Level One (sober, but the drinking has begun):

A variety of songs by Pink. “Slut Like You” will most certainly make an appearance towards the end of this phase – live version. “True Love” will be played and will induce the need in me to text my sweetie and profess how much I love her.

Prince, Twenty One Pilots, X Ambassadors, Fun.

 

Level Two, Part One: Tipsy:

Ed Sheeran takes a stroll through here. Beginning with “I See Fire” and wrapping up quickly with “Shape of You” before I realize I don’t actually like Ed Sheeran. Moving on.

 

Level Two, Part Two: Tipsy but in danger of losing the music buzz from the foray into Ed Sheeran (hey, sometimes we all make poor judgements when drinking)

Matchbox Twenty circa 2012 to get my drink induced swagger back on track. “She’s So Mean”.

Prince “Darling Nikki” . No explanation needed. Bump and grind in the kitchen. Not to brag but my kitchen chair is hard now…

Quick stop on youtube to pull up the BEST EVER dance worthy mashup of Van Halen and ABBA ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mdm9kISNgY you will not be disappointed, trust me).

 

Level Three: More than tipsy but still holding my own:

Enter nostalgia phase…54-40, Mother Mother, Madison Avenue and Joy Division. Realize absentmindedly that my collection of music may need updating – and that it is more than a bit bipolar.

Exit nostalgia phase… back to dancing. Annie Lennox “Little Bird” to the rescue. I am now able to reach a vocal range I have previously thought impossible for me.

“Whore” rounds it out and puts a smile on my face. I am now convinced that I can not only sing, I can dance.

Resist urge to search Ke$ha on youtube. This is my first hint that I may be more drunk than  tipsy.

 

Level Three: Drunk Part One: Techno indulgence:

Unidentifiable techno club mix of something from the ‘90’s that I used to teach Spin classes to. I really need to do a clean out of my music collection…. I haven’t taught in 7 years.

Club remix of The Cranberries “Zombie” (Tiesto version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Yn4Nr24ORE ); one of my standard running songs. Evokes thoughts that maybe I should go running. No. Too drunk. (See, I can make some good decisions while drinking)

Level Three: Drunk Part Two: No More Techno PLEASE:

Gay takes over. Dykeville here I come. Melissa Etheridge, Indigo Girls and “Drive” by Melissa Ferrick. Realize that my boyfriend who suggested I was actually a lesbian when I was 15 might have had more insight than I did at that age. ‘Nuff said.

 

Level “I have had too much to drink and need to go to bed but one more song….:

Sarah MacLachlan “Ol’55”. I am now a singing goddess and can hit every note that she can. With lyrics that include “lickety splitly” how did she expect anyone sing this one any way other than drunk?

 

*PS: Each drinking episode differs in specific music selection. Don’t judge. 😉 *

“I think I’ve seen you before.” She whispers to the reflection in the mirror.  

She turns away to dry her hands, pushing the thought from her mind. But she can feel her watching.

She turns to face the mirror. Slowly, reluctantly.

Leaning in close, she studies the eyes of the woman who is looking back at her.

The blue eyes (didn’t they used to be brighter, softer?) flecked with gold at the edges hold her gaze steady.

Unwavering. Demanding.

She wants to turn away from what she sees there. She doesn’t though. She stares back.

She wants to ignore the anger that defiantly glares back at her. Challenging. Harsh.

Still she looks.

She doesn’t want to swim the in the cold emptiness that lurks beneath the rage that she sees. (when did that grow there?)

Still she looks.

She waits. Squinting, looking deeply for more that she knows (hopes) must be there.

She searches for the spark that must be there somewhere (weren’t there flames there once?).

She blinks. Did she something flash for a second (or was it just imagination)?

Her eyes are a brilliant blue now as tears silently fall on her hands resting (gripping) the sink.

The woman in the mirror is an intimate stranger to her.

She turns off the light and walks away.

She slowly trailed her tongue along the rim of the shot glass, wetting it. She dipped it in the sugar and set it on the bar with a solid slam.

She reached below the bar, expertly handling the bottle and the amber liquid poured quickly, overflowing the rim slightly. The bar, sticky with remnants of the night shimmered in the neon lights that hung behind her.

She slid the shot towards the Femme who would be in her back room soon.

“Whisky Sweet.” She said simply and turned away.

We’ve all seen the words that accompany clickbait articles on our social media feed.it.

The words that tell us how much of our precious time will be spent reading the article, if we click. At first I didn’t think much of it. When they started appearing, it was something I barely noticed to be honest. Then i started to see it more and more often.

Two Minute Read.

Four Minute Read.

Three. Five. One. Seven.

Have we really become so busy, so lacking in time and energy, that we aren’t willing to commit to something that grabs our interest unless we have a promise of how much of our time we will need to invest in it before we even start? Are we really at the point where we have to choose so carefully how we ration out our energy and time?

When did we become so habituated to living frenetic, rushed lives that we can’t even click on an article without being able to decide whether it’s worth our time based on how much of that time it will take? When did this pace of exhaustion and burnout become normal?  How have we evolved to a culture that makes us feel like we are not doing enough until we are doing too much?

How many of us will admit to half-reading the article while looking at the page to find where the end is? Mentally and intellectually moving on to the next attention needing task before we are done with the one we should be focusing on; the one right in front of us. What happens is that each thing that is in our field of vision, either literally or metaphorically, ends up being short-changed. Whether it’s the fluffy article, the science journal or the partner sitting next to us as we nod and don’t really listen to the conversation.

Maybe the most important question though isn’t thew how or why are we like this, but rather, why are so many of us okay with it?

The answer that gets bantered about is that we just simply don’t have the disposable time and energy anymore to “waste” it. That our energy and time is so stretched to the limit that we have to be acutely conscious of how we spend it. Every single minute of it. It’s a simple explanation and one that makes sense. It’s also an explanation that begs the question of why are we not more concerned with trying to change that than we are with how long that article will take us to skim through.

There are books aplenty about grief and loss and how to process. Essays upon essays that muse on feelings and actions and how to navigate the waves. How to learn to surf and not drown in them when someone you love is gone.

 

Beautiful prose and poetry is written about the pain and hurt and eventual sunrise at the end of it all when you accept it and see the truth that the days do indeed keep coming.

 

But no one talks about the messy parts. The gallows humour parts. The parts when you just have to laugh and cry at the ridiculousness that is real life in the middle of the disaster of loving the dead while you exist in the midst of the living.

 

No one talks about the moments that make you cringe while you’re shaking your head and thinking “why didn’t anyone tell me about THIS!’”

 

No one talks about how you will do your grocery shopping at 11:30pm, just before the store closes, so that you can avoid having to come face to face with all the people who know.

 

No one tells you how to answer the casual question of “what’s he doing after grad?” from someone who hasn’t heard that he died 6 months ago. No one tells you that you will simply lie, saying “ he’s doing great” to avoid having to explain it – again.

 

No one tells you how much you will come to hate seeing people who don’t know. Even more than you may come to hate seeing people who do.

 

No one tells you how to cancel plans, made three days before your person died. No one tells you that you will leave a movie theatre 10 minutes into the movie to send a text to the friend you forgot you made plans with for that evening. Plans made three days ago. Before. No one tells you that you’ll stand there in the lobby, holding your phone and trying to figure out how to say that you can’t make it to dinner because your son is dead and you’re watching a mindless movie with your other kids trying to do anything that makes your mind stop screaming. No one tells you that you will ever send a text saying “I can’t make dinner because my son died.” No one tells you that you will not care how rude that sounds.

 

No one tells you that you will laugh out loud when you ask your other kids what they want to do that evening, two days later, to try to pass the time and one of them says “I don’t know, just hang around? Oh, sorry, bad wording.”. No one tells you that you will laugh because the reality of his bad wording speaks to a reality that is simply unbelievable and surreal.

 

No one tells you that you will start to wonder if you have lost your mind.

 

No one tells you that you will be so angry at the funeral when someone asks why you are letting his friends see him – in an open casket – because, “don’t you know it might upset them?” Them. No one tells you that you will be alright with the fact that you don’t care who is upset.

 

No one tells you that you will look back a month later and have no idea how you’re younger child got fed and taken to school and cared for when you can’t remember doing any of it.

 

No one tells you that you will drive yourself to the morgue in city rush hour and home again and be surprised when someone asks you how you managed it – and why didn’t you ask someone to drive you! It won’t occur to you that you shouldn’t have been able to do something as normal as driving because you did it. And you don’t remember even getting in the car.

 

No one tells you about how hilarious you find it when you buckle the seatbelt around the container holding your son’s ashes in the passenger seat after it goes flying onto the floorboards when you take a hard turn out of the crematorium’s parking lot.

 

No one tells you how sad you will be on the day when, years later, you take out his shirt that you kept because it smelled like him  – and it doesn’t smell like him anymore.

 

No one tells you.

grief doesn’t merely sit.

it resides,

it burrows,

nests,

settles in,

envelopes.

 

heavy,

weighted,

ever-present,

suffocating my

lightness of being

that it has replaced.

 

once a raw

shocking stranger,

now,

a reluctantly

accepted

companion.

 

always present.

constant.

a part of,

yet no longer,

all of

my being.

 

After a long labour of love – and more work than I knew I was getting myself into – the ebook of my collection of my poetry, Connect The Dots, is finally done and ready online!

Come along on a journey of life in poetry and prose. The highs, the lows and the spaces in between. Dive into what drives us, draws us and makes us tick.

Connect….The…. Dots…. is an immersive experience of words that explore and evoke.

Check it out anywhere you find ebooks 😉

 

Connect The Dots Cover

 

A replay of a favourite… in honour of last nights attempt to watch a horror movie without hurting the one I love next to me 😉

 

I am not someone that you want next to you when enjoying a horror flick.

As anyone who has ever had the pleasure of my company in such a setting can attest to, it’s not fun.

I startle easily and violently with my go-to response being to lash out. I strike, hit, punch, and grab whoever is nearest with lightning speed reflexes.

It’s actually quite impressive, I think. My companions, they tend to disagree.

 

Ten Truths I Have Discovered Through Horror Movies

 

  1. Any encounter with a homicidal maniac is always accompanied with either complete silence or stereotypical eerie, chill-inducing music. Always. (ps, this helps know when to cover your eyes when you’re watching, just sayin)
  2. Your odds of being murdered in a horror movie are directly related to your gender. Female equals kill stock. Males will go too but if you’re female, the odds are stacked against you. If you are pretty, you go sooner.
  3. The caveat to #2 is that females also have higher odds of being the last survivor. This may have something to do with point #4.
  4. Your overall attractiveness and bra cup size will dramatically increase the chances of you losing clothing during your struggle to survive the aforementioned homicidal maniac…and your odds of needing to run *bounce bounce bounce*
  5. We have gut instincts for a reason. Developed over thousands of years to help us stay safe. Why almost no one in horror movies chooses to believe the creepy feeling they have when the porch light goes out and the wind chimes play is beyond my understanding.
  6. The same stupidity and knack for poor decision-making that gets a person in trouble will also help them survive – against all odds, if they are the big name star (who is needed for the sequel).
  7. An adult-sized person can successfully hide behind a tree sapling.
  8. Forests at night are scary. Always. There are no helpful woodland creatures like in Bambi, just predators hunting you as you run at top speed through the trees – and somehow manage to not run headfirst into any of them.
  9. The concept of safety in numbers only works if you all stay together! Do not, under any circumstances, leave the herd to go get a beer. You will not be “right back”. But your body will be found later (accompanied by eerie music or silence – see point # 1 above).
  10. I should not watch horror movies.

It was the first day of middle school for me in yet another new school. Another first day that found me, as was now routine, being brand new and knowing not a single person. I never got used to it but by that point, I had perfected the art of not letting my painful shyness and anxiety show. I took my seat near the back of the room and tried to look like I was busy doing something so that my awkwardness and discomfort at being surrounded by everyone else reconnecting with their friends after summer break wasn’t too obvious.

A girl near me who was the only other person not chatting and laughing caught my eye and asked me if I had a pen to borrow. the teacher walked in and the room grew quiet just as I handed her a pen and said a quiet “here you go”.

“There is no talking in homeroom. Miss, you will be joining me after school today for detention.” Ms. Sage spoke clearly and loudly over the shuffling of bags.

Welcome to room 7-211.

I was mortified and I wanted to crawl under the desk. All eyes were now on me and I could feel the tears hot and stinging in my eyes. I had never had a detention before. I was a good girl. I never did anything wrong or got in trouble. Assignments were never late. My marks were always perfect. I never drew attention to myself. In one sentence, Ms. Sage had impacted me in a way that I couldn’t make sense of. With her words, she showed me that she judged me based on a split second and that glimpse of my actions was not in line with who I was. I wanted to argue and explain but that would have just brought more attention. So I sat and nodded, trying to make myself as small as I could. As invisible as I could.

That moment was a stark contradiction to how that year ended for Ms. Sage and I; and to this day, she most likely has no idea how much she affected me. For the good.

 

Room 7-211, named for Grade 7, Room #211, was my homeroom and the way our school functioned was that every morning, all students went to their homerooms for first period, which was 20 minutes. It was intended to be a time for students to be briefed on daily notices from the office, schedule updates and to get ready for the day essentially. But that was a blip for Ms. Sage. She would run through the sheet of information that was on her desk from the office in record speed and then we were to do silent reading for the remainder of the period.

Her room had two racks of paperbacks in the back. The kind of racks that were made of metal and that spun on a single tall rod. They were filled with books of all genres and lengths. No graphic novels (this was the eighties and it would be years before those came along), no comic books or romance novels. They were filled with novels that she brought in and changed out regularly. To this day, I have no idea where she got them all. Some had stamps from city libraries with “discard” written across and all were clearly used. Maybe she had bought them, maybe they were donated, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that from that first day when I didn’t have a book to read, I found a treasure trove of books I had never seen before.

I was already an avid reader. I lived in my books. I loved being lost in made up worlds and stories that were anything but my life and the things that I didn’t want to exist in, but did. Since I was a little girl and had learned to read, it had been part of my day so I welcomed the chance to have a safe, familiar thing to do each morning in a place where I was definitely not comfortable.

That year was magical for 20 minutes every day. Those moments lost in new found adventures were my solace and it didn’t take long for her to notice. By Christmas, Ms. Sage had started to walk by my desk every couple of weeks with a book she had pulled from the racks and she would place it next to me as I sat reading. She never said a word as she did this; she would simply put it down, pat it and nod at me. That would be my next book.

Bradbury, Tolkien, Asimov, Bronte, Fowles, Poe, Steinbeck. Frank. I devoured them, fell in love with them. I was mesmerized by the nuances of styles and imagery, by the different ways that each author crafted and danced their words to fill the pages. Her picks for me never failed to incite something inside of me that I hadn’t felt before. One day she dropped a book of poetry on my desk and yet another world opened up. We rarely spoke one on one and I never asked why she would pick books for me.

The last homeroom of grade seven and as we were getting ready to leave she spoke, her voice cutting through the chatter of the students. She looked at me and said “Please come see me before you leave.” I groaned inside. All eyes were on me and there was laughter and the singsong of “you’re in trouble” from a few around me. I gathered my bag and trudged to her desk. She was writing something and without looking up she said, “Go to the racks and you can pick out three books to keep.”. She never looked up at me but she smiled.

To this day, two of those three books still sit on my bookshelf. The third was lost somewhere along my years and when I finally settled where I live now, it was the first book I sought out and bought at a little used book store in town. It’s not the original but it still holds a place in my heart – and shelf – along with those other two. Everytime I look at them or read them, I think of her and wonder if she has any idea how she shaped who I am today with those few moments. Those books she placed on my desk broadened my views and sparked fires that I hadn’t known existed within me.

Thank you Ms. Sage.

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