The sky darkened above me today, while I walked my walk through the streets. Clouds filled up like pregnant ladies and burst their bundles all over me, soaking me from head to toe.
I don’t mind. Walking through town in this rain is interesting, though. Streets normally full of traffic-rushing and lunch-getting are quiet and calm in the rain. Looking down the street there should be hundreds of cars headed my way, but instead there is a vast expanse of shiny asphalt, reflecting back lights and shimmering like a magical path in a fairy tale.
I smell toast as I pass the houses and cars; and coffee, and also some bagels wanting some cream cheese. I smell the delicious scent of earth and dirt, as I meander through Poncho Park. There is something sweet here – perhaps a sugary treat dropped by a child – dancing next to aromas of cigarettes and exhaust fumes. Warm concrete wet with new rain, and the touch of moist grass to top off the mixture.
I heard recently that the sense of smell is the weakest sense in humans. There are times (i/e: when working with the public) that I would appreciate a weaker smeller a great deal. I, however, have super smell, and can often identify a brand of perfume just from walking into a building, or the smell of an egg salad sandwich eaten six hours ago, but somehow still lingering about the lunchor.
This super power allows me to enjoy a million little things that go unnoticed by others: someone lighting a candle on a rainy day, perhaps to sit and read a good book by; the fresh laundry smell that squeezes through the house and brushes my nose with its clean, happy scent; and the smell of life, which seems to be toast and coffee for me – scents that say it’s time to get up and start another day. Live. Be alive. Go make something of this day.
a big thank you to my dear friend Tony, who just showed me an amazing amount of love and encouragement. i just came out to him as a multiple, and his first reaction wasn’t awkwardness or the icky face. and he didn’t do what another friend did to me recently, which was to say “let me process this and i’ll get back to you” and then i haven’t heard from them since.
i’ve told a number of people now, about my diagnosis, and the reactions are all different. but surprisingly, not many people have straight up shunned me. but Tony was i think the first to just jump into the deep end and start asking questions: when was i diagnosed, how many of me are there, do they all have names, or something like that. and all really good questions, which makes me wonder: why are you working with computers, when you have a really obvious knack for dealing with crazy people?
when dealing with old wounds and injuries, prying them open to expose to the public on a blog is cathartic, therapeutic, if not a little strange. but it’s freeing in it’s anononymity. opening up these issues to family and friends is more dangerous. there is a greater degree of rejection immediately at hand. will my family still love me? will my friends accept me? who can handle the truth, and who will run from this information?
well, Tony, whom i’ve known since i was maybe 10 or so, was supportive, loving, and interested in my story. and i can’t ask for more from a friend.
all in all, a good day
i’m supposed to be working on my book today. for those of you who are frequent flyers here at accidental happiness airlines, you may recall that i am writing a book of memoirs. no? oh, well i did tell you, so you must have missed that blog. this was the weekend i intended to finish up the final editing; but life’s little lessons get in the way, and i see i must face some of my demons before i share them with the world.
Demon #1: Shyorcifel (also known as fear of intimacy)
i’ve been getting in touch with friends from my past, and i see that the vast majority of folk my age have spouses and children and homes. i began to scold myself today for not having a lover, and what is wrong with me, and all of that kind of thing. but i realized pretty quickly that the reason i am still single is that i never let anyone get close, and i never let men (or most of my friends for that matter) see the real me. it’s scary to think that you would hope in someone to love you on your worst day, with a big juicy zit on your nose, and no makeup on, walking around in yoga pants with holes in the ass, and then your supposed to trust that this person loves you when they’ve been around you at these times? when you’ve done something sinister or selfish? when you’ve told about your horrid past and how messed up you are? see, it’s easier to just never get to that level.
and that’s why i’m still single. so i have to wrestle with the intimacy demon and work out the kinks in my emotional vulnerability quotas.
Demon #2: Keeperoscipase (also known as Obssessive Hoarding)
ok, i’m not actually a hoarder. i lovingly refer to it as ‘being a Picker’. i collect. and while i love my books and papers and ephemera, my toys and clothes and crafts, i’m not going to be auditioning for “Hoarders” anytime soon. but – having watched my first episode today – i can see that i am made of the same fabric as these others. we are people who are afraid.
afraid of losing someone. afraid of letting go of the past. afraid of living in the now, and the uncertainties of life. afraid of forgetting something, or not having what we need, or throwing away something important or of value.
afraid of letting people in. afraid of looking deep inside. afraid of admitting we’ve been hurt, killed, beaten, worn down, abused, neglected and abandoned. afraid of being seen for what we are: weak, vulnerable, and hurting.
but hey! look at that. the entire human race is in this category. and while i might wash my hands too many times after tucking away another thirty copies of fiction titles i’ll never read, you might be socking down your thirteenth bottle of Labatts, or losing the use of your right arm due to a slip up with a bookie.
we’re all of us broken, wounded, beautiful creatures. and the fascinating part of life is watching each of us uncover the treasure beneath all the outer layerings of crap.
When I was thirteen I tried to kill myself. I was in seventh grade the first time I tried, and just continued dabbling with the idea off and on for a year or so. I’d probably been suicidal for a while; and at the very least depressed for a good many years. The first time I actually remember trying to cut myself I was around five, and stood in the kitchen by myself with a butter knife, ready to do some serious arterial damage. Of course, it would have taken me an awfully long time to draw blood with a butter knife, but look, I was only five, I wasn’t schooled in the proper techniques of murder and suicide. By the time I was in seventh grade I’d at least figured out that I should use some type of sharp instrument. Had my family made more money, I might have had a nice little razor blade to injure myself with. As it was, my family was on the poor side, so we had nothing but disposable razors in the house.
There I was, with my little pink Daisy razor with the flowers all over it, slicing away at my wrists, getting the feel of suicide in my bones. The skin cut easier than I thought, and hurt less than I expected. The slight sting was more tantalizing than scary, and the blood oozing out was rather intoxicating. These first few times I cut were more flirtations with danger than real attempts at death, but they got me hooked fast. The adrenaline in my body, the tension in my muscles, the power I felt over SOMETHING in my life was a sort of intense little window of possibility, where the world lay open for me, and it was MY choice to live or expire. In my world, having a choice was not common. Tempting myself with death became a particularly seductive past time. It meant freedom.
I began cutting my ankles along with my wrists. The veins on my ankles were puffy and prominent, and I began to imagine that if I managed to kill myself this way, perhaps I would end up in the local news as some sort of two minute celebrity for a bizarre and tragic departure. Girl dies at age 13, wrists and ankles bloody pulps. I also took pills, though, because I wasn’t just into cutting. I actually did want to get out of my life situation, and if that meant getting out of life, I was amenable to that.
If I had known back then how bizarre and interesting my life would be, I can’t say for sure that I would have made the same decisions. Today it is raining heavily, the cloud cover so dark it feels like it is nine o’clock at night, when it is only lunch time for me. There is a dark, moody feel about the day; somber, pensive, romantically deep. My life is full of these moments – full of intensely beautiful days where the sky is so blue it hurts my mind, and the contentment in my heart seems unique to humanity. There are days where I feel desolate, empty, unloved and barren. Days that I wonder how anyone can choose to love me because I am such a challenge and an emotional roller coaster.
But this is life. Up, down, inside, outside, colorful, dark, dramatic, silly, intense, monotonous, and spectacular. Every year the trees change colors before my eyes in a wonderful parade of life and death. Every year the sun comes back in the spring, coaxing hiding animals and tiny buds on trees to burst open with hope and life, and continue the cycle that has been going forever.
Had I known about these wonders when I was thirteen – about broken hearts and dreams dashed to pieces; about disappointments and sorrows, love lost and love expiring; about passion and desire and intimacy; about laughter and acceptance and people that love you enough to talk to you in the morning when you have Christopher Walken hair – I would have laid my Daisy razor down in the shower, and kept it for shaving. I would have spared my skin the worry and nervousness. I think. Because life is hard, and wicked, difficult and damaging. But the beauty in life – and the POTENTIAL beauty – is worth the risk.
Life is an accidental and beautiful happiness.
moving day at the zoo.
and i know that change is good, and this change too will be good. still, right now my life is very up and down, inside out, and loaded with raw emotions that spill over into all areas of existence, like a waterfall of insecurity. still, if i can find a piece of paper, i can make myself a boat, and sail on down the waterfall, adrift on a sea of questions, but protected nonetheless.
In the dead of the night
while children are sleeping
I walk the wet grass
on tip-toeing feet.
Deep into the labyrinth
I fly like an angel
guided by starlight,
spurred on by heat.
My hair is a comet
that streams out behind me
The wings that I wear
are a gossamer white.
I chase down your shadow
and run from your memory
I drink to your fortune
and succumb to my plight.
I pour out my heart
and leave it before you
A scattering of breadcrumbs
to show you the way.
I sit in the center
of my dark, empty labyrinth
I call out your name
and bid you to stay.
Guy: (after waiting an extra 45 minutes because the doctor was flirting with his nurses)
“I keep getting this pain in my eye, like, every day. It’s like clockwork.”
Doctor: “Tell me about it, guy”.
Guy: “Well, it’s really painful. It’s like this stabbing pain, this searing stabbing pain that hurts like hell, and I want it to stop hurting. Man it hurts.”
Doctor: “You say this happens every day?”
Guy: “Yeah like clockwork. Every morning I’m getting this horrible ache in my eye.”
Doctor: “Tell me your morning routine”.
Guy: “Well I get up and, you know, I have to “pee”, and then I putz around and look for the paper. And I make myself a cup of coffee; strong, not this pussy coffee you buy at these crappy chain places that have like mounds of cream or foam or some shit. But I do put SOME cream in my coffee, ok, sue me, I don’t have much hair on my chest. Christ. What was I saying? Oh, so I put in some sugar too, ‘cause like I said, I make it pretty strong, and then I stir it up and slurp it down, and then I get this horrible ass headache”.
Doctor: “Try taking the spoon out of your cup”.
Ok, so that’s my version of the story, but you’ve heard it. What’s my point?
I’ve been reading “The Secret”, and many other books that are similarly minded. Good stuff if you’re into that kind of thing. Stupid if you’re not, I suppose. One of the books I’ve been reading lately is dealing with relationships, and how to make them better and stronger. Much good advice in this book. But also some advice I have to leave in the book, and not carry around in my head. The book has a specific religious slant that I don’t agree with, and it amazes me how I feel after reading it. I find I’m really buying into this whole idea that you vibrate on a certain frequency. The whole “birds of a feather flock together” thing. So the way you are is great, you’re awesome, and you gravitate towards other things that vibrate on your level. These things may not all be similar to you, but you are on the same frequency level, so you are compatible, or compliment each other, or match somehow. And I’m finding this true in many aspects of my life; even books! Because despite the fact that this book has some much needed information for me, I certainly don’t match its frequency for the most part.
Take, for example, “Click”, which I recently wrote about. After reading this book, I felt energized, excited, motivated and hopeful. Immediately after reading the book – and actually half way through it – I began sharing the concepts of the book with others. Siblings, friends, strangers; it didn’t matter who you were, I wanted to tell you about the book. I started quoting and recommending and blogging about the book. It helped me learn more about myself. It made me feel like I had purpose. It made me send an email to the authors and write a gushing thank you for this wonderful, life changing piece of work. In comparison, the book I’m reading now – though chock full of good information I will remember and utilize in my relationships – makes me feel bad. Its focus is on complaining, and whether you are complaining too much about life, and lovers, and situations. Complain less, is the motto, which is wonderful. I want to do that. Look at my blogs, I complain all the time. So after reading this book I feel like I’ve been doing things wrong. I’ve been questioning my direction. I feel guilt about maybe being a bad person, even though just this morning I decided I’m going to make some cornbread for a perfect stranger just because the old man mentioned he loved it when we met on my morning walk today. Or maybe I feel guilt because I am complaining too much about life? Or maybe I’m guilty because I don’t feel love, and don’t seem to get it? I get anxious, and nervous, and start to cry. I feel confused and at odds and discouraged. Yes, yes, some of the information is good. I already said that. Otherwise I would have stopped reading a long time ago. But the book doesn’t make me FEEL GOOD.
And here comes The Secret. If it doesn’t make you feel good, stop doing it. If you aren’t happy in the center of it, get into the thing that DOES make you feel happy. So I appreciate and receive the good information from the book, but then I have to put it down. Because really, we all have our own ways and beliefs, and this way and belief has helped all kinds of people all over the world, according to the author and the review on the cover. But it doesn’t match MY frequency. I find it fascinating that organized religion seems to have this effect on me. Makes me squeamish, guilt ridden and worriful just being near it. While it makes others I know happy, full of love and grateful, it just makes me exhausted. I don’t want to focus on complaining, and counting how many times I complain, and noticing when and how and why I complain.
I want to focus on LOVE. I want to let love IN, and let love BE, and let love flourish all around me. I want to GIVE love and RECEIVE love, and LIVE IN LOVE. I want LOVE to be my focus. Not complaints.
And so, I must leave aside religion. I notice and take up what bits make sense to me, and continue my journey in love. Because that is what I want to fill my life with. Not condemnation. Not judgment. Not the attentive eyes of people who tell me I’m doing this wrong or failing to do that right. I want love in my life. I want acceptance, and peace and happiness. And religion can give that to some people. But not me. And so, like the good doctor would recommend, I must take the spoon out of my cup.
tonight i took a walk to my park; too late, for sure. probably not a good idea to do that all the time, but i really needed an extra fix. i’ve gotten addicted to my walks, and especially to the river. and tonight as i walked in the no-longer-hot air, i had much on my mind. i had a heavy heart, and a worried mind. i was longing for love, and worried about the path it was taking to arrive, at long last, in my life. but i am not in control of a good many things in life, and if i were there would be more sex, alcohol and football or futball involved.
my path through park number one was quiet, with fireflies lighting my way. they sparkled in the dusk like twinkle lights on a tree, and flashed their message to me: all is well; all is well. at park number two i was calmed even more. the water at the falls was full and frothy, like a good mug of hard cider in October. ducks were about, and calm and collected, discussing the day’s events, or possibly exchanging information about timeshares. i sat on the park bench and fell into a lull. overhead lights shone on the water, in silver, gold and purple. the shimmer of the lights reflected in the water looked like a firework display, with every ripple on the river giving off a spark of light. it was truly amazing, and a treasured moment.
i am not in charge of LOVE. i cannot guarantee its safe arrival to me. i have no promise of a tomorrow, with someone or without. i don’t know what the future holds. but i do know that i can love others. i can give love, whether or not it comes back to me. i can do my part, and give my love, and that much i CAN know. seeing the beauty of the water, and nature’s little buzzing flashlights reminded me: there is so much love out there in the world, even if it doesn’t come to me directly, i figure i can still catch a second hand buzz one way or another.