Posts Tagged ‘father’

Things you should know.

November 12, 2010

One, I’m psychic. Last night/this morning I had a dream that we found the square piece that fits in the shape sorter. That happy bastard has been missing for so long I was starting to wonder if we’d ever owned it. This morning TMD said, ‘Hey, guess what. I found the square.’

One and a half, last year she was telling me all about some work conference she’d been on. I stopped her and said, ‘I am trying to listen to you, but I keep seeing the colour turquoise in my mind.’ She freaked out. Turns out she’d found a turquoise heart in her coat pocket that day, and had been holding it most of the afternoon.

Two, I’m not a nutjob. I swear.

Three, when I was little – and still today – I was utterly and completely freaked out by worms. On a huge level. I knew that when we fished, we used worms as bait (though my grandmother took pity on me and let me use pieces of bologna or corn). I refused to eat fish because I knew the awful truth: fish ate worms.

Three and a half, I also believed that squirrels lived inside green beans. Like, multiple squirrels per bean.

Four, I unfriended my father’s girlfriend on facebook. Her account was the way he accessed my profile – and pictures of the babies, etc. THIS IS HUGE. Clicking that unfriend button was HUGE. Admittedly there had been no ‘action’ from her/his profile in awhile, but I have been so freaking scared to finally cut off this ‘tie.’ It feels good. I feel brave.

Five, I’ve had a bad SPD relapse. This is due to a lot of things I won’t bore you with. But it’s been one week and one day of something quite hellish. I cannot wait for the blood to flow.

Six, tomorrow is Aussie’s son’s first birthday party. When were we grown up enough to have kids this old? Mine turned FIFTEEN MONTHS yesterday. I remember sitting in the pub with her, making comments about wanting to steal the bellies/babies of pregnant women.

Seven, I really need to get back on the enthusiasm and motivation train. The level of pain I’ve been in – coupled with my lovely pre-period self (argh, I’m a mean, tired bitch!) – leaves me utterly exhausted and down. I need to lose this weight. I need to write about when I gain weight rather than lose it. I need to be accountable.

Seven and a half, not to place blame, but things went down the shitter when ya’ll stopped wooing and hooing for my weight loss journey. You need to be held accountable. *wink* <— that was a fake wink to make you think I was being breezy about this.

Eight, I had to skip NaNoWriMo writing a few nights ago. I wanted to skip yesterday, too, but managed to do a day's writing. So as of last night, I was only a day behind. As of tonight, I am two days behind. I need to stop blogging and start romancing.

Nine, The Romancer is picking up speed and is more enjoyable to write.

Nine and a half, I still would prefer to watch Friends. Except every night when I finish writing, I am all YEEHAW and KABLOOEY and wetting myself with excitement. I put in the DVD, and fall asleep within five minutes of the show starting. I slept all last night in my glasses.

Ten, I am going to go all crazy cool and start using a Reusable Menstrual Cup, this cycle if all goes well. Prepare for posts full of too much information now. I foresee panic posts about silicone things stuck in my vajayjay, stories of how good I am at bearing down to get it out due to lesbian sexual activities, and blood spilling all over the floor.

Ten and half, night night. Sweet dreams to you, speedy writing to me.

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Guilt.

October 12, 2010

I wake up this morning, the first one up. My stomach is rolling and clenched. I tip toe to the toilet, getting quietly ass-sick. No doubt this is partially due to the 7/8 of a medium pizza I ate entirely by myself last night (which is no doubt due to my feeling like a terrible person after yesterday), but mostly it’s the picture of my sweet, innocent son floating in front of my face that makes me feel so sick, so guilty.

There is no way to say it nicely. Yesterday, while changing his nappy, I smacked him. On his bare bum. Hard enough to leave a red mark.

Committing these words to paper/blog makes me feel a deep shame, but not as deep as the shame I feel because I smacked my child. On bare bum. I have never done this, and so help me god, I will NEVER do it again. I have made a lot of bad decisions. I have lost control and screamed at my children on a few occasions – yesterday I held Snort by his arms and yelled that he was a bad boy. I have smacked tiny hands away from cords or electrical outlets or from ripping each other’s hair out.

I was raised to think it’s okay and normal to be hit. This apparently turned me into the sort of adult that, when really angry, apparently resolves to wanting to hit her own children.

It. Has. To. Stop.

The gift I can try to give my own children is to not learn the things I learned as a child. I don’t want them to feel shamed, or dirty, or like an animal.

I don’t want to be my father. You know, the fun parent, the awesome parent – the scary parent. You never know when he’ll go from being your best buddy to tormenting you, to hitting you, to screaming and shaming you. I am not him. I will not be him.

Please, let me not be my father.

So I sit here, eyes filled with tears. Guilt and shame in my heart, my two beautiful babies loving me anyway.

Ugh.

So: this is me. I am not always the fun parent, the relaxed parent, the loving parent. Sometimes, only sometimes, I am the monster I fear.

The borderline between professional and personal. Pun intended.

September 25, 2010

Please note: No offense is intended to anyone in the mental health community – whether that is a person with mental health issues or their workers, or someone affected by a family member – from this post. It is based solely on my own professional and personal experiences. I fully recognise I am generalizing by appearing to paint all people with a specific mental health issue with the same brush, and that is not my intent.

The thing about being a counsellor is that the skills never leave you, even when you spend most of your time hanging out in your lounge reading ‘Can You Moo, Too?’ over and over and over and…

I don’t mean to suggest that skills aren’t honed by experience, and that I’d be able to just waltz right in the consulting room and see five people a day after having such a long break. But the things I have learned, in my training and in experience with clients, stick with me.

Like, let’s take my dad’s primary mental health issue: Borderline Personality Disorder. This is like the personality disorder. Billed as ‘untreatable’ in some circles, and certainly it is very hard to work with people with BPD. It often comes hand in hand with other issues, such as alcohol or drug dependency. BPD itself also often means that clients are also self-harming, impulsive, etc etc.

But the main reason why we were warned off BPD so many times? It’s the problems with forming attachments and relationships. People with BPD can be really, really exhausting to work with. Even very experienced counsellors/psychotherapists might have their own personal rule of only having one BPD person on their caseload at any one time.

Its difficult to explain why to someone who hasn’t worked  – or lived – with these people. Maybe you can just take my word for it?

The other major thing that can come along with BPD is a tendency to see things in black and white, which is why these people (ie: my father) can have difficulties with relationships. For example, it is either all loved up and perfect …or a huge, festering shit roast party in hell. There is no in between.

Your girlfriend does something that you see as abandoning you? Well, obviously that’s a shit relationship and you hate her and you don’t fucking need her….but if she leaves me that will be so horrible i can’t be alone please please i need you and will kill myself if you leave…..but i fucking hate you. Etc etc.

Sometimes in counselling circles there is talk about a ‘parallel process.’ This means, in very simplistic terms, if your client is obsessed about money, you may become obsessed about money as you talk to your supervisor. Or in more easy terms – your client is fucking in love with the colour blue, so you are weirdly fixated on the colour blue….in supervision or with this client. And if you’re not good at sectioning things off in your head, the blue thing may leak a bit into your personal life.

And god help us if you already had a preexisting problem with blue, because working with this client will force you to reexamine your own blue-related issues. To question if your reactions to what they are saying are truly about the client, or yourself.

With BPD, I had some issues. Having experienced massive trauma as a child and young adult in relation to this disorder, among other things, I developed a curious ability to bear deep pain in my clients. This has worked to my advantage, mostly, though my old therapist and a past supervisor suggested I would always need to make sure I was taking care of myself – because I could bear to hear my client’s deeply traumatic shit meant I would hear it. People sense if you can deal with these things, I think, and consequently I dealt with a lot of people who wanted to go very deep.

This was a blessing, I think, derived from my childhood.

On the flip side, I seem to draw clients with (usually undiagnosed) BPD to me like a moth to a flame. On my counselling training, a pat phrase we heard a lot was ‘You get the clients you need.’ I agree with this….to a point.

BPD is very, very difficult to diagnose. It is not my place as a counsellor to diagnose. However, in one counselling placement alone, I had three major cases of clients with BPD walk through my consulting doors. None were coming to therapy about this as an issue – they were coming for other issues.  One particular person had not disclosed the issue during their initial assessment, and the therapist did not ‘catch’ it.

Oh, no, leave that to Super Existere, the counsellor with antennae 8 miles long for people with attachment issues.

The thing is, working with this person – even for the brief period I did – left me totally fucked up. I was going blank after sessions, unable to remember stuff. And the gut feeling I had in sessions? Very familiar. I was so upset by this person….who outwardly was certainly charming, intelligent, and someone I liked (I hate to put people in boxes, but again, this is ‘typical’ of BPD)….that I was reeling.

My supervisor said she felt I was in real danger. I sort of laughed. I said this could probably be explained away by my past history, especially taking into account that I grew up with a primary attachment figure who had BPD. I dutifully spoke to my manager at the placement, though. She did a bit of digging, and it turns out that this client had in fact been diagnosed with BPD by their psychiatrist (many of my clients also had psychiatrists), and…they had lost control in previous counselling sessions and their counsellor was at grave risk. Needless to say, I stopped my work with this client.

Because sometimes being a good counsellor means knowing when you are in above your head.

I don’t know how I got into a lecture on the mechanics of counselling, and this is feeling long, so cheers to you if you’ve read this far.

The whole point of this entry was for me to say that I tend to go all ‘parallel process-y’ on this blog in relation to my dad, only talking about the bad stuff. In real life, I am what psychotherapists call ‘integrated’….meaning I’m good at finding the middle ground, seeing things more realistically. It’s a good way to be, but it makes the necessary ‘black and white’ things difficult for me.

There were good things about my dad. I feel like I want to write about them, as part of a mourning or grieving process.

But actually, maybe I just needed to come here and say: I was a really good counsellor. But in counselling, I made a conscious decision to take a break from people with severe mental health issues (like BPD, for instance) and work with people who had more ‘ordinary’ problems – though often quite traumatic and extreme (because, again, I draw hardcore cases to me), but sometimes blessedly mundane.

I felt I was more helpful to people without severe mental health issues – maybe because the MH client group is prone to not turning up to appointments, etc etc – but also because I was making a choice to take care of me.

If I could do that professionally, maybe I can do it personally.

More than you may have wanted to know.

September 24, 2010

And now for something completely different.

Anyone reading for any length of time knows that I have struggled with whether to ‘maintain’ my ‘relationship’ with my father. I debated putting ‘father’ in quotes, but we’ll leave it for now. A couple of weeks ago a friend who reads this blog emailed me to ask what he had done, why our relationship was so screwed up, etc. She/he also said that they were trying to decide on the whole moving forward or calling it quits thing.

Since I’ve started blogging about this issue, I have been amazed and saddened by the number of people who have seriously screwed up relationships with their parents. I look at my own children and hope  that we never face any of these issues.

Fine, my kids might be embarrassed by me in front of their friends in another 10 or 15 years. Sure, they’ll want to roll their eyes at the way I do things. That’s all normal, that doesn’t bother me.

What is abnormal – though ‘normal’ to me – is that my father didn’t acknowledge my birthday. That doesn’t bother me so much (though that fact that it doesn’t bother me bothers me, if you get my drift), but what sickens me is that he didn’t so much as drop a card in the mail for Snort and Coconut’s first birthday.

Mixed with the horror of how anyone could not actively love my children is a relief. I want him out.

When my sister was a baby and I was about six, my mom tried to leave him. He put a loaded gun in his mouth – in front of me – and said he’d kill himself if she left. I have no memory of this.

I do remember the cruel mind games, the screaming, the hitting. I remember what the sound of my mother being pushed down the stairs is like. I remember the alcoholism, I remember him leaving us to live with other women. I remember how it feels to catch your father in the act of cheating. Somehow I think these are things I will not forget, though I know of other instances like the one with the gun – my mind cannot, or will not, recall them.

I told my friend about a few of these things, and a couple of nights after writing the brief email, I had a hellacious nightmare. He was chasing me, like a murderer in a horror flick, and I knew he meant me great harm. Worst, he’d been holding Coco by the head, and I grabbed her and ran seconds before he snapped her neck.

I won’t go into detail here. Much like the abuse that was my every day experience in childhood, those things don’t serve a purpose in this entry.

All bad dreams aside, all instances of recalling things beyond imagination aside, I can say my true nightmare is picking up the ringing phone one day and hearing my father’s voice. We’ve only recently stopped screening calls, but I rarely answer the phone.

My advice to my friend? One, follow your gut. Two, no decision is irreversible.

I wish mine were.

Life & death are more than just bookends.

April 14, 2010

I can’t live my life as a servant to death.

My mother just called to say that Blondie (my sister) had phoned her in the middle of the night. Something has happened to my father and he is in hospital. My mom thinks it may be another heart attack, and it certainly involved a new stent.  She said he is in a stable condition. Blondie tried to text me, but for whatever reason I never receive her plain old text messages.

My mom said that Blondie said, ‘Did Existere call him on his birthday? Did she do something for his birthday? Won’t she feel terrible if he dies and she didn’t do anything?’

No.

If he dies, when he dies, there is no doubt I will be supremely fucked up – for a lot of reasons. That being said, I don’t want to live my life pandering to someone who hurts me again and again, intentionally or not, just to lessen my own suffering when he dies. Life is too short, death will happen anyway.

Do I sound callous? I don’t mean to be.

But my life has always been about death. One of my first memories is my grandmother telling me that if I cried at her funeral, she would sit up in her coffin and punch me. She said this in a kind way, a loving way – trying to say that once someone is dead, that’s it. They are dead. She spent my whole childhood preparing me for her death. Sorting her jewelry,  telling me which pieces of furniture were destined to come my way.

I lived in terror of her dying. I spent my whole childhood with a constant prayer in my mind. ‘Please, God, let grandma and grandma and mom and dad and me and Blondie live to be well over 100.’ I would have this playing in my mind over and over and over. Every time I saw my grandmother I tried to get her signature. I would take along my journal everywhere I went, and was constantly tracing around everyone’s hands because it might be the last time.

Even now I am plagued by death worries. What if TMD dies? What would life be like? How could I ever survive if something happened to Snort and Coconut? Am I really going to die – but I haven’t chucked it all away and gone to live on a tropical island with my family yet!

My mother didn’t come to visit me when I moved to this country for years because my grandfather was very sick. She was afraid he would die when she was here. As it was, he did get even sicker just after she booked a ticket. But she came anyway, crying and upset most of the trip, and my grandfather lived for years after that trip.

I live in fear of death, and I am consciously trying to stop that. Despite my grandmother’s constant litanies of death and preparing me for it, when she died my world collapsed. I sank into a depression and just stopped going into work. I didn’t move off the couch once in about six weeks.

And here it is, 4.5 years later. My heart is still beating, I still miss my grandmother, I do not regret my life or hers.

But my father? This sounds cold, hateful even, but I am not willing to take the risk he may live years and years and years, and I will have to play nice and pretend my own feelings do not matter, just ‘in case.’

I wish him health, I wish him happiness. I just don’t want to be there at the moment.

That’s all.

Please help me stop feeling so upset all the time. I don’t know if I can do it alone.

February 5, 2010

Need to go back and reread all the comments you guys wrote about cutting off contact with your parent – particularly when you have children. To be honest, I was surprised there were so many other people in ‘my’ situation. Pleasantly surprised – not that I’m happy anyone else has a fucked up parent, but that the struggle I go through is not on my own.

TMD and I are in debate right now.

Blondie, my younger sister, just called. She mentioned that she had said to dad (makes me feel queasy to even write ‘dad’) that he needed to be the bigger person. He said he had not sent the babies anything for Christmas yet.

Hi, it’s February. What are you waiting for, the anniversary of their first Christmas?

Blondie said he said, ‘Well, Existere hurt my feelings.’ I think this is because he felt we didn’t really want to see or spend time with him. Well, why would he expect we would? We have not had a positive relationship since I was 13 or 14 and caught him cheating on my mother. Even before then, he was an abusive drunk who often moved in and out of our house. He hit me, he hit my mother, he ruined our family. (Thank god that family ended, though, because in Bear – my step-dad – I have found the father I always wanted.)

He wanted us to drive two hours to his house in massively snowy conditions with TWIN INFANTS and stay with him for a few days. Yes, like I want to pack up crateloads of shit, drive through a blizzard, and spend time away from my real family and friends to stay with people who I have no positive contact with.

Why would he feel he was owed that? I feel I went out of my way to meet with him, even offering the idea that he rent a hotel room so he would have a chance to spend quality time with his first grandchildren. His response? To yell at me, to tell me he couldn’t take a day off work, to tell me his partner wouldn’t be coming at all. Then to meet us for a short lunch, paid for with money he has stolen from us. Classy bastard.

We are debating all of this, and part of me thinks, What the fuck is wrong with me that 2% still wants to hold back, to give him another chance? How many chances have I given him? How many chances am I willing to give him to break the hearts of my sweet children?

I wrote this but did not send –

Sorry to hear your father died, but I do not understand why you did not tell me this has happened.

As a parent, Snort and Coconut are my priority. Every action I take impacts them. I cannot imagine a time when I wouldn’t bother to let them know something this monumental.

I think because they are my priority, I am also thinking about whether contact with you is good for them. This was their first Christmas on this planet and you did not even give them cards. I do not want them growing up the way I have grown up – you always sending my birthday cards late, if at all, etc. Never calling, never visiting, never offering any support in any way. They deserve better.

As their parent it is my job to protect them from hurt. They do not need a grandfather who does not take even a day from work to meet them, who doesn’t send anything for their birth for months, who does not acknowledge Christmas. They are too little now to feel rejected and confused, but they will not be babies forever.

So I suppose I am taking the responsibility you never did and trying to protect my children.

The bit in bold was added later, and then I thought, Fuck, what if the impossible happens and he offers to come visit? That is my worst fucking nightmare.

TMD said it sounded like I was saying, ‘This is what is wrong, and this is how you need to fix it.’ Leaving the door open, in other words.

So then I wrote this:

I have been thinking about what is best for Coconut and Snort, and I do not think you are it. Please do not contact us in future.

…But did not send it. TMD thinks the best option is to just never respond if he does bother to call. She does not like confrontation. To be fair, this is pretty much what happens anyway.

My sister gave him an ultimatum and suddenly he joined Facebook, flew out to City By The Sea to visit her, etc. I have given him ultimatums and they did not work. I do not want to give another one. I have cut off contact in the past and it did not work longterm, he just ignores that I have asked him repeatedly to leave us alone. But I always feel best in the months or years that I do not have contact with him.

I think he blames me for everything. He immediately put everything onto me – I didn’t go out of my way with the babies to see him, etc etc. He fails to accept responsibility for anything, or even understand why sometimes things are his fault.

To just ignore him feels to me like I am letting him win. Like I am giving him the easy way out – ‘Oh, she never calls. She never visits.’ It also leaves the door open because he wouldn’t know that contact was cut.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I am brave enough to really try to end it, and that is because of the babies. If they were not here, he would be out. The only reason he ever got back in is because he was so interested and supportive during my pregnancy.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Help me, even if it is only to say that you wouldn’t know what to do, either. Or to offer a virtual hug. Or to, you know, compose the email for me.

I don’t know why I am concerned about letting him feel he’s won. The reality here is that neither of us wins. The reality is how to shield myself from the hurt that is here again, because now he hurts me times three.

The next few years will be full of this debate.

February 2, 2010

Coming here in a bit of a fuddle this evening. Bouncing back and forth – am I selfish? Totally justified? Why the fuck is my ‘family’ so fucked up?

Long and short, my father did not bring gifts for the babies when we met with him over Christmas. He promised to send some. Here it is, the first of February, and not even a couple of cards for Snort and Coconut on this, their first Christmas.

My father’s mother also gave him money for me and TMD – no mention of the babies. Surprise, surprise, we have not seen the money. Now, I don’t really care about a small sum of money that much, but it’s the fucking principle of the thing. My aunt apparently saw a card when she was at my ‘grandmother’s’ house, from my father. He thanked her for the money for us and said he would use it to take us out for a meal.

So the one hour meal he spent with us? We apparently paid for it. (He refused to take a full day off work to spend with the babies, and his partner didn’t even come for the lunch.)

There was also no mention of the fact that my grandfather had two great-grandchildren in the obituary. My father never even called or emailed to tell me that he had died. He still has not gotten in touch.

This shit pisses me off, brings up every situation that has passed like this – a long line of disappointments and doubt.

I was used to the idea of never expecting anything from my father. In my early twenties, I can recall exactly one time that my father brought me anything but misery, guilt, and anger. Since that point, no. My teen years? Don’t make me fucking laugh.

My childhood? Oh, what a jumble. What a fucking borderline personality dreamscape – full of absolute terror one minute, laughter and relief the next.

It’s not about me anymore. It is about my children. Do I want to have to explain to them when they are older why their birthday(s) will always be forgotten? Do I want them to understand, far too early, that some people are not to be trusted – and these are people who claim to love you? People who have their blood running through your veins?

This year Coconut and Snort are too small to understand who the jolly, fumbling, disconnected fat man who briefly cuddled them is. Next year they will be too small. But time has a way of passing, and history has a way of repeating itself when people do not want to open their hearts. Is this what I want for my children?

I have not had a moment of pure joy with my father since I was very, very young. What is there for my children?

I feel like a heel. The man’s father has died, my father has never been capable of a normal human relationship – why do I expect change now, etc etc. I do not wish to bring pain into anyone’s life. I kind of thought, ‘Oh, what’s the harm. They’ll see him once every few years, he’ll be a kindly stranger, they’ll have fun on his boat.’

The proof of harm comes here, in the form of a 31 year old non-daughter, who still feels such burning pain and hatred and confusion. I want to stand between our children and this man, this selfish little boy, and bear all the hurt for them. But can I grin and bear it, not be true to my children or myself, spend the rest of his life making his excuses for him?

There is no point in reasoning with my father. There is also no point in confrontation, even when I know I can use my gift with written words to wound, slash, blame. I have done it before. He cannot hear. He is false promises and lies, he is self-centred and genuinely innocent (in his mind) of these actions that hurt others. He twists me up in knots, and I feel hate in the middle of my chest. It’s hot.

This is not something I want to feel. This is not something I want my children to feel.

Thirty facts about me/my life/etc on my thirtieth birthday!

September 5, 2008

My father has borderline personality disorder,
my mother went into labour with me
on labour day,
my grandmother marched in the first
union march in the
country I was born in.

I love buying journals and have trouble
finishing them. I have five holes in my
ears and no more hole
in my tongue.
I have one crown in my mouth,
no tattoos, and
a serious distaste of earthworms.

I’m 5’8, taller than my mother (only just)
and shorter than my
father. Once, playing under a sleeping bag,
I watched my sister swallow a
penny.
I met TMD in 1998, I moved to this
country permanently in 2001 (we can
ignore the extensive visiting in 2000).

My grandfather had a huge collection
of
Reader’s Digest books,
and he ate popcorn every night from
a giant wooden bowl.
He and my grandmother were
first generation in my home country.

I never thought about being
from that country until I moved
far away from it, and my accent and cultural
habits made me an oddity.

I dislike cutting my toenails (because it’s
icky, not because I want long claw hooks),
I’ve worn glasses since I was eight,
I lost my virginity when I was 16. My wife
has a killer voice
and plays the guitar like a dream.

I have never met my father’s side
of my family,
I have never met my grandparents’
across-the-ocean family,
I wonder sometimes how they fared in
the Holocaust, with all those
death camps sprinkled around.

I am not German or Austrian.

I’ve slept with more boys
than girls
but been with TMD probably longer
than all other relationships combined.
I’m a serial monogomist.

I used to tap dance.
I cannot do a cartwheel.

(I think I counted correctly. Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday in one way or another. The first fact of my 31st year: I love comments on this diary. It makes me feel listened to, valued, and like someone has reached out to make a connection with me. Love to you all!)

I always love making lists, particularly in journals.

July 10, 2008

As of today, I’ve been to:

Mexico – watched my father get my little sister drunk, snorkled a reef – sharks on the other side, secretly pleased when father accused by immigration staff of kidnapping my sister, had to pee really bad in the airport, had a lot of lime-flavoured stuff

America – participated in multiple roadtrips (alone and with others), got my picture taken with Jimminy Cricket, lusted after haunted houses, learned to tap dance

Scotland- camped on a mountain next to the ocean, discovered spinach goujons, went on many a ghost tour, was really cold, wanted to buy a certain church and live there, felt right at home, accidentally found Grangemouth, went down inside a mountain to visit a power plant

England – discovered that tides are not just a myth after all, felt non-mystical at Stonehenge, had some Real Good Times at various seasides, had a two week roadtrip with TMD, refused to eat cream

Canada – camped and camped and camped, had bears climb on our car, my sister almost got killed by a lantern melting her sleeping bag, Montreal almost caused my father to murder some French Canadian people

Belgium – had a midnight dance party on the side of a deserted road, had some coffee in a rest area, continued through to France

Wales – LOVED a certain forest (which TMD now informs me is not actually in Wales) and want to live in a treehouse there, freaked out at small roads, listened to an audio tour of a castle in Welsh

France- saw a lot of dog shit, went up the Eiffel Tower, rode le petit train, slept in the car, took covert videos of a friend ordering beer in French, inadvertently took my mother and sister to all sorts of shitty places, had an internal rage storm at TMD’s father, rode a ferry, stole a kite and flew it on the beach, was chased through the streets by a small Jewish man towing a suitcase on wheels

Sweden – got into a fight with Aussie via Crazy Bitch, froze, climbed trees, marvelled at the cleanliness of the airport, took lots of artsy pictures by the river, all three of us had our periods and diarrhea in the same toilet flush

Denmark – looked at a lot of cool things and did not buy anything because the purchase of one small McDonald’s fries wiped out my bank account, walked the longest pedestrian street in Europe, watched people ice skate, watched Crazy Bitch hold back Aussie’s hair as she puked off a pier

Ireland – wore a rain outfit from head to toe, TMD’s first experience of my mother’s public farting, hung out with my aunt’s old lady friend, went to the oldest pub in Ireland for dinner, watched people dance without using their upper bodies, touched Bear’s worry stone a lot

Northern Ireland – got into a raging fight the likes of which had not been seen since I was twenty, rolled down a hill, attracted the attention of men in boats, saw all the religious hate graffiti in Belfast

Italy – almost cried with joy when we found a falafel eatery, climbed a lot of stairs, hung out in parks and woods, tried to take a FORBIDDEN picture of David but was too chicken to do so, made out with TMD a lot, ate salsa and crackers more than I care to remember, am still pissed about the non-working giant hottub in the courtyard

Holland – got run over by a bike (luckily was so high I didn’t feel it), lived in a houseboat, went into Anne Frank’s hiding place, smoked a lot, went on a tour of the Heineken breweries (second time in my life I have been high and drunk, the first being after my senior prom) and had an impromptu dance party, tried to grocery shop and act like we were natives, almost got snowed in

All this from someone who did not get in her first airplane until she was seventeen. As I reread this little listie, one question reverberates in my mind: Why the fuck have I been to France so many times?

How do you say ‘bin’ in ___________? (Or: create your own family when you need to.)

April 19, 2008

Opposite Gender Soulmate (OGS) and I have been emailing up a storm in the past few days, trying to figure out the how, when, and where of intercontinental friendship turned same-city-friendship-for-a-week. He asked what we were going to do, and I pointed out that my city was about 600 times the size of his. I offered historial sights, walks along the river, touristy bullshit, gay things, our house, and on and on. I asked him what he wanted to do. I also told him that a hug would be the best.

This is what I got back:

I’m not going to plan to “see _______” on this trip. I’d need a lot more time and not be in work mode. And I also don’t want to spend like it’s a vacation. But fortunately company pays for my food, so that will free up a little bit of my own money for some sightseeing and adventure.

I think it might be nice to go walking in your favorite places. Learn about what your life is like. See gay things. Have a good meal or two. Remember the first day we hung out in [university]? Lunch and then lazy walking around and frivolous shopping and getting to know each other… let’s do that.

A hug will be wonderful!

I remember that first real time we hung out, and how magic it felt. Like walking right into someone else’s heart, and letting him into yours, and just instantly being comfortable. I remember his flip-flops and his made up stories about a trailer trash girl named Amber. I remember how hot it was, how good it was to laugh so loudly. Instant friendship, just add water.

I remember that I needed to change my pad (all stories go back to poop or periods, don’t they?) and put it in his garbage can, and he told me that the tissues he’d ‘used’ earlier were in there. The possibility of a Pad Baby seemed too good to not share, even with someone I’d talked to for less than 24 hours. When he was more amused than grossed out, I knew I’d found what Anne of Green Gables would call a kindred spirit.

I’d like to meet him at the airport with a sparkly sign, but like all good friends, it’s just not needed. It’s been a long time since I saw this boy, and I suppose now he’s a man. A long time since I met this boy-man, since he strummed his guitar, since we Powered Through on novels, since I cried about my mother’s rejection of my sexuality.

This boy was with me when I had no one else – except Cookie – and he was the first person to tell me that my upbringing, particularly my relationship with my father, just wasn’t normal. He took me to fireworks at his house, I took him to the most special place on earth to me: camp. He became a Girl Scout as I evolved ever more as a queer girl.

We lived together in that apartment with the wonderful balcony and potato maggots under the microwave. He slept on the floor under a velour light green blanket, scaring the shit out of me on several occasions. I forced him to drive me to class. We lived a life of driving across the street to buy all of our meals at a cheap gas station fast food restaurant. Him, me, Super Fly Gay Boy, and Ex-Girlfriend shared that space together.

A clear shower curtain and a pink sex toy named Jimbo.

And next Sunday, he will see this new city I live in, this new country I am part of. Old and new coming together, and I can’t wait.