L: Beneficially watery
R: Fabulously crushing
D: Athletically ill-fated
A: Deficient fake
S: Uncomfortably weak
L: Beneficially watery
R: Fabulously crushing
D: Athletically ill-fated
A: Deficient fake
S: Uncomfortably weak
Thank you, thank you, merci, merci mes amis
Sunny ways, positive politics can do
Canadians, Canadians from across Canada
Can make things happen
Thank you, merci, Gerald and Katie
Tough and hardworking and a shared vision
Tonight, my good friends, it was proven
Public life isn’t a naïve dream
Volunteers, hearts, thank you
Even to those across the aisle
Mr. Harper, Mr. Mulcair
Faith, in yourselves, in your country
Minds and hard work
You did, you put me here
Creating jobs and devotion
Country Strong, differences, because of them
I understand openness and transparency
St. Catharines, Ontario, young mom
Muslim, making her own choices
A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian
We beat fear with hope
Merci, Merci, Merci
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.
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…
All I hear..
You are so good..
You need to write more..
Start writing those books..
I sit in front of my computer..
I hear your words..
I think about my dishes, my weight, my failures..
My bills, my mom, my floors..
You see I am my own worst enemy..
My brain doesn’t work like yours..
You say I am good, and at times I agree.
But I would rather do dishes, than just be..
Creative Non Fiction
Feb 5, 2014.
I wish I had remembered her name because she had changed my life.
University life for me in Vancouver in 2003 was chock-full of instrumental feminist instructors who exposed my enclosed underbelly of justice and dues. This particular mentor who I shall call Professor Life Changer, taught my most favorite class, Women Studies: Women, Food, and Culture, a course that examined the role of women and food through a literary lens. The course and instructor introduced me to the books Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Aphrodite by Isabel Allende. These two books and authors left an impressive mark on my heart and my soul that no other piece of literature had done before than or after.
Professor Life Changer also introduced me to the art of writing. Not just essay writing, which I had grown bored of, but deep, abandoned, emotive inscription. We wrote essays on everything that ignited my fire, from the beauty and treachery of food, the role of women as true nurturers, and symbolism of the kitchen as a breeding ground for revolution. I was captivated and in it for the long haul. I had taken my first step into my true self. This class was the first chapter to my real life story.
My last assignment for this class was my first time being published, well kind of. The class was to individually write a piece integrating a recipe, much like Allende did in Aphrodite, and the Professor would put it together into an anthology for the class. Mine was called The Dynamite Roll and I utilized the ingredients and assembly of the Dynamite Roll as a metaphor for my tumultuously exciting and tragic existence at the time. She asked me to read it to the class. Once finished, everyone applauded. I had never been applauded to after reading something I had written in class. I took it in, and it felt great.
When I was leaving the class on our last day, Professor Life Changer took me aside. “I think you should get this published,” as she handed me back my assignment. I kind of stopped and stared, perhaps with my mouth wide open. All I could get out in response was “Okay.” I probably should have said more, but I was taken aback, stunned really. I had never, ever considered myself good at anything, let alone writing.
Those words have not left me since that day. I have shifted my life towards the art of the written word. My words have become stronger, more coherent and full of passion, fun, and rage. I have been published, and continue to work on publishing my first novel. And on the front page of that novel will be the words, “For Professor Life Changer. Thank you for telling me that I am good at something.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My enormous, sleep encrusted brown eyes quickly opened. I jumped out of bed. I dashed to my bedroom door, forcing it open with the might of a 9 year-old on a mission with some seriously unfortunate bedhead.
“I’m awake!” I cried, waiting for some sort of commendation.
Silence. The dog didn’t even stir.
My mom was on the couch with her legs curled underneath her. Her lit cigarette was making billowing silvery-grey smoke figures while resting in the grooves of the pea green, rotund glass ashtray on the side table. Her coffee cup was half full, and it would stay that way, as she never finished a full cup of anything.
“Can I have Cheerios for breakfast?” I requested, adjusting the wedgy that happened every time I wore that 100% polyester floor length, sea foam green nighty from Zellers. Somehow all of the static that was ever accumulated in one summer evening found its way into my fast asleep ass.
“I guess,” she stated glumly while looking through her burgundy coupon container that used to be a recipe container in anticipation of her grocery shopping trip that day. She hated grocery shopping and she wasn’t afraid to tell us as much “If I didn’t ever have to go grocery shopping again I would be happy,” she would say on an almost weekly basis.
Domesticity was not her cup of tea, and in later years I realized she had passed this trait down to me.
“Don’t make a mess, and see what your brother wants.”
Of course I had to find out what my brother wanted. Wade, in my eyes, was only born to make my life miserable. He was the thorn in my side, the Gargamel to my Papa Smurf, the Ghost to my PacMan. Wade, my younger brother, was the barrier in my life’s pursuit as the coolest kid of the 10 kid wolf-pack living on my block.
I lurched past his room which wreaked of old food and pee with hopes of catching him doing something wrong. And there he was, sitting on his bed, sucking his thumb, staring blankly at his X-Wing Fighter poster with his enormous sleep encrusted brown eyes.
“Mom wants to know what you want for breakfast.”
“I want toast.”
“Then you should make some.”
“I’m not allowed”
“Because you’re dumb.”
“I’m telling Mom.”
“Go ahead, I don’t care.”
“Maaaaaaaaaammmmmmm!!! Dallas called me dumb!”
“Dallas don’t call your brother dumb.”
I made my brother toast.
After breakfast which included both toasting and buttering for two people and making sure that the dishes were brought back to the sink, I brushed my teeth and ran to my room to find something to wear. My brown bell bottom corduroys that were worn out in the thighs and knees from both excessive bike riding and attempting wheelies and Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader T-shirt, and ode to my Dad’s favorite football team/cheerleading squad, were my go-to outfit so I slipped them on quickly
“I am going out to play” I said as I struggled to fit my white wooden clogs over my thick white socks.
“Not until you clean your room,” my Mom countered.
“My room is clean,” I disputed.
“Ha! It’s a pig-stye!” clinched my Mom.
“Maaaammmmm…. can’t I clean it when I get home?”
“No. Now. You told me you would do it this weekend.”
Knowing that I had lost the battle, as I always did, I kicked my clogs against the wood panelled wall and ran to my room. I slammed the door.
“Don’t slam your door.”
I quickly hurled all of my toys in the closet. I made my bed. I ran a sticky Kool-Aid encrusted plastic cup to the kitchen. I was done.
I threw my clogs back on. “K, I’m going out to play.”
“Take your brother with you.”
“What? I hate taking him, he always cries.” He did really cry a lot. It was embarrassing.
“You don’t spend enough time with him. He is your brother for crying out loud.”
“He’s stupid, that’s why I don’t play with him.”
“Don’t be smart.”
“OK, I will be dumb than.”
“Take him or you are not going out.”
“Fine, but if I lose all of my friends because of him it’s your fault.”
I kicked off my clogs and stopped for a second to marvel at my accuracy skills. I happened to hit the same spot on the wall as I had ten minutes earlier. Not bad.
I went to Wade’s room to get him. He was sitting on his bed with his thumb in his mouth crying. Of course. I felt bad a little but I didn’t know why.
“Mom wants you to go out and play with me.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Oh my God. Just come outside.”
He wiped his nose with his thread barren yellow blankie and stood up. He was still in his blue Snoopy pyjamas.
“Mom he is still in his pyjamas!”
“Wade, put your clothes on and brush your teeth.”
“I don’t want to go outside with dumb head.”
“Fine, stay home than.”
Summer was exhausting.
I once again put on my clogs.
“I am going outside now.”
“Not until you clean the mark on the wall where you kicked your clogs.”