metal heart

you know that you are not alone, i need you like water in my lungs-
this is the end,
this is the end.

– brand new

there is something to be said for emotional resilience.

 

say what you will.

maybe he made me soft, pliable.

maybe.

whatever it was, it’s over now. i’ve washed my hands clean of all of it.

self worth

human skin can be hard to live in

– seabear

 

i’ve been having a hard time.

don’t get me wrong- i’ve been having an incredible summer and a hell of a good time with my friends, and family… from mexican fiesta themed bachelorette parties, to family picnics by the waterfront, to barbecues and slumber parties, and more ladies’ nights and living room dance marathons than i can even count. i have the most amazing support system- the constant emails and phone calls from my mum & pops, the text messages from my brother, the goodness in my friends’ hearts and their willingness to give and to love and to be there for me… i can’t even wrap my head around it sometimes. a friend dropped in last night to give me oral numbing gel for my tooth ache because he knew my EI money hadn’t come in yet and he couldn’t stand the idea of me sitting around, doing nothing about the pain i was in.

that’s the kind of people i have in my life.

and i am so grateful for them, for this time off, for the strength i had in myself to finally make these changes in my life.

but i am still struggling.

sometimes i have to remind myself that i’ve come a long way. that i escaped a dangerous life with an awful man and survived his abuse and our lifestyle. without a penny in my pocket, or a chance in the world- i dusted myself off, and set off to build a new, healthy life. i got an excellent job with zero experience and no education, hopped from house to house until i found a safe place to call home- all while keeping my head above water. not a single person knew of my struggles because i wouldn’t show my scars. “i am strong, i am independent, i can do this”- this is how i got myself out of bed in the mornings. i was barely eighteen years old.

and i get it, you know.

i’m an easy target.

i’m young, i have fucked up one hell of a lot, i have put my family through torture and hell, i am covered in tattoos, i struggle with money, i have been pulled from my own bed- pulled from depression and drinking, and i’ve been told to fucking smarten up and be a real human being because this life business is HARD.

despite all of the bullshit, though… at least i could always say i was capable. i was capable of a good life, with healthy people, and a nice house, with good furniture. and i had a job.

jesus christ, i had a job!

a job i could keep, a job i was good at, a job that allowed me to fully furnish the houses i’d been hoping to and from. a job that allowed me to eat, and play, and be a real adult for the first time in fucking ever.

wait, adults say “in fucking ever”, right?

whatever.

i am not struggling with the time off, or the copious amount of naps i have been allowing myself to take in the middle of the afternoon, thank you very much.

i’m struggling with the lack of income, and what that has done to my independence.

i am no charity case. and although i love surprises and dates and all that fun stuff… i don’t like when people feel obligated to pay for me. i was perfectly capable of paying for my movies, or my food, or my antibiotics, or my mothers’ birthday presents. but when i can’t participate in menu items for a cottage weekend getaway, or i have to skip out on certain activities because my bank account is at -$7.32, and i have one toonie left in my wallet, and i’m wondering how the actual fuck i’m going to eat next week because i still don’t have a clue as to when EI will come in… that scares me.

and i’m brought back to a place where i don’t like being.

to the attic apartment of 148 breezehill avenue, where i am barely seventeen, and i haven’t eaten in weeks, and my junkie boyfriend is out on a binge, fucking the girls from the shop, and leaving me to fucking die. a place where i am sitting in the corner of the living room, under a wall of broken plaster, listening to ani difranco on repeat, trying to get the courage to finally call my mother and ask her to save me.

i know that isn’t the case, anymore. but the thought of not knowing, and starting from scratch again… it scares the living shit out of me.

as for these last few days… i have to laugh off the bullshit comments about being a punk rock warrior. i have to try not to be offended when people are shocked if i turn down an opportunity to drink when the cold, wet cans are staring me straight in the face. and i have to get over this whole idea that leaving my job was a bad move. i have to shrug off the comments about my relationship with dan going down the shitter…

but here’s the thing.

fuck everyone.

(adults can say that too, right?)

yeah, fuck ’em.

i’m not sorry.

i’m not sorry i fucked up with m. i’m not sorry for a single tattoo on my body. i’m not sorry the drinking was a problem, for years. i’m not sorry my relationship with dan ended, and he had to move out, and i’m not sorry i was still fucking him after we broke up. i’m not sorry that i’ve had moments of weakness, of desperation, of chaos, or sadness. i’m not sorry for quitting my job. i’m not sorry for being fucking human.

here’s the thing with acceptance and self-worth.

i’m fucking horrible at it.

a good friend made a joke at my expense, and how did i deal with it? i came home, took off my tights, turned off the lights, blasted daniel johnston super loud, and fucking bawled my eyes out for an hour.

ADULT LIFE!

i’m not used to this. i’m not used to dependence or zero income, or feeling this helpless. it’s awful, and it’s fucking with my head, the way it fucked with my head then. the freedom was incredible, at first. i sat in the park, blowing bubbles, drinking beer from a coffee cup, watching my friends play street frisbee at midnight, dancing until 4 in the morning, going to the beach all day, having iced green tea in summer dresses at two in the afternoon at my favourite coffee shops, drinking mimosas with breakfast, stuffing my face with pretty people at restaurants’ soft openings, chatting all afternoon on the porch…it’s been so liberating.

and now i’m all, “fuck”.

because the money is gone, and so is the glamour, et all.

along with my confidence & independence.

and so now, i wait.

for money. for an epiphany. for a job opportunity that will blow my socks off.

post script:

i am no longer fucking my ex-boyfriend. he returned my glasses, and i gave him back his computer, and we haven’t spoken in days, and i am feeling free and happy and strong. i know now, more than ever, that i want a future- and it most certainly isn’t with him. am i mourning the loss of my best friend in the entire world? hell yes. will i get over it? totally.

on, and up.

 

my own worst enemy

i was reading a post by one of my favourite bloggers earlier- a post about her lover’s birthday and the absolute luck she had in meeting and falling head over heels in love with such a wonderful man. a man who opened her heart after so much pain, a man who pushed her to be everything she could possibly be, a man who captivated everyone in the room the second he walked into it.

a man who shares the same name as m.

and i cried.

i can’t even hear his name, read about an amazing person with the same name as him without wanting to rip off my skin, tear my eyeballs out of my own face, and light my skeleton on fire.

it still makes me sick, it makes me ache to even think about him.

i’ve been having dreams. feverish dreams that he haunts, regularly. i see certain people, hear certain songs, and he is on my mind constantly. and it makes me so goddamn angry i can barely even function. i signed onto my facebook today, and his childhood friend sent me a friend request.

and my heart nearly jumped right out of my throat and i almost got sick to my own stomach.

how irrational is that, after years apart, years in hiding. it’s been almost two years since he’s even tried to contact me- save for that brief run-in on the street in the spring. and i am still filled with such rage, such resentment. i just want to erase him from the planet so i can learn to breathe again.

break ups are hard.

and after enduring (suffering) leaving m for the last time, i thought i’d never be capable of love again.

dan proved me wrong.

he proved me wrong when he kissed me, when he moved in with me, when we moved into our new home together. he proved me wrong every single time he looked at me, and my heart dropped to the tip of my toes. when rubbed my shoulder and told me he loved me if we ever argued. when he peered up from the sea of pillows in our bed to tell me he thought i was beautiful.

he proved me wrong when he left me- because he was scared of us, of our feelings, of the future.

he was scared he couldn’t be enough, he couldn’t fulfill his dreams, he couldn’t love me the way he wanted to love me.

he proved me wrong because when he told me he was leaving, i felt my heart rip open for the first time in years. it physically hurt my insides to think of a life without him. it broke my heart to think i’d never wake up to his messy hair, or his morning kisses, or the scent of his neck. nothing ever pieced together in my life the way his body did with mine.

he made me whole, again.

and when dan left, i needed to grow a pair and learn to be whole on my own if i ever wanted to be a real human being again.

that’s the hardest part.

because when you’re ex-boyfriend calls you to tell you he’s still in love with you, and you spend days together – watching movies, going for breakfast, drinking beer in bed together in your underwear- when you spend days doing that together, the way you did when you were living together, you’re bound to end up fucking.

you’re going to have a moment of weakness (or six), where you can’t help but rip each others’ clothes off, and hit the high notes, and have him touch you places no one else even has a clue how to because he’s  the only one who knows you well enough to know how to make you feel that kind of ecstasy. and when the moment(s) are over and you peel yourself off him, and recover from the shakes, you wonder how the hell you got here.

how you went from scream fits on the phone, and ignoring text messages, and telling him you’re busy when really you’re absolutely wasted in a different city in a room of handsome men, one of which is totally about to makeout with you. how you went from that strong, independent woman, to the one laying next to him, covered in his sweat, in his bed, in his new shitty apartment with no air conditioning, and six couches but no tv, and nothing in the dirty fridge but beer. how you swore you were only going over to check out his new place, and help hang a few pictures, and then he made you come so hard you could barely walk for three hours.

whatever.

and so we’re back here. going back & forth between hating each others’ guts, to telling each other we love each other so much it hurts, and then having sleepovers where we don’t even touch, but he’ll kiss me before he leaves.

he’ll always kiss me before he leaves.

and i want no part in it.

i want no part in feeling like this because i know his schedule, and when he’s closed up the kitchen and walked home, i don’t know who he’s with, or what he’s doing, or where he’s sleeping- and i can’t think about those things because they do NOT concern me anymore. or at least they won’t when i stop fucking him. because i need to stop that.

i want to close that chapter, and learn to be his friend again- i want to forget the way his lips feel on mine, or how awful it feels to wake up without his dumb snoring and long toe nails scratching my freshly shaved legs. i want to forget how comforting his voice is on the phone when i’m sick & bed-ridden. i need to find new ways to deal with panic attacks & anger issues that don’t involve him holding me and singing my favourite song while he runs his fingers up & down my arms until i’m calm enough to breathe, again.

i need to create those boundaries and draw those lines, because i’m feeling weak again… and i’m REALLY bad at losing these kinds of battles.

but you already knew that.

 

lately

i should probably just rename this blog “progress reports of a girl who takes one step forward, and ten steps back”, or better yet “little elle: why bother”

HA! i’m funny.

this is what the mancave looked like a few weeks ago…

this is what it looked like after dan lived in here for a few weeks when we decided to break up

 

and through all of this? thank goodness for this… all of it:

late night wine & strawberries on my porch

hanging out in the park & blowing bubbles

midnight street frisbee, in the heart of the city

the insanity, the intimacy

i don’t know what it is about sadness that makes me feel invincible.

he is always so fucking drunk, and i am always so quiet and bitter. two more weeks until this apartment becomes mine. two weeks until his junk is out and i can paint, and move furniture around, and become whole again. because right now, i am anything but. i am a skeleton of a little elle that is no longer. i am always okay until i hear his keys in the door, and i smell the liquor on his breath, and the nicotine in the seams of his denim jacket. i am okay until then because i don’t have to think of the blue of his bloodshot eyes, or how tight his arms feel around my ribs when he hugs me, still, despite all of this.

he took me for breakfast on saturday. the sun was hot and i wore a really feminine dress paired with my doc martens. “you look pretty”, he said, “and i’m not just saying that”. he zipped my dress to the top, and said “come on, i’m paying”. we walked quietly to our favourite breakfast place. a quiet, dim bar with waitresses who know our faces- who served us full pitchers of 50 in the beginning of our relationship. i wasn’t really hungry at all… nervously playing with my spoon. “this break up… it isn’t normal. but you’re my best friend”, he said.

i know

we walked to the book bazaar and i bought some rare book on paintings and photographs from WW2… classified until 1978. my brother was coming back from paris and i knew this book would be perfect for his birthday, and dan let me buy it for him even though he wanted it for himself. “no no… you buy it. he’ll love this”

i know. i knew he would. and he did.

things were so wishy-washy until last night- when he finally told me he’d be leaving june 6th. i knew it was happening, and i knew i’d have to deal with it eventually, but having a set date just makes it so much more real. there’s no turning back, and he is really leaving me, and i have to be okay with that.

i was really angry when i woke up this morning. my alarm went off for the fourth or fifth time and i heard dan get up in the room next to ours. he came into the bedroom and started cracking jokes, nudging me to get out of bed and shower for work, putting his feet in my face until i smiled. i pulled the blanket over my head and groaned, “uuuuuuugh worst wake up call ever”. he smiled and kept laughing. when i finally peeled myself from our sheets he stood in front of the door with his arms out. “i don’t care if i smell like shit, hug me!”

and so i did.

i hugged him and felt his arms tighten around my waist and heard him breathe me in like he always does. i feel it in my gut, when he hugs me. that he isn’t just holding on because that’s how hugging is done, he grasps a little tighter, and tighter, until i let go. and then so does he.

i rushed around in my towel as he played video games in the living room. “gotta win the cup, babe!” he always says. i kneeled over to pull some clean tights out of the dryer, and as i looked up he was just … staring at me.

“the cat knows what’s going on, you know. he’s really upset”

i know.

i don’t know where to go from here… we are either endlessly angry with one another, or still so close it stings. either way i need to shake this familiarity because he will be gone in exactly thirteen days.

thirteen days.

i’m devastated and excited in equal measure. and the idea of feeling those extremes with regard to the man i am in love with makes me sick to the pit of my very own stomach.

thirteen days.

then what?

not ever like it was

for a long time i wanted to leave this city.

i wanted to pack up everything i own, hop a bus to my favourite place, and forget. i wanted to work easy jobs, and live in tiny little apartments with my best friends, and finally let go. i was living alone, then. sitting on a fence between wanting so badly to leave, and managing my emotions enough to stay.

that’s always been my problem. it was never indecision or nerves. i wasn’t scared to fall off the map, no. i was afraid to sever the ties for the last time. i was scared i wasn’t independent enough, or happy. i was scared i’d make all these big plans, and have them crumble at my feet. i was frantically searching the internet for little apartments i could share with my friend. a place we could lay around in our underwear, reading comic books and listening to dykie folk rock. a place where we could wall-paper the bathroom, he and i. a place where i’d cook and we’d read books, and watch old films, and things would finally just be quiet.

because that’s just the thing with 2009 and the year i lived alone. the silence was so deafening, i surrounded myself with noise. there were always records spinning, or the tv blaring, or friends in my bed drinking wine from the bottle. and when i left him, finally and i couldn’t even muster the courage to put on some fucking pants and leave the house to buy groceries, the static and noise of the blatantly obvious became too much. the empty bottles of liquor scattered in every room, the cat litter over-flowing in the kitchen, or the piles of dishes i hadn’t touched in months. i didn’t have to worry about the dirty laundry on the floor because i couldn’t remember the last time i had clothes on my back.

christmas rolled in, and it was the first time i’d bought a real tree. january came and went as fast as february and by march i no longer had a fir, but a weeping willow. my father eventually came to my rescue- removing the decorations and storing them carefully as i sat quietly on my sofa. he dragged that thing through the kitchen and out the back door, and the only thing remaining was a trail of green needles.

it kills me to think of that, now.

by spring i’d come alive again- the weather and the hum in my heart had made it possible to breathe. i was still hiding his secrets- flushing his drugs when he asked me to, and crying silently when he’d leave. it all seemed new and yet so, so fucking the same. i guess it was the first time in four years that he’d been honest about the poison he’d been snorting and the people he’d been seeing in the nighttime. maybe that made it easier. he was so open about his indecencies. i was so young then- so naive. i would carefully unfold the foil, staring so angrily at this white powder, before i’d flush it down the toilet, again.

i didn’t have many words then, but i just remember thinking “how?” , over and over. how could he possibly choose these four bumps over us? over our lifestyle? over the family we nearly started- the family i was so quick to destroy, so quick to give up on.

…i could feel my heart pounding in my chest so hard i could hear it- the ringing in my ears blocking out his sobs from the other room. i remember laying there for hours after wondering when the fuck it would get quiet again.

in the years we’d been friends, and the months we’ve been dating, dan and i have never gone to the movies together. aftera particularly angry blowout on friday (where i’d been accidentally locked out of the apartment for over two hours without shoes or my phone), he’d promised me a date. a few friends joined us on a double-date as we walked the quiet streets last night. we live in the heart of the city, and yet by dusk on sundays, the streets are deserted. it’s my favourite part about living here. dan paid for our tickets as i bought us the biggest bag of popcorn they had- dan whispering to me, making sure i was asking for extra butter, “the real stuff!”, he kept saying. we saw a particularly gory movie, that had us roaring in laughter (as i hid behind my own hands). he kept rubbing my leg, or kissing my head- right on the temple. i close my eyes when he does that. i can’t help but get sentimental when he’s so gentle, like that.

“this is our first movie together!” he eagerly whispered, as the lights dimmed. i nodded and smiled the kind of smile only he can effortlessly get from me.

we walked home in separate directions- he was going to meet with a friend, and i was going to collapse into bed. i had forgotten my ipod at home, next to our bed, so i walked quickly, hands in my pocket. the final stretch of the long street before turning onto ours seems so much longer than it really is. i slowed my pace only briefly before being so thankful for dead of night. not a car in sight, unless it was parked. the yellow dim of the street lamps accentuating everything so perfectly. the leafless trees motionless, like skeletons.

i used to look over my shoulder at every sound, every footstep behind me. but things are different now- they’ve changed.

i exhaled a long, audible sigh, as i smirked and thought of a line from one of my most favourite comics…

(…) i should be scared or angry, the newsfeed says, but the sky is so empty and quiet and beautiful.

i finally, finally feel safe here.