August 14th, 2009

we are all mad

and (i) flew to the ceiling to escape

Once I was being attacked by a monster in the dream world. It seethed evil and each breath sucked out precious oxygen. The monster lumbered toward me to destroy me. I was utterly terrified but there was no place to run. The room was getting smaller. I felt the rattle of phlegm as the thing's fire breath touched my neck. I was exhausted. Then I woke up inside the dream and flew to the ceiling to escape, but the reach of this monster was extraordinary. Then as if I were a balloon fear rapidly left me through an opening in my feet. I stood and faced the monster who then tried to touch me. His hand went through me because there was no fear to keep it there. Then he was gone.

- joy harjo, from: 'all your enemies will be vanquished'
alice lost in labyrinth

where I live (1)

This is for a descriptive exercise where I was going to write about the area I live, as suggested by "my self" and as you can see, it's a work in progress where I've managed magnificently to procrastinate in writing about the actual topic.

So, I've not actually done the 'describing where I live' part YET - the area, my apartment, the people I've met, how it feels to live here & now, etc - but posting this is a start!


FOR OVER A YEAR, I've lived in Toronto. After I made my big move to the big city, nothing went according to plan (not that I had much of a plan). Pretty much everything that I hoped would work out, didn't.

And I'm grateful.


There was a basement where a dozen cats had done their business. It was in a known dangerous part of Parkdale. The cab driver could hardly wait for me to get out of the car and pay him. I tried to visualize myself there but I felt uncomfortable. I was trying to stay close to Queen Street and this was indeed on Queen but it was much too far west for a small town girl like me. Scary and icky. Then there was the box above a hamburger joint that wouldn't have fit my futon, let alone my two cats or any belongings I had left. I nearly took it out of desperation but thankfully something made me walk away - realized later the building was called 'heartbreak hotel'. No kidding. I almost had a place with some Irish guys above a diner but I figured leaving one to live with three others wasn't a good idea. A couple weeks later, a woman was shot and killed a block away from there at a bar that I likely would have been at (I was going out for drinks a lot that first month after the breakup and decided I'd go to the movies instead. I saw a lot of movies). I tried craigslist for roommates but nothing came through. Having two cats and a very limited knowledge of the city complicated things. There were offers but they either excluded my cats or were too far a commute. I didn't find a place and I ran out of time.

Perhaps I held out hope that the man I was sleeping with every night - who was making me hug him every morning and would hold me after sex even up to the night before I moved out - I think I was hoping we'd make it work. We couldn't. We didn't.

As was too often the case in recent years, my Dad helped move me yet again. This time, I put my belongings into storage and my cats went back to Glencoe - a place I had put behind me years ago. It was extremely difficult for me to be separated from my boys - we'd been together longer than any of my relationships had lasted. Watching them go and not knowing when I'd have them back was painful. One heartbreak after another. A low moment on moving day was when I said out loud that I had 'got above myself' to think that I could live in Toronto, to think this could have ever been the place for me. I'd left behind friends and family to be part of someone else's world and not even five months later, I lost everything. I considered going with my cats, to curl up with them on my futon back in Glencoe and just let myself fall apart. Thankfully, I wasn't ready to give up on myself. I had at least one thing going for me and that was that I had a job, albeit a part-time-ish one. And I also had a father who used to live in Toronto.

Dad found a couch for me to crash on with an old family friend who lived at Scarborough Bluffs. A few months later, I found a bachelor apartment at the Beaches. Dad has tons of memories of the area from when he lived on Scarborough Road - just a couple streets away from where I am now. I could have found myself anywhere in Toronto - nearly any of those craptastic places I mentioned above, or worse - but thanks to my dad and a man who last saw me when my twin & I were in diapers, I have found a nice little bachelor apartment in one of the most beautiful areas in Toronto. So, as far as things go (or were going), it could have turned out a lot worse. I'm fortunate to be here.


"...i washed up a block
from the boardwalk, a stroll to the lake.
i’ve stumbled to the water in moonlight,
stood on a stone pier with my back to the
Toronto skyline and listened to waves
swallow the shore in the dark."
- '24 hour streetcar'

I can't see the moon from my apartment window. Previous apartments, I could always view the moon from my living room. Now, if I want to see the moon in solitude, I head down to the lake late at night. There, I've seen the brightness of it hang low over the dark waters, a strip of shine seemed to be directed at my feet. It more than makes up for the brick wall across from my window.

But there are times where I miss standing barefoot in a patch of moonlight in my livingroom - as though that could be better than being outside - but sometimes, it is.