one hundred & thirteen: gratitude

the very first thing i thought about while reading this word was this song by ani difranco. what does my body have to do with my gratitude, indeed.

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my parents expected unending gratitude for nearly everything we received. gifts. compliments. none were without strings or conditions. they were pseudo-generous; they gave things frequently, but expected to be thrown a parade in return. i remember hating that, the way they talked about people who didn’t express sufficient gratitude for what they were given, or didn’t return the favour adequately; how they seemed to give to others for the recognition, rather than out of the goodness of their hearts.

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i also just thought about all the genuine, life-giving gratitude i have for still being here. for the people who have carried me through, especially the past three years. my wife, my kiddo, my sweetest pocketbrit, my friend s, my therapist. i could never have done it alone. i don’t know how anyone does.

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i think about how how frequently i say the words ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’, often in the same breath. how i apologize for my existence and then thank people for not leaving me, for staying near, for not hurting me, for loving me. how deep my gratitude is, when i say those things, but in typing it now, how sad that is. that people sticking around, or loving me feels like something unexpected and exceptional, rather than something we all deserve.

and now i’m just fucking sad again.

 

 

one hundred & one: honesty

here’s some honesty:

  • i have cried nearly every day the past two weeks. and, i mean, ugly cried. not just a few tears but full-on, with snot and sobbing
  • my parents have never known who i am, and they never will
  • i can’t wink both eyes – only one of them. i thought this was normal. it is not
  • i have never felt so alone, and also so held, in such a short span of time
  • i love pocketbrit
  • i am missing the gene that makes me love christmas
  • that said, i’ll never say no to a christmas dinner
  • i am amazed at how trauma hurts in such new and different ways. just when i thought i’d felt all the feelings, there are more
  • every time i read the word honesty i heard this natalie merchant song in my head…with the wrong word (ie honesty vs jealousy) instead, god i’m a doofus

eighty-two: focus

free association time:

  • the way one of my eastern european professors pronounced it: FUCKus. omg we used to bite our lips so hard to keep from laughing in our small seminar classes. it was THE WORST, coz she said it all the time, for some reason
  • those posters that were all the rage in the 90s (i think) where you had to sort of unfocus your eyes in order to drop into the drawing to see the hidden images there? does anyone know what i mean? they were these weird 3D things?
  • i remember our daughter imitating one of her teachers, crossing her eyes and gesticulating wildly, her voice cracking and breaking as she intoned, you really have to focus your brains, friends…such a weird kid we have. but so hilarious
  • often people talk about their kids being the centre of their worlds, and i think this is fairly true for our family right now…but in terms of the families in which pocketbrit and i grew up, this was not the case. and i wonder: on what were they focused, instead? what distracted their attention or interfered in their focus that they missed so much hurt and abuse under their own roof?
  • how i vacillate between extreme obsessive focus on a single task, and then, can sometimes be entirely unable to zone in on one thing without becoming distracted by a zillion other things. i really do wonder if i have ADD…i’m a bit scared to find out, i feel like i have enough labels for this lifetime, thanks

fifty-six: water

i have a bunch of unrelated thoughts. i’ll just write them here.

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i don’t usually have baths, usually only if i’m feeling little and triggered and i need to calm down i do. and when i do, i make it so so hot, put in baby soap or essential oils, and, as i cry (which i often do) i let my head sink under the water so my ears are covered, and i close my eyes, and just listen to my ragged breathing and my heartbeat until they both slow. sometimes i add more hot water. then i lie there some more. until the tears are done, or, more often, until someone bangs on the door with an urgent need to pee in this particular toilet or until someone pokes her head in to check if i’m alive in there.

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i also thought about ani difranco’s song everest, and about one my favourite lines: that the moon was so beautiful, the ocean held up a mirror. i love that. water as a reflection of the sky, as a mirror of what’s above.

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i am from a province where there are many beautiful lakes and rivers, but not near the sea. my wife has the atlantic ocean in her blood, and for her, coming home means being near the sea. it is so interesting that i have come to love it with the passion that i do, given my origins and my roots. but i just find i can breathe there. that it soothes me. that the sound of it, the smell of it, the coming and going of the tide, its movement and constant life, also feels like home to me.

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i got married by the water. and, water poured from the sky as we exchanged vows…our original plans of being outdoors foiled. we had a backup plan though, we didn’t even care, we were the furthest thing apart from bridezillas you could imagine. and the sunset that night, and then the meteor shower later on? more than made up for it.

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this blog is also about water; about the sea, the place where pocketbrit and i meet. ages ago i asked what her sea looked like, and it gave me chills, because it was so similar to mine. more recently, i asked her what her cottage looked like, and there were more variations there, but the basics were the same: the pounding surf outside the windows. warmth. coziness. a fireplace. room to stretch out or curl up into a ball, depending. blankets. each other, as close or as far as feels tolerable, given the day. love.

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did you know that our bodies are up to 60% water? that’s wild. also wild: the amount of tears i shed earlier today, while i sat on my bathroom floor, on the phone to pocketbrit, as i panicked. i was so young. she was so gentle. and then, part deux, tonight with my wife, as i confessed how so very not okay i have been, how i’ve been hiding it from everyone (i’m sorry), how lately, i just keep thinking how much better things would be for everyone if i weren’t here. i couldn’t see anything, for hours, for the water; the struggle continues as i try to finish these words.

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i recently watched a video of me bathing our newborn daughter in the NICU, the second bath of her life (the first given by a gruff nurse as she screamed bloody murder) (our baby, not the nurse) and i was struck by how very…purposeful i was. i was gentle, but i was confident, i knew what i was doing, was not remotely swayed by her tiny slippery body or her (numerous) indignant protests or her newness or the fact that this was the first bath i was giving our baby, the one i’d waited for my whole life, the one i thought would never come, especially after five rounds of fertility treatment and a huge bleed early in the pregnancy. no, in this video, i had a job to do. she had sticky molasses-like poop up her back and down her legs, and i was tasked with getting it off.

but then, by the end, when she was really yelling, her fists waving, her legs kicking, i gathered her up onto my chest, and i rocked her, and i swayed, and i apologized as i pressed my cheek onto her wet hair, and she quieted. and the video kept playing for a number of seconds with me doing that, and watching those last few seconds the other night (over and over again), it all got very watery then, too.

thirty-eight: windy

free association time again…

  • the nickname of one of my good friends
  • a long, pebbly path up a mountain (as in, winding…wind-y)
  • how when there’s a lot of wind, i kind of love it…
    • the way the trees rustle and creak
    • the white caps on lakes/oceans, and the sound of the crashing of the water as it gets pushed to shore
    • how quickly clouds can rush across the sky
    • how a hot hot day can be transformed into a tolerable one, and a cold one into a blustery, bone-chilling one
    • the comfort of turbulence on airplanes (yes, really…it makes me sleepy)
    • how the leaves from the huge magnolia in our front yard can end up two blocks away
    • how your skin feels on a scorching summer’s day, after a refreshing splash in the lake, when a warm wind dries the beads of water on your skin, and then finger-combs your hair
  • a memory from last year, captured on video, of our daughter on her scooter, being carried down the street by strong, dusty gusts of wind…i could hardly open my eyes to take the video, for all the grit and sand and leaves lifting into my face
  • the same line to which pocketbrit refers in her post…such a beautiful stanza in that poem of a book
  • this song. yeah, yeah, they’ve got bad hair. but listen with your eyes closed…and hear the lyrics

twenty-nine: fist

beware, free associations abound (in the order in which they arose):

  • the notion of giving fist bumps to someone – which my daughter used to call ‘spist bumps’ for some adorable reason. sigh. i miss her various and sundry mispronunciations
  • when i once disclosed in a text to my therapist that i was so incredibly furious i wanted to punch something, she wrote back, very methodically detailing the safest way to make a fist and to hit something…including instructions to minimize hurting my hand. i remember the rage dissipating as i read it, and i dissolved into tears, both because she validated my rage and didn’t shy away from it, and was so loving and gentle when i felt so awful and angry
  • the sexual act of fisting (i know, i’m sorry, i don’t even know why i’m thinking this, i’ve never done it and have no desire to do it but it’s been a very intrusive, repetitive thought all day so i’m putting it here)
  • “being ruled by an iron fist” – how it felt a bit like that when i was a kid, like we were in a weird sort of dictatorship
  • how my fingernails bite into my palms when i clench my fists in the midst of a panic attack/flashback…and how i always hear this one voice in my head telling me to open your hands, open your hands, stretch them wide, open your hands, that’s it… (it’s weird, i don’t even know whose voice it is, or why it says that but i always make a concerted effort to unfurl my hands)
  • that one of our first reflexes is the palmar grasp reflex…that even in utero, fetuses will grab and hold tight whatever is put in their hand. this is demonstrated at birth and for several months. i love little soft newborn hands, tightly clasped
  • the raised fist symbol, which has been adopted by various groups across the world as a measure of solidarity and resistance to oppression (i think most often of the black power fist and the feminism fist)

 

  • how the threatening gesture in our house was actually a hand raised in the air, poised for a backhand, as opposed to a fist
  • that, on occasion, i may have actually shaken my fist whilst cursing the universe…dramatic much?! lol
  • how my wee toddling girl used to hold my index fingers tightly, one in each fist, as she learned to balance on her own two feet
  • how one of the main symbols of death and dying, especially in movies, particularly accompanied by grand swells of music, is the relaxing of a clenched hand

two: violet

here are today’s free (and batshit bonkers) associations on our daily theme:

1- isn’t violet just a uppity, snooty word for purple? i mean, what’s the difference?

2- this is the colour i see in my mind, when i say violet:

20180618_120546
photo cred: pocketcanadian, circa july 2018

3- i kept having some intrusive thoughts about how violet is only one letter away from violent…i don’t know why i kept thinking that. i don’t feel like exploring that any more so i won’t.

4- it also made me think of the heart emoticon pocketbrit and i use when we text…early on, i feel like we sent all means and shades of hearts to each other, but these days, it’s only¬† Purple Heart on Google Android 9.0 that we use. sometimes we use it when we’re full of love for each other, and are compelled to send a bunch in a row to make sure the other person can feel it. sometimes we use it when we don’t have any words, when we’re just grateful for the other’s presence. i think we always use it when we say goodnight. so yeah, this violet heart is for her, it seems…i can’t imagine using any other one. Purple Heart on Google Android 9.0