Friday, January 29, 2016

Never stop looking for love.



A little encouragement for us prickly types.

By Hyesy Lee.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Falling forward through time.

I haven't been able to bring myself to write lately. It just seems like time has been slipping away from me. Work has been busier, which makes a huge difference. I can usually read online and fart around creatively when I'm waiting on work. I've also been pretty tired in the evenings. I've been trying to cook a lot, and cook healthy, fresh foods, so that takes up more of my time. I've also been pretty social, if I plan something on Saturdays and Sundays, it's as if I lose all free time. 

This month has flown by. My birthday is in early January, and it's usually a not-great time for me. I'm trying to learn to celebrate that I'm still alive, and that people care about me, but for years it's always been a disappointment. My birthday is right after the holidays, people are broke and tired. I end up feeling my birthday is an inconvenience and is easily ignored or forgotten.

In roughly two weeks I'll be going out to BC to visit my friend C. Dr. Rishi has recommended I plan something for myself to look forward to, so I am, indeed, looking forward to it. It's be a nice mental break. It'll be good to see C and her new house. It'll be good to take in the sea and the area. I scheduled a small tattoo for myself of one of my illustrations (already paid for). Most importantly of all, I paid for the ticket with air miles. I don't have a grand to spend on a ticket. Not when I'm trying to save up to buy something.

So I'm going to BC. It might be nice to be somewhere else. To walk around. To breathe different air. To see a friend. To chat. To cuddle a dog. It's also warmer there, significantly. She's on Vancouver Island, so there's some kind of magical micro-climate there. For example it's 10°C where she lives right now and it's -6°C here.

I'm reading The Visiting Privilege by Joy Williams right now and there's this short story that moves through time and it's just beautiful and stirring. It took me a while to warm up to her book, some of the stories are very removed and are written with distance. But some, like The Excursion really fascinated me. The New York Times describes her as "one of the greatest chroniclers of humanity’s insignificance." Reading that clicked her work into place for me.
In Williams’s precise, unsparing, surprising prose, her characters reach for the sublime but often fall miserably to earth: ‘‘Sam and Elizabeth met as people usually meet. Suddenly, there was a deceptive light in the darkness. A light that blackly reminded the lonely of the darkness.’’ She has a gift for sentences whose unsettling turns — ‘‘While she was thinking of something perfectly balanced and amusing to say, the baby was born’’ — force readers to grapple, just as her characters grapple, with the way life will do what it wants with you.
Her work is so removed, so unsentimental.
Joy Williams likes a good road trip, so let’s take one through a Joy Williams story. The road is familiar — you recognize the religious undertones; the dark humor; the animals flapping overhead and squashed on the pavement. You smile at Williams’s disarming manner of juxtaposing words, pressing unsettling meanings out of them: ‘‘The two women sat in the living room surrounded by wooden ducks. The ducks, exquisite and oppressive, nested on every surface.’’ You think you know the route you’re taking, but after a few detours and hairpin turns you may have lost track of how you’re ever supposed to get to where you’re meant to go. The ride might end with the squeal of brakes and shattering of glass. It might also be beautiful: 
The car flipped over twice, miraculously righted itself and skidded back onto the road, the roof and fenders crushed. ... None of them were injured and at first they denied that anything unusual had happened at all. May said, ‘‘I thought it was just a dream, so I kept on going.’
This is it. This type of removed way she writes about brutal, daily life, and how the absurd and the routine are lined up against that brutality and how narrative moves through them both so effortlessly. There is no real relationship to the characters. Her stories are intentionally alienating, which is something I haven't experienced before.

Her work really presents my own disassociation to me. Moving through memory and present time, through wants and dreams and should's and have to's.

I'm asking myself a lot of questions lately, but I'm also attempting to swallow my need for patience. I need to make decisions. To prepare. To choose one option over another, and reading Williams' makes it all seem less important. Less permanent.

That's the mirror she's created. We're impermanent, and at a glance, we're often absurd and hard to understand. In some moments, we're genius. At other times, we're the worst. And when sweetness presents itself, it's a glorious treat.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

just what you need to hear today.

Great piece by Jamie Lauren Keiles called just what you need to hear today. Please take a look.

She has this great project called Depressiongrams. She says a lot of interesting things about artistry and depression, it's a great piece.

Jamie is on twitter, I started following her after reading this piece, you should to!

You can also check out more of her writing on her website.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Vertigo.

I haven't been able to write much lately. Thursday night I was hit with some type of weird vertigo. I couldn't get up or sit down or roll-over or move much without getting dizzy and having the room spin. It's gotten progressively less intense, our now being Monday and it being just a general uneasiness.

vertigo cox suffering

Apparently it could be a virus, or an inner-ear imbalance. Whatever it was it sucked, I didn't come into work (and I really need the money) and my hanging around the house in a nightgown made me feel like an old lady.

I've never had vertigo before - it makes no sense. It's been a rough-awakening, being reminded that my body makes no sense and it can fall apart at any time.

I'm back at work today, I'm tired, I fell down a YouTube hole last night and watched all sorts of medical videos. What a time to be alive!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Looking back, a little.

I haven't taken the time to write much since the traumatizing amnesia-based hospital visit. It's been updates here and there, and some minor posts, but I've found approaching the subject daunting.

In truth, it's also writing I'm finding difficult. Namely, translating the way my thoughts wander and wonder to narrative that's structured. On any given day I have these flashes of a place I can explore through writing but I'm often unable to take the time-out needed to write it down, or I'm quickly distracted by something else.

Over the holidays I often thought of taking out my laptop and taking the time to write something, but I was just so exhausted. Most of the holiday vacation was spent with family, cooking and partaking in Christmas parties. Then I went home around the 28th and just slept a lot and did my best to re-cooperate from the stress and exhaustion of the amnesia scare which was compacted by then going back to work.

Before I knew it, I was back to work on January 4th. My birthday was yesterday (the 7th), so focus quickly turned to my birthday. And now, in a month's time, I'll be visiting my friend out in Victoria, so my mind is occupied with planning and research. I'm also just looking forward to being away.

Last night I had dinner with my mother and my friend J. She came by the restaurant after work, and we had a drink and some good food. We were able to talk about my mom and catch up. She travels a lot for work, so it can be difficult to see one another. She's also a social butterfly and has a very active social life, so we don't hang out in the same circles anymore. She and I went to high school together. She's still friends with a lot of the guys who trigger some stuff in me that I'm still working on. We stayed friends even though I don't see the other guys.

I'm now 32. I don't really care that much about the number. I did find entering my 30's difficult, because all of a sudden the expectations of maturity and success seem increasingly important. This feeling was well described in an article I recently read in The Atlantic:
Being a Millennial and trying to adult is wildly disorienting. I can't figure out if I'm supposed to start a non-profit, get another degree, develop a wildly profitable entrepreneurial venture, or somehow travel the world and make it look effortless online. Mostly it just looks like taking a job that won't ever pay off my student debt in a field that is not the one that I studied. Then, if I hold myself to the traditional ideal of what it means to be an adult, I'm also not nailing it. I am unmarried, and not settled into a long term, financially stable career. Recognizing that I'm holding myself to an unrealistic standard considering the economic climate and the fact that dating as a Millennial is exhausting, it's unfair to judge myself, but I confess I fall into the trap of comparison often enough. Sometimes because I simply desire those things for myself, and sometimes because Instagram.
On most days I am resolute in knowing the things I don't want so I'm able to stand in my choices. I think the major difficulty for me is the guilt and shame I have of "losing my 20's" - that comes with a kind of mourning. I woke up 30, with little to show for myself in terms of social life, career or romance. My body was a mess. My heart and mind were traumatized, and I had to learn how to manage myself and live in my life. Even though I don't want what some want, and I don't value what some value, it can be difficult to feel zero judgement from self or other.

My birthday has been secondary to the amnesia scare. Seeing my mother disoriented, and initially fearing a stroke or alzheimer's really put me on my ass. My initial fear-reaction was that she was going to die, and that I was now "officially" alone. What if I would have had to be her caregiver? Would I have been able to cope? 

I know this is a normal fear. I feel though, that for me, and for folks who are socially withdrawn or struggling with mental/health issues it's just, more. The well-adjusted people in my life have partners. They have friends. They have plans. They have careers. Savings. I'm not quite there yet. My living at home has kept me in this child-like, dependent space. This experience highlighted my desire to have my own space, so that when my mother passes, my home doesn't fall apart. But, it also got she and I talking about what she wants, and what her fears are. Would she be more comfortable in a duplex with me? Separate but close? We both need to assess what we want, and talk about it.

I feel like 2016 is going to be a big year. There will be a lot of movement. For now I'm still tired and trying to take care of myself as best I can. Being in the emergency room with my mother for nearly 24 hours violently shook the importance of health into me. I'm trying to take things one day at a time, and am really trying to focus on taking care of myself from a kinder, more loving space.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

It's obviously you.

So it's been since October that I've seen Ranjana. She said she had some vacation time and some health stuff to take care of, but it seems it's been quite long now. 

First, I hope she's well. 

But of course, the second assumption is that it's obviously something I did or said. Maybe she rolled her eyes into another province.

It's reminiscent of that fear of going to see an esthetician for a bikini wax and them being so disgusted with your uniquely fat and horrible body that they quit and kill themselves. 

It's not that dramatic, but it's a "you're the worst I've ever seen" fear. 

I've been feeling okay lately, but there's still a twinge of rejection there. 


Illustration by Hallie Bateman over at BuzzFeed.

I've been trying to work through things through writing and ore creative work, and better self-care practices, but there are still heavy themes I'm stuck on, so I still think therapy could be helpful.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I'm late to the new year party.


Illustration by Mike Hinson over at BuzzFeed.

I have a lot to say about the last few weeks of holiday time, but I'm still waking up from the time off.

I hope you got to rest over the holidays, or party - whatever you're into.