i built you up so high your head was in the clouds (too bad you never looked down)

pain is seeing your abusive ex-boyfriend’s newborn baby nestled quietly in his fiancée’s arms.

that could have been me.

thank god it wasn’t me.

what if it had been me.

i count my blessings : health, family, friends, income, coming out of this alive.

that last one gets me. alive is one thing- unscathed is another. relationships are hard. they certainly can’t beat his worst, but they’ll never come close to his best. everything is a comparison, and everyone i meet has the unpleasant misfortune of attempting to meet my imaginary checklist’s standards.

a few months ago, i’d fallen (hopelessly, madly) for a man. his behaviours were manic, he was a recovering addict- on a steady diet of ephedrine and energy drinks. he slept like shit, and he ate like shit. he was arrogant and obsessive. vain and evasive, and jesus christ, i was sixteen all over again- falling for the bad boy with a broken heart and awful habits. and he needed me- he needed my home, and my money, and my heart.

and i gave it all to him.

and i lost everything.

the steps i’d taken forward, and the path i’d finally paved for myself… all of it was destroyed. he came into my life as quickly as i’d thrown him out of it, and i wasn’t at all prepared for that kind of damage, that kind of heartache.

he is trying to make sense of it all- how i could end it, how i could leave him to fend for himself- homeless and broke and without wheels, because he crashed his motorcycle, and i wasn’t there to pick up the pieces. he’d made his bed, and i wasn’t about to sit around and watch him die. i wasn’t going to let myself become who i’d been.

things have been constant, if not stagnant. i am not unhappy, but i am not elated either. i am in this very obvious, very real state of just being, and surprisingly enough, i am completely okay with that. i am often bewildered by my state of mental sobriety- so very sober from this sickness that is my weakness. maybe that’s why i associate myself best with addicts- me entire past feels surreal : how did so much happen in such little time? how were the most important years of my life plagued by sadness and hurt and regret? how were they plagued by such hatred and misfortune and unhealthy lifestyles?

i was fourteen when i started fucking, fifteen when i’d seen crack and ketamine for the first time, sixteen when i started drinking heavily, seventeen when i moved in with my junkie boyfriend, eighteen when i aborted my baby, nineteen when i had the shit kicked out of me by said boyfriend, twenty when i was raped, twenty one when all of those years finally started to sink in, twenty two when i hit bottom and contemplated a way out, and twenty three when i’d risen from the dead.

i’m twenty four now.

i’m twenty four and i have an incredible job, a beautiful home, and a retirement fund. i’m not over exaggerating when i say i died and came back to life. i was given a second chance to start over and not fuck it up beyond repair. i was given new hope and a breath of air and i kicked my own ass into gear to get here and finally do it right. falling for him was a momentary lack in judgement. it was a moment of weakness. he was the apple and i was very, very tempted. briefly.

i’ve stopped bending over backwards for people. whatever goodness that’s been left in my heart is going entirely into getting back on the horse i was shot off of. i am a victim of my demons, and i am my own enabler, but for the first time in my life, i actually have too much to lose to be reckless. there’s too much at stake to take such absurd risks. i’m worth more, and i deserve better, and i owe it to myself to use this second (third) chance, and do it properly.

this is me letting go

turning the leaf

m was recently arrested.

a friend called me to tell me the news, and i cried, and screamed, and swore. maybe this is the beginning of the end. while my sleeping patterns are off, and my mood shifts constantly, maybe this finally means putting some of my demons to rest. it means tattooing a tombstone to my elbow, and sleeping with the lights off, and opening the pieces of my heart that i’ve cut off for so many years.

i have officially been living in my apartment for one year. no overnight moves, no roommates, no sketchy activity, no drugs, no arguments, no yelling, no fear. i haven’t packed up my belongings, and i haven’t rented moving trucks, or storage locations. i haven’t fallen off the wagon, or gone to work shitfaced, or let someone hurt me beyond repair. i’ve had the same job since february 2012, that’s almost fifteen months. i’ve gotten significant raises, and benefits, and a new office. i’ve lost weight, and i’ve changed my eating habits. i cook to relax and unwind. i plan meals, and i buy organic, and i don’t eat meat or dairy. i spend weekends with my family, i go dancing with my friends, i watch documentaries, i bake pies, i do weekly crafts, i sew my clothing, and i buy new furniture. i treat myself, and i do it often. i get tattooed, and i go to the salon, and i buy clothes in smaller sizes. i have clothing swaps, and i cook for two, and i mop my floors, and change my bed sheets, and paint.

the seasons are changing.

i am paying off some debt, and i am working hard, and i am living honestly. i’ve been smiling, and i have felt weightless and light. i can’t remember the last time i felt so hopeful. and most importantly, i can’t remember the last time i felt this good about me. about my progress. about my ability to move forward. people constantly told me that i am independent to a fault- that it is ultimately the downfall of my relationships. but i am finally realizing that maybe the men i have been dating were too insecure to see the bravery in that. the strength and the will. they were too insecure to understand the damage of abuse and the hope in survival. they were too insecure to ask me what happened, and more importantly- to accept what happen without seeing me as damaged goods. and fuck that. fuck all of that, because my independence is not a flaw, and i am not broken, and i will be stronger and better than this, and them. i will talk openly about the hell m put me through, and about my ups and my downs, and shamelessly so.

because that is healing, and that is healthy, and THIS is progress.

these aren’t things you get… they are things which get you

it is hard to be brave when you’re only a very small animal
– a.a milne

i just forget what that kind of blissful happiness feels like

sometimes i think it took me so long to finally leave m because a part of me wanted so badly to believe that some sort of goodness could be restored. somehow i believed if i loved him stronger, or better, or if i held on less tightly, or showed independence that he’d change. i wondered if i kept the house perfect, and his clothes washed and folded, and if i answered all of his phone calls and text messages immediately and with full attention, that he’d realize how much i cared. i thought that by building a relationship with his family, and supporting his habits, and giving into the pain he inflicted (the pain he constantly inflicted) on me… he’d want to be better.

i was wrong.

i was always so fucking wrong when it came to him.

i constantly looked for love in all the wrong places- giving into people i didn’t want to give into, acting like a disconnected, skeleton of a human being. feigning emotion, and faking legitimacy so i could finally feel something (anything) but broken. so i could make these poor suckers believe there was enough room in my heart to care about anyone- make these people believe there was room in my heart at all. i became independent to a fault. i was a fortress, a tower. an unattainable bitch.

and it kills me to think of that now.

because i am soft, and emotional, and friendly. i exude happiness and i think of myself as genuine. i won’t lie. i won’t purposely hurt, or damage, or destroy anything, or anyone. not intentionally, anyway. it makes me physically sick to know i’ve caused anyone harm.

what change a few years can bring…

i guess i finally woke up. i realized i was being unfair, and selfish and awful. i’ve tried to rebuild whatever has been lost- within me, in my life… moving forward has been a constant up-hill battle. sometimes, i’ve fallen down, and other times i persevered… but dammit, it’s been rough.

i am terrified of rejection.

and i think i’ve been settling for relationships that didn’t allow any room for growth, or change… because i am so fucking terrified of success- of getting better. of being healthy, and happy. because a part of me wonders if i’m just programmed to perpetually fail. i wonder if maybe my fate has it written that i am supposed to feel this kind of sadness and agony forever.

and that’s bullshit.

because i am blessed with a family who loves me to the moon, and with skin tough enough to get me through anything, and a heart big enough to finally, finally allow room for healing, and change, and love.

when i was eighteen years old, i remember bawling my eyes out in a friend’s arms. she calmly stroked my hair, as she said:

“all this pain is going to be worth something beautiful some day”

… and as i cried, and cried, and shook my head, she whispered:

“you’re so brave”.

i remember that like it was yesterday.

and when i spent all those years, peeling myself from between my sheets, to carry on this bullshit life i didn’t give two fucks about… when i constantly cursed my alarm clock from ripping me from sleep, i would sit up, swing my legs over the side of my bed, and whisper to myself, “all this pain is going to be worth something beautiful some day”. i would drag my feet to the washroom, awkwardly look myself in the mirror, and say, “you’re so brave”.

and i was.

and i know i don’t give myself enough credit for that.

but for the first time in years… something inside of me has changed. i don’t cry myself to sleep, and i don’t get angry when i wake up. i don’t resent my failed relationships, or point the finger. i don’t envy anyone’s life but my own. because things have started to change, and i have started to gain confidence, and strength- things that have been lost over the years, two things that had continued to evade me in the months after leaving dan, and attempting to date brad. the more i gave in, and the more i settled for a potential future that would have made me miserable… the harder it became to see clearly.

all i wanted was a little clarity.

and i feel like each decision i’ve made finally makes sense.

loving m, and leaving him too. taking him back, and hiding from him. surviving the abuse, and healing from it. quitting jobs, accepting new positions. moving into new apartments, leaving hastily. dating close friends i wanted so badly to love- to build a future with, leaving them- or accepting that they wanted to leave me. making friends, severing ties… all this incredible pressure i put on myself to finally get things right, and to stop fucking up.

and when i stopped searching for answers, and i stopped looking for love, and i quit forcing myself to figure out my life… things started happening.

life happened.

an important job working for a french canadien not for profit organization, liaising with the french public schoolboard.

a half decent one bedroom apartment, located in my favourite part of the city i put a whole lot love and elbow grease into making it home feel like home- the first (safe) home i’ve had since moving out of my parents’ house in the suburbs when i was still in high school.

an incredible circle of friends who has (and continues to) love, and support me.. and be the backbone to the life i’m trying desperately to rebuild.

…and while i anticipate the next year being a whirlwind of chaos- a complete mix of desparation, positivity and change… i can finally say i remember exactly what this kind of blissful happiness feels like.

and it feels better than i could have ever anticipated.

casa del vaginal anarchy

here’s the thing about living with girls when you’re an adult:

HOLY SHIT, IT’S AMAZING!

coming from someone who has never really enjoyed living with other human beings, this comes as a total shock. but i mean it- maybe it’s because i’ve known katie for ten years, and the shit we found funny when we were kids are still just as hilarious today. maybe it’s the fact that neither of us have actually matured since we got our first period, or that dick jokes and fart noises still have us roaring in stitches on the floor…

maybe it’s because ten years ago, i looked like this:

and katie looked like this:

so absolutely every other joke we make is about anarchy, and feminism, and making fun of how stupid we looked, and how awesome our childhoods were. i’m so lucky to be where i am- that after a gut-wrenching breakup with the man i wanted to spend the rest of my life with, i get to share a home with someone i grew up with. someone who knows me, and gets me, and who paints my nails when i watch criminal minds and cooks me fish for dinner after bootcamp.

WE ARE LIVING THE ASEXUAL DREAM, Y’ALL.

i was really, really worried about how i would adjust to roommate life after not having roommates in over a year. how i would adjust to other people’s CRAP in MY HOUSE. but the fact is this: everything is perfect. her stuff “goes” with my stuff… we love the same things, we appreciate art and vintage and punk rock bands we’re still in love with. she’s an excellent cook, and she has a heart the size of the planet. and what was once me and dan’s house, turned MY HOUSE, has now transitioned so seamlessly into our house.

also dubbed casa del vaginal anarchy.

BECAUSE OI OI, FEMINISM, FUCK YOU.

etc.

it’s the summer, internet. i have two days of work left before i run out of here with my shirt above my head, boobs out, screaming SPRING BREAK. the first real break i’ve give myself since i graduated high school and spent days broke, hungry, and crying in me and m’s apartment, waiting for him to come home.

fucking crazy, right?

half the women in my life are either married, pregnant, engaged, or happily co-habitating with their lovers. and considering just a few months ago i had already picked out me and dan’s wedding song, and peed on a stick because i totally thought we’d accidentally gotten pregnant and the first thing that popped into my head was “well, at least we love each other”- considering how fucking insane that sounds and how long ago that seems and how sad and lonely that makes me feel… all those things considered- i’m okay.

there’s something to be said for the strength and support the women in my life have given me. i am constantly laughing, having fun, drinking wine, being productive and carefree and so overwhelmed by how big my heart feels.

this must be one of the best places i’ve been (emotionally) in my life. maybe it’s the season, or the fact that i will soon have time to go to the beach, read in the park, nap IN THE AFTERNOON ON A WEEKDAY (holy shit, what does that even feel like?!), spend time with my night owl friends who work evenings, who fucking knows… i feel so LIMITLESS!

i have a movie date tonight, bootcamp this week, my friend’s champagne 30 birthday party on thursday, a BBQ & potential baseball game on friday, and one of my favourite bands is playing a local venue next tuesday- so many fun summer activities almost every single day of the week. how do i even have time to feel sad?

in other news… katie’s dog finnegan ate up my $300 hugo boss frames, so i bought two new pairs:

SUMMER LOVIN’ !!!

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