‘It’s Not What You Look At That Matters, It’s What You See.’ Henry David Thoreau

Sitting by the water

He takes out his notebook and a pen

He starts addressing the letter

‘Dear Mom and Dad’

He stops

Sits

Staring out at the sea

Reminded of all the times he had sat in this very spot before

Always looking

But never really seeing

Always searching

Never finding

Today is different

Today he is thinking of his parents

Thinking of what to write in a letter that will only be received after he’s gone

Thinking of what, if anything, will bring comfort to his parents

He doesn’t want to think about the sadness they might feel

He prefers to think of their future and how happy he thinks they’ll be without worrying about him all the time

Should he write that, he ponders

No

That sounds like he’s doing this because of them

And he’s not

He’s never done anything so much for himself before

He starts again

‘Dear Mom and Dad,

I love you both

I’m sorry for any grief this might cause you

But I’m doing this for me

I can’t stand it anymore

I hope one day you can understand that.’

He stops again

He rereads his words

He cringes

The words sound so hollow

It all seems so pitiful

That’s not what he wants to convey

This isn’t a sad ending

He needed this, he thinks

Surely they have seen that

Maybe there’s no way to write that out

Maybe there’s only a way to feel it

If only he could bottle up an emotion and attach it to his letter

He feels frustrated

Fuck this isn’t what he wanted today to be about

This day was supposed to be a happy day

He shouldn’t have waited until today to write this

This is good really

The end of a miserable life

He tears up the letter

He tries again

‘Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m doing this for me. A new beginning.

Love,

Your son’

He reads it over several times

It’s as good as its gonna get

He doesn’t have a lot of time left

He goes back to his lonely apartment

Filled with stuff he has no use for anymore

He wonders if he ever really enjoyed any of it

He doesn’t care if thieves get to it

He finds an envelope and puts his parents names on it

He had made plans with his parents for tomorrow

They are going to pass by

They’ll knock until they realize the door is unlocked

They’ll wander in

Walk around

Call his name

They’ll see all of his things scattered around

Remnants of a life he never really excelled at

Leftover pieces of a life that he could never really call his own

Things he won’t need anymore

The letter will be on the table

They can’t miss it

He wonders if they will figure it out before reading the letter

He hopes in someway they saw this coming

They had to

It’s been a long time coming

He doesn’t really care to say his goodbyes to anyone else

He just wants to be gone

Finally

He goes into his bedroom

There is a small bag in his closet

That he bought especially for this momentous occasion

He feels positively electric

His hands are shaking

He unzips it

Peeks inside

Making sure everything he needs is still there

Even though he has checked and rechecked a million times

He hasn’t slept in a few days

Too full of anticipation for this day

He takes a seat on his bed

Thinking about this last year

He’s exhausted and giddy at the same time

Giddy…he thinks

That’s the only time he’s ever used that word to apply to himself

He is so ready to take this leap

He gets up

Grabs his bag

Walks to the front door

He won’t need his keys where he’s going

He turns back

One last look

He feels nothing but relief

He shuts off the lights

Closing the door behind him

He’s ready

He takes a big breath

This isn’t an ending

He exhales

It’s his new beginning

One foot in front of the other

Not longer just about walking away from an expired life

But towards a new one

Just waiting to be found

‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.’

Advertisements

‘Deep in the heart of my soul, I’ll feel so glad to go.’ The Smiths

Disclaimer: I write this blog as a form of release. It’s cathartic. Please don’t tell me my feelings are wrong. This isn’t the place for that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What if this is as good as it gets

I keep replaying that in my mind

My heart doesn’t want it to be true

It lies to me

It tells me that it’s gotta get better than this

It weaves stories of a made up future that doesn’t include pain and sadness

And most certainly doesn’t include a disease as fucked up as Multiple Sclerosis

It knows just what to lure me with

It doesn’t bother with lies about riches and fame and fortune

My heart shows me a future that is serene

Days filled with thoughts that don’t make you feel like you’re going crazy

Nights slept through instead of worrying obsessively about what will happen next

It shows me a calm that I have never known in this world

It shows me a future that I instinctually know will never be mine

My mind is always there to remind me of what I already know

The heart doesn’t listen

Like they say

The heart wants what it wants

And so that traitor continues to beat

Thump thump thump

Sometimes the pounding is so loud and it reverberates through my entire body

Callously letting me know

That it’s still there

My mind always racing

To catch up to the beats of my heart

Ensuring it’s repetitive voice isn’t lost

So I continue

Another day filled with my heart and mind at war

Another day spent fighting and trying to drown out the noise

That nobody but me can ever hear

Still I wonder if it’s easier

To fight battles that exist outside the walls of your own skin and bones

So now I imagine a future

Without the lies of harmony and calm

With an enemy on the outside

My heart and mind finally calling a truce

And letting me Rest In Peace

The Pincushion Queen

I’m filling out a self exploration journal

It asks me questions that make me think

I mostly like it

Until it stumps me

It wants to know three thoughts that made me smile

I sifted through the ashes of the day that was coming to an end

Searching for the remnants of a smile

Surely there had to be something

Instead I walked through empty hallways in my mind

Like an old home

Abandoned

There were cobwebs where laughter should have been

There were dusty corners where smiles should have hidden

I felt frantic in my search

It had to be there

Hidden under the tarps

I needed to find the right moments to erase the sadness in my heart

From room to room

Floor to floor

I searched

For something to hold onto

I looked around at a strange home that I’d never been to

But like all empty dilapidated homes

The previous owners had taken the memories with them

Maybe tomorrow

I’ll get lost in my old home

I’ll find all the smiles and laughs

That have gone missing throughout the years

Maybe tomorrow

I’ll write it all in my journal

Hoping it’ll fill up the emptiness in my mind

Wishing that my heart will be so filled to the brim

That the sadness won’t have any place to slither in

And I can tape the pages of my journal

All around my broken bits

Covering the seams to keep all the happiness locked inside

‘I Am Not A Teacher, But An Awakener.’ – Robert Frost

Not everyone can remember the exact moment when they had their first life changing moment

I can

I was in grade two

We were gathered around on the floor waiting to meet our new teacher

Everyone was excited and nervous

A little background:

I’d gone to the same school since Junior Kindergarten

It was a Catholic elementary school

With predominantly Italian-Canadian kids like me

The teachers were mostly Italian descent as well

They were all what you’d picture elementary school teachers to look and dress like

I liked my teachers enough

I liked school enough

And then Art walked in

Right into my grade two classroom

I knew things wouldn’t be the same

My jaw dropped, along with pretty much all the other kids

It was a woman with platinum blonde crimped hair and she wore a sorta green taffeta Victorian style dress

She had thick black eyeliner and red lip stick and pointy boots

I had never seen something so beautiful before

While the other kids were murmuring to each other that she they thought she looked kinda weird

I just sat there

And thought ‘I want to be just like her when I grow up’

I was lucky enough to have Ms. T as my teacher, 3 times over the years

She was so artistic and creative

And I loved the creative writing prompts she would give us

Where I could write whatever I wanted

We would read in front of the class

Which undoubtedly gave me the confidence that I still have today, to enjoy public speaking (somewhat of a rarity for anxiety-sufferers)

I can’t even count how many times she told me how much she believed in me, even standing up for me, when it was appropriate

Me

A little girl, then a 10 year old brat and lastly a weird 12 year old unsure of her place in the world

She would often see me standing waiting for the bus after school

And would drive me home

I absolutely loved those moments

When I felt I had a special connection with her that the other kids didn’t have

I looked forward to seeing her yellow Jeep driving down the street towards me

I’d sit in the front passenger seat and chat

I left the Jeep positively glowing

Even now when I look back on my memories, it comes with a sort of magic

Which is fitting since I was sure she was a witch with her clothes, shoes and makeup

But not the scary kinda witch that kids are often afraid of

No, Ms. T was the good witch

The one that carried a little bit of magic in her Victorian lace pockets

The magic that made me love learning and writing

Sprinkling just enough of it for me to feel so at ease and happy in her presence

When I got into high school

I was already expressing myself differently

Dying my hair

And wearing all black

Later painting my eyes black

And so on

Life had shifted so dramatically

Where I once loved to learn with an amazing teacher

Now I was often being kicked out of class for not wearing the uniform to the various teachers liking

I hated English classes almost more than any

I had two different teachers

That would pick on me mercilessly in front of the entire class

About my make up

About my hair

About my jewellery

About me

I wish I could tell you it didn’t bother me

But it had a profound effect on me

I started to hate school and resent these teachers

Most authority figures too

In the dreaded math class where I struggled the most

I was kicked out so often that I got frustrated and annoyed

I remember saying to the teacher and later to the Vice Principal

That it just didn’t make any sense

To kick me out of a class that I’d needed the most help with

I grew disenfranchised and apathetic to learning

I skipped school a lot

What was the point, I’d probably get kicked out for a uniform infraction or another

I’d see other girls often not even in uniform, and they’d make it through, completely unscathed

Over the years I’d still run into Ms. T and she always made me feel just as special as that kid who got rides in her Jeep

I couldn’t understand how she could be in the same profession as these other teachers who seemed to care more about deterring young women from figuring out who they were than of any real learning

In grade eleven, there was a new Principal and she hated me on sight

There was a meeting held

I think my father came

I can’t remember much of it

I hated school

I didn’t want to leave my friends

But I couldn’t keep doing this

The meeting had a lot to do with the school urging me to change my ‘look’

Or face the consequences

Not change my behaviour

Just the way I looked

I’d been told by my family numerous times

That it would be so much easier if I could just change

I knew they were trying to help what was becoming a horrible situation

I just couldn’t do it

I remember once my best friend and I swapped outfits as a joke

She wore my ripped shorts and flannel with a band tee and I wore her neatly pressed button up blouse with dressy shorts

I felt like my skin was crawling

I don’t know how else to explain it

I felt fake

I felt like everyone could see me without my clothes on

To have changed my outward appearance was simply not an option for me

I left the school

I went to an alternative public school

Which was the polar opposite of what I was used to

In every imaginable way

I still stood out, it just wasn’t a big deal

I wish I could say I was able to get back what I’d lost

That love of learning

But by this point I just wanted to graduate and never look back

I missed my friends most of whom I’d known since elementary school

I missed being around kids of the same culture I’d grown up in

It was kinda a culture shock

I remember urging my parents not to attend graduation

Fearful of how much they would stand out in a sea of waspy parents

Ironic right?

Sure I was lucky enough to have awesome teachers once again

Even one who let me focus my entire Independent Studies in Anarchy as a political ‘structure’

I still smile at that

Unfortunately, I never enjoyed school the way I had previously

I look back at my life of the years

Of course I think maybe it would have been easier if I’d somehow chosen on a different path

But it just never felt like a choice

Truthfully, I cannot imagine it any other way

I don’t think I really even want to

And I’m certain that Ms. T walked into my classroom and changed the trajectory of my life in the best way possible

I hope she knows for that, I will always be grateful

Through the difficulties, through it all

I can unequivocally say that the one thing I’m completely comfortable in, is my own skin and who I am as an individual

Which so many people, never seem to achieve

More-so, I’m confident in who I am

I owe it to Ms. T

After all, she steered me clear of becoming anything but boring

‘If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are, you’re fooling yourself. That’s like expecting a lion not to eat you, bc you didn’t eat him.’ Unknown

With all this time waiting

I’ve done little else

But think

Thinking of what I could do if my application for Long Term Disability is denied

Thinking of where I could feasibly work in that case

I know I have a propensity towards the bleak but I just don’t see an alternative working environment aside from being my own boss

Try as I might

I just cannot envision a supervisor being understanding about my ‘chronic absenteeism’

Having never been in a managerial position (shocking, I know) I can’t say how I would be if one of my employees was like me

A good worker but with a spotty work attendance at best

I don’t know how many people would be understanding when it actually came down to it

In theory, everyone can be a Mother Theresa

Reality as we know it

Is a very different story

I think the premise behind this is what led me to becoming a youth worker

The world can be hard

The world can be cold and lonely

And I wanted to give the youth I worked with, a soft place to land

While giving them truths and not sugarcoating life for them

I would create a space where they could count on being supported through mischief, behavioural issues, criminal activities, mental health struggles and in just being themselves

I know coddling isn’t an answer

Nor was it my objective

It was, however, my goal to create such a space they could make mistakes while being in

Getting the support and assistance from me while they were there

I won’t pretend that I was a proud momma every time a youth did something negative

I wasn’t

I’m sure I doled out plenty of lectures and rants and get-your-shit-together-kid lines

But they knew I’d still be there for them in the end

I like the thought of that so much

That I sometimes fantasized the rest of the real world is like that

Not fairytales and butterflies

Real with disease and pain

But with support from all sides

Maybe this is why I’ve struggled so much with work, the health care system and so on

I was hoping that the support I provided to youth

Would somehow be the support I in turn received

Not because of some karmic balance

But because I still believe that people are inherently good

I hoped

That through dark and cold times

I would know there was a support system behind me

Not just made up of prayers and well wishes

But of doctors who would ask questions

And ophthalmologists who would look for answers

Maybe with neurologists that would care about how the disease they’re so focused on, also affects my daily life

Perhaps that’s why I’m chronically disappointed and hopelessly let down

If I, an underpaid Youth Work and Univerisity dropout, could find it within myself

To still care

Years after hearing so many sad stories from youth day after day

Along with my own messed up mind

I guess I just don’t understand why someone who at some point got into their field to ‘make a difference’ just stopped giving a shit about the people behind their diagnoses

I know it’s not easy

With insane caseloads, and not enough hours in a day

Not to mention family and kids and taking out the garbage and just life

I really do get it

And yet I’m still left wondering why I’m not enough to care about

At the end of the day

How do you just close up shop and ignore that person you just saw

Who cried from the depths of their soul and whose desperation for help surely must have hung in the air

Like cigarette smoke on a cold winters morning

Long after they’d gone

When you walked back into the office the next day

Smelling the acrid air

Did you think about them?

Or did you just open a window?

To usher my haunted remains out

And let in your warm sunny day

‘False Hope Is Just A Game Of Russian Roulette, I’d Rather You Just Open Fire.’ – K. Piper

I had a brief moment the other day

Where I felt like I was going to get answers and help

The solutions to persistent eye pain and nausea seemed just within my reach

I fell asleep last night feeling relieved and excited

About finally getting some help

I was almost giddy

If you can imagine that…

I woke up and got ready with my stomach in knots

I felt nervous and apprehensive

Unsure what to expect

See and herein lies the problem with hope

It hurts when it gets snuffed out like a candle

It hurts more than the very reason you needed hope

The ophthalmologist didn’t hesitate to shut down a plausible explanation for my symptoms

Without suggestion as to where to go from this point

I left the clinic

Dejected

I came home

Closed the lights

Crawled into bed

Remembering why hope is a nothing more than a dangerous game of Russian roulette

And I’ve never liked the odds

‘Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.’ Anton Chekhov

It’s weird how everything can be going along decent enough

And then

Not like a boom but with dead silence

You just fall apart

Like a single glass into a million shattered pieces

All over the kitchen floor

Bits scattered like broken glass

Shards you can’t see yet but know you’ll be picking up pieces of, even months from now

You wish you could contain the mess

The fall out from this devastation

But there’s no way of stopping it, once it’s lid has popped off

There’s no rhyme or reason

Why this time and not the million times before

Exhausted, all you have the energy to do is to fall into bed

Promising yourself that tomorrow you’ll have the strength to clean the mess

But you wake up the following day

And the shattered glass has multiplied

And it’s more like the disaster of an entire glass building

Completely shattered

The destruction of which

You’ve never seen before

You leave it all there

Too overwhelmed to make a plan of how to clean up

You give up

Not caring of all the ways the sharp tiny pieces will hurt like hell

When you forget they’re there

And walk over them

Again and again