Archives for the month of: February, 2015

Confession time: I’m online dating and dating in real life. The human heart is capable of many emotions at once – it is…ambivalent. So, although broken, it is open and ready to give and receive love. I recognize the juxtaposition of these conflicting states of the heart. I figure my heart and I will learn to live with the paradox.

My first phone calls (3 with the same person) with one of my “matches” went really well – he is far more laid back than his written message imply. We have a date on Friday night, dinner halfway between us at an “upscale Italian restaurant”, so I guess I have to put some effort in to looking good. Blerg.

My first meeting with another one of my “matches” went well too.

I told my brother about it last night: It was going really well, we were talking and walking and he suddenly looked at me and looked a bit stunned and he said “Oh wow, you have beautiful eyes.”

My brother said: Oh, I bet you hated that.

Me: It is the worst. I don’t have the ability to be gracious about it anymore.

My brother: Yeah, it isn’t like you haven’t heard that every day of your life.

Me: Yeah, it isn’t new or interesting. And I just kind of deflate when someone says it like it supposed to be new to me and I’m supposed to be flattered.

My brother: No, I get it, one thing you’ve every day of your life and – ]

Me: Boring. I know already. Tell me something new. A guy is like “you have beautiful eyes” or some variation and I’m like, “yes, I know, thanks for noticing”. So I said to him “Yes, I know thank you.”

My brother: Haha. Oh well, he just met you.

Same guy, as we were sitting having a cinnamon bun and a beverage, suddenly said “Oh wow, your hair is amazing, I just really want to touch it!” My response was “Please don’t touch my hair. Seriously do not touch it.”

Then he said “Oh wow, I wish I could just bundle you up and take you home with me.” I startled and he looked at me and said “Sorry that was bit creepy. I mean, you are so lovely that I’d like to spend more time with you.”

I told a friend about the “you have beautiful eyes” comment and she said “no one has ever told me that I have beautiful eyes” and I had to explain that most men who ask me out say it is because of my eyes.

And I’m not ungrateful. I am very lucky that I have eyes that see and that people find attractive enough to want to be around. I am lucky that when people ask me out that one of the things they want is my eyes on them – they want my gaze focused on them. I’m lucky that the way I look appeals to people and they find me attractive enough to want to be around and feel good to be seen with me.

But.

Am I the only one who laments that the physical is sometimes distracting? The physical says nothing about the personality or character of a person. I get that people judge you first on how you look, but about those second and third and 48th judgments? I do the best with what I have inherited from my parents, I try to live within my body in a way that expresses my character and makes me feel secure and safe and comfortable. For me, there is always a moment of let down when I meet someone in person after emailing them or talking with them on the phone – they get distracted, suddenly they don’t want to talk about ideas, they want to talk about how I look.

They want to touch me.

I feel ungrateful.

I just.

Sometimes I want to leave my physical expression behind, I want to shed my skin, where I intersect with the world, take it off and walk away. I want to be pure energy. I will be a beam of light made up of only of my character and ideas. I will speak to people telepathically, my laughter will sound like water over pebbles. I won’t have eyes or hair or skin or lips or anything – just light.

I want someone to see me clearly. Without getting distracted by the physical me. Get to know me inside out.

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“What We Do in the Shadows” is directed and written by Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi. Many of the scenes are improvised.

The alternate title to this film could be “Oh Look! We made a film for bex!”

This film is a mockumentary that follows 4 vampires who are flat mates living in New Zealand.

I don’t know what to say – I loved this film. The actors all play the premise very straight and it is obvious that they know a lot about vampire lore and living with other people. The supernatural and mythical vampire attributes are intermingled with the totally mundane (whose turn is it to dishes, according to the chore wheel) to hilarious results. In addition to vampiric powers (and vampiric limits) they don’t have a very good concept of life in the modern world and which has all sorts of strange and funny results (you try figuring out if you are dressed appropriately without a reflection).

The audience that I saw this film with was quick to laugh and understood vampire lore and was totally sucked (sorry, couldn’t resist!) into this romp.

I loved that the movie addressed other supernatural creatures as well, I found the werewolves specifically funny and am still chuckling to myself about some of their lines.

Interestingly, the film has moments of sheer horror, it isn’t all comedic. The tension from these horrific moments increases the humour of the film although they are not funny in themselves. The scenes are brief but shake up the pace of the movie and serve as a real reminder that, funny as they are, the topics of the movie are blood-sucking monsters who come into conflict with other monsters, personalities and humans who have various intents and motivations.

It is a weird little film that runs about an hour and half and is packed with content. Completely satisfying it is one of those movies that shows up, does it’s things and then ends. Bliss.

Highly recommend this film, go out and see it immediately. And let me know what you think.

This recent upset, break-up, ending of a romantic relationship has made me take a hard look at some of the things I say and do – re-evaluating of the person narrative. I think I’ve written about how I’ve been bingeing on articles about surviving a broken heart but I’ve also been reading articles about how to start dating again and how to deal with depression.

I have /have had issues with depression. I’ve been medicated for depression. I’ve seen a counsellor and psychiatrist/psychologist for depression, the psychologist while I was on the meds. The meds were in the SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor) family and were, as my doctor put it “A band aid, the lowest dose possible, this is what I prescribe little grannies who are feeling blue.” My doctor, partner and I all agreed at the time that if I was going to take meds it would be in conjunction with seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist or counsellor to monitor and assist me get back into healthier ways of thinking. My partner and I both had/have degrees in psychology so it was easy, we were on the same page about me getting healthy. The meds would help, but we never considered them a long-term solution, I didn’t want to take them for the rest of my life. I owe my partner at the time full credit for helping me make such a sane decision – it changed my life.

Today I read this article: “Why I Don’t Like the Term Mental Illness” and I’m really impressed. I like how the article talks about there being no evidence for depression having a genetic basis or it being linked to any structure of the brain. The author talked a lot about the difference between the mind and the brain – on being a concept we use to explain our thoughts and process and the other being a physical structure.

A friend of mine recently asked what I do to manage my depression. And I didn’t have a good answer. What I know is that the support I received from the psychologist helped me re-align my thoughts and replace unhealthy thoughts with healthy thoughts. She helped me become stronger and built up my resiliency. And I tell you, even today I use a lot of things she taught me and remember the things she helped me discover about myself. When things aren’t going well I ask myself “What am I doing?” and then I follow-up and ask “And how is that working for me?” If it isn’t working, I change what I’m doing and thinking.

Powerful stuff.

I have to tell you, when I talk about my depression and how I got to great lengths to manage it, I’m not managing my brain, I’m managing my mind – thoughts and thought processes – I’m correcting my thoughts constantly and retraining my brain to think in healthy ways. I know that my thoughts work best when I’m rested, so I get 8 hours of sleep a night (or thereabouts), I know my thoughts are healthier when I get up early and go to sleep early, so bedtime is 10pm and wake-up time is 6am. I know my thoughts are healthiest when I don’t eat a lot of junk food or drink a lot of alcohol. I know my thoughts are healthiest when I have balance between spending time alone and with people, spending time at home and spending time out, so all of that gets managed and I keep track constantly of how I’m thinking and what I’m thinking.

And I rely and lean heavily on my support system. When things go off for me, I take a step back and think it through. If I doubt myself I ask for varying opinions, often I get dissenting ones but that helps me through too. From there I ask more questions and then, if it involves another person, I ask for clarification. I never assume I know the answer and try to be sane about what I think is really going on. I try to assume the best about a person and not the worst.

Getting back to the break-up, this is the reason that I was so concerned about him going off his antidepressants – he had nothing in place to help with his thoughts and feelings. He was relying on meds alone and the belief that our relationship was the source of happiness. His thoughts may have been as ill and pervasive as they were when he was on his meds. I didn’t really know him or his thoughts that well, but the glimpses that I had, the things he sometimes said to me, there were some errors in logic happening there. Without help and guidance in correcting our thoughts, finding clarity, they remain foggy and we can’t see the way clear.

I really enjoyed this article because it enforces the experience I have had with depression and my choices and ongoing commitment to myself to live without taking meds for my depression. I regard my depression as “illness” as maybe the author does not, but I regard it more as an “illness of logic”, as if logic can be thought to be ill or diseased and not just incorrect or fallacious. I tell myself every day, many times during the day that I am stronger than the chemicals in my brain, that I am stronger than my depression and my logic sounder and more reliant than my feelings, which are sometimes out of control. I tell myself that those feelings are mine to control and any actions I take I claim full responsibility over – depression is not an excuse, it is my dragon to wrestle with.

He never bought me flowers. Not even after a fight, because we never fought, not even at the end. At the end it was just, The End. By text. I never bought him flowers either. On our second date he picked a flower from a pot on the sidewalk and gave it to me, I thought that was very romantic.

We never learned Japanese together. We talked about it. I bought us both copies of “Japanese for Busy People” and I brought my copy with me to his house every week-end but we never so much as cracked them open.

We never swam in his pool together. We met in September and the weather wasn’t warm enough to swim and it just got colder from there. Same for hanging out by his koi pond.

We didn’t go for long walks on the beach. We walked along the beach near my home once. It wasn’t long.

We didn’t get arrested together for anything. Lacking of trying, probably.

I never met any of his friends – time together was hard to find and we kept being “selfish”, we wanted private time together, together alone. I was supposed to meet some of his friends the next week-end, but he broke with me instead. Never watched one of his hockey games.

We traded books, but neither of us finished any of them before he ended things.

We didn’t cross any time zones together or go through customs together or get on a plane or a boat. We never picked each other up at the airport.

He didn’t spend Christmas with my family and we never kissed at midnight on New Year’s Eve. We didn’t listen to Alan Maitland’s reading of “The Shepherd” on CBC on Christmas Eve together.

We didn’t blow bubbles for his cats to chase.

I never made him a birthday cake or planned a surprise party with all his friends.

He never held me when I awoke crying in the middle of the night.

He never checked the closet or under the bed for monsters.

He didn’t help me hang pictures on my parents’ walls.

He never met my parents.

We never attended a party together, never dressed up and took a picture of ourselves to see how good we looked together.

I don’t have any pictures of him.

We didn’t have a song, or a regular place we always went and ordered the same thing.

He never tried rock climbing. I never tried scuba diving.

We never drank my favourite beer that he was aging for us for one year. The beer we planned to drink in October 2015 and compare the aged beer with the new stuff. (He still has 6 of my bottles!)

I never told him about the first time I had sex.

I never told him about the worst meal I ever had.

Or the best.

We never assembled Ikea furniture together.

We never prepared cinnamon infused duck breast with butternut squash ravioli.

We never hosted a summer BBQ and pool party at his place.

We never argued about his son getting a job and going to post-secondary education.

He wasn’t the one I turned to when I needed help or support. I felt I didn’t know him well enough yet. I was still learning him, finding out if I could rely on him, finding out if he was strong where I am where I am weak. My support system is strong, I wasn’t ready to add him to it.

I didn’t leave stuff at his place, intentionally. Didn’t have a drawer and didn’t leave a toothbrush or body wash there. He only visited my home twice, only stayed the night once. We had sex in his car more times than in my bed.

He never came to a ukulele jam night and saw me do a song for open mike. Both of my ukuleles visited him and I practiced them but he never saw me perform. We never performed a duet for open mike at my ukulele jam. He never tried to play ukulele.

We never revisited our feelings or intentions or mutually agreed that we would spend more time together – the shift from spending Saturday afternoon to Sunday to Friday evening to Sunday just happened due to circumstance and scheduling and not an agreement that we were ready to spend more time together.

We didn’t have a conversation and put a plan in place for him to go off his antidepressants. We didn’t agree to back off or slow down or take a break. By the time he told me his intention is was already done. You have to watch the step down off SSRIs – it is a doozy. He took it fast. Did he crash? I don’t know, I’ll never know, we didn’t have that conversation and I wasn’t there for him to ask. They call it a “crash” because it causes damage, sometimes this break. I am the damage? He even said, things were going so well with me that he wanted to feel the full range – the highs – again. He went off his meds, in part, due to his relationship with me. This is irony, right?

We never talked about irony. Never shared incorrect examples about what irony is or isn’t.

What do you do when your favourite memories never happened?

It isn’t about thinking there is something better out there. It isn’t about not being satisfied or being unhappy with the current state of affairs.

It is just.

Sometimes I get.

Itchy.

Restless.

Like. I could go home after work or I could drive all night and day and night and day and drive right out to the ocean. Just ‘cuz my toes suddenly want to get wet. And dipping them in the bathtub won’t do.

The urge to move, to change scenery.

It isn’t about leaving people who I love or finding people to replace them. It isn’t about abandoning my responsibilities or de-attaching from the things I have now. It isn’t about running away from something or running towards something.

It isn’t replacing things.

It isn’t about leaving things behind.

It isn’t about feeling trapped.

It isn’t about needing a break.

It is about roaming and seeing a bit of the world, breathing deeply and shaking things up. Just a bit. It is about running, just for the pleasure of running, going somewhere else for a while just to go and have the pleasure of coming back.

I think some people think when I leave, I mean it and I’m never coming back. It is hard to tell people “No, I just like to roam. I’ll come back, promise, wait for me, I’ll come back.” I think that fear of abandonment runs deep for some people. And that is incompatible with this itchiness, this no-reason restlessness. It is recreational leaving. It is creational leaving. And coming back.

There is a certain amount of doing nothing that I’m good with – repose, at rest – but then I’m done. And it isn’t that I want to leave where I am to leave the people who I love, it is about changing my perspective and coming back refreshed and with something new to stay.

Some people, I guess, want to run, run away. But I like to come back too.

I’ve found friends who understand this – I leave, I return, I come, I go. But how to express this urge to roam to a lover, how to tell them “No, time for me to be alone, I’ll come back, have confidence in me, in us, that I will return. Just stay here and I will bring you treasures and stories from my travels.”

How to tell them “Sometimes, I’m at a party, surrounded by friends and I see an open door and I just..slip through. I will leave you there. You will be surrounded by my friends, maybe my family, probably a whole bunch of people you don’t know and how don’t know you and I will walk away. Don’t worry, I will return to you and I will come back to you. Have a drink in your hand for me.”

“I will find the quietest room in the house, the place where guests aren’t supposed to be and will sit down there, by myself, for a while. I’m not avoiding you or anyone else, I just needed a moment.”

How to explain, “This isn’t about you and your fear of abandonment, this is about me and my need for a little time and space. A different head space in a different geography for just a moment or two.”

So, I say to my future lovers out there, to The Last Great Love of My Life, where ever you may be:

I will roam. And return. To you.

But. I guess I have to find you, first.

Oh! So the other thing, work. Yes, I’m still doing that whole “working for a living” thing. And, for the most part, it is…work. And I love my colleagues and I love working in health care and I love getting up and coming to my office.

Until the strike.

Most of my colleagues went on strike! They stayed in strike for days, too many days for me.

As they were striking, I was many things – trapped in my car, waiting for the picket line to let me in, at work too early, unable to get out and go for lunch, doing work that I wasn’t trained for or oriented to do (even for a short while) and just feeling…frustrated and tired and generally run down.

But everyone is back to work now! And there is this list of things to do and everyone keeps saying “bex, this has be fine right away.” Only, you know, I’m going to do it after that other thing you said needed to be done right away…

This morning was going really well until my hair dryer broke. I’m not one to dwell so put “buy new hair dryer” on my to-do list got on with things. Then pulled my left boot in and…caught the zipper in the leather zipper protector.

There I was, trapped in the boot. Struggled for 15minutes to get free. These are expensive boots, so I can’t do anything to harm them, but I’m trapped.

Cut my sock off.

Ended up cutting the zipper protector and pulling the leather out of the zipper pull with a pair of needle nose plyers. What an invigorating start to the day!

I laugh at myself, it was clumsy. Mentally I was somewhere else, but still not sure where I was, exactly. Or when.

For a moment I was at dinner on Saturday September 6, 2014. Both of us eating fish tacos (smoked trout) and both drinking stout. The conversation. Is surprising me, we have so much in common, so many little areas of overlap. Yes, I love musicals! You too?! Wow.

After dinner and beers are done what I mean to say is this: Thank you. I’ve had a really nice time. And I’ve really enjoyed texting with you this week. It has been a lot of fun and you are pretty awesome. And yes, I find you attractive. But, I don’t want to go out again. Sorry. You are a great guy and I’m sure you’ll find someone if that is what you want.

I rehearsed saying this in the car ride down. I texted a friend and let her know and she said it sounded great, polite but to the point.

What I hear myself say is this: Thank you, I’m having an awesome time, this is best date I’ve ever been on. I’d like to go out with you again. May I take you to dinner?

I’m still not sure how that happened.

I’ll never know why I didn’t stick to the script.

But that is where I was this morning as I did my boot zipper up.

Weird how time travel sometimes traps us in our boot.

“Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” is written and directed…Look maybe when I’m doing these on my phone I’m just going skip over that information – I’m lazy and just want to tell you what I think, ok? I just, well I guess I need a better way, so I hope that is ok with you.

My friends who have seen this movie hated it, so, naturally, I had to make sure I saw it.

I loved it.

It is because it took place in the theatre and I loved it for all the memories and dreams that it invoked of other lifetimes and other dreams? That I could feel the chaos, anticipation and full-tilt crazy that sometimes accompanied a show?

That I love, as an exploration, stories that are meta? Or maybe because seeing or reading about stories that are in the genre of magical realism just hit me so close to my experience of the world?

Yes. To all of it.

It is like. Someone peered into my brain and knew what I was craving to make me sit up and take notice. To give my chemicals a shake and chance to bubble over.

It was a fully absurd film – highest highs, lowest lows, voices, telekinesis, art, surrealistic or nonrealistic moments and activity, complex and unbelievable relationships between humans and heightened sense of…everything.

This is a boarderline personality film.

And I would love to tell you that you should go and see this film. But I think you will hate it.

It is a train wreck, the way those people in our lives who have boarderline personality disorders are train wrecks – it lurches woundedly, with a broken heart at it’s core. (Maybe I’m talking about myself here?)

I want to tell you that I experienced catharsis while watching this film, that it purged me of my emotions that it was an outlet. But…I truthfully can’t. I can tell you that I haven’t wanted a cigarette so badly in seven years, since I quit – this film awoke a long-forgotten addiction. I want to tell you that I feel calmer and more centred, but I don’t. I keep thinking of the last Ativan pill that I have hidden in my sock drawer, been saving that beauty for exactly this kind of feeling.

This film made me really feel the crazy. (Made me feel my crazy?)

While watching this film all I could think of was stopping what I’m doing now and just go…crazy. Smash a few things. Have a tantrum. Fling myself off a building.

And I know. I know that according to the Eastern way of thinking about art is that it should operate mentally, to something higher. But this film was so visceral for me, that I can’t ignore it. Can’t find my way through it.

I sure. I know for certain that you will hate it and not have this kind of reaction to this movie – art reflecting itself, movies about theatre, actors as actors – it is so very removed from the real world, it is literary criticism, art commenting on itself. It is trite and shallow and let’s be honest, who cares about actors really? Don’t we all have more important concerns than to get get up in the lives of fictional actors and the imaginary shows they are mounting on Broadway? I don’t actually care that much about the New York theatre scene…

But the crazy. Right now, I can totally relate.

So, yeah. Loved the film.

Now where is my Ativan?

In brief, what happened was this: spent the rest of the summer (and how long ago that was!) running around, having a blast and neglecting writing.

Then, in the midst of making plans to attend the TIFF (toronto international film festival, only with more capital letters) my climbing partner duped me into a set-up with a guy who plays hockey on the same team as her boyfriend (Wednesday night league). And…in brief, I fell in love.

Gravity. Am I right?

I was in free fall for four months.

And still neglecting writing. Love can be a distraction. Love or something like love, in any case…

A brutal dumping (four sentences by text after my bedtime and a protracted passive aggressive silence) three weeks ago and I’m putting things back in order.

And, of course, “in order” I mean I am re-finding my way back. My way includes writing and sitting around in the TIFF members lounge waiting for a screening of Oscar-nominated short animated films. I feel relaxed and refreshed.

To be honest there is a certain amount of recovery I’m in as well, you don’t profess to love to someone, you don’t have it professed to you without sustaining some damage.

Things were remembered – I like being close to someone, I like hearing how beautiful I am (regardless of if I really am or not), thinking of someone, making plans with someone, imagining travelling the world and seeing the future with someone by side, holding my hands. The cuddles and kisses were nice too! Remembering that I’m a good girlfriend and I have good relationship skills and that I work with someone to build something. Things I forgot about myself. It was nice to remember these hidden things about me.

Woke with the word “transubstantiation” rattling around in my brain. The question: how do I take this damage and turn it into something else? Something beautiful.

Pain and tears may be becoming on some, but I’m a simple creature – I like smiles and laughter and feeling good. So how do I take this pain and do something with it?

I started at the ukulele jam on Monday – practiced a song for two weeks solid. My fingers ached, blew my voice a couple of times. Learned a new chord and a new strum pattern. Figured out how to switch between two strum patterns from bar to bar. Wow. Then overcame the awful stage fright and did it. Not sure how it went, but felt great.

Today, all about recommitting to writing and continuing to write, no matter what shiny things come along to distract me.

Climbing this morning: 7 routes – 3 x 5.10-, 2 x 5.9 and 2 x 5.8. Best session we’ve had in the longest time.

As always, sushi brunch was perfect and now hanging out in the TIFF members lounge waiting for my movie to start. Love looking out into the city with sunlight streaming in, been too long.

Rest of the weekend is more movies, if I can manage, more climbing, seeing friends and maybe getting to see an exhibit at the AGO.

I am Phoenix.

Take the broken pieces of my heart, I’ll turn them into a bird on fire.

Transubstantiation.