Was he a girl?

This picture is the only one I have of my dad as a child. I once had more but they became water damaged and I had to dispose of them. My dad is the one on the left. With the blonde curls. He kinda looks like a girl.

My Amma (Icelandic for grandma) really wanted a girl. She had my dad and my Uncle. Did she try to hide my dad’s masculinity for the formative years of his life? Or at least some twisted boy-girl version?

The only children my Amma bore were her two sons. And she so desperately wanted a daughter. Ironically my Uncle had two daughters. My dad had me. And my brother.

I have a couple of stories about my Amma from my uncle. My Aunt was not a fan of her mother-in-law. My mom has different stories and me, well I was her favorite so my glasses are rose colored.

Every time I have a thought regarding this character I am building I write it down. Thus far I have only had the two but I am beginning to view my dad differently. Or rather the fictional version I am building of him.

I must not paint my Amma as an evil villianess. I can only speculate as to what happened in her earlier life. We have no real on her.

My Afi (Icelandic for grandpa) is but a shadow to me. He passed away 1 month and 6 days before I was born. Came home drunk and fell down the basement stairs. Broke his back. Died of pneumonia.

My Amma and Afi shaped my dad.

Were one to look at my Uncle, respectable, looked after his family, never abandoning them to fate, you would never guess the family connection.

My dad? He is not an enigma. Not when I take my own reality of him, my mom’s and my brother’s and meld them.

He was a drunk. He left his family to fend for themselves. Never did he think how his actions affected his children. His wife.

Even as I worked to lower my expectations of him I was continually disappointed. The once sympathetic character I saw is now evolving into one you would most likely disdain.

This challenge I have set for myself is intriguing. I originally thought this was going to be a tale of a father who abandoned his children. Who chose alcohol to be his companion.

And with the turn of a phrase I suddenly found sympathy. Today as I wrote I may have had a small pain in my heart because I do believe my Amma may have treated my dad as a girl for the first while. And she babied him.

The great thing about this….I get to make it all up. But at the same time I am going to pluck my mind, my mom’s and my brother’s for memories and stories. For I realize that I need a clearer picture of the man who was my dad.

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Whispers in my ear

Can you hear me? See me?

are you aware that I am here

the voice that whispers in your ear;

making you insane.

No one will believe you

no one will ever care

you mean nothing my dear

can you hear?

Daily I fight this battle

trying so hard to ignore the voice

the one that tells me all the time

how wrong I am on this earth.

I counter the voice within my head

list upon list of my deeds

I need to center and balance it out

or else I will lose my mind.

This voice has been with me for always

listing out how I am not worth-

not worth the love, the tenderness

not worth a moment of happiness.

Some days I am the winner

the voice is shut down and out

some days I am the loser

and I begin to doubt.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

August 22/17

 

 

 

Sidling Shadows

She moves like a languid lynx

slinking across glass littered alleys

tacky with the tears

of so many shattered dreams.

Hard and heartless, she has closed down

using her body as a commodity.

To survive, to entrap, to getting what she wants.

Unsure that even she knows.

Men made her this way.

From a father who held her too dear

to a brother she fought with fear.

From boyfriend to boyfriend

each one always the same…..

It was only the faces and bodies

that changed.

Women too had a hand here.

A mother who turned from her tears

to a sister who could only feel relief.

From girlfriend to girlfriend

relationships found growing in rocky graves

mistrust and jealousy….

It was only the clothes and hair

that changed.

No time for tears.

No time for love.

No time for comfort.

Delving into the underbelly

schooled in trash

she moves like a languid lynx

sidling through the shadows.

Your worst dream.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

August 10/17

Wishes

Star light, star bright

first star I see tonight

I wish I may, I wish I might

forget this wish I make tonight……

Pain

razor sharp

tearing through my heart.

Tears

chiselled darts

march down my cheeks.

Worn

wasted and blue

how do I get back to you?

We loved so hard

we loved so fast

and it all fell back.

You walk away

I crumble in fright

for losing you

is like losing my life.

I love with passion

with obsession and hate

with wicked eyes

gleaming in the night.

Whispers

winds in the leaves

tell me to take it back

and you shall return.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

August 8/17

 

 

 

 

T’s turning 9

My little boy is turning 9 on Monday, August 7th. (Just in case anyone is so lost in the summer that they are not quite sure of the date he he he) This is going to be a hard one for me as he is with his dad so I will not be seeing him. I lied. I just text his dad(at 6:50 a.m. on a Saturday morning) to ask him to rearrange plans so that I could at least see T and give him a hug and kiss.

T is not so little any more. He was born two months premature. Due October 4th and decided to arrive on August 7, 2008. We were building the ex’s shop and joke that T wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I was scared.

When I found out I was pregnant.

Bear in mind I was 35 not 25.

It is a kinda funny story how it all started. At work I had been complaining that my boobs were killing me. Everyone joked that I was pregnant. I scoffed. We had been trying for 5 years, were in the final process for adoption (where they did home visit etc.) but damn when my 3 lb cat stepped on me I nearly killed her they hurt so much. Clue number 1.

I could not understand why I could no longer drink coffee. I wanted it. I would pour my cup and set it down. Take a sip or two and than allow it to grow cold. I love my coffee. There is life in my coffee. And niceness. And civility. Should have been clue number 2.

It was our first new long weekend in February. For non-Canadians, the government decided that it was too long for workers to go from January to March/April without having a long weekend. So in February we have Family Day or as in Manitoba, the province I live in, Louis Riel Day. A long weekend. My ex decided to go snowmobiling. I was excited to have Saturday and Sunday and most of Monday to myself.

Got home from work and set the groceries down on the floor to be put away. When I heard the first growl I snapped around. Oh shit! Odin my cross Great Pyrenees x Collie x St. Bernard and Nero my Rotti were about to go head to head. And I was on my own. I screamed and yelled. I threw a heater trying desperately to get them to stop fighting.

I had Odin on the porch and was kicking at him. Kicking him, hurting him, something I swore to never do. I had a hold of Nero. Almost had the door to the porch nearly closed when Nero surged forward bursting into the room. Now I am in the porch, desperate to pull these two dogs, who combined, weighed 200 lbs to my petite 115 lb frame, apart. They are snarling, saliva is spraying and I am screaming and yanking at them.

Nero hit the stand up tool box that we kept on the porch. Sockets rained down. I was trying to get the door open, because despite the fact it killed me, I needed to get them outside so the fight could end naturally. My socks were wet from the cream that someone had bitten and it had flowed all over the kitchen floor. I was not aware of this. I stepped on a socket and down I went. Hard.

Oh boy. Now I was mad. To top it off, as I stuck my hand out for balance, I managed to stick it in Nero’s mouth as he was in mid-bite. By the time that my brain even registered that I had been bitten, he had already let go and was looking at me. My anger and frustration, fear and tears turned to rage in that moment. Rage that my damn dogs wanted to fight. Rage that I was alone dealing with this. Rage that I had been bitten! I slammed open the door leading outside and screamed at them to get out.

Stood at the kitchen sink washing the wound while screaming out the window for them to stop. The entire fight lasted no more than 2 minutes, 3 tops. It felt like an eternity to me. I got Odin in the house, put Nero on the porch and looked at my hand. Yep, pierced right through fat and oh my god is that bone????????

Called my girlfriend up and she and her boyfriend left the restaurant they were at before they even got their meal, to come and get me. Hospital here I come. They could not believe my lack of fear and stoicism as my hand was cleaned and bound. Heavy duty meds to counter any infection and I was sent home. With a doctor’s note, I was now off work for the week. (As an aside my hand blew up to 3x’s its size and I could not move it the next day, or the day after that.)

Up until this point my periods had been every 28 days without fail. So when I skipped the Sunday after that fight, I put it down to stress. By Wednesday, I was concerned and I purchased a home pregnancy test. Took it and began to clean the house. Completely forgot about the test for an hour. An hour people!!!! When I did remember in I went in to be presented with 2 double pink lines. The first thing I breathed was ‘Holy Fuck man, I cannot do this.’

Called the ex. Called the doctor for a second opinion. They told me to come in as soon as I could pee again. I drank two bottles of water and off I went. I was scared as shit. I had lost my daughter when I was five months pregnant with her. There has never been any answers for me as to why that happened. This was 15 years prior. I was in shock.

T was an extremely laid back baby in the womb. Rarely moved, when he did it was in response to my drinking a Coke (which I had stopped drinking years ago, switching to Pepsi, but he liked Coke. Or I had eaten a chocolate bar) Or when Patches the cat draped herself over my tummy and purred away. He liked that. He was not a fan of anything with processed sugar so I ate a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.

From day 1 I knew he was going to be a boy. Everyone warned me that saying he was a boy meant that I was having a girl. But I knew. There were a lot of differences between this pregnancy and my daughter’s. However, he had a strong heartbeat, when he chose to kick me they were good strong kicks. Yet still I worried.

Tuesday August 5th, 2008. I worked a normal day. Except I knew that something was off because I barely ate. Got home, made supper which I again barely ate and flaked out on the couch. I was exhausted. Could not keep my eyes open. Something was not right. The ex came in and I told him this as I was preparing for bed at 8 p.m.

Got up at 10:50 p.m. to go to the bathroom. Made it to the bedroom doorway when it happened. My water broke. Now I was terrified. I still had 2 months to go. And it just kept coming. An incredible sense of calm broke over me as my ex panicked. I dressed although by the time I got to the hospital my sweats were soaked.

At emerg I was asked if I was okay to walk down to admissions. My eyebrow shot up. Away I went only to be sent back to emerg 2 minutes later with papers in hand. The hospital is not outfitted for premature births so I was going to be sent to Winnipeg, if in fact my water had broken and I had not just peed myself.

That is right folks. The nurse on duty asked me if I was sure that my water had broken and I had just not peed myself. (Mom I love you and know you have mad nursing skills but I nearly decked this woman). Off I was sent to pee in bottle because well all pregnant women have to pee in little bottles for months and months.

Then came the test to ensure that my water had broken. This one a little more invasive and potentially could lead to infection. And they lost the first one. So I had to allow more invasions only to be told what I had already told them. My waters had broken. Ex was sent home to get me clothes to change into. Thank god I had my book with me. Although truth be told, I would read the same page over and over again.

I was fucking scared. T had been pretty quiet. I was set up on an i.v. drip to, I don’t even remember. I had no one to call. I mean yeah, I could have called mom or the bro. Truth be told, I wanted, I needed a girlfriend who would come running, hold my hand and tell me everything would be totally fine.  My ex was not really helpful in the face of an emergency so there I was deep breathing, trying to control my anxiety and wait.

I was taken by ambulance to St. Boniface in Winnipeg. By 5 p.m. Wednesday August 6th I was dilating and having contractions. Mom got a speeding ticket as she rushed to my side. My bro and SIL came to offer me encouragement. The ex’s mother showed up and wished she could go into the delivery room with me. Also made it all about her. The drugs were wonderful though. No epidural for this girl. No Morphine. They gave me Fentanyl which could be given right up until I went into the delivery room as it did not affect T. Epidural, I was pretty far along in my contractions because I had back labor, might not have worked. So why try?

Again my labor was fairly easy. My contractions were five minutes apart. Lasted a minute. The worst two I had, when T moved into the birth canal and his head popped out. When his head came out I was ready to quit until told all I needed to do were little pushes. Waved my hand at the doctor and informed him ‘I could so do that.’

I had been warned not to worry if T did not cry when he arrived. His heartbeat had been strong throughout labor. But when my little guy arrived and they laid him on my belly, he squalled and screamed. Tears filled my eyes as I reached down and said ‘Welcome to the world baby.’ And he grabbed my thumb and squeezed. 16.5″ long and 3.15 lbs. Six weeks in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and then he came home.

Flash forward nine years later. To look at him you would never know that he was premature. There have been no delays in his development.  He is smart as a whip. Funny with a sense of humor that rivals mine. (He also has a dirty little mind that I am working very hard to ignore) His sarcasm is coming to a fine point. And I am sure that by next year he will be as tall as me, if not taller.

And on Monday, August 7/17 my baby is going to be 9. OMG I just realized that next year he will be a tween!!!!! Will I keep my hair?

 

 

 

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. 🙂

 

Untitled 12

I use to think, to believe, that pain was the foundation

that happiness and flowers were a fairy tale;

Words I read on a page, that made no sense

trapping me in a whirlwind of pain.

As I grew and began to see the world anew

I realized your sickness, your disease

Alcohol, a vice to others

the voice whispering in your ear.

You hurt me, your inability to see

alcohol was your mistress but what the fuck about me?

Deadened to expectations, accepting only what I could see

my lip curls now in disdain, as I realize;

A man you were not, a father you could never be

a childhood destroyed,

never once an apology.

I spit on you,

your sacred memory.

I hope you burn in hell

accompanied by the demons

who damned you in life.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

Aug 1/12