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About The Girl

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Upside Down. Inside Out.


For years....I haven't been me. I have been me..but not..entirely me. A different me. Part me...part...something else completely and totally inexplicable.

This is already impossible to explain.

Over a hundred days ago I was in the midst of losing my mind and my life. I had hurt more people than I'd like to admit...and caused problems and anxiety for people I love...while acting like a toddler and frustrating myself while hating my lack of control over ANYTHING.

A hundred days ago I denied everything and anything. I made excuses like a rockstar.

Ninety days ago I wondered what my life was and what it had came to - and how I would ever survive it.

Eighty nine days ago I told a friend I needed her to hold me accountable and force me to do something for me...to make me take care of myself.

Eighty six days ago I made one of the hardest phone calls of my life and sat on the phone as my doctors secretary made soothing sounds as I sobbed to her.

Eighty three days ago I sat crying in my doctors office as he listened to me babble incoherently while crying....and wrote me a prescription for an anti-depressant.

Sixty eight days ago the dose of drugs I'm on was upped...for the third time.

Fifty five days ago I said some hard things. Admitted some hard things.

Forty seven days ago I felt happier than I have ever felt....ever. I could do everything. I could feel everything. I was full of ideas, inspiration, energy and like I was on top of the world.

Thirty six days ago I told my doctor that life was the best thing ever.

Twenty nine days ago I sat crying in a parking lot for hours. Sobbing incoherently. Hating everything. Hating myself. Thinking thoughts I hate that my brain has the audacity to think.

Twenty two days ago I pulled myself together out for moments of necessity...when I had to.

And now?

Now. I just don't know.

I don't know anything anymore. There are ups. Downs. Good. Bad. Back..and forth.

I suppose this is life. This is...normal? But I don't know anymore.

I feel like I have zero baseline for what normal should feel like. My highs feel so high and my lows feel so low and the in between simply...is.

My doctor is monitoring me closely right now...changing medications as necessary and making inquiries into "additional" help...therapy...different diagnosis's...and who knows what else. 

Some days I feel like I just want to throw my hands up in the air and give up. I feel like I'm getting no where unless you count going around in circles going anywhere. Other days...I feel...okay. I feel like there might be light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like I might survive something, anything.

Some days I hate myself more than I could ever explain for being such a burden to people who shouldn't have to deal with me.

Some days I feel like someone out there gets it.

Some days I feel like I am completely and totally alone in the world. Lost, alone and afraid.

Other days I just want everyone to leave me alone.

It's weird..because even when it seems like I'm not....I feel like I'm holding myself together...most of the time. I can act "normal" (whatever that is..) and...survive....most days. I get things done to at least some extent and do my best to make it through the days and weeks. I fake it. I survive.

In the comfort of my own space I...break down. I cry in parking lots. The shower. Into my pillow.

Some days I cry because I want answers. I cry because I'm scared of answers. I cry because I'm exhausted. I cry because I have no idea of anything anymore.

Some days are great. I get things done. I get baby kisses. I love things.

Other days....just are. Not bad. Not great. Just...are.

Most days though? I have no idea how to describe this wild and crazy "adventure" I'm on.

Because honestly? Right now?

I just don't know anything anymore.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Carry On

The other day I came to juncture in my life.

As I sat back I realised just what I have become. 

It was not some huge, grand all of the sudden realization. 

It was months (years?) of me. Me thinking. Me feeling.  Me doing. Me being.

I broke down and sat crying to myself. 

I didn't want this anymore. 

I am so so very tired of all of this. 

I didn't know what to do anymore. 

I've been trying unsuccessfully to fix myself. To stop beating myself up. To stop falling down a well of darkness. To stop being THIS and be what I wanted to be. You see - I've actually been feeling better than I had been feeling in recent months. I finally felt almost as though I was strong enough to pick up the phone I have been staring at for days, weeks, months and wanting to call someone and say "I need something. I don't know what...but my life feels more fucked up than I could ever have imagined and I just really need help" but still - I haven't been able to.

Do you know how hard that is to think - let alone type - let alone SAY OUT LOUD?

Just in case you don't? It's REALLY FUCKING HARD.

At least for me. For reasons I don't even understand or know. For reasons that would probably take me years to figure out in a therapists room.

So I haven't picked up the phone. I've been staring at it willing it to work without me having to do anything until I had a little breakdown of my own making the other day. 

In a moment of simultaneous fear, frustration and clarity for a need for help - I messaged a friend. I asked her to hold me accountable for doing something by a certain date. I explained that I needed someone to just make sure I was doing the things I was saying I was going to do so that I didn't back out (which I wanted to do - and if I'm being honest - what I still want to do) but not feel like a burden or have someone say something that was going to make me frustrated or push back or retreat more than I already had. I explained a little more and she didn't pry or try to make me explain things. She didn't offer her own experiences or what she thought I should do - she simply took what I was saying and went with the things I confided in her.

I wanted to throw up as soon as I pressed send. 

I figured the deadline would be ages away - that she'd forget about it, that I'd be able to come up with some excuse and shrug it off. In some weird way - maybe I figured I'd get angry and frustrated and find another reason to push people away.

Instead - she quietly messaged me asking how my day was. She gently made connections I'd been wanting for months without hardly saying a word. She listened to me while I freaked out that I didn't know what to do or how to do this. She virtually held my hand in a way that I had been desperately searching for months. 

Was it the right time? Am I at this weird point where I could see a little more clearly and reach out a little further? Yes. Are there lots of other people who have offered to help in various ways and shown me so much love that I don't even know what to do with it? Yes.  

We are all handed different people and different things in our lives at different times. We cannot all be that person for that person all of the time. We all have our own shit going on and our own pieces to put back together. There were many different people I could have turned to and didn't..but for some reason I turned to her and she took exactly what I needed and just...ran with it.  She held my hand and pushed a little and told me not to hang up when all I wanted to do was slam down the phone until it shattered in a million pieces.

At that moment... she was the right person who I needed to reach out to right then. And I'm so fucking thankful that she's her and that I did.

Or at least that's what my shaking-while-intermittently-crying-feeling-like-I'm-going-to-throw-up-self-who-bawled-to-her-doctors-secretary-while-she-said-"oh sweetie"-repeatedly-after-keeping-me-on-hold self is going with.

-------

And then as I wrote this, I flipped on the radio. And this blasted into my ears.


If you're lost and alone // Or you're sinking like a stone // Carry on
May your past be the sound // Of your feet upon the ground // Carry on

 -- Fun


Some people and some things are exactly what you need when you need it.

So - I'm working on it, universe. I'm carrying on. Or at least working on it. Have some good people in my corner...and I'm working on it. Promise.

Monday, January 14, 2013

That's What It's All About

When we are born - we all seem to start out innocent and naive.

No matter where we are born or what kind of life we are born into - we all start out the same in some basic ways. We're completely dependent on those around us, we have no idea what's in store for us or what hardships we'll face and when, and of course - we're naked as naked can be. 

When all of these things change is different for everyone. 

A lot of people born into this world face challenges early in life. For some it's apparent moments after they take their first breaths. Others have to grow up quickly in their own way; caring for siblings, finding ways to put food on the table, protecting themselves from people and situations, and generally dealing with things children shouldn't have to deal with.  Many people though - we're lucky - we aren't forced to face a lot of the hard challenges that life can throw at us until a little later.

This has become very obvious while watching my cousins kids.  They're just so beautifully perfect doing the everyday things that they do. They laugh, smile and play  as though that's all that matters to them. Happiness shines from their eyes from the simplest things. Their giggles and smiles fill entire rooms with happiness and laughter. I sat watching them the other night. The toddler racing trucks and wandering around his playroom interacting with various toys, throwing himself at me in a giant bear hug - being the crazy wild toddler that he is. His sister sat nearby surrounded by her own toys. Chewing on one toy or another - laughing more often than not and watching her beloved brothers EVERY. SINGLE. MOVE.

We draw pictures and dance...play trucks...bounce balls and play house. We cook delicious meals, use our imaginations and do puzzles. We count things and name things. We fly like airplanes and sing songs - oh how we sing songs.

The kiddo has started singing along a lot more when we sing songs now. Before bed he sings along to John Lennon's 'Bootiful boy', he asks to sing the 'man song' in four languages (Frere Jacques in French, English, Italian and Africaans - Obviously.) and delights in making the 'bell' sounds in each different language. Other songs get a little silly and a whole lot of awesome.

While 'If You're Happy And You Know It' has us dancing around the room clapping our hands, stomping our feet and shouting HORRAY - the hokey pokey has us putting limbs and selves in and out while singing through the lens of glorious laughter that life being a carefree and silly two year old brings.

They are lucky in their little lives. They have two parents who love each other and them more than anything - as well as a whole lot of extended family who love them dearly. They have more toys than any children should ever have. They are clothed, fed, go to play groups and dance classes. They have already been beautiful places in the world and seen so many happy things. They know very little or nothing of bad things in the world. The worst things that happen are leaving a toy in another room that they DESPERATELY NEED RIGHT NOW or Dad having to go to work. They are young, yes, and they are incredibly naive and so full of that naive happiness that it makes my heart swell with it's own  happiness. I am so grateful that they are and have been and I hope it stays that way for a long time. It breaks my heart to think about the world creeping in and making them sad in any which way. I know it's impossible to shield them forever - but I hope with every fiber of my being that we still lots of time to keep them young, naive, innocent and unaware of the hardships people can face in life.

On that sad day when that bubble bursts and a piece of their naive little lives is taken from them I hope that the universe is kind to them. I hope the world doesn't overwhelm them, but let's them hold on to and keep their happiness I see in them now. I hope the world is kind of them - but because part of my own naive bubble has been burst - I know that that can't last forever - so instead I hope that when they feel down because of life - they hold on to those memories of their happy childhood. Of laughing and smiling, of dancing and singing the hokey pokey.

Because sometimes that is what it's really all about. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

That's My Story & I'm Sticking To It.

Right before Christmas, a couple of not-quite-family-but-basically-family members ended up in hospitals.

One is now fighting for her life.

Another lost hers days before Christmas.

I broke down and cried the night my cousin told me - but as we keep discussing...it just doesn't seem real.

You could tell that age was taking it's toll on her the last time I saw her. She was frail, weak and needed more help than I've ever seen her accept before. Yes - she was older. Yes - She'd lived a good and long life. But it's still sad. Still heartbreaking.

But even writing this..it doesn't seem real. It doesn't seem possible. And it breaks my heart.

The other day I caught myself mid sentence saying we should call her so my uncle could talk to her while he was at my cousins house. My cousin looked at me and said "I think the same thing all the time - it just doesn't seem possible that she's gone"

When I take a picture of my cousins kids I think I should send it to her so that she can add it to the album I made her - the extra big one I got with space in the back for more pictures of her great niece and nephew as they grew up.

It breaks my heart that they'll never really know her, never remember her except for the pictures we have. Like the last photo I took of her - and even though it's a blurry iphone snap of a picture - it still makes me happy because there is so much joy in her face as she holds her great niece in her arms and I hope they'll be able to see that over the years when the look through the photo albums and ask questions about who she is, the woman she was to them.

But it still makes me sad that they'll never hear their grandfather talk to her in the odd mix of Italian, French and English gibberish like they did. She won't teach them how to cook the delicious meals that she always made from scratch - using only the freshest ingredients and shaking her head in disapprovement when you didn't have fresh herbs growing on your counter in the dead of a Canadian winter. They'll never be sent out to the grocery store to get the ingredients she needed for a bolognese, gnocchi or some other delectable Italian dish she'd learned to make decades ago growing up in a small Italian town. They'll never listen to her tell stories of decades past that make you wish you were there too.

They won't remember her telling them how beautiful they were. They won't remember the joy in her eyes as she cuddled their baby selves.

I can see her holding my cousins baby at the wedding in September. She'd "babynapped" as we ate our breakfast in peace. She sat at a nearby table cooing and making her laugh. Immense joy in her eyes. I can see the way she'd look at me and make little comments that made me feel better about the person I was... in the same reassuring way she could make anyone feel. She probably weighed a hundred pounds soaking wet and was lucky to be taller than five feet - but she could scare the crap out of anyone she knew if she wanted  or needed to.

Mere days before Christmas her body gave up after weeks of battling an illness that had ravenged and destroyed her body.

Because it's the holidays, she wanted to be cremated and a family being all over the world - it was decided that the funeral would be help in January. Tomorrow.

I am not good at funerals. I don't like them. But I wanted to go. I always feel like I should go because it's the thing you're supposed to do even if I don't really like going.

So when bad weather forecasts interrupted the plans to drive the six hour drive to be there....I was not as disappointed as I should have been. Because I don't remember people at funerals. I am just overly emotional and full of tears and feeling alone and empty and even more alone and empty because I'm surrounded by people but comforted by nothing. I'm horrible at even trying to go to funerals.

I'm better at crying on my own, in my own time. At writing down my memories, looking through pictures and smiling at all of the happy memories through the tears...of dreaming of a world where happiness prevails over all else and sad things don't happen.

...I'm better at pretending that sad things don't happen, that people live forever..and I'm good at pretending that I've just not talked to someone in a long time.

Basically...denial is my new BFF friend and sad things suck.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thanks for nothing, cinnamon.

Tonight for dinner I wasn't planning much of anything. Being the only person home can do that do you.

I bought some crackers, some nice cheese and some fruit and was planning on having a very European dinner - ones like the ones that I miss dearly.

Except last night I went grocery shopping. At dinner time. And I forgot my list. And did I mention that I'd somehow skipped lunch?

(You know where this is going - right?)

So I was starving and throwing random things into a grocery cart and making decisions like a mad man.  Decisions like...yes..I think I DO need this processed box of crap. Or perhaps a chocolate bar when I'm leaving. And let's make even more bad decisions (which my waistline can tell you I'm SO good at) throw in some high fructose corn whatever in there too! ...YES! PARTAY IN THE HIZOUSE! So instead of going with the beloved and trusty box of wheat thins crackers - I apparently went a little bit CRAZY in the cracker aisle and decided to try something new.


I hovered over the box of regular wheat things that are so classic, delicious and one of my favourite crackers. And then I saw it. A big glaring sign saying "NEW!" beside some sweet potato wheat thins. Which made my mind go...ZOMG - That sounds AMAZING! I figured it would be the best thing to make me OH SO HAPPY because who isn't happy with sweet potatoes?!




Spoiler?

NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW IF YOU WANT HAPPINESS IN YOUR LIFE*

I brought them home almost giddy with excitement - and finally unpacked and put away my impulse items groceries. I was excited to pull out these new and exciting crackers when I went all European and had a lovely dinner of cheese, crackers and fruit. Which I decided to do tonight.

Pulling out some cheese and fruit out of the fridge, I grabbed the box of crackers and opened it up putting some on a plate so I could add some other goodies to my plate. Being SO EXCITED about one of my favourite foods - sweet potatoes - I popped a cracker in my mouth as I went to grab a knife. When I stopped.

I chewed some more.

And then stopped again.

They tasted...weird.

Not...necessarily...AWFUL.

Just...weird.

And the longer the taste lingered in my mouth, the more I disliked what I was tasting.

Trying to figure out what it was that just didn't sit right with me..I grabbed the box and scanned the ingredients. Normal normal normal...normalish....but then...I saw it.

C-I-N-N-A-M-O-N.

Um. What?

Don't get me wrong. I love cinnamon. In Cookies. Desserts. Cakes. Anything sweet - you can add some cinnamon and I'll be all...this is friggen delicious. But I wanted crackers. Not sweet cookies with sugar. Not crackers that taste like dessert. I wanted what I assumed would be kind of like a crispy, salty baked sweet potato fry in cracker form. Salty, crisp, delicious sweet potato crackers - There is no way that could possibly go wrong. UNLESS YOU ADD CINNAMON AND SUGAR TO MY CRACKERS.

Okay yes - I am from the camp that you should never violate something intended to be savory with a classically sweet/dessert flavour. Sweet potatoes are sweet and have their own unique and wonderful flavour. That's what I was expecting. Not an artificially sweet flavour (from the added sugar in the ingredients. Ugh.) that was over ridden with cinnamon - something I'm pretty sure was never intended for a cracker.

I love mixing flavours and trying new things - and I've had some savory dishes with cinnamon that are okay. But to me - cinnamon goes with sweet - not salty. And I want my crackers to be WAY more salty than sweet. In general though - I just don't like my food sweet - especially not overly so - and when someone start violating crackers - something I hold so dear to my heart - well...end of story. It's kind of game over for me and I want to punch you in the face.

So I sadly put the crackers back in the box and am sitting here hungry and wondering what the heck I'm going to have for dinner now because fancy cheese and fruit just aren't the same without good bread or good crackers. Of which I have neither.

So if you're wondering what I'm doing on this lovely Thursday evening... I'm just sitting and staring at the cracker box.

The dirty stupid lying cracker box.





Thanks for nothing, cinnamon.









*May be a small slight minuscule exaggeration. But seriously. Cinnamon. In crackers? GROSS.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Things We Learn

Just about any situation which you find yourself in during your life can be a learning experience. Whether good or bad - everything that we do teaches us something. It may be something big, may be something little - but from everything - we learn something. I have learned a lot in the last week of staying alone in my parents house. Like - a lot. And all of it SO IMPORTANT. Don't believe me? Here are some of the things I've learned recently:

• Grocery shopping is bullshit and should be put off for as long as possible. In addition - Food goes bad quickly. Trying to  keep bread or anything perishable in the house is pointless. Carbs of the non perishable variety are still awesome. And my weakness. My non-perishable and awesome weakness.

• Creepy noises are easier to hear when you're alone. They're also WAY louder and creepier than anything else you could have possibly heard ever. Every night you will think that there are people coming to kill you in your sleep. FYI - It`s just cats.

• There is no one to judge you if you eat popcorn for dinner. Or watch that crappy tv show other people raise their eyebrows when they catch you watching it. Or if you turn off your alarm and just...don't get out of bed. This is equal parts awesome and awful.

• I would become a level 5 hermit in no time. In fact - I`m pretty sure I`m almost there.

• Fixing the tv when you press weird buttons accidentally is virtually impossible when you're alone. You might as well give up.

• Sometimes you think - oh yeah - I'll go to bed early. And then you end up outside at 2am calling cats that are jerks and hiding on you while you're wearing not nearly enough clothes for it to be -10 degrees C out and then you get angry and go clean the kitchen and the sink and anything else you can clean until you realise that it`s almost 3am and WHAT THE HELL, SELF. Because sometimes that just happens.

• Litter boxes are disgusting like it`s nobody`s business. Like. For real.

• Cooking food is bullshit when it's for one person. If I always lived without people around I would rarely cook because it makes way too many dishes and is way too much effort for one person. I also would probably definitely be a vegetarian. I ate meat once while housesitting for my brother last year in the 3+ weeks they were gone. I haven't eaten meat since my parents left almost a week ago.

• It`s way easier to get lost in your head when you`re not forced to physically speak to people...ever.

• There is no one to help you find your lost stuff. Which makes finding things I lost really hard. Which led to a ZOMG MY PHONE IS AT ALMOST NO PERCENT AND I CAN`T FIND MY CHARGER AND MY LIFE IS ALMOST OVER.

• There is also no one to calm me down from freak outs when I think my life is over over ridiculous and stupid things.

• Lemonade is awesome. Everyone should drink it every day and then the world would be a happier place.

So - Those are a few of the all new and exciting things I've learnt recently. Well. Except for the lemonade part. Tricked you - I already KNEW that. Because who DOESN`T know that lemonade is the best thing since sliced bread? Exactly. Right. Glad we're on the same page because if we weren't - I'd probably have to throw lemonade in your eyes until you believe me. Except not really because WHO WASTES LEMONADE?!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Reflections

I caught my reflection in the mirror this morning and it caught me off guard more than it usually does.

I'm use to seeing a lot of things I don't like. The bags under my eyes, hair that can't be tamed and pounds that are extra galore. I've come to terms with a lot of these things on some sort of level. I don't like them - they make me cringe and look away. They make me want to scream and cry with reckless abandon. But at the end of the day - they're a part of me. 

But when I look in the mirror lately - I see this person - and I'm not sure who she is.

It's not the body that bothers me the most - and trust me - it does - oh it does...but I just don't feel like...me. I feel like a part of my soul is missing. Like something intangible is just...gone.

And the more I start to think about it...the less I can see any part of me that I use to know.

Where is the girl who spent every night out with friends, out at bars, out dancing and laughing and living and enjoying life?

Where is the girl who could sit down and put so much effort into the work she had to do that people 'ooohed' and 'ahhhed' over everything she did.

Where is the girl who could go the extra mile for the people she loved while pouring drinks, laughing, juggling someones baby on her hip and dancing because she just aced a project she was working on?

Where is the girl who spent so much of her spare time volunteering because it made her heart happy?

Where is the girl people actually enjoyed being around? The girl who didn't feel as though she was on the edge of a breakdown every time she turn around. The girl who wasn't a burden to everyone in her life? The one who didn't annoy and frustrate people so much that it was easier to just walk away and throw up their hands than to be her friend.

Where did she go?

Why did she go?

And how can even some sort of version of her come back?

I look in the mirror and I don't see any of the person I use to be or the person that I want to be - on the inside OR the outside - and that is a scary realization. One that most days I'd rather not face. One on most days I don't feel like I have even close to enough energy to think about facing. In the afternoons is when it hits me the most lately. I get lost in my thoughts and try to get up enough energy to think about how to find myself, to fix myself, and I end up feeling more lost and alone than ever.

I feel so lost lately - in every way. I look in the mirror and I try to see who is staring back at me - and I just don't recognize her. I feel as though I've ventured so far off of the path I use to be on that it's hard to believe anything else ever existed. I feel so alone in every sense of the word that it eats me alive - yet I feel stuck in stone - unable to move in any direction - let alone the one I should be moving in. There are moments that are okay...But yet I feel as though I have to fake it. I have to pretend when it's not. Because if I don't pretend, then I become even more of a burden. And if I don't pretend...I fall further down the rabbit hole of disliking for myself.

When looking back over myself I find myself staring in the mirror and I can't help but wonder...Who is that. What is that. Will she ever find her way back to the person she was? Does that person even exist...or was what use to be just a figment of her imagination?