epiphany

text versus romance-
you go and add it all you want
still we’re not robots inside a grid

– rilo kiley

i’m not much into spirituality or existentialism. and apart from romanticism and the relationships i have in my life, i am very much a realist. i believe that science can describe most (if not all) things. and although i do believe that everything happens for a reason, i also believe that those things that happen, are very much calculated.

… but the dream i had last night meant so much to me- emotionally, spiritually, mentally. i feel like i woke up and suddenly everything i had ever doubted was right again. for the first time in years, i wasn’t scared. i felt really, really good.

here’s what i dreamt:

i had just found out that m had been wounded while trying to save me (a bullet, i believe), and as i held him while he died, we had a bit of a moment. we told each other we loved one another despite everything, and he told me he’d still be around- that whenever i needed him, to look for a sign and he’d be there. before he died i asked him that he haunt me until i no longer needed him around, and he promised me he would.

the haunting lasted a full year. i would see him in human form and we would talk and reminisce. at one point i was sitting on the couch, speaking with my sister-in-law, when all of a sudden m‘s favourite book in the dream (the book dan is currently reading in real life) magically appeared on the coffee table. when my sister-in-law asked how that happened, i told her that it was simply m, making his presence known- watching over me like he’d promised.

throughout the dream, he kept appearing. we would cry together and i kept begging him not to leave me until i was ready. some time passed and eventually, in the dream, dan and i ended up sleeping together. after that happened, i was sitting on the couch discussing things with my sister-in-law again, and i stopped mid-sentence and told her that something had changed, things felt different. when she asked me how they felt different i responded with, “he’s gone, i don’t feel him anymore“.

that’s how it ended.

dammit, if that’s not symbolism- i don’t know what is.

i woke up this morning to my alarm going off for the third or fourth time- just as dan rolled over, put his arm across my chest, and kissed me on the shoulder. i spent the entire morning getting ready, walking to the bus stop, feeling a little off- until the dream suddenly came back to me, and hit me like a ton of bricks.

and just then i received a text message from dan saying, “oh my gosh, i love you“.

i’ve had a really long, emotionally draining day at work today, and i can’t stop thinking about the dream. and despite the fact that i’m overwhelmed at the office, and i’m not seeing dan for two days because he has a show out of town, i can’t help but feel complete. like- despite everything that happens and all the shit that goes on in my life on a daily basis, i made it through the most awful, relentless, gut-wrenching chapter in my life. and although m is back (did i forget to mention that? he’s back in the city), i don’t feel scared all the time. i’m not dreading his text messages or phone calls (i changed my phone number), i’m not worried to check emails or facebook messages (i’ve blocked him and changed email addresses), i’m not expecting him at my doorstep (i’ve moved three times since my last known address)… and i have this absolutely wonderful man in my life who has given me every reason in the world to remain hopeful- to be happy with myself, my life, and our relationship.

a really great friend once told me “you can hide from everything except your conscious“, and that was the most hard-hitting statement anyone has said to me in a long time. i may have been using m as a crutch to build walls with people so i wouldn’t allow myself to feel that amount of emotion (good & bad) ever again- but i’ve given myself time to heal and hurt and live and laugh and love again. i’ve given myself time to face my demons and put them to rest. and although i wish, from the bottom of my heart, that it hadn’t been m telling me (in my dream) that i was ready to be without him, at least now i know.

you win this round, idealism.

dark, you can’t come soon enough for me

there’s something to be said for clarity;
the only thing that you took from me

– living with lions

most people fear the dark because of the unknown; what they can’t see, what isn’t there.

i’ve always feared the dark based on what i know all too well.

his shadow moved so effortlessly in the darkness of what i casually referred to as our bedroom. it wasn’t ours- i learned early enough not to call anything ours… it made him angry. ours meant permanence, normalcy. it meant giving in.

i don’t know what made me so damn antsy all the time. for a year after he left the first time, i had recurring night terrors. i knew better than to fall asleep without taking sleeping aids or leaving lights on. i was nineteen years old when i started sleeping with easy accessibility to shoes, and waking up in the middle of the night to make sure the door was locked. i took my phone out back when i needed to get my laundry in the neighbour’s basement in the middle of the night. i never left the back door without looking through the peephole, especially after dark.

i would wake up to his hands on me and his breath on the nape of my neck.

and eventually, so did she.

after hours of arguing over our life together, i’d finally had enough. i flushed his drugs, i told him we couldn’t start a family together and i put him to bed. she had already been asleep a few hours and hadn’t witnessed any of the arguing. all i remember is her walking out to the living room and sleeping on the couch in the middle of the night. while i had collapsed in exhaustion, he took it upon himself to do to her what he’d been doing to me for years. he slipped his hands inside of her and breathed heavily on her neck. she pushed and pulled and told him no, no, no.

i didn’t even wake up.

you know, i put up with the pain of loving this man for so long because i was naive, and the fear of being without him (for some reason) killed me more than being with him. i was strong enough to endure him. i was capable of putting up with the regularity of his abuse.

she wasn’t.

when she finally confronted me about what he’d done to her in the night, i didn’t say a word. i stared blankly at her, turned and walked to my bedroom and sat on my bed in silence. i shuffled in and out of my bedroom as she stood motionless.

say something, she said. what are you doing?

i was doing what i should have done three years prior. i was looking for some damn pants so i could walk downtown and sever all ties with this fucking monster- for good this time.

you look angry. are you mad at me?

i stopped abruptly, put my arms around her, and told her i loved her. she broked down over how she didn’t want to say anything because she knew i really wanted to make it work this time. she knew how much i’d sacrificed and how strongly i believed he could have changed. she just wanted to see me happy, even if it meant keeping this secret to herself.

moments after she’d told me what happened, we were walking together towards downtown. i still hadn’t put on a bra, my hair was a total mess, and i didn’t even have makeup on.

i didn’t give a fuck.

i grabbed her hand, as we speed-walked silently to his work. she stopped about a block away, telling me she couldn’t face him. i kissed her on the cheek, told her i loved her, and that i’d call her later.

the rest is mostly blurry because i was so hopped up on adrenaline. i just remember my ears ringing and my heart pounding in my chest as i stomped up to him and ordered him to the back room. he thought i was kidding, or maybe taking him to the back for a quick fuck. before i knew it, i was yelling at the top of my lungs; calling him a monster, and a rapist. telling him that i can put up with it… that i can take it because i’ve learned how to, but now he’s hurt someone i love. after twenty minutes of yelling at him, and getting bullshit excuses on his behalf, i told him to fuck himself and walked out of there, smirking at his fellow employees.

i didn’t see him for almost a year after that.

after the years and years i put up with that pathetic excuse of a human… after the agony of watching my family and friends try to help me out of that nightmare of a relationship- if you can even call it that… all it took was for him to inflict that pain he inflicted onto me, onto someone close to me.

at what point does that cycle end? i was beaten down so low that i couldn’t even leave him for hurting ME. i couldn’t leave him for destroying ME. i let it wait so long, he ended up hurting someone i cared about.

i still cringe when i think of that night- when i can pinpoint exactly what was going through her mind as he took advantage of her- as he stole the innocence of such a tender, quiet person. as he ripped from her what he’d been ripping from me for years.

and as time passes, i try. i started turning the lights off to sleep, and i check the doors only once. i stopped taking sleeping pills when i lived with andy, and i’ve been trying to get comfortable in the dark. but still- it’s in the back of my mind.

nothing about the darkness is forgiving.

my self-respect means more to me than you do (or at least it used to)

i remember the beer caught in my throat
and the lonely comfort of my only winter coat
i could tell you exactly when i fell
it was back when i did not know you so well

– pony up

i have felt stuck for 6 months; trapped in what i thought could potentially be a healthy, fruitful relationship. i stood my ground mostly, i foolishly gave in occasionally, and i ignored my gut from the start. and finally, finally, i’ve let go. luc has the potential to be a good person- i know it because i’ve seen it. but he also has the ability to be a negative, mean, and rude person to me, and i’ve witnessed it more than i would have liked to. i stuck around with the hopes of positive change, maturity development, and paved paths for something i thought could be great. but i was sorrily mistaken, and i was obviously let down.

and what kind of person am i- to have strung him along during my indecisiveness? granted he knew where i stood on the matter- that’s not the point. i’ve made a decision for him, for myself, for our friends (who have been waiting as patiently as he has), for our family (who all had faith this would pan out into something greater)… i’m letting go for everyone’s sake. for my sanity. for my peace of mind. for my freedom.

i’ve always been a boyfriend type of girl. i spent my years in junior high kissing older boys at arenas, holding hands under desks, writing love letters, or having “boyfriends” over when i wasn’t allowed. i stumbled into high school and instantly fell into a life of drugs, sex and alcohol. i remember stealing cars with biz, or drinking 40s of beer in a friend’s living room in the projects. we’d do graffiti at the skate park, drink vodka in alleyways, sleep in the parks. it wasn’t glamourous, but i had the time of my life. i met m when i’d calmed down from that stuff- and it seemed the sight of him made those feelings of danger and apathy resurface almost instantly. being with m made me feel so fucking alive. in the beginning, we’d party all night, and lay in bed together all day. it was the perfect mix of teenage rebellion & young love. i had it all.

and when i wasn’t with m, i toyed around with older boys, had flings in different cities, and genuinely couldn’t find it in me to give a shit about anyone who wasn’t m. until andy- and with andy came a mixed feeling of relief and resentment. i missed the danger, and i missed the feeling of not knowing what came next. and by the same token, i couldn’t be happier to wake up to the same person everyday- to someone who lived to make me happy. i had never been in a better, more stable place in my life.

i’ve gotten over the lifestyle i had before and during my relationship with m. living that lifestyle now is only rebelling against myself- i’ve lived a life with andy that opened my eyes to what i want in the future. and since leaving him and our beautiful home, couch hopping and drinking myself into oblivion and fucking B. so i could feel something- anything… i’ve finally figured out what i wanted.

maybe i stuck around for luc and i’s bullshit rollercoaster of misunderstood emotions because i was lost. i saw something in him i thought i wanted, and i was stupid enough to let it lead both of our lives. i should have known to trust my gut from the get-go; to not give into feelings i know are superficial.

he’s an idiot if he thinks for a minute i never cared. i spent every waking moment talking to him, about him, or spending time with him. i was hoping so badly that i could have a change of heart, accept him for who he is, and just be with him. and although his heart of gold helped me realize how selfless he can be- it also made me see a side of him i wish i’d never gotten to know at all.

i can’t count the amount of times he told me we were ruining each others’ lives. it may have been a joke at the time, but deep down i think both of us knew it was true. i’ve been holding back when i meet new people- refusing to let my emotions with them get the best of me because of the man at home who was waiting for me, so patiently. maybe down the road i’ll kick myself for letting go the one person who stuck around through everything in hopes i’d give in. maybe i’ll kick myself for giving up a chance at building a family, again. another chance i had at letting someone in and seeing the real me- the me that has feelings and enjoys kissing and waking up next to someone- sharing my life with someone.

maybe…

but i’ve been sticking to “maybe” since i was a kid, and i’m sick of basing my life on what if’s… the last time i used schrödinger’s thought experiment as a means to making my decision, i got horribly burned- needless to say, the cat was very much dead, and i’ve never been good at quantum mechanics anyway.

my point is this: i’m moving on for me. i can’t keep tip-toe-ing around people’s feelings trying to save them, when all i need now is to save myself. i need to be alone (for once), and let the chips fall where they may. i’m not looking anymore… the best things will happen when i least expect them to.

that being said, friday will be my last day working for the company i’ve been with for 3 years. they offered me a position i couldn’t possibly take, and thus have no choice but to leave (with a heavy heart). i’m trying to stay positive though- working here has taught me responsibility and proper business etiquette. i’ve been fortunate enough to have participated in out-of-town business conferences in which i got the opportunity to step outside of myself and interact with other business associates from across the country. i met the president of the company, and have built a a fabulous working relationship with the VP of sales (who wants to reference me to other businesses looking for a young firecracker like me). i worked with some pretty energetic and positive people, and i was lucky enough to be part of the most amazing sales team, and built a special relationship with each of the representatives. i’m sad to leave, but this is such a good opportunity to look for something else and thrive. i can use these tools to be a better me, and build a more stable future.

i never thought i’d go from being the young naive little girl i was, to the strong, outgoing, business woman i’ve become. it stings sometimes, to catch my glance in the mirror and see that i’ve totally given into the man- that i’ve bitten the bullet and become a slave to my bitch- but that’s life, right? that’s growing up.

i crashed and burned into 2010 like a rocket on fire spiralling to the core- and i was so scared i wouldn’t make it out alive. i’m a victim of my own demons and i get lost sometimes, but i’m working on that. in january 2010 i was boyfriendless, virtually homeless, and teetering close to unemployment (because of my drinking habits), but i pulled through. with the help of friends and family, i made it out of this again, and only good things can come from this wreckage.

i need to take all of this and start fresh- learn everything again with a new, open heart.

i’m a single, independent woman looking for new beginnings- in relationships, employment, and life in general.

bring it on, motherfucker.

human skin can be hard to live in

the next time i wake up, i want to be
in a rabbit hole to the sound of you
(making coffee)
– seabear

i had a dream that m and i were apartment hunting. he was riding his bike around town while i met with landlords. i kept feeling sick- like i was making some sort of mistake. he was getting angry and none of the houses were good enough. i woke up feeling angry and anxious.

when i fell back asleep, i had a dream that andy asked me to go visit our old home because he’d decided to buy and renovate it (a plan that was actually in the works when we were still living together). when i walked in most of the layout was different; i was trying to remember what our house looked like when we lived together. he ripped up all the floors and put in beautiful hardwood. he grabbed my hand and lead me to “the love nook”- a room with a comfortable sofa, dozens of candles, and my favourite pictures of us everywhere. i cried as he tried to explain that he wanted to keep a part of me in the house, to make it feel like home. he then lead me to the bedroom- the details i can’t even get into because it completely breaks me heart, it was so real. i woke up gasping for air, covered in a cold sweat.

andy and i have been in contact recently… and when the messages aren’t totally mundane, they’re absolutely heart-breaking. and for no other reason than because they remind me of the first few weeks of us dating. the messages were flirty, fun, and harmless. we were giddy and giggly and happy. and that’s just how they feel now. it’s so easy to talk to him and get lost because i’d never, ever felt more safe than when i was with him.

living alone is hard.

i liked it so much a few years back, but now i’m finding it less easy. it was so simple to do it the first time because i didn’t miss the holes in the walls or the panic of wondering when m would be home. i didn’t miss picking up after roommates or getting frustrated over privacy. but now? how do i go from waking up early saturday mornings to kisses on my face, cartoons on the tv, and the sounds of andy and his brother in the kitchen? i miss cooking together, cleaning together, watching movies together. i miss sitting out on the deck, or making hot dogs in the afternoon (using the bbq i’d spray painted gold and lovingly nick-named B3Q0). i miss folding the boys’ matching underwear and putting their clothes on their beds. i miss brushing my teeth with andy every night. i miss feeling him quietly crawl beside me and wrapping his arms around me after i’d already gone to sleep. i miss watching him work- ripping up the old floors in the basement, or building a bedframe from scratch for us. i can’t forget the excited look on his face the day he came back with olive green and chocolate brown egyptian cotton sheets to match the colours of our bedroom. that’s what i loved so much about andy- the effort he made into making our house a home. the effort he put into seeing me smile. i miss that so much.

give me a few days, maybe i’ll start feeling better about this.

they’ll never hurt you like i do

damn it all, i am just sad
everything’s staying as fucked up
because all that i used to have
burned out in jar like a lightning bug

– the polar bear club

i’m not sure i can pin-point exactly when i fell in love with m. i don’t know if it happened when i was watching him boil pots of water on the stove and carry each of them up one by one to draw us a bath after our long winter walks back to his mother’s house. i’m not sure if it happened while watching him pick out his clothes and dress himself every morning. i can’t remember if it happened while watching him light every candle in his bedroom and put on our song before he laid down to kiss every inch of me. i do remember though, that after a few weeks of dating, he bought me a card with a picture that said “you are my sunshine” on it- inside he thanked me for being me, for absolutely no reason at all. he did that a lot- bought me cards for no reason, drew me pictures while he was at work, and took me on dates. i can’t quite put my finger on when it was that i fell out of love with him, either. i’m not sure if it was watching him cry alone on the sidewalk as he told me he’d cheated on me for the first time. i can’t remember if it happened every time i saw the plaster from our walls crumble next to me as he put his fist through it over, and over as i cowered in the corner, crying and begging him to stop. it may have happened moments before everything went black as he pushed onto my throat, with his thumbs. it may have happened after stepping out of a hot shower and catching a glimpse of my reflexion in the mirror for the first time in days- black bruises on my collar bones, eyes red and swollen, face drained of any real emotion. i do remember though, when i stopped giving a shit, when i stopped having nightmares, when i stopped giving into him.

there are many memories i have of m stored in the back of my brain- but there are so many more things i can’t dig out. so many things have been partially erased, as if to save me the pain of remembering. it’s frustrating: trying to put the pieces back together in order to remember clearly enough to forget. how do you forget something you’re missing pieces of? how do you put those demons to rest if you’re forgetting the worst parts?

i’m not sure what my mind has decided to keep from me- and as frustrated i get, these past few days just proved to me how grateful i am to have that ability; the ability to block certain details and memories from my brain enough to try and move forward. these past few nights before finally drifting to sleep, i remember the smell of a stranger’s clothes- and the twisted knot in the pit of my stomach when i woke up to that scent, and realized he’d been in my home. i remember how gnarly the whiskey tasted as i pounded it back, shot after shot. i remember the confident smirk plastered on his face as i danced. i remember, i remember, i remember…

i don’t know what the fuck i remember.

these past six months have been more blury than any memory i have. maybe leaving andy was harder on me than i’d lead on. not because i miss him (which i do sometimes, for the record), but because andy sheltered me. not in an over-protective, jealous boyfriend way… but because he protected me from myself. the people who know me best have told me repeatedly that i have a destructive personality; i don’t just do bad things and live with the consequences… i get lost in my emotions and my mistakes, and completely destroy everything in my path. andy had so much good in him it over-flowed, and filled me with that positive need to be better. he pointed me in the right direction without even knowing he was doing it. and when i moved out of our home and needed to build myself from the ground up again, i got lost. i left the best part of me in that house, i left the best parts of me with andy- and that’s finally clear now.

my mother remembers things for me, sometimes. when i decided to find another place on my own after moving out of me and andy’s house, she remembered what happened to me the last time i lived alone. she remembered visiting and finding weeks’ worth of dishes piled on the counter, the cat box over-flowing in the kitchen, the bottles of empty liquor scattered in the apartment, the clothes all over the floor in my bedroom… she remembers how easily i disconnected from life. i mourned such loss, alone.

i’m trying so hard to dig myself out before i get there again. i’m trying not to beat myself up for what i can’t remember. i’m trying to be a better version of myself, but so much of those memories have been erased.

memory is funny like that.

how you drove me off

i’m tired of being the interesting one
i’m tired of having fun for two
just lay yourself on the line
and i might lay myself down by you
but don’t sit behind your eyes
and wait for me to surprise you

     – a.d.

not being with someone has never been more exhausting. i don’t know whether i’m trying to convince myself i don’t want to date at all, or that i just don’t want to date him. the prospect of having a boy message me at 4am because he wants to come over and kiss me on my birthday, or the fact that a friend told me i was pretty (no, but for real, kidding aside, so pretty), those things… from those different people, still have me on my toes- wanting more.

i feel like i’ve been hiding. when i moved out of me and andy’s house, i spent four months drowning in drugs, sex, & alcohol (and had the time of my fucking life) and now i feel so far gone. i pulled myself out, found a place to live, and got back on my feet. sometimes i worry that i spent so many years feeding my demons that i’ve lost myself entirely. do you ever feel that way? like you’ve spent so much time being bad that being good seems to involve too much effort. that’s how i feel. i see the bad in people because i know i’ll break whatever good that’s left inside of them.

i don’t want to be responsible for that.

when m. was gone and i was living in our attic apartment alone while he was on his coke binges, i used to come home and passout in bed with my shoes on, listening to records really loud. i wanted to remember what it was like to care so little about things that would normally make my skin crawl. like wearing boots in bed or falling asleep to the angry slur of subhumans. when m. would finally come home i never had anything to say. i would anger-fuck him until my legs went numb and then i’d get drunk when he’d leave again. was it simpler to just be ignored, and live my life as a single woman until he’d come home again? fuck, sometimes i don’t even know. did he damage me with the abuse? or did i damage him because i didn’t give a fuck?

my best friend left the city a few months ago. the weekend before he left we spent the afternoon in bed snorting k and listening to morissey. i don’t even fucking like morissey. but i remember thinking this was the last time i’d ever have him this way. he was so pure, you know? i never loved anyone the way i loved him- without ever having to do anything at all. we just laid there and laughed. i felt my whole body go numb- i couldn’t even cry if i wanted to, and i remember really wanting to. when the sun finally fell we walked down the street to pick up beer and we drank until we forgot.

you see that’s just what i mean.

i get so angry with these people sometimes, i just want to forget. i want to forget how to cook a decent meal from scratch, or sort laundry like my mother does, or hold someone until they fall asleep. i want to forget how to meet families, or hold babies, or love someone so hard my insides shake. i want to forget because it always gets ripped from me.

it’s so much easier to stay out until 4 in the morning than it is to get everything done that needs to get done before 10 o’clock on a wednesday. it’s so much easier to fuck dudes you don’t have to call back than it is to invest yourself emotionally in a person who will likely fuck your best friend or pin you against a wall and scream at you for being useless. it’s so much easier to fall asleep facing the wall than it is to try and find someone who actually meshes with your body- someone who just fits when all you want to do is sleep. it’s so much easier to flirt with all of your friends because you all have so much in common, than it is to find someone who genuinely wants you- only you, for exactly who and what you are.

despite everything.

despite everything.

i’m trying.