Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Tell me a story……1998 edition.

April 26, 2012

This post brought to you by my compelling desire to write, and complete inability to do so. Generous people have given me funny, thoughful, and factual suggestions for posts. Click here to see them, or add your own. I’ll work through them all in time.

Winnie says: I’d love to hear stories about when you and TMD were first together.

I love this topic and will come back to it in future, but first my brain says: which story? Can I type after a day of two sick kids and a glass of wine, with TMD reading a helicopter book to Snort in the background?

I met TMD at the summer camp we both worked at. It was about twenty minutes from my home, and across the ocean from hers. I worked there for many years, in many roles, and every year we had a sizeable amount of staff from abroad. I don’t remember many of them. But I can say, hand over heart, I remember the instant I met TMD.

I had been at camp for a few weeks with the other managerial staff. These early weeks were to get things organized, to train managers, and to watch shitty scary movies and eat candy. The international staff frequently flew in near the end of our month of preparation, a few days before the local staff, because they needed to sleep and get used to the time difference.

So in they came – a group of red eyed, yawning, and terrified young women from around the globe.

The moment that sticks in my mind is this: We were all sleeping together in one big room. The international staff dragged mattresses into a corner and promptly passed out. But TMD? She had the biggest, brightest smile and she was Happy To Be There. She wanted to join in, to hear our stories, to laugh with us. I was really impressed with her. I can actually visualise her exact expression, which is odd because anyone who really knows me knows I can’t recall events that were apparently key in my own life.

That evening at dinner is the first conversation I remember having. We were having make-your-own-tacos and she was like, ‘Uh, what are tacos?’ At that point I thought perhaps she had flown in from the fucking moon rather than Country B, but as I happen to be a modest expert on taco construction, I regalled her with my knowledge.

We became very good friends, best friends eventually. In the way of camp friendships, you become lobsters with those people you work with – you are laughing, whining, playing, living, and working with a tight knit group of people for months at a time. The odd side effect is that often you never speak between camping seasons – but if you happen to see them years later? The easy love and affection is still there.

TMD broke that mold by sending me an email one day. She had the address of my blog-at-the-time, and I had been writing about coming out as bisexual. I had a lot of Very Serious Queer Pondering to do, and that’s mainly where I did it. She wrote and said she thought I was brave. I later found out that she went back to the first entry, written a couple of years before, and read every word I wrote. I think a little of my queer bravery leaked out onto her, and in fact I helped bully her into coming out of the closet a few years later.

But that’s another story.

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Two years ago…

August 12, 2011

TMD rolls me into Labour & Delivery at 8 am. My stomach is stretched out to my knees, my shirt pulled into a shape it will never recover from. I am nervous, but happy. Excited, and scared.

I walk into a different hospital at 8 am. TMD’s dad is there with me, reading signs and pointing the way to the ward where I’ll get ready to go into Theatre to have my pain injections. We walk up to the reception desk, and for some reason when they ask my name, I say it like this: Pineapple. Penelope Pinapple. The rest of the day the main nurse will call me Pineapple, and by the time I realise she isn’t saying Ms. Pineapple it’s too late to correct her. The other nurses realise my name is Penelope, but they are unsure of themselves as their boss is sure it’s Pineapple. So everyone starts mumbling my name.

I was told I’d be the first birth, but upon arrival I’m told there is an emergency case and I’ll have to wait. I sit in a waiting room for ages, before finally being shown into a private labour room. TMD changes into scrubs, I am stuffed into two hospital gowns. We begin to wait. And wait.

I am hustled into a ward and the doctor immediately meets with me. ‘Here are possible side effects: heavy leg, bleeding, worsening pain.’ There are more. I don’t really take them in; he clasps me on the shoulder and says, ‘You will be fine. You’re young and healthy.’ Nurses put hospital bracelets on both wrists, then add bright red bracelets to warn people I’ll puke if I’m even in the same room as Morphine. There is no waiting. I am moved seamlessly from one section to another.

I look at the hospital curtains, so different from the curtains in the rooms I stayed when pregnant. I wonder what Snort and Coconut are doing right now. I hope I’ll be home so I can spend most of their birthday with them.

Finally I am wheeled into Theatre. My epidural/spinal takes a record breaking hour to get in. I feel every time the needles jab into me.

Finally I walk into theatre, ghosts of that terrible pain from two years still lingering. Today is a day to begin exorcing those ghosts. I am happy I am wearing a robe, because we walked through the whole hospital and…hospital gowns? Ass flashing.

A needle is pushed into my hand. I climb onto a table and lay facedown, a huge x ray machine over my head. The doctor is asking for x gauge needles, red tipped needles, green needles – and worst of all? A spinal needle. Jesus. Still, I’m not worried.

Then he begins poking and I flinch and he seems surprised the seditive has done nothing. I get another dose. I feel every needle jamming into my joint. By the time the third injection site is reached, the sedation has properly kicked in.

By the time they tell me they’re going to take Snort out, unreality has flooded me. My body is totally numb, but my heart is so full. He is held over the curtain, in those seconds I gulp him in. A minute later Coconut is held up but all I see is her little foot. The memory is burned into my mind.

The whole birth happened so quickly; it’s over so fast.

It’s over so fast. I was in theatre for no more than a half hour – and that’s at the absolute most – and I’ve been jabbed and poked and prodded. A lot. I am asked to roll onto a gurney and pushed back through the hospital. I think about what I have learned: my back left joint shows much more wear and tear than the right. I am cleared to begin Pilates. It will take fourteen days to feel the full benefit of the shots.

I am rolled into recovery and I begin to wait. My blood pressure is low.

My blood pressure has been creeping up the whole pregnancy, but it’s never mentioned as a possible issue again once my son and daughter are with me. The waiting is over. Life kicks into a hugely high gear. There is no time for anything, not even eating. When meals are delivered, we wait until they are cold and then TMD spoonfeeds me, as I use my hands to cradle two babies to my breasts. I am so busy.

I am so bored. The porters kept me waiting for a gurnney ride back to the ward, and once back on the ward I am still held captive with no clothes, no bags. I am in a room with four other women, and we slowly begin to talk and trade war stories. Four of us are there because we just had needles of every size and description pushed into our muscles and joints. One is there awaiting a surgery. We talk, we laugh, we bond in two hours.

There is no time to talk to anyone, and I end up in a private room. It’s full – so full – of all our stuff. My bite sized snacks. Nipple cream. Endless nappies and tiny baby onesies. So full of stuff but so little talking, because, my god, THE PAIN. My SPD is so bad I need a midwife, or TMD, to grab my ankles, hold my legs together, and lift them onto the bed. I cannot walk at all. Standing is difficult.

A physiotherapist tells me it’ll take 5-6 months to clear up. I am relieved she seems so definite, that this pain will go away, but worried it will take so long.

It’s been two years since the day they were born, and SPD has been with me every step of the day. I’ve lived in constant pain, though the intensity has shifted.

I’ve had these injections, this day in hospital, and I know I’ll be back for the second round of injections in another month.

As I love these babies so hard, I already know I want more. But I wonder if I’ll ever be back, if I’ll have more children from my own body. The risk may be too great.

Still, after five (seven?) days in hospital, I go home with these people accompanying me:

After less than five hours in hospital, I get to go home. I am shaky and find it surprisingly tiring and difficult to walk to the car. But my eye is on the prize. I get to go home to these people:

One day, and my life is changed so much. I’m a MOTHER.

One day, and I don’t know if it will change my life. I have to wait and see what happens, have to get more injections and physio before we can see how things are. But it’s also been two years, two years of kissing baby necks. Watching them learn and grow without me needing to try to teach them anything. Two years of dirty nappies and triumphs ranging from the small to amazing. Two years to get from babies to walking, talking, wonderous children.

The pain of pregnancy was worth it. It is worth it, I think, as I sleep every night with them beside me.

The pain of pregnancy was worth it. It was worth it, I think, as I watch my naked children screaming in joy and chasing each other around in the garden.

Sometimes it’s that easy for your life to be changed.

July 25, 2011

I went on my last ever date with a boy a month after I turned 19…or 20, I think. I’d always been a serial monogamist, but I’d just ended a serious relationship with one boy, fake dated a gay boy, and come out as bisexual about a year earlier. Things were confused, so I did what many people do – I signed up for online dating. Within a couple of days, a guy named Eric contacted me and we agreed to go out for coffee.

He was fine. Attractive, smart…and blah. As I suffered through the first fifteen minutes, I wondered how I would survive the rest of it – and how long were dates supposed to last, anyway? Then my salvation walked in.

She was sort of the Big Girl On Campus. Not big as in fat, as she was wiry and lean. Big as in, she’s so so so queer and powerful and outrageous, everyone wants to be her. Or be WITH her. She came into the coffee shop with a few other people in tow, one of them a tall boy with brown curly hair and an infectious grin. This girl, being who she was, thought nothing of traipsing over to give me a big hug and interupt my date – thank fucking God. And the boy? The fabulously cute boy who just had an aura of creativity and smarts and fun about him? He followed her over and sat down.

We’ll call him David. (Previously referenced on this blog as ‘Opposite Gender Soulmate,’ which is actually a term David created to describe who I was to him. And of course in the magical moments of life, these things go both ways.)

Within five minutes, we were friends. I don’t remember what we talked about, only that it was easy and somewhere in the middle of that afternoon, Eric left the coffee house. I should add that this was all happening in early October, the gayest month you can imagine on our university campus. National Coming Out Day, days of silence, pride parades, pride dances….and that evening was a pride dance. My first big queer thing, actually, and I don’t remember if I was planning to attend or not, but Queer Grrl and David were going and asked if I was.

Curly Girl, my roommate, and I got ready later that day. I remember having a long silver silk skirt on, a skirt that later that year (or perhaps that night?) would get big stains on the ass from where I sat on the edge of a stage and got lapdances from David – and everyone else present.

How was my hair? Not shaved yet, but perhaps already the curiously purple grey colour I had acheived when I tried for a deep plum. Was my tongue pierced already? I was a very young queer girl, experiementing with how I thought I needed to look in order to fit in. That all went away at that dance – and now just because Queer Grrl was wearing an outfit comprised only of green saran wrap. It went away because suddenly I was in a space with other people like me.

We didn’t all like the same sort of pizza. Maybe we didn’t even line up politically. Some of us were genderqueer, some were smart, some were from other countries. The thing we had in common was that when we were outside of that room, we were the odd people out. But within that room, we banded together into a group of powerful misfits.

I danced in public for the first time – high school dances notwithstanding. Much dancing was with David, who was charming and disarming and easy to love. He leaned in and yelled over the music, ‘If I was straight, and you were straight, I’d have already proposed to you!’ I laughed and said I’d have accepted. And it was a joke, but it was true.

After that evening, it was a few weeks before we hung out. And that first time alone we wandered around a mostly empty campus and made up stories, talked about life, and – well. I guess he won’t mind my saying that in his tiny dorm room, jokes were made about his ‘used’ tissues and my used pad meeting up in the rubbish bin and a baby – Pad Baby – being conceived. It was that sort of friendship, that sort of family, that sort of ease. Right from the beginning, even in the parts that were awkward. It was how it was supposed to be.

That friendship evolved. He worked at my camp with me, he moved in with me, he was there during the year after I came out to my mother and felt like my soul and self was being shattered. We stared into campfires, we drank wine. We ran around imagining ghost stories and went to gay bars and had a lot of fun. We sat on our balcony – and when we weren’t running a weird hair salon out there, we were talking about writing and black spaces in our souls and Deep Things. We joked about creating a sex manual for lesbians and gay men who were best friends. He played his songs for me on his guitar, and I brought laughter back into his life.

I could write a million stories about David. I started this with the idea of writing about one particular conversation we once had on that balcony. One that seriously rocked my world and made me think and scared me.

But for now, I’ll leave this. I’ll leave the stories of the very in debt David, the boy who laughed like a maniac when he got a pre-approved credit card from a local gas station, who said, ‘If those bitches are stupid enough to give me a credit card, they deserve what they get’ as he bought us gas and food. I’ll leave the picture of that boy sleeping on the lounge floor in that ugly green blanket (sorry, David), or that boy sleeping in bed with me as I desperately attempted to avoid my unwanted girlfriend who came up to visit on the weekends.

I’ll leave it with saying that more than anyone on the planet, I think this boy-turned-man understands my exact experience of hope, of creativity, of disappointment. He also knows I am still trying, still wanting, still unsatisfied and longing to tell more stories.

And that boy, the boy I loved so fiercely and funly (I am allowed to make up words), that boy I fought with so ferociously, he’s turned into a man who sent me an email that said, ‘I want to buy you a computer.’ So this brief introduction to a friendship that has lasted about a lucky thirteen years now, it’s thanks to David.

What feels like a million years ago we rescued each other, and this last week he rescued my ability to keep trying.

Ten ‘technological’ facts.

July 28, 2010

10. I had a pager in the early 1990s. It was teal and AWESOME. My babies get their gangsta from me.

9. I only wear Baby G watches – preferably with plastic straps. TMD buys me one like every six years and I wear it until it is a faded brown poop colour, no matter what colour it started out as. (I need a new one, incidentally.)

8. Right now my first ever mobile phone contract is so overdue for renewal and I am panic attacking over which free phone to get. I don’t want any of them because they are crap.

7. I love reading reviews of technological things (or anything, I suppose). But it is a thankless job when every review of every phone I am eligible for says that phone is crap.

6. My sister is getting an iPhone 4 ’cause she is more gangsta than me, and mailing me her 3GS ’cause I am more poor than her. *DO NOT FORGET TO DO THIS, SISTER.* Once I have this new-to-me awesome phone, I give TMD the new piece of crap I am entitled to….’cause we are poor, remember? Don’t feel too sorry for TMD (unless you want to donate us a phone!) because even a new piece of crap is lightyears ahead of our old pieces of crap. It’s all relative.

5. I married someone who is somewhat of a technophobe, and possibly wouldn’t use the internet for anything other than her email if Farmville did not exist. I’m only slightly exaggerating.

4. My uncle worked for a certain top brand of PC for years and years and we had a computer when I was in third grade. That is long before computers were in the home, dawg. PC Junior in the hizzouse! Bouncing Babies! King’s Quest! (I used old school reams of computer-paper-with-feeder-holes-on-the-side to create mastercharts of where the wolves, witches house, and tree stumps were.)

3. We did not get cable till I was in fourth grade, which was long after everyone else had it.

2. I never listened to the radio till I was in sixth grade (possibly explaining at least part of the reason I had few friends?). I also never had a Whopper till I was in tenth grade. No, we weren’t Amish.

1. Me and my sista were ACE at blowing on old Nintendo games to make them work. Quick blow left, quick blow right, three fast puffs in the middle!! (Best game ever that also makes no sense? Mysterious Mansion! Though I also holla for Bubble Bobble!)

(four) Jennifer

October 28, 2008

We became friends at camp, vowing to remain virgins forever. Fast forward: you made my first alcoholic drink, we sang Reba songs, you fought with my sister. We laughed often.