Monday, October 31, 2016

The typo.

It’s been a series of not-so-great days, so there’s been a hesitance to sit down and re-hash it all.

Basically last week we had a presentation to a client, on which there was a typo. The typo was of the client’s name, which, needless to say, would have been very embarrassing to the presenters (one of which was my boss).

The next day, he nonchalantly asked me to come into his office and asked what happened, I said something along the lines of how it sucked and typos happen. He got irritated and I stayed calm and didn’t really know what to say to him. He seemed increasingly agitated.

A few hours later I got an e-mail addressed to myself and my supervisor, where my boss outlined how irritated (now angry) he was, and how I didn’t take responsibility for the typo. He said I was ducking responsibility and it was the result of my neglect. It was a shit day.

I ended up spiralling that night. It went to losing a job, to looking for a job, to requiring as little to function as possible since I’m so useless, which means minimum wage, which means factory, which means hard on me, and depression, and not able to live in comfort and kill myself, and the worst and then never having any time to myself, and my health is the worst, and shit jobs, and shit pay, and can’t get a job, and so on. It gets real dark real fast, and it's painful and panic inducing.

The next way when I met with my supervisor he said he also got “scolded,” and that we’d come up with a way to try and lessen typos and have a “official sign-off” process for document printing. He and I were more of the same understanding, that typos happen, that both he and other signed-off on the document, and it was embarrassing for everyone. I do not necessarily trust that he represented this as his opinion to my boss though, he probably threw me under the bus. I don't trust him.

By the end of the day I had a stress headache / brain fog.

Friday I just laid low and kept my head down. Now today, Monday, the same.

This weekend I spent some time with S, we watched a bad movie and spent some time together, we’re both pretty depressed these days, so it’s a little comfort. We were able to talk about what happened, and what it triggered in me. Not being able to take care of myself, and always expecting the worst is big with me.

Sunday I had the dogs/volunteering, then I fell asleep in a chair (lol) then I did a few things and went to bed.

Today is Halloween (I saw a guy on the subway with a sword before I had to think about it).

I’m tired and sore. This depressive episode has gotten into my bones.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bad day(s) at work.







Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Kesha.

Go read the article Kesha, Interrupted now published by The New York Times Magazine.

Then watch this:



Brutal. She's going through so much, publicly.

Strength and love to her.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Icarus Project.

Check out the Icarus Project.
The Icarus Project is a support network and education project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. We advance social justice by fostering mutual aid practices that reconnect healing and collective liberation. We transform ourselves through transforming the world around us.
I just downloaded a bunch of their literature. I'm especially interested in their booklet on harm reduction whilst coming off psychiatric drugs.

It's been raining for days. I usually take such comfort in grey days.  In the dying - but not quite dead leaves of October. These days, it's okay to stay home, it's okay to say the weather is a bummer. It's the weather reflecting me. My Nordic blood doesn't complain when it's cold. I don't complain when it's shitty out. I'll just stay home. It's okay on these days, it's understandable.

I've been thinking a lot about my physical and mental health, and about what the next step will look like for me. It's something I'm rolling around in my head.

Lady Gaga's Joanne on loop.




Sunday, October 23, 2016

Atheist spirituals.

It's been a busy two weeks. Last weekend my friend C came down from British-Columbia for a few days. She was visiting her father for his 70th birthday, so she was able to stay at my house for two days before flying back West.

The weekend she was down meant a tight schedule. I took Friday off, spent it with her, dropped her off there, then went to a friend house then picked her up, then this then that then super full scheduling. It was a packed 4 days, so I was tired heading into the next week. That Saturday I had planned a relaxed say with S, watch The Purge: Anarchy. We watched the first Purge together - and she detests horror movies, she watched it out of political conscience, and wanting to discuss it. So then I got her to watch all the sequels with me. So we watched the final chapter while laughing and drinking tea.

That Sunday I got up early to have a last breakfast with C before she headed to the airport, and then I had my date with the dogs at the refuge. It rained all day, which sucked. But I was lucky because my teammate did not show up which could have been hellish, but I only had 6 dogs, so I wasn't overwhelmed. Luckily.

Then I got sick, a cold of some sort, so I stayed home Wednesday, watched the 3rd presidential debate (oh lordy America) and then got back to work.

I'm at home today, Sunday, and am taking the time to sit down and write, since it's been busy and if I don't take the time, nobody will do it for me.

A few official updates.

#1 - I love the new Lady Gaga album. It has a lot of references that I equate to the music my parents listened to when I was little. I hear Bowie, I hear classic rock nods, I hear songwriter nods that remind me of Joe Cocker and those type of sing-along spirituals, only her songs are bout drugs and female friendship. Much more up my alley than an actual spiritual.

Gaga definitely has a lot of religious iconography in her music, some totally over but I've never found her music to be preachy. My main issue with religion is it's a tool to separate and classify, and it's often used to suppress women and just be hateful dicks in general - but her catholicism isn't too guilt-based, it's more "lord help me," and less entitled. What I mean to say is I've never felt alienated listening to her religious references. Maybe that's because I like Gaga enough to have seen her live, and to hear her speak and know how subversive her work is, and how feminist she is.

I've always lamented the fact that I love spirituals but don't identify to their religious tone. I need an atheist spiritual, so songs about friendship, or just life and learning are as good as it gets for me.

There's just so much fucking soul!

I still sing "Down to the River to Pray" in the shower - even though I'm totally godless.

#2 - I just recently finished Stories to Hide from Your Mother by Tess Fragoulis and I loved it. There are parts that are so liquid and surreal, part prose part dreamscape, completely untethered and an absolute poignant representation of the absurdity of womanhood. I cannot recommend it enough.

#3 - my family doctor Dr. Rishi is in between practices which means trying to contact him over the last 2-3 months has been like a shitty version of Where's Waldo. His old clinic says they don't know the new information yet, but I also can't try and get a new doctor because I'm officially attributed to him. I finally got an e-mail from him saying he will not be available until mid-November. Hopefully by then we'll have some news regarding his new clinic.

Yesterday I spent the day with K a friend of friends who was introduced to me first here in Montreal then out in Victoria. She's in the process of converting an old atelier to a mini-house. It already looks amazing. I drove her out to St-Jerome to a specialized tile place, and had breakfast and lunch with her while running errands all around. Got home pretty pooped.

The temperature change has not gone unnoticed for me. I feel it in my bones. It's dark when I wake up, darker by the minute in the evenings - it's a difficult time for me. All I want to do is sleep.

I'm approaching the holidays, then the new year, which has me worrying about finding a job. It's been more than a few months that I've been looking, I don't want to stay where I am too much longer.

I will try and put more of a considered effort in writing, my days have just seemed much shorter as of late.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thanksgiving.

This past weekend was a long one, thanks to thanksgiving. I needed the break, and it was appreciated. I went for dinner at a friends place Friday night, and the rest of the weekend I spent at home, running errands, cooking and doing chores. I slept in until 10 or 11 am all three days. It was really nice.

The days flew by nonetheless, with Monday being spent cooking all day. I made a lasagna, chicken bone broth, leak soup, pizzas and cut up some salad and strawberries. We also took some time to drop off clothes and books at Renaissance. Sunday I made a french onion soup from scratch, as a treat for my mom and I, since it was just us two for thanksgiving. For lunch we had fresh tomato sandwiches, with bread from the bakery and farm-fresh tomatoes. They were exquisite. Saturday we went for breakfast and ran errands.

This week will be a short one, yesterday was off due to the holiday, and I took Friday off since C is down from Victoria. She's only down for a few days, so we'll spend the day together.

This upcoming weekend is the last weekend for our farmer's markets. Prices should be reduced as they try and liquidate their stock, so I'll try and buy a bunch of tomatoes to A) eat a bunch of tomato sandwiches and B) make a bunch of spaghetti sauce for freezing.

It was so nice to have the time to do things but without the rush. I knew I had a list of things I wanted to do, but I also knew I had three days to do those things. Usually with socialising on Saturdays and volunteering on Sundays I really have to be productive with my time, or else I pay for it during the week. Meal-prep and cooking makes a huge difference on my budget. Buying lunches downtown is 15-25$. Cheapest is around 10-12 - but that's horseshit white bread sammies sold by a money laundering sandwich counter owned and operated by the massage/sex-shop on top of it. Tastes sketchy!

Sunday I also watched the second presidential debate, which was horrifying. I can't even go into that. I just cannot even.

It was a nice weekend between my mother and I. We did some things together, some apart. We both had chores. She encouraged and enjoyed all of my cooking (lol) and we both slept in. It was nice. It was the perfect way to spend thanksgiving. I'm thankful for my mother and our relationship.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti

Just finished Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti. There is definitely some great insight in Valenti's book. I especially liked:
Men’s pain and existential angst are the stuff of myth and legends and narratives that shape everything we do, but women’s pain is a backdrop--a plot development to push the story along for the real protagonists. Disrupting that story means we’re needy or selfish, or worst of all, man-haters--as if after all men have down to women over the ages the mere act of not liking them for it is most offensive. (Page 15)
I think the power of her memoir is in its personal representation. There's a lot about street harassment and lived misogyny that isn't necessarily mind-blowing to another woman, since most of us have lived variations of this. For these sections, I'm sure most men could learn about the daily hostilities women and girls face. For me, it was a little redundant. Not that it isn't powerful and important to address and name, it's just I'm part of the club so I have my own subway stories, my own stranger-dick horrors. In fact, a lot of them are eerily similar. Asking for directions with a dick in his hands... saying gross things to a young teen... etc. My "old hat" mentality towards it speaks to what a pervasive issue it is. Valenti's memoir is important in it being an act of being seen and heard, something still revolutionary (and potentially dangerous) for most women. She's able to call-out a lot of shady shit. And shady shit needs to be called out.

The book didn't shake me awake, as much as it just kind of said to me, hey, you know all that fucked up sexist, rapey stuff you've lived through - yah well, Jessica too. 

Reading her book makes me wish there was an organisation that went into 6th grade classrooms and told girls what they can do in order to protect themselves / how they can report the many kinds of assault. With the prevalence of cell phones, I actually think girls are more likely to have what they need to go to police now. When I was 15-16 and a guy stopped his car to ask for directions / masturbate to my friend and I we went to the cops. The cops told us unless he masturbated in front of a cop, there was nothing they could do. What fun. Now you can easily pull out a cell phone and get the fucking guys licence plate number.

Valenti shares a lot of stories that deal with drugs, sex, self-esteem and shitty relationships. At one point she mentions something her father says something that shakes her...
The things you do in your twenties are just things you do. Bus as you approach thirty what you do starts to become who you are. And there are some things you do not want to be forever. (Page 123)
I recognised myself in this. I've been looking at the lives of my friends, and thinking that the choices they make (who to hang out, what to prioritise) ends up being their choices, period. The same can then be applied to me. It's why I started volunteering. It's why I'm inching closer to vegetarianism one vegan or vegetarian meal at a time. I want to live my values. And to do that, that means actively choosing things that correspond to your values, to what you want.

That might seem so obvious, but when you're so depressed your general choices just focus on getting you through each day, it's hard to feel there's a greater rhyme or reason behind what you're doing.

Being a hot mess might be cute when you're 20 and can get by on being bra-less and naive. It gets less cute by the second. In fact, you realise how those who found that helplessness "cute" were patronising pervs mostly.

Eventually time starts flying by. There's more demanded of your time and your choices are all you have. The leisure of youth meant the privilege of being bored, of trying things. Every choice seems more important now. You see the ripple affect.

My friend E is about to finish her last graduate course. When she's completed it, she'll have obtained her Master's degree. This really makes me want to go back to school. Then I look into it, and I realise not only do I not have the money to go back, but I'm so exhausted that I can't fathom having the energy to go back and be engaged. The energy of youth. The ability to try something. I have to manage my expectations now. I hold back. I ration my energy.

Check out Valenti's work if it seems up your alley.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Take care of yourself Kid Cudi.

Kid Cudi just posted about going to rehab for treatment, dealing with depression and suicidal ideation.

This is his post:

Its been difficult for me to find the words to what Im about to share with you because I feel ashamed. Ashamed to be a leader and hero to so many while admitting I've been living a lie. It took me a while to get to this place of commitment, but it is something I have to do for myself, my family, my best friend/daughter and all of you, my fans.
Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. 
I am not at peace. I haven't been since you've known me. If I didn't come here, I wouldve done something to myself. I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life. Theres a ragin violent storm inside of my heart at all times. Idk what peace feels like. Idk how to relax. My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it. I cant make new friends because of it. I dont trust anyone because of it and Im tired of being held back in my life. I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling. Why not me? I guess I give so much of myself to others I forgot that I need to show myself some love too. I think I never really knew how. Im scared, im sad, I feel like I let a lot of people down and again, Im sorry. Its time I fix me. Im nervous but ima get through this. 
I wont be around to promote much, but the good folks at Republic and my manager Dennis will inform you about upcoming releases. The music videos, album release date etc. The album is still on the way. Promise. I wanted to square away all the business before I got here so I could focus on my recovery.
If all goes well ill be out in time for Complexcon and ill be lookin forward to seeing you all there for high fives and hugs. 
Love and light to everyone who has love for me and I am sorry if I let anyone down. I really am sorry. Ill be back, stronger, better. Reborn. I feel like shit, I feel so ashamed. Im sorry. 
I love you,
Scott Mescudi

You can read it on his facebook.

The Atlantic has a piece up on masculinity, race and depression.

I just wish him love and support. It's rough, I know how he feels, and words are never enough. I wish him a warm blanket and a deep hug. Hot tea and a cuddle. A soft bed and clean sheets. Sun on his face. A hearty laugh. A friendly dog. Those little things help for me, I hope his little things help for him. Small comforts.

My chest aches in recognition.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Labrador boxer mix: one year-old, high energy, no kids, no cats, might be a sociopath.

Yesterday I had my volunteer shift at the refuge. It was a great fall day, overcast, only slightly cool. We didn’t have many dogs to take out over our 3 hour shift, only 9, two of which are elderly as fuck.

The day went well, we were able to take extra time with the dogs, which was nice. One, Kounaï, a large white husky got a deluxe brushing by me. He seemed to like it, and me. Huskies cannot be bothered. They have the independence and unimpressed gaze of cats. I don’t love huskies. They generally only have eyes for their masters and just can’t be bothered by anyone else. Kounaï has grown on me though. When I brushed him he’d do this weird thing where he’d stare at my face really intensely. At first I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing (lol) so I stepped back to see how he’d react. He ended up stepping forward towards me and lining himself up so I could continue to brush him. So I did.

Things changed when we took out one of the last dogs. I had taken him out last week, and he seemed alright, just a little anxious and barky. This week though he soon became fixated with me. This was a tall boxer labrador mix, roughly 100 pounds. He began getting up on his hind legs and trying to wrestle me. The more I pushed him off, the more excited he got. Eventually, I had to pick up a plastic patio chair to use like a lion tamer. He wasn't trying to hump me, he was trying to grapple.


One of the employees came out, and said one of the folks looking to adopt him wanted to see him. I said sure, but that we were having problems with him. I guess she assumed it wouldn’t be too bad (since it’s known he has a lot of learning to do, he was a rescue that wasn’t socialized).

He soon started to ignore the three other women in the yard and just would not leave me alone. I even pushed him hard. Kicked him off me. I tried to explain to the animal trainer/employee that he only seemed to jump at me when I pet him and was nice to him, and the more I pushed him the more encouraged he seemed. He seemed really happy. It wasn’t aggression, it felt like affection. He seemed overjoyed. The rougher I was with him the happier he got.

Last week his feet had been wrapped, this week they were not. That meant that the more he tried to grab me (he really tried to bear hug me, but dog arms aren’t meant to bend in) the more his wounds opened, so I was becoming smudged with traces of his blood. It began getting worse, and he bit down on my arm a few times playfully. Not directly on skin, since I was wearing a thick sweatshirt. Eventually though, as the women around me tried to get him to do other things (chase a tire, play with a kong) he got even more nuts and really grabbed my arm. I grabbed the chair quickly that time.

The employee stepped in and played with him after that, and they asked me to write everything down in his file. It was a shit end to the day. We ended up taking one dog out after him, a tiny little jack russel mix named Milou. He was sweet, but could probably smell the stress on me and didn’t seem into it.

I went home and did some chores, to my own surprise. I was exhausted and needed a drink quite honestly. I did not have a drink though, since I don’t know anything about alcohol and had stuff to do.

I ended up doing some laundry, making muffins and having dinner. Then I took a shower and tried to go to bed at a reasonable hour, which I more or less succeeded at, though I could have slept more, since this morning’s wake up was difficult.

Today, my arm is a little swollen and bruised, and I can see the teeth marks.

I wrote to the volunteer coordinator and let her know, further underlining my point that I don’t think this dog can be adopted by just anybody.

The thing is only one, he isn’t totally full grown yet. He’s still lanky and awkward.

What was upsetting about the encounter was when I took the dog back to his enclosure. When you put him back in his cage, he sits quietly and just stares. He’s very calm. When I discussed it with the employee who witnessed everything she said she’s worried he has deeper issues.

It had me thinking about where he came from, a puppy raised in isolation. It made me think about what would happen if the same thing happened to a human child. In those cases, types of personality disorders and sociopathy are often present. 

I don't think he can tell between positive attention and negative attention. He's just happy to have interaction.

The more I work with these dogs, the more I see how traumatised a lot of them are.

I think of my brother’s dog, and how if you put him in a place like that, he’d be miserable, and who knows how he would react. He's sensitive and neurotic. He'd be miserable there.

I think about my own dog who passed away a few years ago. When a friend invited us camping once, his brother decided the dog should sleep outside. This is a dog, who for 9 years of her life, slept on a queen size tempur-pedic with my mother. So, of course, he put the dog on the deck and she whined and howled. This infuriated him. I got so upset I took my sleeping bag and slept out on the deck with the dog, which immediately burrowed into my sleeping bag. This dog. This entitled, spoiled bitch (she really was though, she stole my hot dog once), this brilliant dog (she pretended there was someone at the front door so I would leave my hot dog unattended), what kind of things would she do, to cope after a trauma (losing family, abandonment) and being put in a refuge?

I think I’m surprised by the emotional work. I enjoy it, I do, but it’s heavier than I expected it to be. I think I expected to use it as a therapeutic space for myself, and my own healing. It is that, but it’s also work, it's also engaging the traumas of others. It’s a lesson in many things. Patience. Empathy. Observation. Kindness. Presence.

It can be overwhelming when you try and think of all of it all at once. All of the need. But when I see things as little bits, it helps. Every little bit helps.