Final Project Chronicles

The time has come for me to complete this very quick time with the U of C. I am currently finishing my last class. Well I am not finishing it, I have just started, but it all feels like a finale of sorts.

So, here is my project so far… bit-by-bit.

-Abstract-

-Writing 500-009 Creative Writing Final Project –

What Comes Before Comes Again

By: Dallas Barnes

 

“It does not do to trust people too much,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper

 

I took one of those nonsensical quizzes on Facebook a few weeks ago, it guaranteed to ‘measure’ your personality traits by analyzing the myriad of multiple choice answers to questions developed to gauge your disposition – sounds legit, I know. After minutes of clicking and averting Facebook ads – my most dominant trait: distrust? Fantastic. Although some caution should be adhered to when dealing with any quiz and analysis created by a person with the user name areyouserious69, I knew that this result was 100% accurate. Trust is a slippery slope and I needed to work on that shit. I need to understand why I wasn’t normal anymore.

I never expected to be here when I was normal. When I say ‘when I was normal’ I mean when I was about 5. And even than, I probably wasn’t normal. What I am now, what I have become, what came from circumstances out of my control, was never desired, not even for a possibly crazy 5-year-old. But, nevertheless it is mine to embrace and cherish like a big hairy mole protruding from the tip of your underdeveloped (in my own opinion) nose.

The thing is, I am crazy. I own it. The word is mine. I am also fat, and I own that too, but that is for another chapter. There are those people that will call me insensitive, politically incorrect, an ableist, blah, blah, blah, but I really don’t care. I earned that badge – that crazy badge of honour. Us crazy folk are a breed like none other.

I was 30 when I was first introduced to Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I was in University, working on my illustrious education as a Women Studies major which resulted in a career in the equally illustrious retail management. I digress however because my shit career is not Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s fault. In fact, she is my source of light, my constant, the butter to my bread. Charlotte Perkins Gilman gets me.

She was a crusader, a feminist, an activist, and a survivor. Abandoned by her father she was raised by her mother and aunts, Suffragette Isabella Beecher Hooker, Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriett Beecher Stowe, and children’s education activist Catharine Esther Beecher – the powerhouse of early kick-ass ardour for the ‘lesser sex’. She wrote about the role of women in society. She spoke the truth about patriarchy and the inane state of affairs in American society. She spoke to me in 2003.

It was one of my most enchanting classes – Women and Literature. I never knew I wanted to write at that point in my life, I just knew that I found a sort of magic in the understanding and the communal sense of subordination of all self-identified women. Women and Literature was simply an elective in my previously mentioned illustrious Women Studies Degree.

My professor had us read a work of her choosing as homework each week to prepare for the next classes lecture. We were bestowed with such great works from the likes of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Flannery O’Connor. These were all works of art; however, it was the one andgb , only Charlotte that ignited my soul. The Yellow Wallpaper, written in two days in 1890 stayed with me even as I stare at this computer screen.

 

“And she is all the time trying to climb through – but nobody could climb through that pattern – it strangles so…”

 

That fucking pattern.

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Final Project Chronicles

wishes under a cloud of unbalanced seratonin

  • TW: depression, anxiety, suicide

 

I wish I was normal like you

I wish I didn’t have to run away all the time

I wish I didn’t feel like swallowing a bunch of pills would be a better alternative than dealing with a broken heart.

  • or drinking to oblivion
  • or just laying down, shutting off my brain, and hoping that someone will just take me somewhere so I could breathe

I wish we didn’t fight all of the time

I wish she never cheated on me twice

  • I wish I had listened to my gut

I wish Christmas was normal again

I wish I was a famous writer

I wish I could be normal like you

  • smile
  • be positive
  • be at one with the universe

I wish you would be willing to die for me and never let me go

  • because I would in a heartbeat

I wish I wasn’t terrified all the time

I wish I didn’t cry every day

  • for no good reason
  • maybe because I am tired
  • tired of fighting with tiny neurons and atoms and chemicals that impede on any ounce of normalcy

I wish I realized how lucky and priviledged I really am

  • and all this ridiculousness

I wish I wasn’t such an open book

  • I wish I wasn’t only able to just write my thoughts
  • But not say them
  • Unless I drink wine

I wish I didn’t drown my sorrows in carbs

I wish I liked going to the gym

I wish I was smaller than you

I wish I was stronger than you

I wish I could stand in my underwear without having to turn out the lights.

I wish we hurt each other less

I wish that the bill collector would stop phoning me

  • I wish I could answer the phone

I wish I could do my volunteer work for a living

I wish I had someone to come home to

I wish I could ease your mind

 

 

 

 

 

wishes under a cloud of unbalanced seratonin

Except My Own Confusion

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As I sit here searching through quotes of those that were just as angst-ridden, crest-fallen, bat-shit crazy, and fucking confused as I am trying to find something or someone to explain to everyone where I am at – at this very fucking moment i contemplate why I posted this one. It hints at where I am at – slightly. But than, as I read it over and over again.. analyzing its every word, connotation, and style I realize that it is not where I am at this very moment. It can’t be. I didn’t write it – Jack Kerouac did.

So where am I right now? Well, it’s not going to be summarized in some Haiku-style work of art like Kerouac could do. Mine is much more detailed, and messy, and exciting, and devastating. Kerouac couldn’t write this shit. I am not certain that I can either – but I am going to try.

If there is one thing that I have learned throughout this two years of self – preservation, self-hatred, self-discovery, self-care, and just being by myself is that no one person can make me ok. I have to do that. You can’t be anything for anyone authentically unless you are nothing but authentic to yourself. This is actually that just came to me while I was having sushi with my dad here in Comox about 20 minutes ago.

I am an analyzer. I will tear down one idea until it is nothing. This is some parts my personality and one part my crazy. I have explained the crazy over and over again and am, quite honestly, tired of explaining it. But anyways.

I wonder about my actions. I wonder what other people think. I always wonder what other people think. I ruin great days by over analyzing text messages that I sent and that were sent, or times between texts, or Facebook messages, or Facebook posts that I do of great writer’s quotes. I wonder if other people will read it the wrong way. For example, Kerouac’s quote above. What does that quote say about me? Am I confused about other people? Am I unreliable? Am I a bag of shit?

No! What I was trying to say is.. I am ready to just get going, I want to get going.. but I have baggage .. so please be ok with me working through it. Not much magic in that quote so you can see why Kerouac won in the quote department.

So.. here is where I am at right now for all those that want to know…. including myself.

I am happy, I am sad. I am confused, yet calm. I am terrified at potential because I am terrified that it will backfire over and over again. I am certain that I question your intentions not because of you, but because I question my own authenticity. I am only learning how to stand up for myself. I am only starting to peel the layers I have built onto my self to reveal that heart of who I am. This authenticity is new .. and I am only learning who I am right at this moment. I know that I am in this inner turmoil of questioning only because I am not happy with my current situation. And I am changing.. right as I sit here. I am losing my comfortable madness to uncomfortable goodness, and I am scared. And I am grieving. And I am lost in this new found beauty of self discovery.

It is necessary. It is necessary to scare myself this way to keep going. It is necessary to keep going this way to test my trust issues. It is necessary to be vulnerable to prove that I can fucking do it.

And this is where I am.

 

 

Except My Own Confusion

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