Not really sure….

I am going to apologize in advance. This is probably going to be a rather disjointed and completely odd blog. Basically it is going to end up much like my actual conversations do. All over the place. Because without fail, one thing I am talking about leads seamlessly to this other thing. It all makes sense. At least in my mind, however, I have been known to cause some deep confusion and perplexity. Thus my advanced ‘I am so sorry.’

I have not written much. Have been going through a lot of my older poetry and posting those as they have struck a chord with me. I have been rereading posts on Facebook that I made as I began to recover from my depressive state in 2014. Those have been hard to read. I find myself crying in sympathy for the creature I was. So broken and alone. Even though I was still married at the time, a mother, a daughter, a sister, unfortunately as hard as they tried, they could not really understand what I was going through.

Admittedly that depressive episode sent me on an evolutionary journey. I began to claw back my space, my time, my self. I began to be more confident and happy. I spread out my interests and was no longer afraid to say this is me. I put myself in the forefront as opposed to always hiding in the background. I could finally look in the mirror and not only like but be proud of the woman who was looking back at me. It lead to the dissolving of my marriage as I realized that the man I had just spent the last 20 years with, was not the love of my life. We did not have anything in common besides our son. I am grateful for the child that we created but I am a better woman, a better mother for being apart from him. Much as he is a better person, a better man for being without me. He told me at one part that this was the best thing to happen to him, he could not remember when last he had been this happy. I had a few people say he was trying to anger me, I said I hoped not, because I really do want him to be happy.

In the last year and a bit I have learned a hell of a lot again about myself. One is that I will need to remain on my anti-depressants for life. This causes me a wee bit of a quandary for I write like a demon when I am depressed. The words flow and bite, I have no shortage of ideas. My creativity spirals and dips, clinging to the wall and than breaking apart to dance in raindrops all around me. I know that I can write when I am happy. I wrote an entire novel in high school and no one can say I was depressed that whole time.

Oh wait, it was high school. I was the opposite of popular. But I had rocking friends and really who wants to be a part of the blonde perfection team? Such a hard standard to live up to.

This passed year I have made some huge changes. December 9/16 I quit smoking. My blood pressure was out of control. February 2017 I went back on my meds and my life has been amazing since I crawled out of that black cesspool. July 1/17 I quit drinking alcohol. At least until the end of my holidays on Sept. 10th. I needed to prove to myself that I could.

My father was an alcoholic. He died 13 years ago. Not really missed. I found myself in a pattern of always finding men like him. Incapable of looking after themselves, drinkers, irresponsible. Despite the fact that I would constantly promise myself that I would not be with nor marry a man like my father in all regards I did. Than once my marriage imploded (it did not dissolve amicably made worse by our continued living together until nearly 6 months later) I began to drink. And heavily.

So I made the decision that I was done. No more. T accused me of quitting drinking because Chichi (my mom) was home. I was honest with him and told him I quit because it was becoming a problem. He was stopped by that answer. Every so often I would really like a glass of wine but I think about T and this promise that I have made myself and eventually that urge passes.

I, who have always despised and never really required exercise, have added it to my daily routine. I was given a stationary bike that I ride between 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour 3 to 4x a week. I also have some toning exercises that I have thrown in for myself. Nothing serious, no work out DVD just a few things to tone and shape.

I have also changed the way that I eat. More fish, salad. Fresh veggies. Less pizza, fast food. Eating breakfast. Not sure if this also has to do with my turning 45 this year but it really has been a year of change thus far.

My blood pressure is the envy of mom. I am happy all the time. Laughing. T is with his dad for the next three weeks and I was telling my boss about it. Said to him ‘I have three weeks to do the things I cannot do while I have T with me. And than after that I have him for three straight weeks as well.’ My boss looked at me and said ‘Only you could find the positive in this.’

It took me a long while to compute what he had said to me. And it made me realize how far I have come in the last six months. How much happier I am. How I always have a smile on my face, a giggle or laugh ready. I will retrain my brain on writing happy if that is what it takes. Or it might just be the summer thang.

When I was younger I could only write from September to June. The school year. Do not ask me why. It may be that I love being outside and in the sun during the summer. Friends were always available because well, we were kids. So before I really panic I will wait for the school year to roll around and see if I cannot become more productive in my writing.

Until than I will reread and rediscover older poetry. If it strikes me and makes me think, I will post. I am okay with that. For as I discover this new person who is me, I am patient and willing to bet that eventually, the neural pathways will straighten out and the creativity will once more pour forth from me. 🙂

 

Wonder where he gets it?

This has certainly been a week of discoveries. I took holidays this July (1 week only) for the first time in 3 years. And T and me spent this week up with my mom. Whom I love with all my heart. But lordy spending all this time in a three bedroom smallish cabin is enough to make a woman tear her hair out. Even when T is with me we still have time apart. He goes outside to play, I get fifteen minutes of silence.

On Wednesday I announced to mom that I required 15 minutes, just 15 to go for a walk by myself and rebalance. This was way too much together time. She huffed. T waved as I walked away. I tried to explain later to her why it was required but am not sure that she really got it.

Which leads me to the ‘wonder where he gets it’? T and mom started butting heads on Tuesday I believe it was. Monday when we arrived it was gorgeous out. Mom and GU-S (great uncle-mom’s youngest brother) immediately put T to work. I sat on the deck soaking up the sun and reading. I was to build the fire. There was too much in the fire pit and anyways once I got the fire started the uncle took over.

Tuesday though, was bleak and rainy. Windy too. We were all on top of one another and I allowed T to play his video games on the phone. Not my phone lol but a phone his dad had given him. No sim card but GU-S had hooked him up to the internet so it was all good. I had checked these games the night before and had no issues with him playing. Did I maybe allow him to play too much and too long? Mom certainly thought so while I was just happy that I was not subjected to the boredom song. And this was when the smart mouth and constant desire to be last came to the forefront.

I have never realized, and that may be because he does not pull it that often with me, that T has a need to have the final word. But oh lordy, once mom pointed it out to me, I heard it. I saw it occurring. There were a lot of warning low grumbles of ‘T that is enough.’ There was mom telling me that I needed to nip this in the bud or I would end up regretting it. T was being a smartass and for the most part I could deal but not when I was getting it from both sides.

Wednesday also dawned grey and wet. Oh lordy not another day spent inside with these two! I was not sure that I was going to be able to handle it. (Thankfully T’s little friend KJ had arrived on Tuesday evening and eventually the sun broke through allowing me to sit in the back reading and chilling and getting my shore up time.) Mom asked me a few questions to which I shot back some smartass comments. She than pointed out to me that it wasn’t a wonder T had a smart mouth he learned it from me.

T is always right. He will twist and turn his facts to prove he is right. He also, with mom it seems, needs to have the last word. Mom and me were talking about something, I cannot remember what now but she made a comment and she says to me ‘well I wonder where T has learned the smartass behaviour and need to be last.’ ‘I do not always have to have the last word and I wonder where I learned it from?’ an arched eyebrow as I looked at her.

‘Jay, I am funny not sarcastic and you always have to have the last word.’ She is opening the door to go in. ‘I do not.’ I retort quite like the 8 year old son I have. Mom looks at me and just shakes her head.

I never have noticed that I require the last word. I rarely argue with anyone any more. I do not argue with folks at work, nor do I talk enough to my bro to have any arguments. Which leaves only T and myself. And usually those arguments end with one or both of us in angry tears. And I always get the last word in as the parent.

This picture was taken on Thursday after a huge battle before leaving the cabin. Mom wanted to do her laundry. T had a fight with KJ. He was not pleased that he had to go to Winnipeg Beach with us. There was yelling. I took the phone away and he was reduced to tears. I also threatened to put him in the car myself if he didn’t get in there. Not sure how I would have accomplished that as he is a very solid little boy.

Once in Winnipeg Beach, I made him come along on our walk, threatening that I could not leave him in the car as it was illegal. The RCMP would arrest me for child endangerment. I made him hold my hand as we walked. T was less than thrilled with me.

As he stomped along pouting, mom and me walked behind him talking about this and that. Until he saw the play structure, with boys playing. Mom had intentionally guided us that way. We left him to play while we took a short stroll. Mom wanted to get some pics of me so I told T where we were headed and I would come back for him. Everyone was happy.

After we were done, mom headed back to the laundry mat to get her clothes and I went off to collect T. Who was heading towards me, a little distraught. He had come looking for mom and me and may have panicked a wee bit when I was not where I said that I was going to be.

As we walked along, he informed me that he loved me. And he held onto me. Of his own volition. I made him stop and took this picture of us. We were both happy and in a good mood. I got him ice cream. And one for mom.

More and more do I see myself in T. I am sure that when he is with his dad, his dad sees all sorts of habits/behaviours that are just like his own. I do believe (and this might be wishful thinking) that more and more, his internal unseen building blocks are more like mine. He is tenacious and sarcastic and stubborn. He spins fiction into facts and they sound good. He is my son.

Who I am as a Writer

That is the fun about exploring who cares if it matches or makes sense?

Of late I have found myself reading posts and forums on the work of writing. How outlines must be created, chapters briefly explained. How every day one must sit down at a certain time and write a certain amount of words. I read these words and I am at a loss to understand.

I am not that type of a writer. I cannot do outlines. I cannot set aside time every day at a set time to write.  I write when my voices speak to me. I have no control over what I write because I am only the conduit for my characters.

Does that sound odd? I have always been lost to my characters. I can write no outlines because I do not know where the story is going. I cannot control much beyond finding pen and paper or my phone to write on if they decide to talk to me when I am not at home and have my computer handy.

My email is filled with little notes to myself from my characters. Not because I believe that they are truly sending me emails but because some times they let me know of a small but important factor of the story not yet told. And so I email myself that note so as to not lose it and every time I open up to check other emails, there is it re-reminding me of their intent.

My first draft will include everything that my characters want it to include. The second draft will be a parsing of the first draft. In some cases whole chapters will be rewritten or deleted as unnecessary. Third draft a little more cutting and reshaping. The story is still all theirs I am just modifying with their assistance. Fourth draft, by than we have found our voice and the story speaks strongly. This is based on my experience of writing a novel in high school.

My characters stopped coming to me when I become not me. Twenty some long years while they remained silent. My poetry was my only outlet but it was written in bursts of heartache and pain. Depression and naked vitriol. Since becoming the saner happier version of myself, my characters are returning in full force. They are awakening and boy oh boy are they rarin’ to go.

I look at my writing today and I love where it is going. I am never going to be famous because of my words and I probably never will make enough money that would allow me to retire from my job and write full time. But I will write. And I will create. Because for me, like the Bards of times passed, it is the story and the characters that call to me and draw me in.

I chose to share my writing in part due to a fellow blogger who pushed and kicked me into joining WordPress. Also, I finally am in a space in my life where I am proud of how I write and I want others to enjoy it. I do not seek acclaim (a wee bit of praise is nice lol but just knowing others see my posts is validation) for I finally am writing in freedom and peace, and I am loving it.

 

Would you jump too?

When I was a little girl and well let’s face it right up until the time that I moved out of the house, I did not get all the things I wanted. Cabbage Patch Kid phase, I was the only kid on the block without one. One of my friends had two and I was green with jealousy. I cannot quite recall the other things I wanted in life that all my other friends had but what I can tell you is my mother’s comment on all these passing phases. (And yes I realize that having a Cabbage Patch Kid now would earn me some serious cash but alas, I am missing out. Thanks a lot mom.)

My mother was a single mom in a time era where divorce was still frowned upon. But that is a subject for another story. Here we are discussing her absolute disdain for popular phases and my desire to follow them. (Just remembered another one, in grade 7 it was Melissa Jeans with a white stripe down the side. Finally got them as they were on the down swing. And the pair I had were defective. The zipper refused to stay up. I walked around half the day with my zipper down, showing off my scarlet granny panties for everyone to see before one of my friends alerted me.)

Our conversations would always start off the same. ‘Mom I really really need a Cabbage Patch Kid.’ ‘Jay, it is really close to Christmas just wait until Santa comes.’ So I was excited. Ten years old and although I knew Santa was my mom, I had expectations. I wrote a letter I believe to Santa. And than came Christmas. There was no Cabbage Patch Doll under the tree. What on earth! Santa always got me at least one of my asked for gifts on my list. Why had he forsaken me?

Now every smart child knows that the time to ask for a much needed item is not during the holiday season. So I waited. And waited. My Amma passed away just before Christmas that year and in January I was struck with (as the doctor put it) good old fashioned Scarlet Fever.

Finally I asked again for a Cabbage Patch Kid and this was my first (probably not but the first time I recall it) introduction to what would become my mom’s famous last words. ‘Jay-lyn Anne you are not going to die without a Cabbage Patch Kid. If all your friends were to jump off a bridge would you do the same?’ I think I may have made a smart ass comment about knowing how to swim but alas, it failed to impress.

Let us fast forward 33 years. There is a new fad in town. It is called a Fidget Spinner. It is a plastic toy for kids to keep their hands busy. Are you kidding me? It is literally a piece of plastic that kids spin around their fingers. M has indicated to me that it is kinda neat but I am appalled.

She bought K one. I said when I saw it, no way in hell is T getting something dumb ass like that. His dad has agreed to ‘make’ one for him at home in the shop. Not sure if his dad is waiting for him to forget or will actually make him one. I do not care. I refuse to spend money on something this dumb. Which brought back the statement ‘If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you too?’ and I understand now where my mom was coming from.

T and his dad came to the store to shop yesterday. We had a conversation about the Fidget Spinner and how I most certainly was not going to buy him one. With a slight pout and whine T asked me why not? I did not use the statement my mom used on me but I did tell him that the reason why was because his interest would last as long as it did for his talking Elmo and Chuck the Truck. He asked how long was that? I said one day!

As I said one day to him, the statement if all your friends jumped off the bridge would you do it too? And I finally understood what my mom meant.

The Invisible Brake

I am sure that as every teenager passes into that realm of being a responsible adult by learning how to drive every last one of us….we have driven with our parents.

I am unsure if when a father teaches his daughter or son that the same things occur when a mother teaches the same children to drive. I will actually never know. My mom taught me how to drive. Kinda. I mean, because of her, I learned how to drive a standard. The rest of it, I learned in an automatic. Most cars I drove were automatics because well my mom did not trust me enough to let me drive her car.

When I was 14 we took a trip down to Texas. My mom allowed me to sit in the driver’s seat in a McDonald’s parking lot and practice shifting gears. Totally awesome right. I am one of those summer babies. So while all my friends hit their landmarks in school, I hit them all before the next school year started. (Try being the only 17 year old in your group of friends graduating, sober, boring and watching everyone else have a grand time) PSA Drinking does not lead one to have a good time. But in moderation and with good friends, it can enliven an evening and make for good memories.

So while all my friends were getting their driver’s license’s I was held back by my age restraint. And than the fact that the first time I went for my driver’s test, my brake lights did not work, second time I failed everything but the parallel parking aspect and third time is the charm. Got my license.

Alright, I have my license. Hey I even had a job. I was well on my way to becoming a responsible and active adult member of society. But mom, well mom had some issues.

The first time we drove together after I got my beginner’s was in the Kmart parking lot near our home. There was a lot of shouting. It was a Sunday. (This was before Sunday shopping was a thing, so the parking lot was empty.) I stalled a lot. Do you know, that really to shift gears is so easy, 20, 40, 60 and 80 and 100. Learned that from a boyfriend. Prob only good thing cause I don’t recall his name.

Mom yelled. I slammed on brakes. A lot. Not the invisible one. The real one. I stalled. She drove home.

Which leads me to this recollection.

One Friday evening mom is going out with the girl friends. I am going to babysit for one of them. Mom decides that I should drive from one end of the city to the other. Back in my day it would take about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes depending on how I hit the lights. Today, it would take us close to an hour and a half.

Hyundai Pony. A blondish gold color. Very basic. Had the radio on to my station. Yes, mom allowed me to have my radio station on. She sat in the passenger seat which underneath the glove box had a shelf that held the interior warmer. This is an item that you have when you live in Manitoba.  One plugs it in along side their regular block heater. This one though kinds takes the chill outta getting into a car in -40 degree celsisus weather.

The drive from home to the downtown area of Winnipeg is uneventful. It is twilight and I have made most of the lights so it has been clear sailing. Part of my route is a known route for it is the way we drive to my grandparents every week. Mom and me we are talking. Laughing. Having one of those really rare mother daughter (when she is a teenager) moments. Where all the animosity, the ‘you know nothing attitude’ the exasperation because well how do you understand a daughter who is nothing like you? That night mom and me, we were in a groove.

We are driving up Donald Avenue. This area is center downtown Winnipeg. It is a bus route. It is Friday night approximately 7ish in the evening. Traffic is enough to make mom a little nervous. So we are cruising along. I am doing all the right things. I am, for one, in the damn lane I need to be in. Two, I am watching all angles of traffic…..including the buses to the right of me. And yes, I am aware that the bus has it’s flasher on. Yes mother I am aware, I am watching.

Well mom had very little faith in my ability to gauge traffic. To this day she still grabs the door handle if she thinks I might be about to kill us all. First she says ‘Jay, watch out.’ I look at her and say nothing. (From the corner of my eye) ‘Jay-lyn do you see that bus?’ I glance at her and return my concentration to the road. Please note, the bus is 50 feet in front of me, edging out and I have already taken my foot off the gas because a) my depth perception is a little off and would rather be safe than sorry b) mom is starting to panic.

The bus swings out into my lane. There is more than enough room to spare. I am no where near crashing into and killing not only ourselves but the bus riders. Mom shrieks. I look at her in dismay. Radio is playing Bon Jovi. And mom slams on her invisible brake.

Her invisible brake? The shelf that held the interior warmer. She slammed her foot into that shelf like it was going to bring the car to a complete and utter halt. My head whips around and in a split second I gape at her than return my attention to the road. The bus soars off into the distance and four cars are able to slide into the gap.

I glide to a stop at the red light. And my head swivels to look at mom. Mom stares back at me. I cannot even ask the question. But I do. ‘Mom what do you not trust me?’

Mom looks at the the shelf. She looks at me. (and this is poetic license)

‘Onward Jeeves.’

**If memory serves I think there was a lot of giggling and accusations shouted in fun. I demanding to know if she didn’t trust my driving skills or what? And her defending her actions……’but that bus was soooooo close.’**

Apple…..Tree

I am a rather sarcastic person. My humor tends to be a little rough. Not quite as rough as fart jokes, but it can be a little rough. I make smart ass  comments in an aside to M all the time. Than we giggle like little school girls. However, I never realized quite how much T takes after me until last evening.

Soccer practice was cancelled due to rain. Rain had stopped but the fields were a mess so Thursday it will be an hour and a half practice. (Wohoooooooo) T and me are at home and I have informed him that he must come and help me with the dishes. All I needed for him to do was put the dishes away. First we bartered about how much money this was going to earn him. I informed him that at the end of the week I would let him know how much money he earned so long as he did what I asked.

This lead to a conversation of how unfair it was, that none of his other friends ever had to do chores. I responded with ‘I am not their parent, I am yours. And to teach you to be a responsible adult, you are going to learn to do chores. Do you know why buddy?’ He looks at me like I am crazy. ‘Because life as an adult is one never ending chore. I clean the house, I do laundry, I work, I make your lunch, I cook dinner, I do and do and do……with the possibility of getting fifteen minutes in at the end of the day, before I fall asleep.’

He stared at me and blinked his eyes before grabbing the cutting board and asking where it went. Our conversation as he put away the plates, the wine glasses, was the daily things all people talk about. Nothing you would attach significance to. Finally as the sink is empty of all put the cutlery I begin to wash the dishes.

I had been making a steak last week to a request of rare. I had never ever cooked a steak rare, I am a well done kinda girl. So I had my probe thermometer out and googled it to ensure I had the right temperature and score!!!! I did it. That aside, it was in the sink with the cutlery, stem pointing up so I cautioned T to be careful so he didn’t poke himself. He proceeds to take the thermometer out and spin it around the counter. By now I have washed my cutlery twice and want to rinse it off and put in other sink to dry.

‘Hey buddy, do you think you could take the cutlery out? Just grab it and put on counter. Than you can put in the drawer.’

‘Sure mom.’ And he does. Grabbing two pieces of cutlery at a time. Two!

I can feel my jaw clench as I grind my back teeth. Like seriously grab all the cutlery.

‘Dude what are you doing? Grab some more. Like this’

I reach over and scoop up all the cutlery and dump it on the counter. I look at him standing behind me and he is grinning from ear to ear.

‘Like dude, seriously why didn’t you do that?’

‘Because mom, there might have been something in there that would have poked me.’

And his eight year old voice took on that forced falsetto all men do when they are imitating women. Only he was mocking his mother! I stared at him for a minute as my brain tried to process the fact that my child had just turned my words around on me in the perfect sarcastic play that I actually envy. I played right into his clever little hands. (We all know he didn’t plan it; it just played out this way) I tried to glare but he knew I was faking as I hollered ‘why you little booger!’ T chortled with glee and I kicked him in the butt and we both laughed.

Honestly as I write this I am giggling away. He is so much like me that it is unbelievable. He is also so much like his father. And yet, he is so uniquely himself. This little boy, no not even, he is becoming a young man….the evolution is slow and I hope it will be good, but he is no longer my little baby. As funny as he is.

****I did not come up with this title. I stole it from a friend who said this to me after I told ’em the story.