Small Forks

I have an unreasonable dislike of small forks. Not just any small forks, just the ones I own. You may even say, I hate them for the feelings they invoke in my spirit.

Let me attempt to explain how my head sorts through just one of many things that courses through it on an hourly basis, and then I’ll leave it to you to imagine how every basic element of my life goes through these types of thought processes…times 100. Daily. Exhausted yet? I am.

Let’s say you purchase a set of utensils and organize them in a drawer, waiting for an occasion to set the table with style and flair. My small forks are hidden. Why don’t I get rid of them? I don’t know, when am I ever rational?

I remember a time in my life when I would see my small forks and only be reminded of the lessons we learned from a debonaire and toupee’d Hector Elizondo in “Pretty Woman.” We all knew if given the opportunity to attend a formal event, we would know exactly which utensil will be used for what based on the placement on the table. What a gloriously naive time in my life. I often wish to go back there.

For the last 5+ years, small forks are a tangible representation of my depression. Weird, huh?

How I’ve dreamed of this elaborate romantic table setting for two where I’d prepare decadent meals for my beloved. You have no idea how much I love to be domestic when given the opportunity. I would give anything to spoil a man regularly. It’s not something I tire of, it’s something I love to do. I LOVE IT. I can make my own money and bring home my own bacon, but let me crumble that salty delight over the cream sauce I made from scratch enveloping the baked chicken atop the seasoned noodles…..for you. Let’s share this dessert I baked from an old family recipe – one plate, two small forks.

FORKS - 2b

At some point, those small forks would be the utensils for those tiny humans with my smile and his ears. They would need to use these because the larger forks are difficult to maneuver with such short fingers. They would help set the table at this point in their chubby-legged lives; each one having their own small fork they use for every meal. Maybe we’ve marked them by this point because we’ve learned the sibling rivalry at meal time isn’t worth it. Over the heads of our babes, we’d steal a glance and half-smile at the memories of those small forks in our courting years. The incredible salads we ate & desserts we fed each other using them; the joy of those moments almost eclipsed by the absolute bliss of the family we have now despite the many hardships relationships face. We prevailed and look! Look at what we made.

You see, small forks aren’t just four mini-tined metal objects I toss into my utensil organizer that’s stuffed in my kitchen drawer. A depressed mind can project these unrealistic expectations and importance on things you’ve probably walked by/used/ignored/had collecting dust in your everyday life. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t take a peek where I’ve hidden those small forks. For the way I loathe them as this glaring reminder of what I feel is missing in my life; there’s also an imperceptible nudge, just behind my heart that feels too much, that one day believes I’ll need some masking tape & a Sharpie to distinguish between them.

Hmmm…maybe.

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I Always Hope You’re Well: A (very) Short Story

These five words made me breakdown on Saturday night. I don’t know if you have one of these, but I’m convinced everyone does: that one friend you don’t see often, but they’re one of your mains. They know all of your demons and always pop up when you need them most even when you’re not looking for help.

This past weekend, my friend stopped by my place to bestow some season’s greetings and also say bye before his annual trip abroad to volunteer with children.  Now, those who know me know how difficult it is to get into my home. My own parents have to plan this out with me almost weeks in advance. I don’t know why this is a product of my social anxiety and depression, but it’s one of the main things I’m working on with my counsellor. I need to let people in. Somehow, this dude lets himself in, metaphorically &  physically-speaking. He never really asks to come over, he just says he’ll be coming to town. I’m forced to sit in my uneasiness and prepare for the impending visit. He’s never pushy, it’s just the unspoken/unwritten deal we have, I guess. The visits aren’t long, but they are some of the most nutrition-filled for my soul. We catch up, we vent, we share, we listen, we sit in silence. Neither of us will say anything to make things “better,” but just having someone to tell it to is exactly what’s needed.

When he leaves he always gives proper hugs. (Yes, there are right and wrong ways to hug and the explanation will be a later post.) There’s nothing sexual, suggestive or romantic about it. It’s all-encompassing. There’s a transfer energy I didn’t know I was lacking. He doesn’t speak during, he doesn’t pat my back in quick succession to indicate “that’s enough;” he simply provides something sturdy for me to hold on to when I’m feeling effing weak. He gives me a momentary sense of security I’m missing in my life. He makes it okay for me to let my guard down. I don’t have to be the independent, mature adult who’s the great pretender. I get to be the girl I hide in the presence of company; who doesn’t know what the f*ck I’m doing & wishes I had the love and support from someone special in my life.

Love & Other Drugs

Before he let go, he quietly said, “I always hope you’re well.” That was it for me. Those five words. My breath simultaneously whooshed from my lungs & caught in my throat. Such an innocent sentiment. I hope the sound that came from me signified an adequate “thanks.” And then he was gone. A whirlwind visit that fed my malnourished, emotional belly.

I’m only human. A damaged one at that, so the tears flowed freely when he was gone. A much-needed seasonal cry.

We have to remember for all the talking we continue to do, our brains exhaust us with the good fight. We should never feel guilty for taking some time just for ourselves. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that especially at this time of year.

That’s the end. I just wanted to get it off my chest.

Here’s to 2015, a brand-new year of self-help, self-love & self esteem.  I hope we remain well, my loves.

The Truth About “How Are You” For The Depressed

DISCLAIMER: I’ve had an incredibly tough few weeks so I figured this was a good time to schedule this post

This is a post painted in the broadest strokes with the most luxurious brush.

You don’t give a damn about how I am. You don’t. And I’d respect you more if you didn’t ask at all. Let me explain…

I don’t lie. I don’t sugarcoat. I don’t pussyfoot. I don’t say anything I don’t mean. If you cut your hair, and I don’t like it, I won’t join in with the chorus of sheep exclaiming “what a change!” or “I can’t believe you did it!”  Do you see how none of those are compliments? That’s because you look stupid and we don’t know why you thought the “Kate Gosselin” was for you. Absolutely no one understands.  But instead of filling the empty space of your hairdressing mental lapse with awkward exclamations of non-positivity, I will continue to read my book. Or eat my snack. Or walk away. I never want to intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings so I’m not going to pretend like your Sonic the Hedgehog chic is on point.

Now, if your frost-tipped head approaches me and pointedly asks, “What do you think?” Like, the “how are you” question I’m about to explain, you need to be ready for the truth. “I don’t like it and I don’t know why you’d make this decision. Who are your friends and how did they let this happen?” That’s for starters.

NOW, back to the conversation at hand.  The dreaded “how are you.”

GIF - Liz Lemon

I’m rarely fine. I’m rarely ‘doing well’ unless you caught me after a breath-stealing sip of a particularly cold, carbonated beverage OR a freshly fried pile of bacon I’ve let tumble gingerly onto a Bounty’d covered dinner plate drizzled with syrup.  These are actually two of the ONLY times, you’ll get a universal thumbs up on the how-I’m-feeling-in-life scale.  And even that is rocky because your question interrupted the flow of flavours and fizz, so I may instantly hate you forever. I may counter your question with one of my own, “How dare you?”

In general, if I’m asked how I am, I will answer honestly with how I am. Because that’s how words work.

Humans: “Good morning, how’s it going?”

Me: *shrug with slight smile to acknowledge I heard them but don’t care to elaborate* (BECAUSE I KNOW THEY DON’T WANT THE TRUTH AND I AM TRYING TO SPARE FEELINGS)

Humans: “Ah! Good weekend then, eh?”

Me: “Nope.”

Humans: *head tilt* “That’s awesome!” 

WHAT?! You weren’t even listening to the conversation YOU started.  My other favourite situation is:

Humans: “Good morning, how’s it going?”

Me: *shrug with smile…blah blah blah*

Humans: “Ah! Good weekend then, eh?”

Me: “Nope.”

Humans: *sputter sputter* Automatically recoils and takes offence.

Somehow, I should’ve psychically realized they didn’t want to know how my weekend actually was. They just wanted to make idle chit chat OR they wanted me to ask them how THEIR weekend was, which I rarely do because I don’t care. I honestly don’t. I’m not trying to be rude, but if you went to your cottage/got a manicure with your mom/were proposed to/fell down a well…unless we’re family (this includes my closest friends), there is no less I could care. I have a black heart and you have to be hella important to work your way in.  But I digress…

I could be less abrasive; that’s not lost on me but I. don’t. care. At least not at this point of my life, I just want to live my life and listen to my music and eat my food and try to blend in……to the walls so you LEAVE ME ALONE.  My mood doesn’t change. I answer the same way, every time, every day of every week so stop being surprised when I’m still not “o.k.”

So if you want to know how a depressed person is and you ask them and they tell you the truth, “I stayed in bed all weekend because the weight of the world has taken up residence on my shoulders with no immediate plans to vacate despite my many gentle requests…” We aren’t saying these things as a cry for help or to get attention or make you uncomfortable, we’re simply answering the question. Because we’re unfeeling. Literally void of emotion so it doesn’t sound dramatic to us; it’s life.

If your only goal is to pass time while you settle in for the work day/forced to stand next to me on public transportation because we happened to bump into each other in the line to the bus and you see I’m not removing my ear buds, then just tell me about your weekend, let me smile in silence and let’s both agree that’s enough. We’re works in progress, just give us some time……to dethaw.

…..next week will be better.

OPERATION: TORONTO ROMANCE

This was a particularly difficult long weekend. I was able to be minimally social for a Sunday BBQ but walking home, I felt all things weigh down on me. By the time I was through my front door, it was a struggle to even get to my room. I sank into bed, fully dressed, and couldn’t get up until Sunday afternoon.  Things didn’t improve too much; I was in the fetal position on my couch watching a “CHOZEN” marathon on FXX.

I cannot explain why I’m overwhelmed by these feelings but that’s half of the fun of depression, ain’t it? One of the many things on my mind, which I’m sure aid in my dark days, is trying to pinpoint when I fell out of love with my city. I remember the absolute euphoria when I knew I’d be travelling to Toronto, by myself. All the things to do, to see, to eat…especially to eat.  But not anymore! 

Here’s my plan: I’ve made a list of the main things always swirling in my m’mindgrapes and I’mma tackle them one at a time.

First on the list is winning Toronto back. It seems every time I want to do something, I’ve been there and done that a hundred times. I’ve become redundant & haven’t been truly open for change. Has our relationship become so strained we may never get back to the way we used to be? I don’t know but I think it’s worth the fight to try again.

I’m going to invest in a cruiser and helmet and take to the streets this entire summer getting to know my bae again. We’ve both changed so much, it’s best to start from scratch. I don’t want to go to the museum or a movie theatre or any of that. I want to picnic in places that aren’t Trinity Bellwoods or Cherry Beach. I want to discover new areas of town on my bike with breathtaking scenery. Mom & Pop shops with the best gelato? I wanna be IN you. I want to take myself out for an amazing dinner on a patio where I can look into Toronto’s face without distraction. I want to remember how beautiful it was and see how getting older has made it more glorious now. I’m asking all my lovers & other strangers to leave suggestions in the comments section on their favourite non-mainstream things to do and places to be. My goal is to experience as many of these as I can. 

THE PLAN:

1) Create comprehensive list of things to do in Toronto

2) Do the things on the list

3) Toronto and I fall in love again

4) Cross issue off list

5) MOVE DA FUQ ON!

I hope you help me, help me. I’ll accept suggestions until JUNE 20TH. The success of my summer romance depends on it. I strongly believe this; I can’t do it without your help.

We were once so happy together.

We were once so happy together.

 

 

#BellLetsTalk Should Happen Everyday…

The only time I keep things to myself is when it involves someone else; I’ll always respect the privacy of others.  But other than that, I’m an open book. Some may say I’m too open; I don’t consider this a fault.  Since this concerns only me, let’s rap:

Social anxiety & depression are very real things that affect so many people in your life. I’m not ashamed of it; I’ve had to live with it for a long time. When or how did it start? I don’t know exactly when but it’s steadily become worse the older I get. It really doesn’t take a doctor to sit me down for weeks, ask me the same questions over and over to determine that something wasn’t, and currently isn’t, quite right. Seriously. I can barely remember a time when the scales weren’t stacked so high on the wrong side of my imaginary world problems. Living a life I can only describe as “coping” is not a life, especially when THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY LIFE.

Depression turns us into master illusionists.

Depression turns us into master illusionists; it never lets us frown in public.

History lesson: I was hard of hearing as a child; my parents thought I was being stubborn until my doctor told them. I’d attribute how late in life I began speaking to this. I’ve always been extremely shy and read A LOT of books. I still find comfort betwixt the pages of a novel. When I finally began speaking, I had a lisp and my father would relentlessly point it out.

He thought it was cute, I was horrified by it.

I practiced speaking by myself, locked away in my room,  so it would just go away.  My parents and brother are probably the only ones who can still see/hear it because they’ve known me my whole life but I don’t think many other people were the wiser. This was very important to me.

I’ve never liked a spotlight on me (I, somehow, worked my way out of most speeches & class presentations so I wouldn’t have to stand in front of a room of my peers). It almost goes against everything I present to the world. I’ve always loved clothes as an expression of who I am, the things I like, my personal interests. I started doing this so no one would ask me questions – they could look at me and know what they needed to know and I wouldn’t have to talk to strangers. A well-put together outfit is my suit of armour; I’m protected.  The double-edged sword is when you look relatively stylish (which are terms I wouldn’t use about myself until much later in life), people comment. People want to chat about it in-real life; bright colours, interesting patterns and texture attract eyes and there are so many times I wish the ground would swallow me whole so I can just be by myself forever with my beautiful clothes. This is one of the many everyday fights I have with myself before I leave my home: should I wear this so nothing can hurt me or should I change because people will look at me?

These everyday fights are exhausting & unyielding. Eventually m’mindgrapes collapse and I fall into the space I’m in now at this exact moment. This vicious cycle causes bouts of spontaneous crying over the course of the day because everything seems overwhelming. My emotions revolve around the same life fears every single time; things I have zero control over.The thought of ALL OF THIS throws me deeper into my personal blackhole. These intense feelings are bullies; they trip me when I’m not looking and continue to unleash while I’m writhing on the ground. With each blow to my head and heart, I feel more of myself shatter into pieces so small I can’t find them all to put back into the vacant spaces of my battered shell. These feelings are mine; I created this monster so I must destroy it.

I’ll need courage and strength so when I’m knocked down again, I’ll bruise but I will not break.

Still coping and always trying,

#JaBG