Tuesday, February 1, 2011

be thou my vision.

my sister and i were talking about van morrison today, so i decided to listen to hymns to the silence.

we grew up listening to him all the time. probably because he's from belfast and so is my dad. some of the places he sings about are places i've actually been to. listening to "be thou my vision" today made me get a lump in my throat and blink back tears. i miss my dad so much. i'm scared i won't get to know him the way i want to. he has so many secrets, my daddy. so much secret pain i've only been allowed glimpses of.

this is my solemn promise to get to know my dad better. i'm writing him a letter this evening.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

i have a real comfortable workspace

...but i am still typing this from the couch instead of my desk. To be fair, my desk is currently smothered in paintings/paints, drawings, sketchbooks and pens, but still. This is why I have old-lady back pains.

I love being able to work on art every day. It's the most amazing feeling. I don't have a "real" job (still working casual, same place I've been at for almost three years), but I make enough to pay rent and buy groceries, and that's really all that matters.

Despite not having very much money, I recently made a somewhat extravagant (for me) purchase: a trip to Montreal for my birthday. My lovely boy will be in his ancestral homeland for both of our birthdays (two days apart), and I didn't want to be lonely, so I planned a trip. What makes it extra special is that it's the same weekend as Expozine, so I will get to see a bunch of my zine-pals and perhaps even make back some of the money I spent on travel!

I'm really excited for this trip for multiple reasons:

2. I will get to see my dear friend Jim, whom I very rarely see. And by this I mean we've only hung out three times in person. But I'd say Jim has been one of the biggest and most positive influences in my young life. I doubt I've met a more patient, understanding, and generous human being.
3. I get to see my friend Maude, who always brings out my famous drunken bravado (last time I was with her, I saw Michael Cera dining in a restaurant on Queen W. and she had to physically restrain me from running in and beating him up. why did i want to beat michael cera up? i will never know). She was the first person to ever encourage my drawing/zine-making, for which I am eternally grateful.
4. I will meet a new zinester-friend with whom I have plans to make a split zine about being an anarchist who is also religious. An acquaintance of mine made reference to the fact that "she is Christian and an anarchist...which i still can't wrap my head around" and i thought: i should contact her and ask her if she wants to make a zine about religion and anarchy! So I did, and she was totally into it which makes me so happy.

I think it will be one of the best birthdays yet. I might wear my purple prom dress (which I sometimes refer to as my "Grimace's Girlfriend Dress", because I honestly do look kind of like Grimace in it...you know, hips).

Birthday trip aside, everything else is really great, too. As I said before, I'm making more art than ever. I'm starting a new zine and retiring Little Gardens for Invalids, which was a really difficult choice to make, but ultimately one I'm happy with. AB and I finally set up our studio and it's lovely - our desks are back-to-back right beside the enormous bay window that looks out onto our street with its huge, ancient maple trees and aging brick houses. There are books crammed everywhere, which makes it feel super-cozy. There's also a couch (upon which I am sitting as I type this) for friends to crash on, or for one of us to nap on when we get all tuckered out from writing or painting. Life is paradise!

One last thing: AB and I really love to read aloud to one another and right now I'm reading him The Wind in the Willows, which is one of my favourite books. My dad read it to me growing up, and he gave me this beautiful illustrated edition of it for my birthday last year. It's so lovely to share it with my dearest love. And I do really good voices, if I do say so myself...Mole is my favourite one. He has a scratchy little high-pitched snuffly British accent.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

nice to come home.

Early in January, I predicted that this year would be one of the best.

Shortly afterward, I was dying to take that back.

But now? After the summer I've had and the fall I'm beginning, I know that my prediction was right. I come home from work to a beautiful house which is quickly becoming a beautiful home. Or if I don't work that day, I see my friends or draw or go for long, long walks through the city...or I just sit quietly with myself and when my dear love comes home (if he is working that day), we eat dinner and curl up and always tell each other just how much we love one another.

Things are so very, very right.

Friday, August 20, 2010

if i could, i'd get lost tonight.

everything, everything, everything.

i'm so very lucky to have the friends i do. Cat, whose clockwork gears of vast intelligence and unconditional compassion and forgiveness, of brilliance and innumerable ideas seem to whir audibly when i'm near to her. Alison, whose careful thoughtfulness and reflection, whose intricate logic and precise ability to name the unnameable cast unwavering light for my thoughts to become clear in. Steph, whose nonjudgmental nature and tiny beautiful creations, whose selflessness and bravery quietly make themselves known through a glowing, crackling cable from her heart to mine. Ferron, whose deliberate words and never-closed embrace, whose never-blushing laughter allows me to speak uncensored when i'm seated next to her, our touching knees a tiny physical manifestation of our ability to always be together in one way or another.

and beyond these friends, there are the acquaintances who have taught me things i didn't know i needed to be taught. Rachel, my very first love, who i reunited with a week ago. we spent hours in the sun by a hill we once tumbled down together in the thunderous rain (holding hands and unable to contain our cackling laughter). she told me to not be afraid of doing things differently than i thought i would. told me that i didn't have to tie myself to half-promises i made to myself as a teenager. she spoke about her life and love in a far-off country and how, with nearly nothing, she has become unwaveringly happy and peaceful. even in the worst of times.

Adam, who i barely knew, spent a night with me on a fire escape and showed me that i am not alone - in my hatred and fear of my body, in my need for forceful reminders to reunite my body and my spirit, in the aimless and wandering annals of my strange brain. we said goodbye feeling healed and whole.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

unexpected fortune.

has it been long enough since i last wrote in here?

this has been the best summer of my life. which seems totally naive, i'm sure, as a non-friendly acquaintance accused me of being when i expressed my joyful anticipation of starting a family.

but it's unbelievably true.

my last few months in toronto were hellish. my eating disorder was symptomatic. i couldn't muster the courage to end a relationship i hadn't been present in for months and months. i begged so many psychiatric institutions to help me and was repeatedly turned away and ignored to the point where i ended up in the hospital on more than one occasion. i don't mean to sound precious or melodramatic - this is not an exaggeration. i was so, so miserable.

i went to my hometown to live with my parents because i couldn't simply couldn't survive in toronto anymore. after three days in saskatoon, i checked myself into the psych ward and was handed a new diagnosis and two new meds by two almost comically cold and stoic psychiatrists. much to my surprise, they helped me enormously.

my parents took me to israel for my sister's wedding. i spent four days in a beautiful, weird, and scary country with my beautiful, weird sister. it became apparent to me just how much she has taken care of me and taught me so much. her and her husband restored my ability to believe that a caring, mutually protecting relationship is possible. i ended my unhappy relationship the next day - perhaps not under ideal circumstances, but in a way that made me feel unexpectedly whole.

i returned to saskatoon with my dear brother-in-law's assurance that my basherte or basherter was on her or his way. while appreciating this very much, i was pretty confident in spending an undetermined amount of time alone.

then, through a guilty and heartfelt apology to a potential acquaintance in toronto whom i had repeatedly snubbed, i started building a careful and strange long-distance friendship. we sent letters with hastily scrawled drunken post-scripts; silly half-confessions that neither of us could confidently disclose in sobriety. and then there were phonecalls, midnight phonecalls during which we'd read to one another and shyly, metaphorically scuff our feet in embarrassed tenderness.

and then, we were in love. unashamedly, we planned our future children's names. our home together. he came to visit me and we spent every waking moment with our hands interlocked.

in a little over two weeks, we'll be living together in a beautiful old house in toronto. i have no delusions that it will be easy: i'm not exactly financially stable and toronto life will once again be taxing and anxiety-inducing. but i am completely sure that we will be okay together; that we'll keep each other safe and close.

i can't believe my unbelievable fortune in finding this person who i love so wholly, who makes me feel that i am capable of navigating adulthood, no matter how much struggle there will be, financially and emotionally. someone who makes me feel confident and competent, as an artist, a creator, as a future wife and mother. someone i am able to help feel less anxious, less self-conscious, and more confident in his unbelievable skill and genius as a writer and human being.

i've never felt so beautiful and strong and safe in my entire life.

Monday, June 28, 2010

First of all:


Second of all. This G20 stuff has filled me with so, so much rage that I can hardly breathe. Yesterday i felt my bones itch with the painful, desperate need to be in my city fighting alongside my friends and comrades. Several of my nearest and dearest were detained, threatened, and clubbed. The reports of their safety are now pouring in, but it doesn't undo the horrific amount of police brutality that went down this weekend.

But: lying in bed with the phone cradled to my ear, scheming and plotting protest hijinx with my long-distance lover until we both fell asleep? That. That made me feel stronger.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

smaller, smaller

I have a guilty admission to make.

I shaved two days ago. It was an act of desperation; of scraping off as much of myself i could without hurting myself, without bruising my knees on the bathroom floor and retching up the contents of my stomach.

It wasn't premeditated. It just...happened.

Not shaving is a point of politics and pride for me. It has been a way for me to reclaim my body and show myself that I cannot and will not adhere to standards of beauty that are, to me, obsolete and ridiculous. I don't judge women who do scrape the hair off their legs and armpits and cunts, but it does make me a little sad. When I see other women with hairy armpits and legs, my heart does a bit of a leap and I feel loved and hopeful. This is maybe naive, but it's honestly what i feel.

As i watched these tiny hairs make their way down the drain, i felt this stab of pain and regret, my level-headedness returning to me. What the hell just happened?, i thought.

It was like being in a trance of utter self-loathing. I'm glad that I didn't hurt myself physically, but this really does hurt my heart. I feel weak. Personally, I mean. I don't think other women who shave are weak by any means - but this is something i have spent a lot of time thinking about and have decided is important to me.

it'll grow back, of course.