Thursday, September 13, 2012

Four Platitudes and A Cynicism (or Three)

view from the steering wheel

It doesn't rain, it pours.
Gee it's hot, and why the Hell am I in this handbasket?
Things get only get better from here / That was the worst of it
What doesn't kill me makes me stronger/stranger.

With family like this... nevermind

So just when I thought it couldn't get worse (who am I kidding, I always expect it to get worse), it - surprise! (not really) - gets worse.

A particlarly annoying friend of mine would point out, with a smug and Zen like smile, that I am creating my own reality - fortunately, they are not within striking distance, because then I really might do some reality creating. Anyhow, how lame is that?! if I were in the business of creating realities mine, right now, would involve a man on a horse, a tiara, chocolate, an ocean and some fucking poetry, NOT me sitting in my car blogging from my phone.

Coping wise, I could laugh, cry or do what I'm doing right now, sit in my car and stare at the steering wheel and wait for the next bit of news-that-really-fucking-sucks to arrive.

Wait, I've written a poem about this sort of thing, must dig that out. here it is!

I've already cried, and to put things in perspective, I could know someone, or be in that ambulance that just forced it's way through traffic. My sitting in my car in a prime parking spot might really be messing with some people trolling for spots, there, that me smirk a little - yep still not a bit Zen like.

Bless them, Change me
Bless them, Change me
Bless them, Change me

(Fuck them, Get me some Chocolate)

I hate these damn gowth opportunities. Yes, I am disappointed because I had expectations, silly me. 
Could be worse, it could be raining - wait, nevermind on that one too.

Strangely, as I've been sitting here, the world seems to be going on quite happily, not caring one bit about my justified funk.  Well. I'll just go get me some chocolate then, that will show you.

Create my own reality aright.

Also I will go to that hot core yoga class and sweat off all these annoying people who simply_will_not_behave.

There, that should show them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

le tired

a typical week
 My apologies to all, I have been le tired lately (read: for the last year) and not been the best friend to some (read: pretty much all) of you - a mostly unrelated, but very funny video. It's actually been just over a year since we started dealing with my son's addiction. It goes up and down like a roller coaster that doesn't end, where you aren't securely fastened in your seat, and where you can't tell when the next drop, turn or plateau is coming.
Months ago one (of the many, many) addiction counselors I talk to pointed out that involved mothers (say ones who had for years been working with school staff advocating for a ADHD child) tended to be the best enablers. Good thing that didn't apply to me I thought smugly; what did she know, 20years in treating addiction? Then yesterday (and last week) my son's Guidance counselor pointed out - very directly - exactly how I was enabling him.

(because swearing just sounds better in perfect fucking French)

I suppose I had to hit my bottom, I thought I was letting him feel the consequences of his choices, but I have been softening the blow (see above list). 

"Take away the pain, you take away progress" a quote from my parent's group reading last night. So, I am letting him feel the pain, and it hurts not just him, but me - a lot. So, I will assume this is me making progress - I hope, and that at some point I will let go and  learn something and find some peace - I hope. But before that things are going to be painful (see above list) for the whole family.

I am getting better at taking care of myself first, and this month I am going to spend 5 days beside the ocean with a wonderful friend. We are going to see Krishna Das, eat chocolate, see whales, do yoga and basically be artsy hippies.

Mostly I just want to sit by the water. 

I can't wait.

not to scale

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

pppffftttt aka People Don't Behave

So, I'm sulking. Lower lip protruding. Arms crossed. Brows furrowed. Not talking to you. Shun on.

Also I'm mad at everyone -- yes, yes I know this is my ego having a tantrum, but I feel injured and unappreciated. So, I'm going to throw this pity party for myself and no one else is invited because I'm not speaking with any of you anymore. Talking my toys and going home. Going to hang with my dog and you all can sod off.

I did what I thought was a brave thing yesterday - I was genuinely frighted for me, and for my daughter. We were in a situation that could have gone poorly. My car overheated in the kind of neighbourhood that before I got out of the car to check the coolant level, I handed my phone to Lizz, locked the doors and told her to stay alert. We'd been at an audition and I was dressed nicely, I felt a bit like I had a target over my head - cute woman with a car that isn't working, really cute young girl in car.

I managed it, (topped up coolant and then drove through the 90 degree city heat with the heat blasting to keep the engine cool), and got us home. The heat didn't trigger Lizz's asthma ( or mine ), thankfully.

I guess I was looking for a pat on the head, an acknowledgement, or maybe someone saying 'wow! that sounds like it would have been scarey!'

Or Something, but
No. Nada. Nothing.
Not a Single Fucking Thing.

I even Told people, and I could have been talking about dinner ingredients for the concern that was expressed.

Lizz was there, she appreciated what happened, she said that she had no intention of staying in the car if anyone had attacked me since she outranks me and is much better at Hapkido than I am, stubborn girl, don't know where she gets it from. I worked very hard to look cool and relaxed, but I she likely realized I was pretty anxious.

Once I get over myself I get back to being my regular zen-like self, for now I'll read some more David Whyte.

"Whether our affections are caught in romantic love, trying to see our neighbors as ourselves or trying to love a great but distant God, our love rarely seems to be returned in the mode that it is given. That gift is returned in ways that to begin with, we rarely recognize. Human beings live in disappointment and a self-appointed imprisonment when they refuse to love unless they are loved the self-same way in return. It is the burden of marriage, the curse of parenting and the central difficulty in our relationship with an imagined, living God. The great discipline seems to be to give up wanting to control the manner in which we are requited, and to forgo the natural disappointment that flows from expecting an exact and measured reciprocation, from a partner, from a child, from a loving God."

- David Whyte
from Readers' Circle Essay, "Unrequited Love"

Monday, September 03, 2012

"I'm not young enough to know everything"

“It takes a long time to become young.” - Picasso

So, last night I was happily hanging out with my son watching Doctor Who, and ruining a perfectly good piece of watercolour paper with watercolours, when my phone beeped to say someone on facebook had messaged me. It was Fred - OMG.

this was the coolest think I'd ever seen

Alright, to understand my last sentence we have to go back 34years, to my high school years (I know what you're thinking, and yes, I was only 3 when I entered high school being an especially precocious child). It was the end of the seventies, I had, or tried to have, Farrah Fawcett hair, bell bottoms, toe socks and a red and blue Adias bag (see BNL "This is me in Grade 9"). We saw Saturday Night Fever, ET, and Jaws in a movie theatre, which was the only to see movies then, we listened to ABBA before Momma Mia was even thought of, and after school we watched the Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island, me, on bright orange shag carpet in our hip basement family room.  We were groovy and we knew it, well, we tried. I tried very hard, and generally failed spectacularly. These days they have 'product' for thick wavy hair, in high school I had a hair drier that made my curls frizz and a curling iron that made them flip in different directions. The waists of my jeans was 3inches above my belly button, I wore Earth shoes and scoop neck t-shirts.
NOT how my hair looked

It was the best of times... wait, who am I kidding? My high school career was like walking a mine field. It was divided almost in half, grade 9 - grade 11 1/3 were in Dundas, Ontario at Parkside High School while I lived with my mom, brother and stepfather. Grade 11 1/3 - grade 13 (yes we had 5 years of high school) were spend at Port Arthur Collegiate Institute in Thunder Bay, Ontario while living with my father and step-mom. The circumstance of my changing  residential parents and locations is story I may one day write, but not here.

I started grade 9 in a Saturday Night Live inspired outfit that I can only cringe at the thought of now, and rejoice that my mother was not the type to take first day of school photos. I was shy, awkward, and not exactly popular. I had a small group of friends, and thanks to facebook have reconnected to many of them. I did well in school, but pretended I didn't in an attempt to be cool, it didn't work. I met my first ever boyfriend, Lance, who gave me my first ever kiss on my girlfriend's Jodi's front porch. That relationship didn't end gracefully, or more exactly it ended typically for 14year kids in high school who had no idea what they were doing. One of the amazing things about facebook is 30years later, Lance found me, and sent me a friend request. I was stunned, but curious, so I accepted. We exchanged polite bits of small talk, and then one day he sent me a message that was an apology for how he had acted after we broke up. I was now speechless - quite a feat. It was amazing how that letter brought up that old hurt (and all the new hurts that I had neatly stacked on top of it) and took it away. It shifted how I saw myself, in high school, and now. I don't know why he did it, but I am very grateful he did. Also, Lance it turned out, had grown up very handsome indeed, ah those wasted years!

It's funny what you hang on to from high school, perhaps it is because it is such a formative time of development. Who you are, where you fit in the world, and if you didn't thrive in high school, if it was a painful experience for you, it seems to stay a part of your psyche through adulthood. Maybe that's why reunions are such charged events.

Okay, now we can talk about OMG Fred. Fred was my first high school crush, He was tall, played basketball and I don't know, was just that perfect combination for teenage girl idolatry. About a year ago I saw that he was on facebook, and in a fit of bravery sent him a friend request - 30 years later, I was still that goofy teenage girl. I didn't know if he would even remember me. He accepted, we really didn't chat, but I got to peek at him as a grown up - still good looking, married with two boys, it looked like things had worked out well for him.

So, last night, phone beeps, facebook message, OMG Fred! I stared at my phone and open and closed my mouth much like a freshly caught fish does on a dock. I had the same glamorous reaction to Lance's letter, yeah, I'm classy like that - heaven help me if I ever get a shock and someone has a camera. Fred, my unrequited crush, the cool basketball player with the perfect hair that I oogled secretly from the bleachers during basketball games was chatting with me, with me. People who meet me now likely see a friendly outgoing person with non-frizzy not-Farrah-wanna-be-hair (this is after coffee, and application of hair product naturally), but the awkward teenager is still in there, the one who didn't think she was worth loving, or even worth liking.  So here's Fred saying he'd been in Naperville last year, and had he know I was here would have looked me up -- GACK! About this point my generally obtuse son actually noticed the odd sounds and facial expressions I was making and commented that my painting really wasn't that bad. Sweet boy, he made me tea. So what was I to do, thankfully Fred could not see my face, and had only "my trying to sound witty chat banter" to go on. We talked, his kids, my kids, marriages, Lance - whole other story there, life the universe and everything. After about an hour, and one cup of tea later I thought what the hell, and I typed the sentence - "you know I had a huge crush on you in high school" and waited for the world to end. It didn't and we actually talked about it - he was, as I suspected completely oblivious but very gracious - thank god. I ended up chatting with Fred for about 3hours, stayed up way too late on a work night, but I was smiling the whole time.

As an adult, who is raising three teenagers, I appear pretty together, I'm generally clean, remember to put on pants the right side out most days, and can speak with what sounds like general intelligence. Underneath this cunning exterior lives that teenage girl who pops up occasionally. She felt like she was too much trouble to love or to like, that she was inherently lacking in some very basic aspect that the rest of the world had and scorned her for not having. When you see yourself this way it is very easy to find confirmation. No matter how you see yourself, you will find something or someone to validate that - which is great if you think you're not too bad, but not so great if you think you are less than whole.

not us, but pretty close...
Then two months into grade 11, my mother decided she did want me living with her any longer so with a week's noticed packed me up and shipped me to Northern Ontario to live with my dad and his wife. I started at a smaller high school and was exotic for a period of time because I was from Southern Ontario and was about 2months ahead in music trends. This did not last, but by that time I starting drinking and smoking so I could fit in with the cool crowd in Thunder Bay. And here, I met Jim, my next high school crush that continued through the rest of high school, all through university and still lingers today. I look at my 17year old dairy entries - I could tell you Jim's highs and lows, outfits and comings and goings for that year, because that's basically all I wrote about. These diaries are very (VERY) carefully hidden, just in case any of my children are reading this. They say you regret not the things you do, but the things you do not do. My biggest life regret is not my failed marriage, not my present job, not my relationship with my mother, my biggest regret is not kissing Jim when I had the chance (at least I think I had the chance....). I still want to pound my head against the floor when I think about it. I had asked Jim to the girl's choice semi-formal, he had said yes, we had a great evening, he was a wonderful attentive date, we went to after parties and after all this fun I found myself sitting in Jim's car as he pulled into my dad's driveway, parked the car and pulled up the emergency brake and turned towards me. Here was my chance, and what did I do? I babbled, and flopped about spasmodically as I gathered my things and I raced out of that car like it was on fire. Yep, I panicked. I don't know for certain if Jim would have leaned over and kissed me, but I like to think he would have. As it was we stayed friends, he met this gorgeous Scottish girl and married her, and I married my husband, even invited Jim to the wedding (he couldn't come). Neither marriage lasted and I hear from friends he's as good looking as ever. If only he were on facebook....

my second high school, as it was
I've realized I had it in my head that things and people would remain static, no good reason why, and those friends of mine who stayed in the towns they went to school in and raised their children there may not have this notion because they could plainly see everyone growing and changing. Perhaps it is because I had to move so much that I took mental snapshots of the communities I was leaving and stored these static images as my memory of each place. Had I ever got to a high school reunion I might have had this notion soundly thumped out of my head, but alas, I've never been to one. Never had the opportunity to show people that in the end I turned out alright. It was a very bumpy journey at times, and I made many (many, many) mistakes, but in the end I managed to learn from most of them. At 48years old I am more comfortable in my own skin than I ever was in adolescence. At 16 I had a firm flat stomach and nice round perky breasts, long strong legs and arms, none of which had experienced pregnancies, breastfeeding babies, gaining and losing 50-60pounds with each, or had ever been in a violent car accident, or cut open with surgeries, and yet, it's in this body that has it's lumps, scars and wrinkles, roundness where I would prefer firmness that I am the most comfortable. Actually I'm probably in better shape than when I was 16 - because at 16 I was an expert and ditching gym and sneaking off to drink and smoke with my friends (not that I want any of MY kids doing that). Now I practice Yoga and Hapkido and have very defined arm and leg muscles - my abdomen is nearly flat, but is definitely lagging behind muscle tone wise.

So, here I am, older, wiser, with better hair and three teenagers. Not the future I had pictured for myself in high school, but it's a life I can live with. I don't know if I will ever marry again, I see myself on my own with dogs and horses and my kids visiting me, but if I've learned anything it's that I'm not usually the best judge of what will happen in my life.