Hurting and Healing and moving the fuck on…

So here’s the thing…

When you are crazy (and I am, and it’s mine and I fucking claim the word), you question everything about yourself.

Some questions that have actually occurred:

I know my throat is raw and I can’t breathe but seriously depression does that right?

Did I really make plans to go out tonight or did I just make that up in my head?

Who am I?

Where am I?

I can’t believe I said that.. is she going to hate me forever?

Am I the only person in this world and everyone else a part of my imagination?

Why am I the ugliest person in the world?

So when you are in the here and now.. wanting and working your fucking ass off to be better.. (day by day) you really have to figure your damn head out in order to function like a human.

The problem lies in your ability to be ok with yourself.  When you question everything around you, you forget how to understand yourself as a thinking thing,  a human, a valid voice. You forget (in fact may have never known) that how you think and feel is ok.

When you are sick. . You are sick. .fucking period. You didn’t make up the 103 degree fever or the constant stream of…well you get the point. You did not make this up because you are not some superhuman with the ability to inflict imaginary germs on yourself.

When you are upset.. you are upset. Your set of okness values were not met.. you’re sad, angry, frustrated. To feel that is ok.. more than ok. When you close off your heart for long periods of time to avoid potential cataclysmic events that most people call life (you just can’t deal) and have the fucking courage to open your heart up and it be stomped on by all means.. MOTHER FUCKING CRY! Cry for your delicate yet powerful heart for its ache but also for its courage to open itself up to possibility. . To beautiful life! You have become a part of the majority (but are so happy that your still a little weird).

When you question your set of values.. just stop. Your values are your own. When a girlfriend (now ex) tells you that you are ‘too gay’ (she was the one with the mullet) or another one tells you that ‘you are just too much to handle’.. fuck ’em. Fuck them and their bullshit attack on who you are. Fuck them for not embracing the everything that is you. You earned this badge  .. you fucking earned it.

When you think you are not good enough and feel like you have to hide so you won’t be hurt.. go out! Test yourself, force yourself. Not everyone is going to like you and even if you go on some manic tangent (because you are after all deliciously crazy) don’t fucking worry about it. Not everyone is going to like you, but those that do are yours for life.

When your girlfriend (s), now ex (exes) cheat on you once,  twice,  three fucking times.. get out. Don’t hate yourself because you went back… you went back because you believe (and still do) in the sanctity of commitment and love. You were willing to fight for it even when it wasn’t pretty. You loved and loved hard and were willing to try… but don’t lose faith in your potential to love and be loved back. Your person(s) are out there.

When you look in the mirror and seriously fucking hate what you are looking at (and may go for days without ever looking) don’t beat yourself up. Just live.. maybe without looking for a while until your ready.. (baby steps). You hate what you see because you are not looking at yourself.  That person is not you. That is the sad, beaten down, and exhausted you. You are hiding in there.. you will come out.. (still working on that). Remember that this reflection is what is holding you back from doing things .. being alive. . Drinking with drag queens, protesting bullshit homophobes,  dancing until you forget that there is gravity, loving and being loved by your people, finding those people you desperately yearn for.

The problem lies with the fact that you have not been to be ok because some ridiculous piece of shit chemical in your brain is tearing you apart. You have been fighting for so long just to walk out the door and survive.. you’ve gotta fight. You have to fight for yourself.. for your rightful place in the world. No one is going to do this for you.. but if you let them,  the good ones will help you along the way, but you have to let them in. You have to trust the process. You have to live. You have to fight.

And if you feel like your whole world is going to crumble.. because it will.. we aren’t immune..fucking cry.. Cry alone, cry with friends, just cry with every ounce of you. And than take a breath… and get up..

Hurting and Healing and moving the fuck on…

The tiny spark of inspiration: Thanks JB! (AKA Mom)

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I am not able to write. I am in a funk. I am taking a copy editing course; enough said.

When I take courses that are technical in nature I lose my sense of inspiration. I hate technicalities, rules, and table manners. I hate constructed morals based on a prehistoric manual of morality. Copy editing makes me crazy.

So, rather than writing I have been reading, and watching Law and Order: SVU on Netflix.

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Today, I am reading We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart. I have probably mentioned that I run a Teen Book Club at work, and this is their latest choice. IT is a good choice. It deals with the intricacies and external facades families maintain to save face. It talks of priviledge and ignorance and aging. It is a white person drama, full of in-our-face fallacies of white-person life.

For some reason (for many reasons) this book made me think of my family. It than got me thinking of my mom. It got me thinking that I really miss her. It got me thinking that I want to write about it.

So here I am, writing about my mom – but not really. Thinking about her made me want to write, but she isn’t my topic today. She is my inspiration. She would want to know what I was doing while not writing. She would say about my copy editing class “you always hated being fussy.” I feel my topic today is just a conversation I would have with her.

I can hear her listening…

The tiny spark of inspiration: Thanks JB! (AKA Mom)

An Ode To Mom

ODE TO MOM

 

French writer Marguerite Duras once wrote, “Our mother’s remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met.”

Author Maya Angelou wrote, “To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colours of the rainbow.”

And finally, actress and writer Tina Fey says, “Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.”

I am sure that all you have felt all of these ways about yourself or your own mother’s at some point. The truth of the matter is as mother’s you are all extraordinary humans. You have taken on the weight of the world and have been entrusted to mould the future generation into upstanding individuals that are ready and able to take over and thrive in the remnants of our worldly mistakes.

You have sacrificed ever single ounce of solitude and complete independence to make sure that your children are never without.

Let’s face it, motherhood is not easy. There are barriers at every corner that you must tear down in order for your children to soldier on. The battle is endless, and as mothers you often lose your own hopes, dreams, and desires in the process.

For these sacrifices us children – your children – thank you with everything we have. For this Mother’s Day I invite you to remember who you are, not just as a mother, but everything else that makes up your wonderful self.

Mother’s Day hasn’t always been around. The appreciation for Mother’s was never celebrated until 1908 when Anna Jarvis, of West Virginia decided to honour her mother’s life as well as continue the peace activism her mother did during the Civil War. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day as the second Sunday in May. Mother’s Day is now globally recognized and celebrated on assorted dates throughout the year.

My own mom’s first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1974. I was about 8 months old and I am sure it was a great day as most first Mother’s Day are. My mom was barely an adult herself, as she was only 23 years old. My parents were highschool sweethearts that decided to marry as soon as they graduated. With that came the expectation of children and I arrived, 2 weeks late to 22 year old parents.

My mom dreamed of being a costume designer. Her talent was outstanding even as a child, but her mother, my Granny, a first time mother at the age of 16, would not allow Jacki, my mom to pursue those dreams because there was no future in that. Jacki chose career training in administration instead. Neither of those careers came to fruition, however, as Jacki became a full time mother to both myself and my brother who was born two and a half years later, three months premature, and a full time annoyance to my formerly ‘only child’ life.

My mom’s talent was not lost regardless of the fact that her career dreams were altered. I was the kid with the knitted sweaters on the first day of school. I was the kid with the handmade prom dress. I was the kid who had the mom that made all of the costumes for our school play. I was a lucky kid.

When my brother and I had grown up and moved out of the house, and at the young age of 50, my mom, in a nod to her favorite movie “Shirley Valentine”, split from my Dad, died her hair blonde, got a face lift, and went back to school. She finally got to realize her dream and finished a degree in Textile Arts and Art History.

Regardless of her new found independence, my mom always included us in her aspirations. When her mom passed away, my mom came into an inheritance. She was able to buy things she had never been able to before. She got to fulfill her lifelong dream of travelling. She furnished my brother and sister-in-laws new apartment, and paid for me to accompany her on a month long trip to Europe to see all of the famous paintings she discovered while getting her art history degree.

Mothers are the most important people in the world. Cheryl Strayed, author of best-selling novel Wild, may have said it best when she said about her mother, “she is the most essential person in my life.” When I was a child, all things lead to my mom. She was the one I woke up to, came home to, cried to, and screamed at. She was Brown Owl in my Brownie Troupe, my taxi, my enforcer, my biggest champion.

A few months back I was approached by a young girl, around the age of 10, asking me to help her find a book. The book was a bit advanced for her age, but we found it nonetheless. I watched her take it to her mom, and her mom than came up to me. She asked me my honest opinion on the maturity of the book and weather or not it was alright for her daughter to read. I was honest about the content, but was even more honest to point out that most ages were reading it regardless. As I was saying all of this the 10 year old was motioning me to say that it was ok to her mom. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take that upper hand. Her mom said no to the book. The girl was completely shattered and looked at me as if I was the most heinous person in the world. I felt like I was the most heinous person in the world because I had sold that book to younger girls than her. Out of nowhere, I heard myself say to the girl, “You’re mom knows what is best for you. You may not believe me now, but in time you will.”

For some reason that exchange has stuck with me, and I have finally figured out why. I am who I am today because of my mom. Every word I write, every sentence I speak, every moment of silence I give is because of my mom.

I currently write a feminist blog for an online publication. I majored in Women Studies in University, and I am an outspoken women’s activist. My mother had often differed with me on my political stances. Regardless of the differences, she never told me to stop. She was very proud to stand next to me during Pride Parades, Human Rights Conferences, and would clip out every newspaper article I was in.

I am very strong in my opinions and I actively seek out justice for those that do not receive it. The only reason that I am able to fight is because my mother, Jacki, gave me the tools to do so. My mother taught me to be humble, and powerful. She taught me to be loving and effective in my convictions. She taught me that money didn’t grow on trees, but I had way more than most people in this world. To me, whether you want the label or not, mother’s are the finest feminists in the world. My mother made me all of those things and I am forever grateful.

Mother’s Day 2014 was the last Mother’s Day I will be able to celebrate. Jacki took her last breath 9 days later resulting from a cruel disease that took her away far too young. It is awkward when you are faced with the impending death of a mother. You watch as the woman that pounded the pavement for you to follow triumphantly slowly fade away. You hold her hand and tell her that everything is going to be ok. Myself and my brother are going to be ok, so are your two grandkids.

Those were the most tragic days of my life, and my greatest heartbreak. But, I would never think of being anywhere else. My mother sacrificied and gave everything she had to me. She held my hand while I crossed the street. It was time for me to hold hers.

One year later and I miss my mom more than anything in the world. What I wouldn’t give to talk to her about the return of the X Files, or the impending birth of the newest Royal, two of her most favorite things. What I can tell you though is that I feel her presence everywhere I go. She is in my dreams almost every night. I talk to her like she is right next to me. Sometimes I could swear that she is.

Like a mother, she is with me all of the time. She dedicated her life to me and even after she had gone, her voice still guides me every single day.

My wish for all of you this Mother’s Day is to celebrate yourselves for the true individuals that you are. Understand that you are the single most important people in the world. Your words, your guidance, and your love are all that are needed to shape the next generation. You, as mother’s are who will change the world for the better. My mother made me who I am today, and for that, the world will become a little more beautiful.

 

Thank you Mom’s for being you.

An Ode To Mom

If I Could, I Surely Would…

It’s 12:47 am. I need to get up in 4 and a half hours. It is one of those nights that I hate and love with equal strength. Either it is the ridiculous amount of sugar and caffeine I have had (which I know is killing me) or it is the internal fucked up workings of a brain that is overrun with so much darkness that it cant shut off.It is also when I feel most alive because I am actually feeling that I cant help but love it because there is no other feeling that makes sense.

I just watched a girl get arrested from my window. She seemed tweaked out, like she was dancing to the song that was in my head. I wonder what happened. I am sure that this has happened to her before. I hope that she is ok.

I just watched Wild. I cried a lot. The look on her face when she was dying and dead reminded me so much of that night/morning that I watched my mom slip out of her current life and on to the next. This year has been morbid. I need to be ok with who and what I am right now. I need to grieve. I need to rest.  I need to stop. I need to let it hurt. I need to feel alive. All I am is numb.

If I Could, I Surely Would…

The Reasons Why I am Returning Home

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I have decided to return home – home being Calgary. This has been a very tough decision and one not come upon lightly. I am going to touch on the reasons why it was difficult first.

My Toronto friends. You all know who you are. You and you alone are the reasons that I had such a hard time leaving. You have all seen me through the good and the bad and kept by me throughout. Thank you. I will be forever grateful and I will be back to visit, I promise.

Now, to reflect on why I am leaving (and a brief history of Dallas in her thirties). A few years back…say 2006? I met a girl. When I say we met, I mean we chatted online, MSN Messenger to be exact! I had just come out and was really getting along with her. In fact, I was falling hard. Here I am in the throes of my new found identity.

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That particular romance did not last, however a spark in me did. I needed to get out of Vancouver and broaden my horizons. I figured that Calgary would be a good place to start. So I gathered my buddy Erin and my two cats to move with me and recruited two other friends to help us load up the UHaul and drive with us to Calgary.

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Once I arrived it didn’t take me long to flourish. I joined everything, I volunteered, I made amazing friends. I discovered I wanted to write. I felt at home. I met this weirdo.

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I had never been in a space where I felt pretty fantastic. This was my home. This was my Calgary. And than I met a girl.

I fell in love, and I fell hard. I wanted to be her everything and I became someone I was not to try and be that everything to her. I lost myself in the process. This was not her fault. It was how I chose to do things. She wanted me to follow her to Toronto. I did.

In the back of my mind I was telling myself no, don’t go. But my stubborn mind was made up. I went. Our relationship did not work out, but I do not regret going. These are some of the reasons why.

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After we split up, my mom got sick so I came to Vancouver. Before she passed away she told me that I always seemed so happy in Calgary. I was happy, she was right.

I decided to return to Toronto in September with full intentions to make a go at it on my own. I found a great place with great roommates, I reconnected with friends, I went to yoga religiously, and I went back to school for creative writing. I even began working on my mental health by going to groups. But something was missing.

My mental health was at an all time low. I was alone. I was away from heart and soul – my home. I was starting to rediscover myself and with this I realized that I needed to return.

So here I am. Two weeks from my departure. I want to thank Toronto for taking me in, for bashing me around, and for helping me rediscover myself.

I also want to thank Calgary for always being there, even when I left you. Thank you for letting me back.

 

The Reasons Why I am Returning Home

Yoga and the art of being broken

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So, here I am doing a kick-ass handstand. I am really good at it. Kidding… this is by no means me. In fact handstands don’t even happen in my dreams. I have been able to do them though. I think I was about ten and my brother and I used to whip ourselves into handstands in the basement against my Dad’s workshop door. I can’t imagine that they were graceful, but I do remember them being fun.
Truth is, I have been frequenting yoga for some time now. I did it a bit in Vancouver, but I was more concerned with losing weight and figuring out why I hated boys than I was about the phenomenal and life changing internal benefits.
While here in Toronto, I have been going to Kula Yoga in the Annex. Wow, I can not even tell you what a welcoming place it is. First of all, they offer classes that are only $8.00. Yoga is expensive, and this break in the wallet is welcomed by me and I am sure that multitude of students that live close to here.
Then, as soon as you walk in the door  there is a sign that says something along these lines. “We aim to be a welcoming space and welcome all sizes and shapes. We aim to be Fat-Positive, Trans and Queer Positive, and welcome folks with all abilities.”

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I try not to do the hard classes like Power and Hot Yoga. I feel I may resent yoga if I do. Instead I try to do Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Queer Yoga…. Yes that is right there is a yoga for us queer folk (not like the others aren’t welcoming, but this one is our own).
Today I went to Gentle Yoga. As always I felt great. My sciatica screamed in pain, but it was the kind of pain that hurt so good. I still don’t say Namaste because I feel it is culturally not mine, but the rest is great.
What was remarkable about today was the end. I can’t remember what the actual pose name is, but in English it is called the corpse pose. You are basically lying on the ground, breathing well, and trying to tap in to the inner soul we all have.

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I felt good, relaxed, more relaxed than I have for a very long time. My mind started to drift off. I thought about random things. I turned my head to the side and immediately it reminded me of my mom. It reminded me of when I sat with her as she lay dying. I watched her breathe for 10 hours with the help of a machine. Near the end I noticed that her breath was slowing. Everyone that was there with me had left the room about 5 minutes before this. She looked peaceful. I grabbed her hand and told her that it was ok. We would all be ok. She stopped breathing. Her head tilted to the right, just like mine did. Her colour drained from her face but her hands were still warm. She looked like my mom, but she was gone. I knew that she knew that I was there. She opened her eyes about two hours before that and stared at me. I said hi. She closed her eyes soon after that. She would never open them again.
This memory made me start crying while I was in corpse pose (strange irony I know). It was a sad cry, but it was also a cry of release. I felt ok. I felt a bit like my mom was now telling me that it would all be ok.
I continued to think about why I was crying. Why this practice of yoga was doing this to me. This practice of yoga was in fact healing me. I barely cried when my mom died. I stayed strong. I grieved, but I didn’t let go. Today I was letting go. Yoga was breaking me open. It was allowing all the bad to leave. It was opening to allow me to heal again. All the shit (and I mean shit) that had happened this year is finally leaving. I am allowing myself to heal. I am raw, and sad, and hopeful. I have been gaining clarity. Things are really starting to make sense. Thank you yoga for allowing me to do that.

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Yoga and the art of being broken