buffy hair scare

It's okay.

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021.
11:16pm
"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.
so many books

Book Reading List for 2021
- - - - - - -
LEGEND
(date finished)
* = first time read all the way through or never been read before
- - - - - - -

1. In the Café of Lost Youth by Patrick Modiano, Translated by Chris Clarke (13 January 2021) *
2. Bluets by Maggie Nelson (21 February 2021) *
3. Seven A collection of poetry by Sadiyah Bashir (10 April 2021) *
alice lost in labyrinth

Book Reading List 2020

Book Reading List for 2020
- - - - - - -
LEGEND
(date finished)
* = first time read all the way through or never been read before
- - - - - - -

1. A Whore’s Manifesto An Anthology of Writing and Artwork by Sex Workers Edited by Kay Kassirer with a forward by Clementine von Radics (28 January 2020) *
2. oliver a lover all over by Maranda Elizabeth (29 February 2020) *
3. My Art is Killing Me and other poems by Amber Dawn (30 March 2020) *
4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (07 June 2020)
5. Resilience is Futile The Life and Death of Julie S. Lalonde by Julie S. Lalonde (20 June 2020) *
6. PERSONALS poems by Ian Williams (21 June 2020) *
7. Memoirs and Misinformation a novel by Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon (27 September 2020) *
8. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (18 October 2020) *
9. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom A Toltec Wisdom Book by Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills (23 December 2020) *
doctor who try to see what i see

on keeping a notebook

source: The Isolation Journals
also see: 'Joan Didion on Keeping a Notebook' - Brain Pickings


Prompt 121. From "On Keeping a Notebook," by Joan Didion
Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all?...

I sometimes delude myself about why I keep a notebook, imagine that some thrifty virtue derives from preserving everything observed. See enough and write it down, I tell myself, and then some morning when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I am only going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do, which is write—on that bankrupt morning I will simply open my notebook and there it will all be, a forgotten account with accumulated interest, paid passage back to the world out there: dialogue overheard in hotels and elevators and at the hatcheck counter in Pavillon (one middle-aged man shows his hat check to another and says, “That’s my old football number”); impressions of Bettina Aptheker and Benjamin Sonnenberg and Teddy (“Mr. Acapulco”) Stauffer; careful aperçus about tennis bums and failed fashion models and Greek shipping heiresses, one of whom taught me a significant lesson (a lesson I could have learned from F. Scott Fitzgerald, but perhaps we all must meet the very rich for ourselves) by asking, when I arrived to interview her in her orchid-filled sitting room on the second day of a paralyzing New York blizzard, whether it was snowing outside.

I imagine, in other words, that the notebook is about other people. But of course it is not. I have no real business with what one stranger said to another at the hatcheck counter in Pavillon; in fact I suspect that the line “That’s my old football number” touched not my own imagination at all, but merely some memory of something once read, probably “The EightyYard Run.” Nor is my concern with a woman in a dirty crepe-de-Chine wrapper in a Wilmington bar. My stake is always, of course, in the unmentioned girl in the plaid silk dress. Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point.

Your prompt for the week:
Of her reason for keeping a notebook, Joan Didion writes, “Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point.”

Think back on your life and choose a distinctive age: you as a shy child, or a brazen twenty-something—or even the person you were only a year ago, just before Covid hit. If you compared your journal from then with your journal now, what would be different? What would be the same?


source: Isolation Journals weekly creative prompts by Suleika Jaouad
we are all mad

Learning Reflection Journal

Learning For All (Fall 2020)

Learning Reflection Journal


What do I know already about what I need in order to learn well?
20 September 2020: Staying organized with my Agenda book will help a lot – I’ve already written down the due dates for most of the assignments this term – and looking at T.P.E. by taking it one week at a time is helping! I don’t have a problem with learning, taking notes in class, paying attention to subject matter or participating and handing things in when I’m present. I know that having instructions that are clear and Professors and students that can help with answering any questions I might have helps me out a lot, for clarification.

Other than that, I know that I need to feel like I can put my schooling first and that it’s okay to do this for myself. I need to feel like nothing will interrupt the term, or that if something comes up, that I will hopefully turn to the supports in place (a teacher, another student, a counselor) to help validate the feeling that I can stay in the academic environment, that I can pursue my education.

I know that I have what I need already to learn well. I have a mind that is endlessly curious. I want to break out of old patterns and thoughts that prevent me from moving past the obstacles I have or that I put in between myself and following through. I know that I have the capacity to succeed as a student. I have space in my home environment and I have yet another chance to do this. Only this time, it’s 2020 and it feels like chances are running out.

I already know that I have what I need to learn. What I need this time around to learn my best is something I had to find outside of the classroom – the goal of autonomy and self-sufficiency. I’d say that I need stability in order to learn well but I’ve learned that being stable is something much too fleeting and uncertain to wait around for if I want to do this or anything else in life.

What was my experience of school like in the past? What can those experiences tell me about what I need in order to learn well?
27 September 2020: If I think back to high school (something that happened in the ‘90s) it doesn’t seem applicable at this point, given that my most recent experiences of returning to school have been my attempts at the TPE (previously RTE) program and before that, my experience as a twenty-something year old adult finishing my high school diploma when I was going through the so-called “re-training” program that W.S.I.B. had in place.

My experiences with learning or wanting to learn have never been an issue. When I apply myself (or even when I barely do) I have often been able to do well. My problems have often been external factors affecting my internal lack of being able to cope with too many stressors. If I become too anxious, there is a chance I shutdown and withdraw (from school, literally). I have never felt that I had a support system in place to help me through anything in life, honestly, and so when I stumble, I free fall and I let go of everything just trying to keep some footing. This has often been letting go of my hopes for education.

Personally, I’ve done a lot of self-reflection on this and I believe this stems from me being told as a child from a step-parent that I would never get to go to university if I left that home (I was being abused and I was getting out of there) and unfortunately, this was internalized into a self-fulling prophecy, reinforced when I had an opportunity while living with other parents to go to college early, but instead they used that money for themselves and I kept working at the factory. Since then, supporting myself on my own the majority of my life, I have felt lost with no examples of how to navigate my way into pursuing higher education while being concerned with health, financial and stability of home.

To learn well, I need to build a support system that wasn’t there for me when I was younger, that wasn’t there when I was in my ‘20s, that I still have yet to find. I’m in my forties now and I realize I’m on my own, that I have always been in some way or another, but I don’t want to pity myself for it – I just want to get on with this already and give myself the permission and validation that I can do this. I don’t know if it’s too late. I haven’t given up on trying so that must mean that part of me believes I can do this.

In order to learn well, I need to figure out how to get past the obstacles in my mind and to not give up when the ones in real life present themselves. I need to learn how to get around all that so that I can get through it. I want this. I don’t want to give up on my schooling. I never did. I think I somehow internalized that I was choosing between survival and schooling and couldn’t figure out how to do both.

What I need in order to learn well is to tell myself I will survive and I will pursue my education. I am doing both right now.

What messages have I received from others about me as a learner over the years? How do these messages impact how I think about myself now? Are these ideas about me true?
05 October 2020: I’ve always been told that I am a good student, capable of achieving good grades, that I have the capacity to excel in studies. Unfortunately, I also received the message early on that I could not get a higher education without certain people’s help and it’s turned out to be either a self-fulfilling prophecy or based on circumstances, turned out to be so. Now, as the years continue, I feel less intelligent, more frustrated, less hopeful that there is a place for me in academia. I hope to push through the negative thoughts I may have toward myself and the deep wounds I have regarding lost chances and ruined potential, the possibilities no longer available to me as I age.

The messages I’ve received are mixed. Or they’re been consistent in their belief in me but with nothing behind those words, or actions that deterred any of my attempts to achieve an education. I must still think that I have a chance or else I wouldn’t be trying to do this program right now. I wouldn’t be wringing my hands over a lost half mark on an assignment because I want to get the best marks possible in the hopes I can get into further college (and then university). I wouldn’t care so much about becoming a student and chasing the dream of an education if it didn’t mean to so much to me.

Is it true that I am a good student? That I am intelligent? That I am capable? Yes. Is it also true that I am on my own when it comes to attaining an education? It seems to be so. I was told I was a good student and I was, despite situations at home. I could have done better and I wish I had a support system back then and now to help me in the way that I saw some of my peers / friends be supported on their education and career path. I feel a tremendous weight on me to do something with my life and a diminishing amount of time and energy to do it.

What strengths do I possess that can help me as a student?
18 October 2020: I’m determined. When I choose to focus on a task, I can work on it until it is finished. While I am not immune to distractions, when I’ve set my mind to something, I put what energy I have into it. I’m more organized than one might expect of a forty-something year old who has no job, no routine, no major responsibilities to keep them on track. I make good use of an agenda / organizer and have a talent for checking off boxes. Never underestimate the power of a to-do list in whatever form it might be! I’m driven, despite circumstances and self-sabotage, and I can be persuasive when it comes to moving things forward and toward what I would like to do. I sincerely have a yearning for learning (sorry, Kate, I had to) and this insist wanting to pursue education has not waned even as time and opportunities seem to be getting away from me.

I’m self-aware enough to know what I struggle with and what challenges me and I’m very conscious of how I stumble over perfectionism and my own anxieties of failure. This term I have taken note of when I am close to the edge of throwing my hands up in the air even though I do indeed care and I’ve stopped myself from jumping --- because I know I want to be here. Realizing that I have to show up for myself and I have to get the work done – to know that it is in my hands to alter my path – that is probably the greatest strength I hold at this time as a mature student.

What supports do I need in my life outside of school that would help me thrive as a student (e.g. a person to cheer me on, particular resources like housing or income, a certain kind of place to do my homework, etc.)?
30 October 2020: I thought about this question last night after taking a look at it. I thought of how I had a counsellor of sorts years ago – one that met me at a coffeeshop in the neighbourhood when I lived in The Beach/es for a time. She was great to speak with and it got me out of the house regularly to go for that one block walk (later, walking some more to take the long way home along the lake) and I know for a fact that having someone like that to listen and advise would be beneficial. I don’t have anyone like that in my life at this moment although I do have the outlet of journaling, which I intend to do more consistently moving forward. More of a support system is something I have wanted but lacked for nearly my entire life and I’m slowly coming into acceptance of that. Sure, I have a partner who cheers me on but honestly, they are okay with whatever I want to do – they just want me to be happy. I’m not of course. I go through periods of restlessness and wanting everything different. I apply to jobs and don’t get hired (even more consecutive disappointments as of recent) and I’m trying to think of other ways I can place myself in some relation to the world. (I filled out a volunteer application for literacy tutoring and hope to hear something back about that.)

I noticed that I was headed toward a familiar pattern of self-sabotage in the past couple of weeks and allowed myself a week to not put any pressure on myself regarding assignments, to attend classes and not expect more of myself, telling myself I would catch things up the following week. I’m in that week right now and leaving things to the very last but I haven’t given up yet. I know that if I drop one course, then I’ll drop another and then I’ll disappear from the program like I was never there. Noticing that I was close to doing that, I sat with it and did not act on it. I’ve stayed in my classes. I’m going to make the most of the opportunity to do the program from home – without having to worry about transit costs or the panic attacks I have before leaving the apartment each day. I miss the academic environment and the one on one talks I could have with professors / teachers at the college and the ability to sit in the library and to be out and about – take photos of the city, walk a bit – but I also know that this is probably the best opportunity I will have to show to myself if I really want to follow through with this program or not. If I want to attain any education after this (and I do) I’ll have to follow through.

So, with that in mind, I did something I rarely do and that is I reached out and asked for help within the TPE student led chat group on Teams. I said that I was behind on my assignments and while I can do them myself, I needed the push of presence. One classmate heeded the call and we had a Zoom Meeting. I was able to complete one assignment during that time and it helped to get me moving again with my homework. (For instance, I’m now typing this at eight o’clock in the morning on a Friday when I had put this off since last Friday.) I think that asking for help instead of being the one who usually helps whenever anyone asks was something outside my usual habits and that I shouldn’t stop myself from asking for help again. Better that I do that instead of giving up on myself or the program. P.S. I need to apply my resilience to my studies.

As an adult learner, how are my learning needs different than when I was a kid? How can I apply that knowledge of how I’ve changed to how I approach school?
09 November 2020: I have to be organized with my schoolwork and be motivated to stay on track. I don’t have as many options or as much time. It makes how I learn very different than before. I’m more aware of how much this matters as an adult learner – the grades, the follow-through, the chances to pursue education further – but I now have to deal with the fog of years of medications, the aging brain, the lack of structure in my life because I don’t have much else to do aside from this as I’m unable to find work or get a volunteer position. I’m in need of more fortitude and follow-through and I have to make myself pay attention more than I ever did before. It’s easier to gravitate toward distractions as an adult. I have more at hand to divert my attention - problems of home life, health, economic concerns, worries about whether I can get accepted into more college and how will I have the money to do that and still survive? All of this affects how I learn and what I need to do it well. I need to keep a roof over my head which means minding the finances and checking in on the partner (and hoping he’ll be honest with me) to see that we’re okay so I can focus on schooling. I’ve changed in my ability to bounce back as quick from disappointments, even within the past ten years I have noticed this when I’ve been an adult learner sporadically since exiting the factory in my ‘20s. I’m becoming a bit stronger and more resilient when it comes to school partially out of desperation because of time lost, time passing and also because I know I must do something to shift the direction of my path. My needs are the basic hierarchy and self-love. That never changed. I must secure those for myself and path of education.

If I was to design a school that was designed perfectly for learners like me, what would it be like? (for example, how would teachers teach? How would your days be structured? What would the physical space be like? How would people relate to each other? etc.)
25 November 2020: Surprisingly, what is working the best for me this time around for school is being able to do my courses online at home. The ability to concentrate on classes without worrying so much about panic attacks prior to leaving the house, without being self-conscious about my appearance, without having to worry about the cost of transit – all of this has been helpful for me. It could be that I’m more motivated because of the pandemic and reduced options for work. Perhaps I’m more self-motivated and that is making all the difference? That said, I miss the college and being in an academic setting. I miss sitting in the library at breaks. I miss being able to talk with the teachers one on one. I don’t miss classrooms that felt suffocating but I understand that’s just how the building can be and that teachers would do their best to get a good classroom when possible.

I don’t think that this program could get any better than it already is, honestly, with how flexible it is with students and understanding of our various needs and where we’re coming from in life. The online learning experience has pros and cons to it but one of the things that has stuck out to me most is how for some of us, this has brought in more inclusivity and accessibility, more accommodation for several. At the same time, I know that it has affected people who aren’t able to access internet or have computers.

How has my understanding about what I need in order to learn well changed this semester? How would I explain my learning needs to another person, if I was asked?
30 November 2020: Turns out that all I need was for a rare event like a global pandemic to occur, simultaneously while we have internet available at home for remote learning! It’s as easy as that. Simply make a horrific tragedy happen worldwide with incompetent leadership and an already fractured society that doesn’t make sure everyone is okay and suddenly, I’m all ‘Melancholia’ (2011) up in here. I’m in my comfy clothes. I don’t have to worry about whether I’m going to have a panic attack prior to leaving the house.

I miss some aspects of being at the college but how many times can I take the exact same photo of the streetcars rolling past from the patio as I try yet again to make it through first semester without something in my daily life tripping me up, giving me an out before I can disappoint myself academically, some crisis as reason to put my energy toward instead, or just an excuse to self-sabotage?

What I needed for learning well was to feel that I was doing this for myself and that I was ready. Nothing like a pandemic to bring into clarity what one wants and what one doesn’t. Feeling the shadow of looming death is also a motivator. Having figured out that nothing else is working out so far to change things and look at how I’m home anyway, why not follow through with the program? It seems to have worked out for me this first term and I’m hoping it’s not a fluke, a once every 100 years kind of thing.

I learned from myself and for myself that I need to ask for extensions if I need them. I need to know when I’m overwhelmed and make the decision to work through it or to ask for help. Having teachers that understand how perfectionists put things off when the student is competent to complete their assignments, well, I believe knowing that there is a level of compassion regarding that has helped immensely. It reiterated to me internally that I can have that compassion toward myself. And also showed me that I can still do the thing. I’ve done the thing! I’ve made it through first time.

To summarize, what I need in order to learn well is to believe in myself. Push myself over the obstacle of feeling uncomfortable and uncertain when I’m facing the daunting deadlines. Allow myself to rest when needed. Understand that this is a process for me. Also, this chance to participate in this program is a privilege for me and it is also a choice. I am making this choice and owning this choice by putting forth my best attempt and showing up. Virtually.

In a practical way, having an Agenda (Planner) and keeping it handy has been an invaluable tool in staying organized. Being organized has helped me make it through the First Term and will most likely save me during Second Term. Thank you for making us do those excruciating assignments!

amber dawn pullin
30 November 2020
we are all mad

factories and farms

Saturday, August 8th, 2020.
11:38pm
Less than twenty minutes to get my words completed before midnight. I did this to myself. Again. But it was worth it (hopefully I can still keep the streak going) because I had a good time in the Crash Unit playlist this evening. It ended around eleven-thirty but then I had to title the name of the livestream and then start the upload process over to YouTube where I keep my gaming videos (mostly imaginary racing, mostly).

11:40pm Today was the start of the heatwave but it wasn't too bad yet. It's supposed to get worse and continue on for a couple weeks. Not looking forward to that but at the same time, I am thankful that we have air flow up in this apartment and since we aren't overwhelmed with a heatwave quite yet, there is still respite in the cool breeze and air that seems to be a gift because of the lake nearby. Lake Ontario. Gord Downie wrote a love song for it, ya know. Or at least, maybe it was about the lake and also about someone or something else. But the song is called 'The Lake' so I'm pretty sure the lake was a big part of it. Tangent there but I need tangents if I am going to make it to my word count goal in time.

11:43pm Not too sure that I will. I started too late. Sometimes I can zip through the words and thoughts flow but I am backspacing too much and not really getting into it. I think the fact that I didn't leave myself much time has hampered my belief in myself, that I can actually get the words done.

I pulled up a note I had made on my phone about a dream I had on the 7th of August. The note reads: "Pig farm revisit - exploration of house upstairs - disconnected sink and no toilet - outside, people working on barn - saw his whole family" and that seems like as good a place as any to get inspiration to write something, to fill this post with words. I thought about that dream at some point today and maybe that's another reason why it is a good thing to make a note of your dreams or to write it down somewhere - more likely to be remembered - but most times, I would rather forget.

I think it's interesting that the other day I dreamed of the factory and now I've gone back to the pig farm where my mom & step-father were renting an old farm house on a lot that had old pig barns that the landlord still had in use. He later had built large mass production factory farm size ones to the side of the highway near where he had also built a large mansion size house for his large family. I remember when we'd drive past it. You could see the grand part that showed there was an upstairs that had an open concept, where all the bedrooms would be, as though you could be downstairs and look up at it while inside - though I don't know if I remember that very clearly or if it was my imagination or just what it appeared to look like. I know that he worked hard.

I remember that house though. I heard that it was torn down and covered over years ago - the old farmhouse - and of course it had to be, dilapidated and most likely a hazard for many reasons - but because I never saw it taken down or been by to see the land since, in my mind, it's still there. I remember the large ditch on the other side of the road, the one that could lose a car in it if it slid in during winter and if the snow covered it over - that deep! - and I remember the barns out back of the house because I'd look outside the bedroom window and watch the activity of when the landlord would show up to work at them. We used to have chats sometimes, some good talks, and he was handsome and young and told me I should marry a farmer. But let's be real, I wasn't from that world and I wasn't wife material, even then, not knowing what I would be but knowing enough at fourteen. I became a factory worker instead. And I didn't see myself being a factory worker's wife either.

That got me to 750 words, continuing the writing streak (8 days!) but I want to go back to the details of that dream. I remember my bedroom (the first time I lived at that house - not the brief second time when I had a boyfriend with me and my hands were hamburger meat from the work situation) but from before, when I would be laying on the floor of the room and the window was such that they went low near the floor, old houses like that, but tall, too. When I think of the bathroom that was in between my bedroom and the master bedroom, I can't believe three of us shared that. I remember the discoloured water we drank from the well that we likely shouldn't have. I remember that. I remember the septic tank that had to be emptied outside back of the house. And the time he had to get another well drilled for water over in one of the fields. I don't think it was for us so much as for his pigs, mostly. The pigs. The live beings in those old dark barns and conditions. The pit behind the barns that was full of their shit and whatever else - completely contaminated and you wouldn't want to fall in there - you'd die. But in the dream, there were people there fixing up a new barn - not a factory barn but a barn like the older ones would have been built like. I suppose, unless he sold it off, he'd still have that land and maybe he's got one of his kids owning it now and maybe they have built on that land for starting out. I don't know. I wouldn't know.

one minute. midnight.
we are all mad

childhood houses

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020.
11:04pm
Writing in the 'One Line a Day' notebook, I notice how the previous day is forgotten (blurred into the next) and I check the money notebook where I track all expenses and it is the closest thing I have to kinda knowing what happened that day.

I'm sure I'd know more of what happened if I would make little notes throughout the 24 hours but I haven't been doing that. The closest I got was today, when I reminded myself over and over that in one of the nightmare dreams I had today, the old desk I used to own that belonged to my Dad that was made by his grandfather, that very desk my dad said he would fix up and return to me when I handed it over for a refresh touch up after all these years of me having it from the age of 17 (first living on my own) to the time he stopped by at the apartment in St. Thomas in 2017 before my return to Toronto - it was after that dream that I knew I'd likely never see the desk again. I don't even know if I will see my Dad, either.

But in that dream, the desk was there and duplicated (I'm a twinless twin, does that mean something?) and the house was gutted to the bare timber load bearing walls - a dream only, of course - of the house that was sold last year and in this same span of 12 months, the house across the street that belonged to the neighbours I knew in childhood, their across the street other world, their home sold now after the death of the second parent, me knowing this because of a Facebook post.

They remember their home as a loving place full of memories and I don't have that for the house I lived in but I can remember a vivid dream where I ran away across to them to ask if I could live there or be safe there and another where I ran through the front door and straight to the back - through the house like a ghost - and one could wonder if it was an out of body experience like what I did as a kid, floating above the bunk bed to the ceiling - but it's sad, yes, and I remember the parents of the kids across the street that would have nothing to do with me, sitting on their porch with the police scanner on and how back then one of the large city buses would turn at the corner from Balaclava Street onto the one where I lived.

Looking at how much smaller those streets seem now, even widened years ago for traffic and the sidewalks improved for the kids that would walk to school, I can't imagine how those large buses used to turn around those corners and go along those city blocks. I want to say, "sorry for your loss" but I left no comment on her heartwrenching post because what could I say when I remembered the little girl that was me across the street, beaten by a step-mother, living in poverty, surrounded by come and go people and so alone, peering out my window up at the windows that were on their second floor and wondering how it was for the brother and sister that seemed to have a more normal life than me, though I also thought other things as well.

All I know is that in the time I grew up there, I can't remember visiting, save for the conversations I would have from the sidewalk with the parents who sat on the porch. There was a cat on a leash that was there too and I thought about how that cat was kept more safe than me.

11:23pm I'm forty-two years old.

I get it now, how a person can feel younger than they are inside, while the body does it's aging thing or the years have worn parts down. I understand more now of how the mind plays, back and forth in time from past to present. If you're a vivid dreamer with nightmares, the years and memories web out across the mind and through the memory of body, scars, time periods - is it any wonder it can be so difficult to be present? To live in the Now? What is Now? What is it Now? In this time period? A pandemic. An anniversary of a birth grandmother's death. A continuance of a circumstance where one wonders if it will ever change or if it should, while briefly remembering thinking that way as a child - that something would never change that eventually would - and how does this work? Until my brain no longer functions, the blips and blurs, detoriations and distractions becoming so overwhelming that the concept of Time is finally cast aside, given up on?

Will I be present then or gone?