so long that you’re exhausted afterward and fall in to a deep, deep sleep? It’s a powerful purging. That expression of longing and loss and sadness makes way for something that I’m sure the Germans have a long, awesome-sounding word for.

And it’s this kind of happysad memory invocation, also usually spurred on by stories, where we actually can and do “celebrate” the life of someone we’ve lost. Yesterday I had a bee in my bonnet about the whole thing and here’s why: I was at a wake two years ago, and the MC stood up and said “we don’t want to see tears today; we want to remember him fondly and remember all the wonderful and amazing things he did and the great man he was”. And that’s great; that’s important to do. But it stuck in my craw because at that moment, that day, what we actually did need to do was to cry like banshees. And we did.

I remember the first funeral I went to, when I was eight, and the minister was talking about how wonderful it was that my Gramps got to hang out with God, and I thought, “yeah! Actually, that is pretty awesome, because he totally believes that’s going to happen. GOOD FOR YOU, GRAMPS!” And so I did have this moment of joy knowing that Gramps was getting to hang out with God. This was, of course, immediately followed by my own selfish knowledge that that meant that *I* didn’t ever get to see him again, and let me tell you, that knowledge has pretty much shaped my entire life.

But there is good, comfort, and even sometimes joy to be had in peoples’ passing, especially so if their death is an end to their suffering. And if you have faith in an afterlife, there are all kinds of awesome things a soul can go on to do! Honestly, that’s the kind of comfort that some people need. I think that’s wonderful, that you can find comfort there. There are many ways to find comfort whether you’re religious or nonreligious, theist or atheist.

Death is a very inward-looking thing. There’s nothing wrong with that. And honestly, one of the things that gets me the most at death services/celebrations/whatevers is that my heart breaks for the pain that everyone is in. I mean, whether or not I even knew the person. This one time, Drang and I went on a date to a funeral. I know that sounds weird, and trust me, it gets weirder. It was my cousin’s funeral; a young man who’d been murdered at a house party for trying to defend his ex girlfriend from her then-boyfriend. That branch of the family was pretty much destitute, and it was the first time I’d ever seen an actual cardboard box coffin and the little chapel filled with his peers and his parents and brother, none of whom could rub together two nickels to get a dime between them.

I wouldn’t have known my cousin if I’d have passed him in the street; I’d only met him once, and that was in passing and is a whoooole other story. But I watched my great aunt, his mum, come apart. I felt how heavy and melting people’s grief was, and I wanted to make it better, but of course, I couldn’t. Nobody could. Helplessness really blows. I remember walking up the street afterward, surprised at how emotional I’d become over someone I didn’t even know, whose life never touched mine except in the story of his, if not noble, then at least somewhat heroic death.

Kay. You know what? This was supposed to be a more UPBEAT post. I meant to say that there is a place for happiness and laughter at memorial services. There’s a HUGE place for all of that. I think the (rather abstruse) point I’m trying to make here is that we oughtn’t deny the power of grieving together to …well, to help.

So at my funeral I ALSO want you to laugh and fight and throw shit and cause a ruckus. A joyful ruckus (this might be the name of my next poetry book), a tearful ruckus (maybe a combination of those two things). I want you to do whatever you need to do to send me off. Fireworks ought to be involved. And possibly a New Orleans-style brass band. And filthy poetry. PLEASE promise me there will be filthy poetry. [Note: I don’t intend on dying anytime soon. I still have at LEAST 40 more good years in me, so you’re going to have to wait rather a long time for this awesome shindig.]

 

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Not with a whimper

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Categories: Just for You, True Stories, Tags: ,

I thought I would be much, much older before so many of my friends died. I thought I had more time. That’s the thing, isn’t it? We always think we have more time.

Well, we don’t. That’s just the thing. Cherish every single moment because while time is not finite, our lives are. We are so delicately, so miserably, so beautifully finite.

I am sad to say I have had more experience with funerals* and wakes and ‘celebrations of life’ than I would really like to have had at this point in my own life. And I have something to say about it right now. It’s not politically correct. It’s not going to make anyone feel any better. If you’re the sort of person who needs trigger warnings, well, there are probably triggers all over the damned place in what I’m going to say.

When I die, I goddamned well want people to be sad. I want you to mourn. I want you to grieve. I want you to sob and to wail and to gnash your teeth. Because grief and sadness have a place, an *important* place in our lives. We have to learn to let go of hurt, and the only way to do this – seriously, the *only* way to do this – is to grieve. To let that sadness wash over you in wave after wave of throat-stabbing, chest-heaving wave. To cry so bloody hard your tears dry out and your nose is raw from wiping away all the snot.

Grief is raw, it’s visceral. It’s not *pretty*. But it’s beautiful. Grief is one of those things that bind us to one another. It’s one of those things we have all experienced. Every one of us has lost a friend, or a pet, or a family member, or, what the hell, a beloved gewgaw, gadget, or toy. It’s okay to grieve for lost things. It’s okay to be sad. The purpose of grief, then, is to embrace that sadness fully in order that we can move past it. To experience it so that we don’t drown in it. To learn to swim, in other words.

I get what we’re trying to do when we say we’re going to have a “celebration of his/her life”. I know we’re trying to focus on all the great things our loved one did; all the awesome ways they made us feel good. We’re trying to focus on the good memories in order to ameliorate the heavy, bleak white and scarred landscape that our souls become when we lose someone. But at some level, that’s completely missing the point.

A while ago, for reasons that I only understand in terms of listening to what the universe is saying (I will not beg forgiveness for my understanding of how the universe works. I’ve done enough of that, frankly.), I wrote my father’s obituary. My father isn’t dead. I am terrified of having to face my father’s death, and I woke in the middle of the night and thought, “I’d better jot something down now because God knows I won’t be able to when the time comes, and since I’m the last member of his family alive (other than the kids, of course), I’d better do this now.” So I did. And I wept the whole time. My sobs shook the bed. I also haven’t…told my father that I’ve written his obituary. That would probably weird him out, so maybe let’s just keep this between you and me, okay?

You are bloody well right that I expect people to be upset at my father’s wake. He is a great man, with a great many friends, and his life has touched many, many others. He is a giving, caring soul, despite his many ‘accidents’ with my (former) pets, and I expect he will be mourned. He is utterly irreplaceable. What we will be grieving is that we will no longer have the chance to sit with him and hear his laughter. We won’t be able to make any new memories. The only way we’ll be able to be with him will be to tell stories.

Now, stories are powerful strong, and a good story can bring a man back until you can damn near see him. But not strong enough to feel his arms around you or to just sit at the table and talk. And that’s why we grieve. That’s why we NEED to grieve. And wakes and memorials are the time when we all grieve together. Where it’s okay to show our vulnerability. Our sadness. We are strong together in our weakness.

So when I die, you motherfuckers better be sad. You had better grieve and mourn and for those of you who don’t, well, I probably pissed you off right good and never got the chance to figure out what I did wrong. I do plenty wrong, and I do wrong things often. We all do.

I love having you in my life. I love spending time with you, or chatting with you or talking to you, or reading your words. You are important. You are brilliant. You are worth it. I have no idea if I’ll miss you when I croak. But when I do, I want you to be sad *together*. If there’s one thing I want my life to have done, it’s to have brought people together (with or without Very Awkward Verb Tenses). I want to have made a difference, however small.

So. Just so’s you know. I don’t want any of this “come and celebrate cenobyte’s life at blah-blah-blah”. I want “look, we’re all pretty miserable about this, so let’s all be miserable about it together, okay?”

And of course, part of this is spurred by the possibility (however real or imagined) that there will be five non-family members at my wake, and three of them will have been hired according to the tenets of my will, as traditional keeners. YOU KNOW I’LL DO THAT.

*I want to note here that the purpose of religious funerals is very specific, and that is to note and celebrate (in the sense of the word that means ‘observe in a religious rite’) the journey of one’s soul to whichever nirvana to which your religion adheres. So I’m kind of not talking about religion-based funerals in this little rant, although I’m sure I have something like that burbling away somewhere.

 

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I don’t know why she’s leaving, or where she’s going to go

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Categories: Just for You, True Stories, Tags: , ,

Alice Through the Looking Glass

First, there was Alice.

http://nac-cna.ca/englishtheatre/event/8444You have lived your whole life in the lap of storytellers; everything you have learned, everything you remember, is from stories told over and over. The reason we tell stories is because this is how we learn. History is nothing without the narrative; every religion began as a story – some way of shaping what’s around us, some way of making sense of who we are and why we are the way we are.

At some point, you read Lewis Carroll. Maybe you were just little. Maybe you were older, in University, and a girl you liked read Alice Through the Looking Glass. That girl liked you too. An awful lot. She won’t remember, years from then, which of you most resembled the White King, but she will think it is you, because she…SHE…is the one who sometimes believes a half dozen impossible things before breakfast. You were one of them.

Later, a different boy would hear her read Alice in Wonderland and would give her both stories bound in cloth, cuddled together in a sturdy red box with foil reproductions of the woodcut illustrations on the cover. That would be the moment she knew she was in love with him.

Look, verbs are difficult. Tenses muck everything up. Because even later than THAT, the girl would be in a far-away city (relatively speaking), and she would go and see Alice, on stage.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

And it would be the most magical, the most achingly beautiful thing she will ever have seen. Better yet, she will have gone to a dress rehearsal, and she will have been one of the first people to see the performance on stage; on this stage. On the chessboard.

It will have started with Alice. Then, two Alices, as the mirror rotated in a complete circle, over and over and over. Where did that other Alice come from? The girl will have spent the evening full of so much joy she wept. She laughed and wept and laughed and cheered and there will have been jellybeans. JELLYBEANS FALLING FROM THE SKY FOR EVERYONE. And the jellybeans made it rain on stage and verbs. Verbs are tricksy things. Very slippery. Very verby.

Alice.

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Despite all my rage

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Categories: Just for You, Stories, Tags: ,

I was tagged by my friend Julian (@saskajules) to post five photos for five consecutive days. Actually, the challenge didn’t say anything about consecutive days; it just said five days. We *assume* it means consecutive days. But really, one could post five photos during five arbitrarily chosen days.

IMG_8610 Most of the time when people say ‘random’, they mean ‘arbitrary’. “Random” basically means something that’s chosen or done or made without thought. In the field of statistics, it means there is an equal chance that each option will be selected. “Randomness” is a lack of predictability. Most of the time we mean “arbitrary”, which means a choice that’s made or something that is selected due to whimsy, or because of random selection (which means a non-predictable selection). In mathematics, it’s a quantity of unspecified value. This is a complete diversion from what I was going to say.

This is what I was going to say:

Look up. Break your attention from the road at your feet; stop looking at your hands. Look up. Pay attention to the vast space above you, and let your thoughts soar.

I’m going to challenge my friend Lori-Anne (@ladida83) to post five pictures for five *consecutive* days, and to tag someone new each day.

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The Whole Wide World

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Categories: Just for You, Stories, Tags: ,

IMG_7501

I was tagged by my friend Julian (@saskajules) to post five photos for five days in a row.

Look there.IMG_7501

Look right there, in the palm of my hand. What do you see?

Nothing

Look again.

Just dirt, I guess.

There in the palm of my hand is promise. There is history. There is hope. What else do you see?

Nothing. There’s nothing there.

This is an invitation for you to see.

I’m going to tag my friend @SoupSimply to post five photos for five days, and to tag someone new in each post. I bet she’s going to post a lot of pictures of food. THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST WEEK EVER.

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La Frileuse / Winter

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Categories: Just for You, Stories, Tags:

IMG_8884.JPGI’ve been challenged to post five pictures in five days by Julian (@saskajules).

Jean-Antoine Houdon’s (not HODOR as I muttered under my breath as I read the tag) “La Frileuse/Winter”. This was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I was in New York last week. I kind of love her. The curve of her thighs, the serene resolute look on her face. The fact that it’s bronze just made the subject even colder. At the time of its creation the Salon rejected it because they felt a partially draped figure was indecent (fully nude ones were not).

Incidentally, “la frileuse” means “the cautious”, I believe. She certainly looks that as she steps trepidatiously forward.

I quite love this piece.

I challenge my new work neighbour Annabel at @wheeliegoodcoffee to post five pictures in five days and nominate someone new every day.

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R-E-S whatever

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Categories: Family, The Captain, True Stories, Tags:

IMG_3476.JPGAnd then #TheTeen saunters in to the room with his hands jammed down his pockets and a scowl on his face in the best inadvertent impression of Reggie Mantle I’ve ever seen. Keep in mind this is after an evening of which the highlight was sitting down at the dinner table having provided the following instructions: “we are going to sit here, miserably, and be miserable. We are going to hate one another and stare pointedly at our bowls. Likely we won’t speak to one another at all. But we’re going to sit here miserably and have a miserable supper and it will be horrid and uncomfortable. But it will be quiet. Resentful, and quiet.”

“So where’s the money you said you were going to give me?” It asks.

“In my wallet,” I answer.

“You gonna give it to me?” It asks.

“We’ll see,” I say.

“Yeah whatever,” it says. It saunters off again. Then it slams something.

This is what you have to look forward to, all you people with adorable babies and balanced lives. THINGS that live in your house and eat all your food and slam and break your things and then say shit like “whatever” as they slouch off because unfair and reasons and hormones.

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It ain’t easy

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Categories: Something or other but True, True Stories, When There's Weather, Tags: ,

storm cloudsThis is a difficult post for me to write. To be honest, I don’t even know if it’ll ever get posted publicly. I’m not particularly good at this sort of thing, and the idea that people use their blogs to kind of…I dunno…bleed out all over the place gives me the squickies. So I don’t know why I’m even writing it. Maybe it’s just time for me to get my Internet leech treatment.

The past two years have been incredibly difficult. Probably this has to do with one a’ them…whattayacallems…big life changes. It’s been a time when many of the people around me – the people I care deeply about love have gone through some pretty intense periods of stress. And, I’ll be honest with you, I’ve gone through some difficult shite too.

I mean, we all do, right? This isn’t one a’ them …whattayacallems… calls for help or big neon signs flashing “pity me” or “soothe me” or even “look at me”. Feel free to stop reading now and go find something awesome to do. I encourage doing so without pants!

It started with the loss of a friend. It was silly, really. But here’s the thing – I’m one of those people who doesn’t form close relationships very easily (Depthless Gemini might tell you it’s at least in part because of my Geminosity), and so when something happens with a good friend, it kind of blows apart huge chunks of my life in psychologically astonishing ways. Actually, to be honest, it started with some pretty serious issues between His Nibs and I. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about that because there are some things I’m just never going to bleat about publicly. I will say that things were really, really shitty for about six months, and in that time, I was the loneliest I have ever been in my life.

(Which is saying a lot, actually.)

During that time, and the next six months, I had to work really hard to figure out what was most important to me. Also during that time, there was a strange …well it felt to me like an ostracism, but I’m sure that’s just because I was having a nervous breakdown. I’m sure it was more like a simple growing apart happening. A normal thing, the sort of thing that happens when relationships evolve and change. But to me, who was already feeling like the tiniest thing on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, it seemed like the camera filming my life panned out so far that you could see that it wasn’t really an ocean but an entire planet covered in water except for my wee rock.

Then I lost a friend. We had been very close – at least in my heart – and I don’t even really know what happened. It was like a switch was flipped and all of a sudden it felt like I was being cast aside. Glob almighty this sounds ridiculous. Anyway, I was really hurt. So hurt, in fact, that I couldn’t even talk about it for a couple of months. So hurt that I couldn’t even figure out what the hell was going on for a few months. Once I figured out that what was going on in my non-rational heart was “you’ve been dumped, dumbass”, I started to see that all my attempts at retaining that friendship were in vain. In all truth, our friends go through their own shite all the time, and assuming it’s our friends’ responsibility to shore us up in times of weakness really isn’t terribly fair. So I have a huge part to play in the loss of this friendship. I think I was needing or wanting something that my friend simply wasn’t able to give – through no fault of their own. But it was devastating.

Part of the fallout from my Troubles was that I refocused a lot of things. I pared back a lot of what was scattering my focus (again, as Depthless Gemini might mention, we Geminoids are particularly terrible for scattering our foci), and I started to really listen to what His Nibs needed, and to what our children needed. Not that I’d been ignoring them, but there came a time when it was pretty clearly written in the sand that they needed me to be much more present. Part of this refocusing was to stop having huge games at the house, to stop having guests one weekend every month. We (the children, His Nibs and I) wanted to have our friends over when we had time to visit, when we would have time to really make and maintain those one-on-one conversations that connect us together. I know that decision was hurtful to some of our friends. While on one hand, I was trying to rebuild the sanctuary we all needed, I was tearing apart the haven that so many of our good friends enjoyed.

I still feel bad about that, actually. Perhaps I handled our decision poorly. Perhaps I was unclear about why we made the decision we did and why it was so vitally important to us to make that decision. I know that for at least one person, the way I handled that communication really blew. He had no idea how bad things were, and I found it difficult to really *talk* to him, even though I desperately wanted to (and didn’t know how to tell him how much I needed him), because there were always other people around. And, this may shock you, I’m not very good at asking for help. Particularly when it comes to emotional stuff.

So to him, it must have looked like I just snubbed him and basically told him he wasn’t welcome in our family anymore. I didn’t even know how to deal with that when it happened, and was still so goddamned sore from trying to climb out of the loneliest hell I’d ever experienced, that I just kind of…well, I fucked it up.

Then all hell broke loose.

IMG_1129A good friend found himself in hospital in an unexpected mental health breakdown, and while I was trying to help him through that, one of my close friends, David, succumbed to mental illness and committed suicide.

I didn’t know how to deal with THAT, either. I still, a year and a half later, can’t believe he’s gone. I’ve lost people (even family) to suicide before, including a different friend four months earlier, but this one…this one hit really, really close to home. I couldn’t stop thinking about David. I couldn’t stop being sad.

During this time, I was incapable of reaching out. I was just numb all the time, and sad the times I wasn’t numb. I knew it would pass, and His Nibs and the kids were wonderful. It took a very, very long time to start feeling myself again. I don’t think it was until last summer that I started to. I remember hearing the news that I’d be getting a new baby cousin, and I got to know some pretty amazing new people in my family and I realized I was never really alone; I’d just been trying to grab on to something that wasn’t there.

By the time fall rolled around, it felt like things were just starting to get back on track, and then one of my best friends moved away (I miss you like crazy, MrGod). He had been a real rock, and an amazing confidant, and someone I could just be comfortable with. He didn’t move a little ways away, either. He moved halfway across the country, so hanging out is REALLY HARD.

Here’s what I don’t want to say: I have really needed a lot over the past two years, and I’m not the sort of person who asks for help. When I do ask for help, it’s usually understated, and it’s been very, very difficult for me to not take “rejection” personally. I put that in air quotes because I don’t really know what I mean. I don’t even know how to ask for …Christ, for attention I guess? Not in the “Bitches be givin’ out attention over there” kind of way, but more in the “hey, I’m really having a shit time of things and could really use a movie night” kind of way.

And here’s what I do know: there have been some amazing people who have shared their lives with me, and I am deeply, deeply grateful for all of you. Even those whom I have hurt, and especially those I’ve lost. For those of you who have gone out of your way to share your time and your spirit with me in the last year, I can never thank you. I just can’t. You have shared yourselves with me in a way I can simply never repay.

So there it is. A super long, really kind of rambly talk about how my life has fallen apart over the last two years, and how I’ve gone from being completely and utterly lonely to starting to discover that there really are folks out there who want to spend time with me. That looks really bloody stupid all typed out like that. Maybe sometimes it’s okay to look stupid.

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