we are spinning. 


the time of year doesn’t help. the fact that i’ve just worked two weeks straight doesn’t help. the pandemic doesn’t help. the fact that it’s been five years to the day that i started to remember the sexual abuse at the hands of my dad doesn’t help. pocketbrit being on another continent doesn’t help. the fact that my body is so hot hot hot all the time doesn’t help, that i wake up from already-shitty chunks of intermittent sleep soaked in sweat from gross dreams doesn’t help. the fact that i was at a major medical emergency at work doesn’t help. having my ex-best friend suddenly text me out of the blue doesn’t help (though being reminded after about 20 seconds into our conversation why we’re not friends anymore was a positive thing.) wearing a mask for hours and hours on end as my body boils from the inside doesn’t help, as i work with people who are presumed covid positive doesn’t help. having to push aside my internal wee one to deal with all of the very adult things in my daily life for the past several weeks doesn’t help. my wife’s exhausted face and the fact that she is also not sleeping doesn’t help. dealing with stupid fucking people who don’t take covid seriously doesn’t help, lockdown in my city doesn’t help, the fact that schools will likely be closed in the new year and thus our kid struggling with OCD who is hyperfocused on screen time and will likely be doing online learning again, yeah that also doesn’t help. wanting to do christmassy things like bake and then recalling with a thunderous thud in my gut that i first remembered the abuse while innocently whipping shortbread with my daughter truly doesn’t fucking help. 

but what extra didn’t help was being blindsided yesterday by a holiday package sent to our daughter from my parents. 
i mean don’t get me wrong, it’s always unpleasant. trying to rearrange my face into a neutral sort of expression as our kid pulls out package after package from them is always a struggle. seeing the card addressed to my wife and i is always infuriating, as are the two cheques tucked inside of it (all of which goes straight into the bin).

but our kid pulling out an enormous photo album with my wrinkly squinty little newborn face on the front of it really didn’t help. and the handwritten note on the front of it to my daughter, telling her to ask me about some of the memories in the photos, was the icing on the cake. 


i’ve spent the past many weeks compartmentalizing things. even when i could hear the little one inside rustling about, scared and sad and needing, i’ve been able to tell her (not always very gently) to wait, just wait. we would be on vacation soon. we would be able to sleep soon. we could rock in our chair soon. during a marathon overnight shift (after two previous marathon overnight shifts) with a difficult patient, i counted down the hours with her. made it into a game, promised she could snuggle all of our stuffies and that i would help us to sleep by taking something properly good to banish the dreams away. promised she could have waffles for breakfast, that we would wear our coziest jammies, and that i’d let her rock in the chair, that we could watch mindless tv and that drink hot chocolate with a pile of whipped cream. i would let her play the silly fishy video game on my phone, as long as she wanted. she could put on my daughter’s sparkly nail polish, she could wear comfy pants all day long, i wouldn’t say no. 

and she tried to be good, i know she did, but it was hard. because our body has been gross (hello perimenopause and body memories, you’re such a beautiful combination, have i told you lately that i love you?) and i’ve been ignoring her. and it’s the time of year when our t found us too much and left. and she is missing S, because she would let us lay on her chest and listen to her heart sometimes and it helped. [an aside: i drove past her house a few nights ago, on the way home from work. i haven’t done that in a year. i used to go and park outside, and just sit there, coz it would make me feel calmer, make me feel close to something, make my heart slow, make me take deeper breaths. on this night, i just looked as i passed by. and instead just felt sick and sad and lonely and angry and stupid, so stupid for ever trusting her and also so stupid for driving by and hoping to feel something good.]

enter the fucking photo album. 
so many pictures, like so many. from newborn to about age 7, i’d guess, which is around when the abuse ended. pictures with my grandparents from both sides (i was so grateful for the pictures with my grandmother), with my parents and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends. formal pictures, candid pictures, family portraits. a lot of pictures with my dad, like a lot a lot. christmas and easter and summer and spring. birthdays and pets and good god, the seventies made for some wild prints, didn’t they?


i was okay for probably half an hour after thumbing through the album. our kid soon lost interest, she’s good like that for when things don’t directly pertain to her, so i don’t think she noticed how quiet and quiet and quiet i got. i studied that little face in those photos. that little button nose and dark eyes, that fringe of bangs, the little tiny brown arms that i could likely encircle with my thumb and baby finger…the surprisingly delicate fingers, the knobby knees, the wee chiclet teeth and crinkled up eyes. 

and it was my wife who spoke to the sick leaden lump in my belly best, whose words escaped tightly pressed lips and gritted teeth, about the mindfuck of those pictures. because they were exactly the age i was when he was fingering me under my pink flowered blankets, when he made me jerk him off in their bedroom with the mirrored wall. like, why those pictures, mom? i hadn’t even shared with you the timeframe of the abuse. so why those ones, why?


all night last night, all day today, i keep thinking about how i look happy in some of them. how i am smiling, open-mouthed with delight, as his hand encircles my small belly. that i am grinning at the camera, that i am hugging my brother and kissing my cousins. jumping on the couch with glee. a whole book full of evidence that it didn’t happen. because look, look at my face, look at the fact that i am healthy and whole and my cheeks glow and i am surrounded by family who very obviously love me and take very good care of me. tell your daughter the stories in these photos, she prompted in the note. tell her your memories.  

and it worked. i feel guilt, i feel dissociated, i feel revolting and sick and sad and small and desperate. i am back full circle, to doubting the little girl in those photos. the one whom five years ago, whispered in my ear and initiated a relentless slideshow of images, ones that were not captured by a camera, ones that occurred under the cover of darkness with boozy smoky breath huffing in my face, or in our camper or in the bedroom or wherever else he fancied taking very good care of me. 

and worst of all i am hating myself, i am hating adult me for not knowing how to sit with her in it. for having her delight in seeing pictures of our beloved grandmother but also feeling her stomach turn as she recalled other stories behind the pictures, stories that i won’t share with my daughter. like the picture where she was cross-armed and pouting into the camera, forever to be told how she ruined that whole day because of her sucky baby behaviour. or the pictures where she just looks so fucking sad and why is a three year old that sad anyway? plus there were the pictures that i didn’t even feel like i had seen before, pictures that i don’t remember at all, and i used to look at my baby books ALL THE TIME when i was a bit older of a kid, searching for evidence that i was loved and snuggled and mattered, at some point at least. 

i’m a mess. she’s spinning and i can’t even access any of it, the grief or anger or any of it, i’m just a sodden lump of numbness. i can’t let myself feel her and i have half-heartedly rocked her and we had a bubbly bath and we ate peanut butter and honey toast and i put such a huge dollop of whipped cream in my chocolate-y coffee but i don’t think i can bear knowing she was me, i can’t stand looking at so many pictures during the time it was happening and seeing how little and trusting and dependent she was, knowing how trapped she was, knowing no one saw and no one lifted her up and away like i really wish i could do now. and the worst part is that i have the chance to hold myself, to hold her, and i just fucking can’t, and and i hate myself for that the most of all. 


there is so much so say and so little, all at once.

i mean, the world has changed dramatically. we all cover our faces now. avoid touching each other. bathe in sanitizer. across the globe we are all in various phases of resuming life since we were shut down by that invisible miniscule virus, that bastard covid-19, but it is but a shadow of our previous lives.

it’s been nearly six months of this new normal. in mid-march, my plane touched down in canada from seeing pocketbrit in the UK and it was all quarantine and online grocery orders and schools shutting and PPE and terror.

and it’s hard to think of life prior to that, when we could see our therapists in person and hug people and gather socially and have meetings and could breathe freely. and in particular, it’s weird to think about going to therapy at all, because i haven’t been since my therapist, S, ditched me nearly nine months ago, in early january. a stellar start to a dumpsterfire of a year.

and recently, after months of fighting the fact that i still do need help, after wading through the nine layers of hell(acious shame), i reached out to someone new and promptly ran away after one session.

i’m not sure i’m ever going to be able to trust someone ever again.

and i know that’s so stupid. i mean for goodness sakes, am i truly going to let my ex-therapist dictate the future relationships in my life? how super lame-o.

it’s just…it is a unique and tortuous experience, to be dumped by your therapist. particularly uniquely tortuous because i didn’t think it would happen to me, not in a million years, because i thought there was a base layer of respect and understanding and care and love (isn’t that last bit ridiculous? i know.)

and i let myself believe her lies (and they were lies, the lot of them) and that is the part that sucks the most, that i let her know me, i gave her access to my little one, that i trusted that she would hold us in mind. yes, that’s what hurts the most, that’s the pain that ripples out, month after month – it’s the pain of regret. i was so incredibly stupid to let her close, to believe her words. in the scheme of her life, i am someone she can support one moment and then the next…not.

i think because our challenges started several months prior to the final death of our relationship, i am feeling all sorts of things right now about her. i am still incredibly angry. and so, i thought i would use this space to write out my letter to her (i have penned several), both from adult me, and from the wee one inside.

here’s my grown-up version:

dear S,
for most of the time between now and from when you dumped me as client, you have felt like an abstract thing. a banished thought in the corners of my mind, covered with piles of splattered dropcloths and barbed wire, walled off by chained link fencing with locked gates. there were several intense days following our last interaction where i was suicidal, full of shame and terror and grief, where i was consumed by all of it. my small one a trembling jelly-like oozing mess, spilling into everything, with her wails all i could hear.
then a vast galaxy of nothingness. where you were a thing that happened, a person i used to know, another disappointment among thousands of disappointments in my history, but with no sting to it. during this era there was nothing but numbness.
and then, there was rage. such huge fucking rage. i’m still one foot in the lava in it, i have to warn you. because i can’t believe the lies that you told me. i can’t believe the trust i placed in your hands. i can’t understand how your mouth could form the words not once, but repeatedly, that you loved me. respected me. cared about me.
i will never, ever make the mistake of trusting another therapist again like i trusted you. one day, i may work with someone again, but i will never share myself as fully as i did. and i will certainly never believe that i am anything more than a job for whoever the new person is, and i will not get tangled in notions of love and care. i know now that when it comes down to it, i don’t count, coz it’s not a real relationship. it is only as enduring as the therapist allows it to be: it can be cut at any moment. never, ever again will i believe that someone i pay, someone who works with people like me for a job, could come to love me, would find me important, or see me. ugh i’m shaking my head at myself, the naivete of my trust and belief in you. how could i have swallowed your lies? and for so long?
listen, i know your side of the story. i rubbed up against some old primal stuff, blah blah blah, you couldn’t provide me with what i needed, i was growing beyond you, yada yada. no matter how much a “good dedicated hardworking therapist” you wanted to be, you couldn’t. it was so wild how desperate you were for an out. you could barely wait to respond to my email – that egads, yes, now that i mentioned it, you likely weren’t the person to help me anymore. after seven years, being my therapist was suddenly too hard to even have a good enough ending. nope, i was too triggering, my questions and my hurt were too much, you were on edge, you seemed to have lost your instincts, you were unnerved – all of it, backhanded blame, just like always. so incredibly familiar. it was my fault that you couldn’t even have a last session in person, that you couldn’t say words to me over the phone, even. it was my fault for being who i was, for activating those things in you. (yes, that is what you said.)
there were glimpses of your fragile ego throughout our time together, but these glimpses, over the past year, turned into long stretches where you were defensive and inflexible. insensitive. out of touch. you have always talked big talk about the Greater Love and the Greater Good and the Big Holding of the Hands of the Universe but all of that was a smokescreen, i think. for your getting off on the guessing game that being a therapist provided. the detective work of it, the mystery of it. the stripping bare-ness of it. the weeping and the release and the intimacy and the rawness of it. front row seats to the processing of pain. front row seats to redemption?
i realized i could basically pinpoint the beginning of the end of things – could you? can you remember when i stopped being easy for you? i’ll tell you when – it was pretty much exactly when i worked through the majority of the attachment stuff, when i stopped trying so hard to appease and please, when i stopped reaching out as much in between, when i brought my anger along with my tears. when i got less little, and more adult, and challenged you as an equal rather than from the vantage point of a balled-up, trembling, terrified and traumatized little girl.
(who, by the way, is still very much present in me. poor little love. i could honestly spit, that i let you have access to her in the way that i did. and i have sworn to her, over and over, that i’ll never do that again to her with another therapist, not ever. no way. you literally held us, in your lap, and you were wrong for doing it but i was also wrong for letting you.)
in any case, you’ve got your side and i’ve got mine. and here’s how my side goes, in terms of us ending. you and your ego could sense that i was hurting, and that i was thinking of going elsewhere. and instead of being a therapist, instead of thinking about your client, and actually letting me choreograph our ending (the type of ending that you were fully aware that historically, i wasn’t able to get for myself)…you took that from me, too. you did it first. get before you are gotten. check, mate.
one of the worst parts of it all was that you called me ‘sweetie’ to the end. to the bitter end, you insisted you loved me and cared about me. including in your final bullshit note, the same one where you invoiced me the time it took for photocopying seven years of notes…like, not the cost of copying the notes themselves, that i understand. but invoicing me for the time it took you to photocopy the notes, remember that? ha. yeah, i felt your love. right down to the last cent. (also, fuck you extra for that.) and i can’t believe you would have done any of the things you did, but to actually say those things to me as you did what you did…did you hear yourself? how ridiculous it sounded to utter those words? S, none of how we ended was loving, caring, or respectful to or of me.
there was a time that i thought about actually engaging with you about this, but there is no point. it became incredibly clear what we were, and also what we weren’t. who you were, and who you weren’t. who i am, and who i’m not. and it turns out i’m not someone who needs to have the last word. i’m not someone who needs your meaningless apology or empty gestures or sad excuses. i have heard you loud and clear, through your words and also through your actions, and i’ve heard enough.
so yes, there is this anger, but there is also grief, the same mawing gnawing grief that is always at the edges of me. for thinking i had something when really, i had nothing. for believing in the fable of it all. for wanting something more and thinking it was possible. for looking outwards for the healing that can only happen within.
i long ago put away the hope that this, all of this, might mean something to you. might register as a loss. might trickle into your brain, in the night, tighten your tummy, bring sudden tears to your eyes. but, i don’t think it does. i was but a blip. easily replaceable, gladly forgotten. it is meant to be that way, with therapists and clients. it is not meant to be real, though those of us who are hurt are desperate for it to be. it just can’t be, we can’t be.
because you will always choose you. you will always save your own life first. secure your own oxygen mask to your face, before turning to help others with their own masks. of course it is, it’s how it’s meant to be. and lying, and saying it’s not, aye, there’s the damage. there’s the hurt. there’s the lie to beat all lies.
i know better now. and i have you to thank for that.
– pocketcanadian
at another point, our stuffed pup and pocketbrit’s worn loved bear from her childhood that she gifted us clutched under my chin, i transcribed for the little one. and she cried and cried and cried and this is what she said:
you left me
you quit
you went away even though you said you cared but that was a big fat lie
i am a tiny speck, i am invisible, i don’t matter
i am a dummy for believing you
a big big dummy so big the biggest
and [pocketcanadian] is a dummy for letting me believe you
you said so many lies to me
right to my face, you said them
S you knew all the things that hurted me and you still did it, you still said lies and you aren’t even sorry
you don’t miss me at all because i didn’t count in your life
i tried to do all the things to make you stay
i told you all the things that made me cry and i cried so many times like a hundred million times and i let you near when i did and i wish i didn’t do that
i thought you meant it
i thought you cared
i thought it mattered
you said it did but it didn’t
i thought you were different S
but then on the last day you talked to me like i was stupid and said it wasn’t my fault but that was a lie too coz your other words said it was my fault
you threw me away like garbage
i didn’t even get to say goodbye
you only liked me when i was sad
not if i got mad
not when i got quiet
you only wanted me if i could be small and easy
just like everyone else did
just like always
you made me feel not alone for a little while but that was actually a lie anyway
and all of those words make my heart ache. because they’re her words and feelings, but they echo inside, bouncing off my ribs and my gut and my funny bones and my kneecaps and the soles of my feet. i don’t know how i’m meant to comfort her when there is such a large part of me believing her, feeling our constant, proverbial wrongness reverberating everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.

All the (fucking) feelings

I don’t even know tonight, what it is. I don’t know if it would even help to pinpoint it, but it just feels like all kinds of things, everything.

Hurting and hurting. Like physically, in my chest and in my legs and my head. A heaviness, a sadness, a thick inarticulable aching sort of blanket tucked around me. Things feeling fuzzy yet poignant, tears rising and falling, rising and falling.


There is someone i knew, not very well, a young, very kind person. With a really beautiful singing voice, with an energy that I could feel when I was around them. A person I was drawn to, a person with an intrinsic sadness yet so much openness also. A person born in the wrong body who did so so much work to make it right for them, so they could feel at home. They finally furnished themselves, with all the right parts, and then they died. Suddenly, during Pride week, in this pandemic. I have no right to feel so sad about it but I do, I feel bereft, i feel robbed, it was not their time, they weren’t finished yet.


Earlier I did that thing where you’re just doing something normal and ordinary and then you find your vision blurry and your cheeks wet and it’s a surprise, almost, to be crying because there was no real preamble, no conscious thought or swell of discernible feeling. It’s a bit silly honestly, and i got self conscious about it and mumbled an apology to my wife (“sorry for being a baby”) and with great tenderness, she smoothed back my hair and said, “It’s okay. You’re *my* baby” and she meant it.


Like many people, i watched a black man be murdered in front of the world by a white police officer two weeks ago. Watched that man beg and call his mama and fight for breath, his cheek grinding the pavement, his neck under a uniformed knee. Watched him go unconscious while that huge white ugly face loomed above him, expressionless. I have been to births but I have never been there when someone’s life left their body. Yet, we all were. Strangers, millions of us. We all were there, and i don’t think I’ll ever be the same.


I wrote my parents a note this weekend, advocating for my daughter, to whom we still permit them occasional internet and phone contact. They’ve been pressing her for details about us, about our lives. Passing on kisses and hugs to us, as though everything is okay. Making her feel guilty and like she is betraying us. In my email i told them that I want them to think of her first, their granddaughter, and put her back at the centre of things – but not in the middle. Told them i hope she never has to reconcile the grandparents she has with the parents they’ve been to me. I also told them i threw their cards and cheques in the garbage, that they should keep their professations of love and money solely to her, coz i didn’t want them.

And that is true but it also isn’t true, because I do want it. The love, I mean. I won’t ever get it, I know that now, but I do want it. I do want parents who love me, who show it and profess it. I hate that it still hurts me that I don’t.


Someone i didn’t know very well read me today, in a way that was both unnerving and comforting. She saw me, somehow, with very little effort and called attention to a part of me i usually hide, with something that felt like love. I don’t know why she did that, it was brief like a cloud passing over the sun and then we reverted back to our usual roles. But I’ve found myself folding around that moment, hands cupped in to myself, holding close how she reflected me, with gratitude and also grief.


Father’s Day is coming up. I actually forgot about it this year until i was reminded, and then a realization slammed into my diaphragm, that i didn’t remember coz it’s not actually relevant to me. I don’t have a dad I can celebrate.


Our daughter made slime tonight, a new recipe. I saved the day from ruin with cheap hair gel from the grocery store – the internet lied, it was not the “Best Slime EVER,” and there was much crying, googling of rescue measures, and frantic phone calling. Though to be honest, after nearly every drop of that three dollar, priceless magical goo was dribbled in, as her eyes shone, as her small hands kneaded the fragrant sticky formula with the kind of bliss i can hardly recall, i would have bought three thousand more bottles, just to sustain that moment.


Today was a bad missing day, we each have those sometimes, even on the same day now and again. Because of travel limitations i don’t know when I’ll see her again, and she’s my best friend. She lives across the sea from me and things have been really hard lately but our love, in its intensity and magnitude and longevity, also takes my breath away. Tonight I just wanted her to be for-real close, not just imagining like we have to do behind our closed eyelids all the time, but like in the same room on the same couch feet tucked under us and i could reach out and grab her hand, close.

Squeeze it once, twice. Our signal that we’re right there, not leaving, through all of it. The breathing, the grieving, the minutiae of the seconds making up a day and the gains and losses and feelings.

All the fucking feelings.

shittest of shits: 3/30

that is today.

i worked but i don’t even know how. i was somewhere else. i forgot to eat lunch. i drank water though.

my body feels terrible, my brain feels terrible, my head feels terrible. i’m small and ashamed and stuck there. it is hurting all over, inside and outside. i feel totally alone.

all i’ve felt like doing all day is crying, and now that i actually can, that i have a minute just for me, it won’t come.

i don’t think i have anything else to say.

emotional lability: 2/30

at work, i often use ‘labile’ to describe an aspect of someone’s health. i might describe someone’s blood pressure as labile, for instance, which is not a good thing – it means it is unstable, going up and going down but not staying steady. i thought of this word today, in terms of me. how i was doing.

i didn’t even know that ’emotional lability’ was an actual term, but when i googled it, i was like, yup, that fits, that was me today. at first i was okay, feeling kinda good, adult, productive. and then i crashed into the pit. i was weepy, i was enraged, i was ashamed, i was scared, i was young, in quick succession and then back again to adult versions of all the same.

which is what happens when you don’t eat and drink your feelings. fuck.

there were good parts in the middle…i rode my bike in the sunny windy afternoon, got my heart pumping. i didn’t find that i wanted to eat bad stuff, i didn’t feel particularly hungry today at all. though i am hungry right now…i am going to have to do something about that before bed, i think. (actually, right now. banana and almond butter to the rescue! trying not to goop on the keyboard.)

i know part of my (disproportionate) irritability at my family earlier was being hangry, though at the time i felt justified and was pretty sure it was just coz they were so self-centred and annoying. and then i slammed a door (not on purpose) and stomped into my room and laid flat on my bed and breathed for a bit, and scrolled social media mindlessly for a bit more, and then i got up and apologized to them, because i really was being a horrible grump because of all the feelings that i wasn’t numbing with the gin & tonics that were starting earlier and earlier in the daytime hours.


pocketbrit and i didn’t talk much today. caught in our own personal hells, i think. it never feels good when we don’t talk. i think i realize how much i rely on her to check in when we have days like today, and it makes shame burn in my chest. (and shame is a clusterfuck.)

this morning, when she hadn’t replied to my messages, i was only curious. it was unusual but not unheard of, and when i checked the weather, it was a beautiful day there so i figured she was outside.  by noon, i was more worried and also feeling ashamed and rejected. as mid-afternoon approached with no word, i was a mix of worried, and when she replied by saying “i’m here” i was angry relieved confused ashamed hating myself for being a fucking lunatic.

tonight, as i’m sitting here, missing her, i’m struck by the process of worrying goes for me, and how ashamed i get when i worry. how untrue the stories i start to author are, and how reflective of trauma they are. how i dip into and out of being little, and how being little hijacks my ability to be rational and understanding and fair. coz the things that i start to hear and feel are things like, she stopped caring. and she forgot about me. and it always ends with, i did something wrong and now i have to guess and if i don’t guess right it’s going to be even worse. 

and usually, at that point, my adult brain steps in, tries to soothe the small one. attempts to settle her with more likely stories. like, she’s busy. her phone died and she didn’t notice. she’s gardening, you saw all the plants she’s looking after, that takes a lot of time! to maybe her parents are really after her today and her head’s really bad. but as the hours went on, even the adult starts panicking. she’s hurt. she’s sick. she’s really really not okay, and you don’t even know. and then, always, you wouldn’t even know if something bad did happen, no one is going to tell you anything anyway because you live across the world and besides, you don’t even count and then both little and adult ones are a mess, and the shame gets even huger because this is not even a normal response to someone not seeing my messages, i’m being a total loon and i know it.

and then my shame activates her shame, and our little ones start to box, and soon it’s a triggerfest, where we all feel like garbage and none of us gets what we want or need, where we will both go to bed with our small ones activated and scared and mad and sad and missing. which feels absolutely terrible, the worst, when what we want is to feel connected and close.

but sitting here now, and even earlier, i knew we were okay. we are okay. we have done this before, been here before. i’m not leaving, and neither is she, there’s too much here for both of us, it’s why it hurts so big, coz there’s such a big space left when we’re absent. it was a shit day coz it was shit day. and she will tell me and i will tell her and we will love and understand each other through it, like always, when we are better able to. we will smooth it out among all of us, and i think, i hope, that tomorrow will be kinder.



a new start: 1/30

i’ve wanted to come here for a long time. have in fact drafted about 5 or 6 posts, sat here several other times with the cursor winking at me, judging me. i don’t know why i could never just take the plunge and publish something.

except…i do, and it’s coz starting over is scary. and it’s also coz there’s so much to recap that i get totally overwhelmed trying to figure out how i’m going to capture it.

so, maybe i just don’t have to capture anything. maybe i can just jump in, and commit to one day at a time, for maybe the next 30 or so days. and then we can see where it goes. maybe, once i’ve gotten in practice, i’ll feel like going back and writing some of those hundred or so posts on the words we started with. maybe i’ll tell you about the shit sandwich of an ending with my long-time therapist. maybe i’ll tell you about the amazing trip i took to the UK to see pocketbrit a few months ago, before the world shut down. and, maybe i won’t. maybe this will just be space for whatever comes.


one of the things that brought me here today is actually that today is another another ‘day 1’ for me, a commitment to my health. over the past several years, i’ve done quite a few rounds of the whole 30, and i always feel better when i do. i first did it to support my wife, who was making dietary changes because of her autoimmune issues, at the suggestion of her naturopath. surprisingly, i discovered that some of my own food intolerances were similar to hers, with some additional ones thrown in, and that some of my chronic discomforts/health issues were improved when i refrained from consuming these foods.

when we are doing well, i’d say we typically eat whole 30 about 70% of the time. since the shutdown of the world as we know it, however, we were eating 100% crap, not to mention drinking like fish. and, i look and feel it. bloated, sore, swollen, irritable, impatient, full of self-loathing. (i mean the latter doesn’t ever really disappear, it just wanes slightly.)

so i thought i’d commit (to myself) to write here about how i’m feeling. how my body is doing. how my mood is. and pretend that it’s about the whole 30, knowing that it’s a tiny bit that, but mostly, that it’s about getting back to me and this space, and trying to tune in with where i’m at.

i have to warn you, it will likely be raw and not all that cute. with no eating or drinking feelings, no therapist, continuing to work (i’m considered essential so have been working throughout the pandemic) with no social outlet, full-on physical distancing mode whilst at home, and also supporting a kid to do distance learning while the wife works in the home office? nowhere much to go, and no one to go anywhere with? yikes. i’m not selling it, lol.

and, i hope it will serve to keep us connected, pocketbrit and i. we still talk every day by text, but the phone and video calling is more sporadic. we both have less time on our own, and although we have more free hours in some ways, it seems to get filled with the bullshit minutiae of pandemic times. so, we miss each other, really really hugely, lately.

i hate it.


so maybe i’ll actually start today’s entry, now. (i thought i was avoiding the preamble but see above at all the ambling i have done!!)

i woke up, late, from really interrupted sleep, from a series of odd and upsetting dreams. the latter of which was one where i was living with my mom, who suddenly believed me about my dad having sexually abused me. didn’t require evidence, actually believed me. apologized to me. loved me and hugged me and was on my side.

but the dream was also full of other things that are big sources of shame. the examples may have been trite, but the themes were obvious. (my brain is an asshole, not remotely subtle.) like, having people not believe me  about something (in the dream, it was that i didn’t like soda.) having made mistakes that led others to judge me (as being irresponsible, impetuous, fill in the blank, my dream was full of this theme. the one running through it was that i missed a deadline at university that everyone knew about, everyone but me.) having to tell someone something very difficult, and hurting them (in the dream, it was a man who was courting me. madly madly in love with me, thought i was the most gorgeous wonderful person in the world, and i had to tell him i wasn’t into it.) being ‘too late’ and having to live with the consequences (in the dream, i was stuck retaking a full-year biology course, even though i had already taken it, and it was going to affect when i graduated.) ridiculous, but i was already exhausted by the time i woke up because of the life i had led in my dream.

the rest of the day didn’t pan out too great either. i got blisters on balls of my feet, going for a walk. i wanted to buy a bike, but there were none in stock. i picked up the wrong hardware to repair something, and my wife was mildly annoyed and i got triggered, and then so ashamed for not being able to stop my descent into littleness. i wasn’t there for pocketbrit, who really needed a friend. my kid suddenly wanted to talk to my estranged parents, after weeks of being completely disinterested in skyping with any of her grandparents.

and, hearing their voices in my house was just horrible. as bad as it always is, but maybe a bit extra, after the dream. i never go on camera, or talk to them, but it doesn’t matter. i have to hear them talk to her, and her to them. and i’m torn between needing to listen, needing to be a good parent, wanting to make sure they’re not being inappropriate with her by pressing her for information, or making her otherwise uncomfortable, and wanting to fucking run. wanting to dive under my covers with pillows over my head, or flee from the house, into air that doesn’t ring with their voices.

but here’s the thing, none of the options are good. none of them are better than the others. they’re all equally shit, because i hate that they are in our lives, in any form. i hate the posturing and pretending, i hate our daughter listing off all the things she wants (knowing she will get them in the mail in 2 to 3 weeks time), i hate them buying anything for her, i hate the birthday cards and cheques they still send us, despite us not opening or cashing them in nearly five years, i hate that the scenario in my dream will never come true.

my mother will never choose me. she never has, and she never will.

four hundred & somethingy-something

**trigger warning for angry, somewhat crass references to child sexual abuse**

tonight, i went through all the blog posts that i didn’t write over this past year.

all the words we carefully chose, sitting, lonely. the huge spreads of days i didn’t write, all the dates, all the half-written posts that continue to sit, waiting to be completed.

and i felt this crazy huge swell of grief.

scrolling through all those words, all those dates, all those months, it was like looking at scratches on a wall in a prison cell. it made me feel so sad, not in the least remembering some of the major, life-shifting goings-on that happened during those days.

i hit a major, major impasse with my t. like major. like nearly six months of not seeing her, not seeing anyone, feeling completely alone. of being suicidal, of pinching myself so hard that i was covered in bruises, of very seriously considering checking myself in to hospital to keep safe. of shoving everyone in my life away, including pocketbrit. i doubted everything. that any of the abuse happened. that it mattered remotely to anyone, including me.

i received a note in the mail from my dad in may, his version of an apology. for “any indecent act” he did in my childhood. a two-liner, a bomb he dropped into my life after (blissful) months of no contact, never to be referred to again. he doesn’t even know i got it. no one has asked and i still haven’t acknowledged receiving it. i mean honestly, what is the point?! don’t get me wrong, i panicked and shook and dissociated about it for days…and then i got angry, so fucking angry. how dare he. how dare he treat it so casually, how dare he “apologize” to me and ask forgiveness in two lines, in a fucking note?! plus, to which indecent act was he referring? rubbing me and sticking his fingers in me when i was three and four and five, and then listening to me masturbate? or did he mean when he got me to jack him off? did he mean the confusing relationship where he would come to me at night and whisper how disgusting i was as he did things to my small body and then get up in the morning and teach school and then come home to coach my soccer team? all of it feels pretty fucking indecent to me. all of it. i want to scream, suddenly, thinking of this again. i’m pressing my fists hard into my eyes to keep in the tears, i’m so tired of crying.

huge roadblocks in my marriage. frightening moments in parenting a child with a likely mental health diagnosis in her future, trying to support her whilst feeling entirely decimated. health scares of all sorts. really, really big blowups with pocketbrit, desperately sad and angry ones where horrible words were said and retracted, where scars were healed and new ones laid, alternately. surgeries of family and friends. persistent and unrelenting back pain. stupid job with stupid long hours, repeat ad infinitum – and containing the worst of my mental health crises during vacation/time off. euthanizing our beloved elderly cat at home, burying him in the backyard, and the ensuing and horrible grief of his absence. a new feline family member added, a few months after. the joy she brings.

and, finally, after much discussion and planning and waiting, meeting sweetest pocketbrit. hugging her for real. hearing her laugh with my kiddo, in my house. cooking and drinking and teasing and hiking and doughnut-eating and napping and canoeing and movie-watching and loving littles. it’s only been four weeks since she was here but it feels like a dream. except, it happened, i have the pictures to prove it, and the glow in my heart when i remember her, when i remember how we were both exactly who the other thought we were, and the comfort in that. the security in that. the longevity in that.

because we created this blog to keep close to each other, to connect. and the thing is, for all of the days that we didn’t write here, we did connect. every single day, we did: via text, email, silly photos, phone, or video call. every single one of the days that we didn’t write here, we connected. sometimes less, sometimes more. sometimes angrily or defensively or with shame. when we were little and when we were more grown up. but every day.

that’s something to be proud of, too.

so, yeah, we’re going to figure out this blog. because i love the idea of it, i love the outlet of it. we are both treading water pretty mightily at the moment, and daily survival is a bit higher on the list than the blog, but we will work it out. i hope the two people who read the blog with any regularity will still be here, though if not, that’s okay too, it’s always been for us, here, at the sea.

three hundred & sixteen: excitement

the overwhelming emotion i feel about seeing pocketbrit, in a mere four weeks…

Image result for excited face


it also makes me think of the pointer sisters song, i’m so excited. which is a rockin’ song, to be sure, although not my favourite of theirs. and i am even somehow managing to not feel ugh about it, because my mom really loves the pointer sisters and generally i’m pretty ugh about my mom.


at this point i’m just grateful to still be here, to even be able to be excited about anything. i know i keep saying i’m shit whenever i show up to write one single entry every blue moon, but i’ve been extra particularly horribly shit, and so has pocketbrit.

the upswing is that we are finally meeting soon, and i am going to hug her really tight to me and possibly not let go for several hours, which should make for an interesting airport experience for a lot of people. and i’m excited. really, really excited.


two hundred & eighty nine: imagination

i don’t know what we’d do without our imaginations.

this whole blog is based on a cottage by the sea that pocketbrit and i have entirely co-imagined: the fire pit. a swing on the porch. a tall stone fireplace with our worn grey sofa. our new addition, a rocking chair, wide enough to fit small ones and the grown ups who love them.

when we are lonely, and scared, and sad, we have to imagine each other there, together. currently, we don’t live near enough to do anything but that…imagining hugging and being close. imagining snuggling. drinking hot cocoa and walks in the rain and hunting for puppies. weathering storms internal and in the skies both.

but the love here? the closeness, the care, the tenderness? is anything but imagined. our friendship, the respect, the desire to be present for each other? is beyond real.

and means so much more to me than i could have ever imagined.