alice reflection

carrying stones

balcony view, evening

Sunday, June 13th, 2021.
I had scheduled Friday and Saturday off because I figured I would not get writing done in the late evening and I knew that I wouldn't write in the morning or mid-day. Maybe I should allow myself the weekends to not write. Or maybe I should write anyway.

Friday night was not worth missing my words but it was already too late, in that I had scheduled the days off on the 750 words website. As for Saturday, it turned out to be significantly more interesting and fun. The return of an elusive stranger after a week of silence was thrilling. I enjoyed his presence very much so, what I could have of it, given that there were other people quite happy to see him back on the game as well. I imagine him feeling overwhelmed, piled on with affections and attentions, a virtual cuddle party. However, fun as it was, later getting to banter with him through a late night hotring circuit playlist made me think how much better it would have been to have a one on one private time kind of thing. Everyone and their walls - including me. What to do?

I'll try not to write too much about the video game - but oh, I could write so much about the video game - however, I am still feeling misinterpreted or judged by someone who doesn't see me, or is on purpose deciding to see me as what I am not - this tactic seeming to be more for himself than me at this point, since I got the point, and I get it. But it's always been a sore spot for me to be called a liar. Maybe it's the abuse I went through as a child or what I went through in the factory or what happened in a couple of my horrible relationships but my goodness, if there is one thing I can tell, it's the truth. Being called a liar hits a sorrow spot - the place where I was trusting adults to know what they were doing and to not hurt me and so I told the truth despite being told that if I told anybody anything, there would be consequences - and I was met with consequences and not believed and I had to live with that - I still do. So I tell the truth. I'm open. I'm honest. I'm straight-forward. Embarrassingly blunt. Lacking in any refined social skill set for tact due to being on my own with these sorts of things. But that doesn't mean I don't know how to keep secrets.

I've been holding other people's secrets, other people's pain, their truths, their wounds, their lies - carrying them not as cards to draw out but as stones that collect in the pockets - since childhood I've always been holding onto stones - I don't know how to skip a stone, either - they're just there. Some of us carry the stones of others. Some are shiny glimmering gems while others are piercing, jagged or the ones you know they'd be pushing up hill forever if they hadn't passed it on to those of us who can take it. I'm not a liar but I am a writer which might make you think I'm a liar but I'm not that kind of writer. Years ago I stopped being able to write creative fiction because I could not write anything that wasn't true to me in some way. Give me a fantasy prompt and I will still write it in reality.

Reality is shifty though, isn't it? No wonder everyone is suspicious of it. Take waking up from a traumatic nightmare, again, as usual, and trying to revise the lucid ending a bit more as you sit there in the washroom, flushing out last night's anti-anxiety meds with the urine. You think of how you'd have fixed things to be better when the nightmare became so graphic that it started to wake you. You ruminate on it through the time it takes to wake. You tell the dream to the person in the room who is repressing their feelings about something that affected them about work from three days prior that they haven't told you about because they don't process their emotions and they didn't even know this was bothering them, though after talking about it to you finally today it's so clear it was something that would affect them. You hear their relief as they finally share, validating their experience, reminding them that this is a perfectly normal reaction to have during a stressful time in a pandemic. You guide them into thinking of healthier ways to handle this - be kind to yourself, be kind - and you know that maybe there is a reason why you're best friends. Still, the anxiety is high and I didn't notice him approach me - he thinks it's funny, as any man has, to see me jump because of my hypervigilant anxious response - and I laugh too but I notice how I say back up - get back - in my book nook space - I need to feel safe here.

I get how it's so much easier for people to be light-hearted on the game sometimes and of how they don't want to lose that. Maybe they're like me, telling people to back off, give room, give space. Or maybe they're like him, repressing. Or maybe they're like many of us, walls around us, don't come in without explicit permission. I'm not repressing - I'm too raw open feeling everything to be like that now - but I am, in person, right now, wondering just what will become of me if I don't get to have an experience with someone of allowing myself to be completely open, taken, giving, me? I mean, in absolute trust.

After writing a bit too much about how someone doesn't seem to see me, or is on purpose remaining eyes shut, I should write of someone who did see me, or expressed to me in such a way that I felt seen. I didn't even notice they had perceived me in such a way and it reminded me of how I was when I was younger, how people knew those things to be of me - even the ones who would call me names, they knew where to find me: in the bathroom or some quiet corner in the hallway to tell me, to confide, to ask me for help, to hand over their stones for me to hold on to. Maybe it's always been that way - where even if they mock you around other people and won't admit it to even themselves out loud, they find you anyway and toss you a stone. Hold this bit and remember me, it seems to say. Remember this thing and please let me forget about it.

That seems to be a recurring theme, or at least one of them, threaded through various experiences of my life.

11:44pm I didn't expect to write this much. I still didn't write enough.

i'm lonely.
tired. anxious. sad.
hopeful. wanting.
have you tried turning it off & on again

using it against me

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021.
This morning I woke up to find out that my PlayStation had been repaired. What he did was replace the dead hard disk with the old one he had in his other broken PS4, the one he'd held on to after he'd fried the board inside it. I had just left the washroom when he was explaining to me how the system was downloading some of my games. The repaired PS4 was back on my desk next to my computer before I was even fully awake. Settings were done and things were reconnected and I was able to do the imaginary racing again. Hours later and I have mixed feelings about whether this was a good thing or not. On the one hand, I really do enjoy playing the game. On the other, I had already been liking the other things I was doing with my time instead when I didn't grip the controller in my hand. I had started reading a book on prose poetry. Watched a movie that stuck to me a bit and that I'm still thinking about. I mean, I was ready to embrace the hashtag notgaminglife. But oh, was I ever quick to establish it back on the desk, to stream some races, to distract myself again.

What I need to do is make a time for reading each day. Some part of the day should be for reading. Or the night. Whichever. So far, I've held myself to typing my online journal entries each day this month (save for the one where there was a site outage) and if I can make myself write when I don't even know what it will be about, then I should be able to make myself read a book for an amount of time as well. When though? When do I decide that certain times should be for self-study, reading, learning something, working on a course, etc - and when is the time when I just let myself play the video game and interact with others? Do I do designate certain days for it, like some people I know who do that? Do I take a stance and have days where I keep it turned off? What kind of schedule for gaming should I make where it is enough to keep me active with my streaming and interactive with others, while managing myself?

It's not as if I don't know how to manage my time when I'm on a schedule. I didn't make the Dean's List in the Fall by not prioritizing things, ya know? But now that I'm out of school until the Fall (if that's when I feel ready to return) I am a bit lost as to how to make myself do the things I would prefer to do over the easier things I like. I'm sure I can figure this out. It's about prioritizing the hours of my day for myself alone and that there is the obstacle I made. I have not been good at deciding that I'm deserving of pursuing or giving attention to what is better for me. Take writing, as an example. I'm so often thinking about writing - poems and prose and prose poem things - and journal entries and letters - and of how much I want to improve myself with this, to make it into something more, a body of work maybe someday. But how difficult it is to get myself to do it until I'm actually doing it! It's like falling out of the habit of drinking water. Once I'm used to drinking water, it's easy. When I've stopped doing it, it's a chore. A chore to drink even a glass of it. Even when I know it is good for me and helps me feel better. This is a thing.

This isn't that difficult of a problem to solve. I don't need to have a broken PlayStation in order to make better decisions of how to spend my time and where to direct my time, attention and energy. I'm capable. It's just a matter of making the decisions, following through.

On the game, there is someone who likes to make sure to tell people that I'm married - usually when a guy is flirting with me or has noticed me in a way that provokes this reaction. I've noticed it a few times. First, my husband doesn't need someone coming to his defence as making people know I'm married to him. He's in this same apartment and well aware of what I do and if I'm actually interested in someone, he's made aware of that too. Secondly, our marriage is not that kind of marriage. It's a partnership of necessity for survival at this point between two people who would most likely have remained best friends but as he said years ago, he knows we likely would have broken up if things hadn't happened the way they did. When the marriage became open, it was with the understanding that, because we do love one another and like each other as human beings who have been there for one another, that we won't f the other person over on the way out. But aside from the literal walls (not to the ceiling walls but definitely a physical representation of a barrier between myself and the space he tends to be in) and the damage never repaired long ago - and I'm lost on a tangent.

Basically, no, I'm not out there trying to bait someone or to lead anyone on. If I were to get involved with someone on a romantic, emotionally involved, deep interest level, then the conversation of why things are the way they are and how I am actually loyal and true despite what seems the contradiction from the outsider perspective, well, the person who I next am that vulnerable with my heart with will know. Unfortunately, I have made some mistakes along the way in my longing for a connection but it's all just part of the lessons and learning and reinforcing what I do or don't want and what others might want or not want of me. I wish the married thing wasn't used as a weapon against me. It was a logical, practical decision made at the time. I can't entirely call it a mistake because for both of us, it has us here, alive. It pains me, as someone who loves him as a friend, to know that this can't be the best situation emotionally or physically for him either. I have told him a few times that he deserves to be loved in ways that I have not been able to (due to reasons not posted here) just as much I would like to have my needs met too.

But anyway, it's just this shameful thing that I feel is tossed my way - "she's married!" - as if I would ever deny my marital status or lead someone to believe otherwise if they were actually interested in knowing about me. I also find it icky that the same thing isn't done to men who flirt - the ones in relationships - very rarely do you hear someone interrupt when they receive attention to point out their relationship status like some slap on the wrist, some pull on the chain. I know my situation. I'm aware of it. I discuss it with him. He's aware of where I stand, day to day, who I am. He accepts my wild heart and knows he also isn't the one who can actually hold it - he never could. You can love someone and make decisions that aren't the best long-term but make sense at the time. I also can't deny that he hoped for a long marriage. My hope is that when things eventually are different, that we are able to be happier and to remain loving friends. We are each other's family. That counts for something.

Really, the way the person on the game wants to use it like a cockblock on me, it makes me want to say I am not owned by anyone, I belong to myself, the person who I will give myself to is not the person I am with, don't be judging me for things that you don't know a thing about, ya know?

11:50pm Sure had a lot to say on that but it puts me on the defence. I can't share the whole story. Certainly not as a response in game chat. But I can say, I am forthright and upfront about myself. Recently, much too much in that, and mistakenly, but still, that is part of being me. I'm awkward and I mess up socially because I never had the textbook dating path or courtship. Wait, now I remember some dating in my late '20s before I ended up in Toronto and had some surprising actual dates in my '30s but other than that, my first kiss was at age 17 in my first apartment when I was living on my own and a factory worker. My first time being with a man fully was at age 20 with that Guy who was 15 years older. Sure, I caught up sexually over the years since then and definitely learned a lot about what I do and don't like. But there are still experiences and milestones I have yet to have with someone that I would hope to be romantically involved with.

I guess I hold out hope that I'm not out of time for that yet.
Arthur LOL internet

the best you can

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021.
Yesterday's writing streak was broken and not broken, in that, the 750 words website had an outage and that means I couldn't type my words. It was probably just as well for me. I was in conversation with someone throughout the downtime. Video game was off. Thought I was going to hear a story or two but not yet. Still, the time was spent well, even if it was not spent writing here.

Today began with a form of closure for me. Heard back and it was good to have it spelled out for me so that I could know for sure instead of guessing. Ah, the things we make up in our heads about people, what we could imagine is there but isn't. Usually, I don't feel something when there is nothing but this time, that's what I did. My mistake.

3:44pm With that cleared up, later in the day after my bath and such, I thought I'd try hosting a Hotrings Only playlist. That's when my PS4 had the blue light of death. The method of using a USB stick to reinstall the operating system went so far as it making it to full reinstallation but then, in the end, the blue light was the final result again. I felt a mixture of relief and "oh no..." and one of my first thoughts was of how I could make room on my table for reading more books and such. It's not like I won't ever play the game again until I can get a new system - there is another PlayStation in the household - but I would likely only use that one in the evenings now & then if I decide to join the big playlists. There goes the big streaming career, ha. Sigh.

But now I'm back to a spacious desk. I'll probably write more in my paper journals to scribble out some thoughts to pass the time. I don't know. I think reading would be the best thing to do for a bit. I'd tell myself to go outside and take some long walks but I really should wait until I've had the 2nd dose of the vaccine first. I live in a hot spot and there is another more contagious variant spreading about and I'm anxious enough, ya know? They are lessening the time between doses now and I think they're up to those who were vaccinated in April so it likely won't be long until they'll get around to people who got the shot when I did. Soon.

Just hit me. I guess it's back to me not laughing anymore again. For a bit there, I got to have those hurt your muscles kind of laughs with people and then there were some discussions now and then that were nice - some conversation. As well as I am treated, those are things I have not had much of just here, with the other person. So I suppose that reminder of how lonely I am in some respects has just hit me in this moment. I'll be fine. The silence is just going to feel louder for a bit without the gaming people in my ear. Certain voices will be missed more than others.

At least I still exist out here. I mean, those who want to be in contact with me, can be. I'm still here. On here.

If I had been able to write my words yesterday, I would have mentioned how FB had reminded me that On This Day (yesterday/2019) we had learned that he had enough points to take the train - the universe helping us along for him to take the job in the other city, for him to move away - it was all very exciting and all meant to be and such. I was elated, thinking of how it was an opportunity to see what I could do here on my own. As it turns out, gut feeling and the very same universe had him moving back early the following year (2020) just in time before lockdown. He returned with a remote work job and the cats were glad to have him back too. Neither one of us would have been able to support ourselves if the circumstances had been any different.

What does that have to do with today? Maybe I wished the PS4 away. Maybe I felt so bad about myself, my behaviour, the way I've misused my time, that I flatlined it without intentionally doing so. It's the perfect crime, to will it to be so. Or it was just the timing. I can't be any bother to people if I'm not there. I look around me, behind me is a wall of books and to the right of me, the book nook - and I know I should be getting on with that. Read more. Write more. Repeat. Maybe I could make some journaling videos, blank and used?

At what age do I stop punishing myself for everything and what would it be like to feel that way?

I just typed this to someone in a message:

"You can't do anything differently than you did or you would have.

So you're doing the best you can and could."
amelie sexy ooo

a mad desire

Sunday, June 6th, 2021.
You can tell that Spring / Summer is here because people are contacting me from out of nowhere and I am more wanting as well. Where is that getting me? I don't know. I'm not confused about what I'm curious about but I don't know if it is a reciprocal curiosity or not. If anything, some things point toward no or not yet while other things seem to indicate, yes, curious, noticing, maybe. Don't know.

Meanwhile, I'm feeling slightly pathetic at how eager I am to prove myself somehow.

Like, I want to interact in the way that shows I am who I am and I do not lie, though I have used discretion when necessary in life, I am overall a very straight forward, direct and honest person. I have said the truth even if it pains me. That said, with things heating up for everyone, I admit I'm participating in some of the flirting and such, but I'm also clear on who I like. At least, to those who know me, it's obvious.

I seem so flippin' desperate but if I was, I'd be seeing the people who are in vicinity, in my real life, who are contacting me for meet ups and are asking me to see them - I mean, if it was merely loneliness or just wanting attention for the sake of it - let alone I could get attention if I wanted it here at home. But no, I actually do want something that has more depth than that. Which is why it is so freaking frustrating to not have a chance to interact with the person on a level beyond the game. It's not like exchanging numbers for various apps of communication isn't a thing, ya know? I wouldn't bother them but I'd at least be able to exchange typed words and see what's there in that way.

For some reason, I'm only becoming more interested as this goes on. Today was a lot of time off and on interacting in the game and when he'd show up again, ah, I was all a quiver. And then he quoted some lyrics from Bruce Springsteen's song, 'I'm On Fire' and oh my, isn't that just one of my long time songs of mad desire. But I need to wait. I guess this is the gathering intel stage. Well, the best source is me. I'll give up everything. Don't even have to tie me down to get the information you need. I can direct you to various sources if necessary. If there is that something, I'll let you know about the missing pieces of the story. I'll tell you everything.

I'm not a good liar. Never have been. My face gives it away. My voice does. I tend to prefer truth over everything. I've not been keeping journals for nothing. Writing my life has been about telling my truth, from my point of view. I've challenged my beliefs over the years, from a young age, and I will likely continue to do so as I learn more growing older. Even when I'm dreaming, in the midst of a nightmare, I can't lie to myself. Often, it's the knowing of the truth, the reality of something, that shifts me from dream to lucidity to waking up.

As the years progress, I have further distance from circumstances and the choices made years ago which has given me insight and perspective into things I didn't see at the time. One of the main ones being the totally wrong relationship I had with that Guy when I was 19/20 into my later '20s. The fact that there are people who read this online journal back then - let's just say I wonder what the hell the other adults in my life were thinking in encouraging me to have a relationship with a man that was in his 30's when I was still a virgin at age 19 when online, age 20 when he met me in person? Like, that power dynamic was not a good idea from the start and yet? Sure, I accept that it was part of shaping who I am now (as with any relationship) but wow, just no, wow, no.

I can't regret everything and I don't. I hope that is how I feel when I am able to have distance from this time period.

So I turned on the song and I don't remember how I felt about Guy now but instead have connected it to earlier today, the way I think of this person's voice and how I'm affected by my vulnerability, the mind body response to his virtual presence. It's starting to feel like private messaging with other guys is bad because it's almost like cheating even though there has been no claim made on me by this one. I'm that pulled in.

I don't want to talk so much. I would listen listen listen if he had me. Do you know how long I've been wanting someone who knew how to be a person who could laugh, sing, express themselves - know themselves? I think he said something about self-awareness and I know it seems that I lack it on the game but it's been a part of my life since I was young, trying to figure things out along the way. I'm always returning to this.

I can't rush into anything that would have me upset the dynamics of survival at this time, out of courtesy for the situation I live in and the living beings here. But it's no secret, no lie that I've been going without what my spirit needs most in this life to feel truly like I'm living a life worth writing for, worth loving. I've done it on my own from time to time and that's all fine but there are certain things that click in me and some who know where.

One minute to midnight.
we are all mad

white wedding, start again

Saturday, June 5th, 2021.
I didn't go to bed until late this morning. Or, I slept for a few hours on the floor, on my sleeping bag, in the book nook. I was partially woken when the person who wakes up early in the morning realized I had slept out here with my books and so when I comprehended that I could go to bed, I didn't move initially. I was fine on the floor and I was still sleeping. The part of me that knows a forty-something year old woman might prefer a bed instead got herself up off the floor a couple minutes later and dragged pillows and sleeping bag to the bedroom. I slept from just after five in the morning or so until I woke myself up from a nightmare around 9am. Well, it was a combination of the nightmare and of Chai scratching on cardboard, demanding her sprawl on the bed and what was I doing taking the bed at such odd times?

But the nightmare, whoa! This is the first time I actually used my phone's Notes feature to type out the dream while I was not awake and not yet out of bed.

After I've typed my 750 words for the night, I'll include word for word what I had typed about the dream. It's not that difficult to figure out the connections of it to recent real life occurrences and waking life thoughts and feelings. It's not even subtle, save for some parts of it that were disturbing because of some specific details included in it. I'll comment on it later though, once I've copied the Note. I don't want it messing with the actual amount of words I write.

Backing up through the day, I had another day of network issues with the video game. Couldn't stay in a lobby or a session for very long at all once the later morning hours came about. I wonder if this will be a thing now, during the summer or just in general while so many people are at home online? The lines in this apartment building are old and the internet company has no plans to replace them anytime soon. The issue isn't specifically the internet or even the game or the PlayStation - just a combination of all those things at once, I guess. Frustrating when I would like to continue streaming or even just to partake in some shenanigans. While the streaming didn't stop today and that connection held, being able to buckle myself into a session or a racing lobby was out of the question. Just when I thought I would be alright, I'd suddenly be the only one there. Not much I can do after we'd reset the router multiple times, turned things off and on again, did this and that and turned myself around. Nothing helped.

Since I am able to type my words and use the internet for everything else, I'll just have to find other things to do. I have plenty of other things I can do other than play a video game. But oh! I want to play that video game. Especially when there are people on there that I want to hang out with or to hear them have conversations, enjoy the imaginary racing and sometimes indulge myself with conversation.

That said, while I know it affects the whole thing I had going with continuing to stream, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt for me to divert my attention and energy toward books and other things. I dusted some of my bookcases today. So much dust! This was not an actual cleaning or rearranging because I knew it would not be a good idea to stir all that dust up during the first humid hot heatwave. I did enough to see that my longing to have another bookcase so that I can spread my book collection out is a reasonable idea. More than one of the shelves is buckling a bit from the big hardcover books, collections of letters and journals by prolific writers and thinkers. Hold fast, shelves. Just a while longer.

My birthday is next month. My hair is whiter and I'm thinking of how some highlights or a colour while also wondering, what if I just let my hair do what it wants to do? Or am I just saying that because it's expensive when one has long and thick hair as a woman to get what I'd need done? I like the natural look but I can't help but think perhaps maybe it'd be nice to spruce up a bit?

11:30pm I made it to the daily word goal and have continued the writing streak. Now I can delve into that nightmare I had this morning. First, to explain, I had been dreaming something entirely different before finding myself coming out of an elevator and on to the scene where relatives were gathered and things happened. In fact, the nightmare prior to this was far more terrifying and the like, but it's the fact that just before waking I went into a dream that had such emotional distress in it and such obvious connections to real life that made it worthwhile for me to reach for the phone (no pen and paper by the bedside, shame!) and so here it is, as I first typed it while not yet awake.

9:01am (dream)
End scene crying on knees edge of graveyard with cherry blossoms / supposed to be stadium park for a game -

Last words were she didn’t care when I had breast cancer she wasn’t there and I cried and then people started to understand

But before that, the thing had been - at a hotel, found out last minute mother was getting married again - to Bryan - she wore white

Family was there in hallway heading toward the main hallway which had elevators she was going to take up with him

Someone has just gifted her two tickets to a game (near end of dream when I held them it showed their worth at over 900 dollars total)

I didn’t know she was there or family was or that she was getting married

I was upset

She didn’t even talk to me or speak to me and the family didn’t care that I didn’t know and thought I was overreacting

When she went by after, I got to the elevator and took the tickets and she and everyone were so upset at me

I was arguing how she had never been much of a mother to me - I was in emotional anguish

My mother only cared about the tickets and I was looked down on as a terrible person

In the end, outside, when I finally caught up to have the tickets given back to her, the game would have begun - but that’s when, on my knees as someone got the tickets to her, I said about the c word and fell to my knees - she hadn’t even asked how I was I had said - she knew nothing - she just cared about herself and it hurt

Lots of dream before that and not about her or family - it was just where the nightmare took me at the end

Sudden family gathering -

(Slept after 5:15am to 9am)

When I started typing the dream out, I started from the last scene that happened before waking. I was on a road or sidewalk, a wide one, right outside a cemetery on a bright sunny day. White brick work. Gleaming grey headstones. I wrote cherry blossom trees because I thought of them as cherry blossoms while in the dream but I also lucidly recognized they were like apple or some other kind of tree, other blossoms of a different pink in springtime, like the one across the street that I can see from the bedroom window here. Just a different kind of blossoms but not the cherry blossoms that make all the people lose their minds in my city to go photograph, ya know? In any case, they stood out among the stones. At the far end of that was supposed to be the stadium where the game was going to be at (they would be far more likely to attend a concert if they could, if they even would, than a game but whatever, right? It was a dream) and I was on my knees on the pavement outside of that place.

But before that, the start of the dream - it was a transition from the various nightmares I had been dreaming before any of this. I don't recall any ride in the elevator - just being in it along with one of the people I had been through things in the previous sequences. The door slides open and it's a hallway. It's an end or side hallway like the ones that are sometimes seen in hotels that are built certain ways. It had a window and there was the elevator and then a wall opposite. Family members, relatives on my Mother's side, were there. I believe some potluck spread tables were also there. It was another family gathering I had not been invited to or even told about. Then, that's when I noticed my mother (not at all looking or walking the way she would now and same goes for my step-father) who were the reason why people were there. Apparently, they were getting married again. The fact that she was wearing a white dress was interesting considering in the '80s when she actually married him, I believe she wore a blue dress? I don't remember exactly and I was very young. In any case, they're still in one another's lives right now though they've lived apart and been separated for years. I remember that I was upset that I didn't know.

The tickets. Now, this part was interesting. I mean, to see them given tickets to a game? And for me to be in such "emotional anguish" as I wrote in the dream Note, for me to grab them from her as the other set of elevators were closing - wow. And the judgment of the family on me. And my explaining my why and such while also feeling bad. I said out loud in the dream why and I explained why and no one cared of course but I was feeling such pain about it. To also lend some real life context, I had given them money years ago for them to replace their car windshield and they shortly sent the car to a junk yard after that, likely using the money to get the new car, I don't know, but whatever happened, in real life, they're still indebted to me for that and the money that my step-grandfather had left for me to go to school - not to mention the damage Mother caused to me when she lived with me for a short time and stole the stereo - the only gift I'd received from her Mother - and whatever, who cares, that's just things - clearly I'm hurt over the emotionally disconnected thing.

The tickets were just representative of all the material items and other things she took or received over me.

I was on my knees upset and gut wrenched explaining to the judgemental (distant at heart) family and then we were suddenly outside. By now, I was trying to wake myself up because of the distress I was feeling and the fact that Chai was likely breaking through my sleep wall. Despite how hurt I was, I knew that the tickets would be returned to her and I had the person who had been with me when we opened up onto the family scene go to get the tickets to them. I stayed outside on the ground still explaining myself, distraught, when I mentioned the thing that I don't want to type out because oh that's a bit too real if it were to happen, ya know? It reminds me of that time I told Mother I had that tumor - the one that had been causing me to bleed to death for years - removed when I had my hysterectomy and she casually told me she had cancer before and that's why she had hers removed. Would have been good to know for a few reasons but if you want to be practical and courteous, the fact that I'm her daughter and I could have some of the same medical risks, it would have been nice to know to inform my doctors and specialists, ya know? But anyway, what's done and gone is just that. To be fair, I have no idea about the medical history of my father's birth family either so both ways, I'm in the dark.

But back to the dream nightmare,
I remember seeing the amount on the two tickets. One had 500 something. The other had 400 something. Then I also remember making myself wake up shortly after, wondering if my crying had happened in real life, too.

Sunday, June 6th, 2021.
More words to write that I'm not including in my 750 words for the next day because I want to do a session at a time but since I can't add to words from yesterday, I'm typing this out at the end of my post in my online journal.

I wanted to add a few more thoughts about the dream. It wasn't about the money. It wasn't about taking the tickets to have them for myself. I was trying to get Mother's attention, for her to acknowledge me and what I was feeling, and like in real life in past experiences with her, this made sense to do. It did nothing except make me look more like a terrible person but that wasn't the point. The way the family treated me reminds me of that time there was a Thanksgiving dinner - the last one that my Mother's Mother was present for - and I wasn't invited. When I asked why I wasn't told about it, the person who held the dinner said that they thought my Mother would have told me, when really, for one thing, I'm an adult and why not contact me like anyone else and secondly, it's not a secret that my Mother and I don't have a good relationship, or any bit of one, despite attempts to change that throughout my lifetime on my part. Anyway, I missed out on that last big family photo and of course that hurt. I've been left out of most every kind of family thing really - from all the parental unit's sides. Every parent I ever had has been so wrapped up in themselves that they did a great job at forgetting the part where I existed and was a human being that needed them, specifically assigned to their care.

But that's okay. I'm an adult and I own my choices and have done so for a long time now. But damned if it don't hurt that they've managed to be terrible at this for most of my life so far.

By coincidental happenstance, my Dad called earlier this evening. I kept the call brief because the last one was abusive and I can't handle that on top of the ongoing grief I'm feeling regarding him and the circumstances. But he called earlier this evening to let me know the neighbour above his apartment had finally moved out. Thanks for keeping me in the loop on that Dad. Yes, I'm still going to answer the phone when you call even after you're hurtful. I'd even answer my Mother, probably, depending on what was going on.

But yeah, the morning began with the Mother dream (was it my Dad who gave them the tickets in the dream? I wouldn't be surprised. Money he doesn't have to more people who have taken advantage of him while neglecting to care for what matters more) and so that dream was the start of the day and the disconnect continued throughout the rest of it, resulting in this after midnight add-on to a journal post that was already long enough.

There is a cool breeze coming in from the south, from across the lake and through one side of the apartment. The living room area is hot though. The cats are all quiet, sleeping, settled down, sprawled. I'm listening to traffic on the highway down below. Glance up over the computer to see the lights of the city skyline shimmering, like they're pulsating when they're not - it's the heat - and I'm listening to a small fan on a table next to my desk.

I took the evening anxiety meds and I feel sleepy now. Probably doesn't help that I didn't nap this afternoon when I had hoped to and yet I don't want to go to bed. I like this time where the place feels like it's to myself. Where it feels calm. The other human's stress mess isn't messing with my bubble and I can relax a bit. I miss having more time alone. I mean, where I don't feel alone with another person but where I get to experience the solitude that makes me feel more like me.

In conclusion, I'm missing Peppermint Essential Oil. I haven't been able to buy some for about a month and I'm getting by on what little is left that I can drip from the little bottles. It's not the same as feeling more free to put some in my hair, along my collarbone, on my wrists, between my tits, really, just anywhere. I don't know that I would go back to perfumes again (unless spoiled in some different life for some reason) when a simple Peppermint Essential Oil (maybe a vanilla one would be delicious, too) suits me so well.

With that, I should shut up now. Save some words for later tonight when I write.
buffy hair scare

It's okay.

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021.
"It's okay to be scared," I remember someone stating recently in response to angry remarks made in the ongoing (pointless) argument over differences of opinions about the pandemic. You can't change someone's mind when they have it made up. You especially can't compel them to look at a thing they can't see, that they aren't experiencing, that they refuse to look further into when it comes to the experiences of those who are affected by it. I don't want to fight with anyone about it anymore. I don't have the energy for it. I know where I am, what I see, what I am witness to, those I know who also are going through it. Fear is a completely rational response to a global pandemic. To not be afraid, even if you maintain composure, are functioning at some amazing capacity, perhaps even accomplishing things during this time period you might not have otherwise - the anxiety underneath - that fear that is there - that isn't coming just from media or some opposing political standpoint - it's a universal acknowledgement that we, as a collective species, are going through a traumatic event. I'm not saying that one should live in fear or hold it up as an excuse to not do what you feel you want to do - but I am saying that it is arguably dismissive and cruel to dismiss the suffering of others simply because you feel that it's not a big deal via the view that everybody dies in the end anyway. No. But that's my opinion. That's how I feel about it.

I also feel sad. I thought that if we had one of these events in my lifetime, that humans would be better and do better than they are right now. There are people that are doing amazing things - community action like setting up fridges and makeshift food banks for people who are going through food scarcity and other similar help each other survive through this things that make me believe in the good. But there are also those who are preventing vaccination sites from being open through their absurd protests (because of their fear and anger of what they can't control and don't understand) and at the end of the day, what is one to say when yet another story comes out about someone who says, as they have a loved one contract the virus and die, that if only they had taken it more serious and realized sooner - this tale of oops will continue as the variants mutate, the virus trying to survive however it can as they tend to do, with more than the expected number of us helping it along with our ignorant selfishness.

It sucks to not have your sense of certainty. The imagined normal. The expected future you thought you were owed as promised / told to you by society or those who lived a kind of life we did not get. But maybe it's the fact that I've never had a life of certainty - no guarantees for me since Day 1 - and maybe it's the way I've never had things given to me in such a way that I didn't have the entitlement some people feel they are owed somehow, at any cost, even the life of others. Maybe it's the poverty or the struggle I had with w.s.i.b. and the survival mode of many years that is actually helping me through this in knowing that there never was a normal - not for all of us - only a perception of it for some - those who had the dream of it made more tangible find it all the harder to let it go.

Look, I still want things and have hopes and dreams and fantasies and ideas of what I would like my life to be like, of the things I want to do and see and feel and all that good stuff. I know that I want more. I know that I would like to have more confidence in my self, despite having to figure that out from nothing - no support system, nothing - to be able to pursue some of my passions, all the passions - I know I hold myself back, pandemic or not. I own that. I also know that in some way, it is keeping me safe through this time period and maybe, just maybe, there was a reason why it turned out this way, for now.

I'm typing this from a building that overlooks a city that is going through a lot. I'm thankful to be here. I have lots of ideas of the kind of life I hope to live but in the meantime, I am making small steps in trying to do more than just exist right now. Classes begin a week from tomorrow (Monday) and I have two sessions left of the Tutor Training and then I will find out if I will be assigned to a Learner or not. I think these will be good things for me to do. I am reading a bit of a book right now and getting some momentum - turning pages like I used to do when I'd read more often. Even though I am living in close quarters with someone and we hear the ambulances going past, I would say we're holding up as best as can be expected. My choice would have been to be on my own with the cats so that my energy would have been able to recover - always could do that better living on my own - but that wasn't the choice I ultimately made when I had them return back just in time before the first lockdown happened. This was the better way for us to get through this and I am grateful for all that they do so what can I say but that it's a time period of getting through.

It's okay to be scared. It doesn't mean living in fear. It means that you acknowledge that it's okay to feel scared. It doesn't mean you don't live your life or have moments of joy or that you don't appreciate things or that you have to be miserable - it just means that you can recognize that fear is a valid response and sometimes it's better to just say, "okay, I feel scared" and allow yourself a moment to feel it and then move through it. I've had moments of valid fear and times where I denied myself permission to acknowledge it which actually put me in more danger and through more pain than if I had faced my instinctual valid gut feeling concerns. But that's my own experience. I don't want to invalidate other people. We are all going to be dealing with life however we go about doing so. This can change by choice, by circumstance or not at all. I'm having to live with the fact that some people I love deeply will not face anything in life that scares them or that causes them any uncomfortable emotions or ingrained responsive behaviours. I am left to simply look to myself and learn or unlearn, to not take it personally what others do to get through - while also trying to learn how to protect myself without closing off completely.

Which has kinda been what I've had to work on for a long time now anyway, eh? Lots of work to do in that. Writing is part of the process for me.

I hope this finds you safe and well. Take care.
we are all mad

everything's fine

Friday, February 19th, 2021.
I don't want to write but I always want to write. Both can be true at the same time.

It used to be that the people of my dreams (and nightmares) were mostly strangers. People I had never met or known. I could speculate that they might have been faces seen in a crowd in person, those who pass us by, clocked by my brain and filed, or background persons from sources of media - television, film, photographs, video - or that one thought I had so many years ago, that they were actual people somewhere out there, strangers and people I had never known, also dreaming, also seeing strangers like myself in their dreams. But whatever about all that, the thing is, recently, the people in my dreams are those I have known. Family members. Estranged or not, there they are, interacting with me more than I've ever experienced in real life. Old friends. Ones that are no longer friends. Exes. The ones who I had the most intimate relationships with, the ones I gave too much of myself to, uninhibited naivety. I wake up wanting to search for them, to see how they are, the dreams being so vivid, it makes me wonder. That goes for family too. & I either find nothing or find something and whichever one, it doesn't change anything.

I have wanted to write but I keep thinking of those who are in love or passionately connected with their significant other or experiencing things I haven't in a long time. I think of conversations and books read aloud and sitting at the feet of someone with them running a hand through my long hair, my head rested for a bit, my chest against their legs, a feeling of safe, relinquishing my weariness, feeling peace. I don't know if I will ever get to have that again, where I feel that amount of trust and give myself over, though I've wanted to, I still want to, I don't know if there's time.

This isn't the first time I've thought that a certain situation or circumstance would never change or would last forever. Good or bad or neither. So this will change, eventually, and then I will think back to what has been my life for the past while and place the grief with the rest of the sadness, that vessel in my body that contains it. But just like all previous times of this feeling, of this being, I don't know and it feels - well, this time I feel like I'm numbing out. I don't know if I've lost the parts of me that I wanted to keep or if I've tucked them away, hoping that when it's all clear, I can bring myself out again. There you are, I'd say, I remember you.

I made the Dean's List for the Fall 2020 Semester. GPA of 3.5 or higher and I had attained a 4.0. The letter (via email) didn't come until after I had dropped out of the second term. I told myself that I needed time to find my WHY. I questioned my why. What am I trying to prove? And to who? And does it matter? To myself? When faced with a few touch and go moments of wondering if I was going to die and thinking of the real possibility that I might, I asked myself if trying to prove I could still get some schooling (and this would only be the very first step in the long struggle to get anywhere with it) at my age, in a time where the prospects are depressing for those half my age with numerous degrees and experience, I again, asked myself why. Of course I got a 4.0 GPA that term. I could do it again, or close to it, I think. My intelligence, despite any disintegration and dulling over the years, is still above average. My ability to learn new things and to navigate with computers or discussions has not diminished. Then what? Make my parents proud? WHY. At this point, WHY. Show who, what, exactly? WHY. No. And do you know what it was like for me to phone the w.s.i.b. to ask them for the secondary allotment to be reinstated while I was in this particular program, to support me in that I haven't given up, even after all these years, and that I was doing an immersive program that met the criteria - to receive their expected no. To see it in writing again that they'll never do what they were supposed to do for that girl that was injured in the factory - the one that had potential and had the time. WHY. Because I've applied to jobs and no one is getting hired in this city with less than a degree for the most basic of things. Because whenever I get an interview, I do well, and then I'm passed up. Because coinciding with each time, I'm contacted and could earn more than any of these jobs could pay me but.

The journals. They should be collected and published. Self-published, I suppose, is the only way I can do it. The photographs, collected and printed. Some of them are not too bad. The documentation of my injured worker's experience still remains too daunting for me to do alone. When on the phone with them, I still can't take it. The person answering the phone probably wasn't even born when I went through this and they don't know. During the time periods where I have thought that I might not make it through this, I knew that getting my work out there would be more important for me to have accomplished than the 4.0 GPA. Why not both? You might wonder, or, I wondered just now. I guess I could. I probably will return to the program and do the work. Hopefully with a less all is futile feeling in my gut. I needed the break. I didn't like how I was responding in my head to the general dialogue, to the timing, to the emotions I was feeling about those who were trying so hard to prove something, such a show, and maybe I saw myself projected back at me. I didn't like it. I didn't like the bitter taste I had in not getting a reason to get involved more. I wouldn't have reacted that way before. No one is better than anyone. And the amount of books behind me when I'm on zoom doesn't mean I'm rich or didn't need the opportunity. They just mean that I built a wall of books behind me as barrier, as a carved out space for myself, and that whenever I've had any money (and when I've not) I've bought books. I would still have these books around me even if I were in a place living by myself, if that were financially possible. I would have an empty fridge but full bookshelves. What I'm saying is, if I'm supposed to get into the job market again, if I'm supposed to have a future of work, I need the opportunity as much as anyone because I have nothing but holes on my resume. The references I have, I can't. Discretion. Surprisingly, I'm capable.

The view is something to be thankful for and the warmth and the way we can function day to day is enough to survive. I'm thankful he is working. I'm thankful I get my bi-weekly pay. I'm scared of not enough because so much is going on right now and I'm close to it, just floors above, and it's come knocking at the door. A man knocked at the door in the evening wanting to charge his tablet and when told no, asked to use the phone, told no, and thankfully left. I was unaware as I played a video game and was on game chat one of the few times I actually do. So many floors up and someone from outside, feeling desperate or emboldened enough to try to get in somehow, and who knows what would have happened had he not been met at the door by a man of similar height? The door isn't opened anymore without looking through the hole. If it had been me answering the door, I would have looked first. But that shook us up. The property manager was notified but not even a few days later, someone came up to deliver something and said they got in fine - the door was open. The property manager doesn't believe in wearing a mask - wears it on their chin just in case someone official comes by. In the news recently, an apartment building not far from here had an outbreak of the virus, one of the variants, and it is said it was likely passed from one person to the next from the elevator or a hallway. How can it not be everywhere by now?

It's been since November that I last went out. I forgot about that quick walk and thought it was September that I went out. But no, I made it out in November. I think I didn't want it to be so long as two months without being outside. But now it is February. I expect and hope to be going out at the end of the month to get taxes done. That will be three months. Right now, the worry is that the last T4 we're waiting for won't be issued in time. It's stressing us out. We want to get this done. We need it. There is nothing else to help right now. It's stressful to live in this way during this time. I want to go outside, by the way. I think of it often. I want to take photos and wander. I want that feeling of tiredness from walking after the feeling of walking a long ways. I want to be by the water. I want to see some trees. I want to notice things.

High risk.

I miss things that I can't do anything about right now. Right now is about keeping us going. Making sure the cats are okay. Keeping him focused on his job. Helping us through. Wash your hands. Did you wash your hands? I used to have more details. More to share. It devastates me that I'm in such a muted state of living. But maybe it was supposed to be this way, now, for this time, so that I don't scream.
we are all mad

poem: & what of beginnings?

This poem was for a Reflection Entry for a 2nd Term Class. The prompt was about Beginnings and the poem by Mary Oliver was included in our notes to serve as inspiration. It is italicized throughout this piece.
& one extra note, I was wrong. I had been out for a brief walk one morning in November.

& what of beginnings?

(Includes the poem: ‘Wild Geese’ by Mary Oliver’)

This does not feel like a beginning for me.
It feels like a tired continuation, a reminder
of past failures, missed chances, lost time.

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.”

The first week of the second term of the TPE Program did not feel like a beginning to me.
Not while around me and in my sphere of awareness, there are reminders of simultaneous endings.

I have begun this program multiple times. This was my first week as a 2nd term student.

“You only have to let the soft animal of your body
Love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”

The first week of the second term, my Dad was hospitalized again. He is dying of end stage
alcoholism. He is 67 years old. DR’s will do one more procedure soon. Shunt from liver to heart.

“Meanwhile the world goes on.”

The same week, my estranged Mother, divorced from Dad since after my twin sister died as an
infant, contacts me on Facebook to demand my SIN #. She wants to claim me on CPP for years
she did not have custody. She phoned me for the first time in years and left a message. Cold.

I did not recognize her voice. I have not heard from her since.

“Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.”

I have lived in beautiful places and visited some as well. I see the world through
windows now. Last outside in September twenty-twenty, I travel in my dreams.

“Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
Are heading home again.”

I can see the sky from my desk at the window in this apartment. Twenty floors
high, I view the city skyline. Hunting birds with spanned wings that awe me and
that disturb sparrows, starlings and many pigeons that settle on the rooftops of the
Long Term Care Facility across the way. I can see the sunrise over the lake. The sunset
reflected off the glass of towers downtown in the distance. The moon when it reveals
itself, the waxing and the waning feel as much a beginning whether full or new, unseen.

I have heard the geese go past – this way or that – does it even matter when they travel now?
Which way they go? How can you know what home is if it doesn’t feel the same or does not exist?
Will they return when the seasons are not changing? Will their patterns ever diverge?

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –”

Oh, but were they calling to you or communicating amongst themselves?
We assume things are about us. Even nature. We tie up our endings and
connect beginnings to something so fierce and mysterious a force as Nature.
Harsh, yes. Exciting, sometimes. Depends on what you can handle, right?

Can you handle the nature of your beginnings?
Can you face the nature of inevitable endings?

“over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

& what of family?
& what of these things?

- amber dawn pullin, 18 January 2021 @ 9:57pm