let us out

Listen. We get it. We do.

We know: you or someone you love is immuno-compromised in some way and you really need us to take this #covid-19 thing seriously and #staythefuckathome. Please know that we are taking this seriously, we are aware of how quickly this thing “goes viral” as it were, and we know the possible severity of the illness. No one is minimizing your concerns; not trying to down-play anything; trying to follow the guidelines as best we can. I just need you to think about some other things for a minute.

You have probably seen the tweets, maybe even shared the memes about the appalling fact that millions of school-aged children may be losing their one main daily meal now that most schools have closed. There are groups popping up all over the place to help those who experience this kind of food insecurity; local restaurants offering sack lunches, mom groups cooking casseroles, etc. We all know that even these types of kindnesses will be ending soon, and that’s worrisome for sure.

What’s also worrisome is the fact that people are being bullied, judged, shamed, and threatened for meeting up with their neighbours or allowing their children to see friends; for heading out for groceries or taking their dogs for a walk. For years we have been getting pummelled with reports and studies showing us that “online” connections aren’t what we should be encouraging for our children. We have been bullied, shamed, judged, and threatened by “better” parents who limit screen or gaming time and force their kids to interact face-to-face vs. face-timing. It’s like we just can’t win. For some parents, and for some children, this current situation of self-isolation is not a viable option. Really.

I sit on the Equity Committee at my son’s school. Our biggest concern is the mental health and well-being of our students; we need to build and foster a sense of belonging within our school community. Teenagers are not doing well, y’all. Even if they have a “happy” home life, they are feeling burdened and stressed. They are lost, they are scared, and they are depressed. They are anxiety-ridden. Existential angst among 12-19 year-olds is a real thing. Nihilism is creeping in at ever younger ages. And let’s not forget, not everyone has a “happy” home life.

There are a good many kids for whom home is not a happy place, or even a safe one. What if school is the only place a child has a sense of belonging? What if their group of friends is the only real family they have? What if their English teacher or school social worker is the only adult in their lives that they can trust? What if a student’s friendship with the school custodian is the only thing keeping both of those people going? What about those kids who come to school to get a couple of hours of sleep because it isn’t safe to do so at home?

We don’t know how long this pandemic will last. Provinces, states, and countries are declaring us to be in a state of emergency. Moms and dads who are barely keeping it together on their best days will be unable to do so indefinitely. Parents who are already stressed about financial issues or worry about their job security will have those anxieties hit overdrive. Families who face food insecurity on a daily basis may fall into despair and feel nothing but hopelessness. Being in forced isolation or quarantine may make it exponentially more difficult to distract yourself from your worries or put your coping skills into play.

My mother, at 92, is more active and has a fuller schedule than many people half her age. On Mondays she has her writing group (cancelled), on Tuesdays she goes singing (cancelled), on Wednesdays she volunteers at the seniors’ rec centre (closed), on Thursdays the home nurse comes to help with her shower (so far still on). Fridays are “weekend” or her day off, and on the weekends she usually visits friends in care homes (closed) or goes to the cinema (closed) or concerts (cancelled). She is keeping herself busy with crosswords, youtube, facebook, phone calls and e-mails. She’s not bored yet, but enjoyment from those things will only last so long. She lives a two-hour drive from us and I don’t know whether I should go see her or not. I certainly don’t want to expose her to any germs, but loneliness is a bitch and I know it will set in soon.

There must be a happy medium. I think there is, I believe we can all survive this without passing germs and without going bat-shit crazy. And so, when I went for a walk yesterday and saw some neighbours sitting on their porch, I stopped and talked. Yes, we stayed 6 feet apart; no, we didn’t sip from each other’s wine glasses. When BoyGenius’ friends rode up to our house on their bikes and tried to entice him out I sent him; between the four of them these kids are dealing with anxiety, depression, self-harm, low self-esteem, a parent with cancer, ADHD (x 3) and many other stressors. They needed to get out, they needed to spend time together, and we’re only on day 3. I feel confident (enough) that they maintained a safe level of social distance while getting some social connection.

Nobody wants to spread the #coronavirus. We are not trying to kill you or your loved ones. But we may need to get out and interact. Humans are social beings. This is only the beginning. Please understand that some of us cannot simply #staythefuckathome.

For some people the virus is not the worst thing that could happen to them. Covid-19 may not be what kills them. Isolation and loneliness could. Despair. Abusive relationships. We are living in a powder keg.

If you need help during this weird and surreal time we are living in, please reach out.

#weareallinthistogether

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because

“Why me?” you asked.

“Why you — ?” I asked both of us.

 

Because you take my breath away while filling my lungs with oxygen.

Because I can feel your heart beating with mine from a thousand miles away.

Because when I’m shopping for laundry detergent I am knocked sideways by thoughts of you.

Because you can see into my soul if you just let yourself look.

 

“No special reason,” I answered, “I just like you, I guess.”

Categories: friendship, love, poetry, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

hey there!

Hi, hi, hi!

Shout out to the 7 or so Outlook users who started following my blog in the last couple of weeks.

Thanks, people, but really, does anyone still even use Outlook?

Whatever. I’m still here. Really. Sort of. I am.

Categories: Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

shattered

Sometimes I want to drop things in the kitchen just to see how they shatter.

Which is ridiculous, because I know that I would/do squeeze my eyes shut when something falls — pull back your feet as fast and as far as you can without falling, close your eyes, tense your muscles, hold your breath.

When something does fall and shatter on the tile floor in the kitchen (whoever thought ceramic tile and glass/china/ceramics/stonewear would do well together?) I sometimes wonder if I willed it let it happen.

I suppose that might be a superpower that would come in handy — speedy like Yoyo in S.H.I.E.L.D. or one of the many Flashes that are running around in the D.C. Universe. Fast enough to catch that falling piece of history before it’s destroyed, or even fast enough to make time pull backwards a little bit.

We all know that’s not possible but if we retreat into our heads for a bit there’s the chance that we can at least get a glimpse of the people or things that have been crushed and lost to us. Sometimes that slight spark of a bright remembrance can make things even worse but on occasion it can be the very thing we need to get us through.

If you are feeling a loss this holiday season, be it fresh and stinging or aged and nagging, I wish you the help you need to make it past the darkness; I wish you the ability to find the brightness in the memories that will warm your heart; I wish you love and light.

Categories: family, loss, love, memories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

push

Why do we push

ourselves and others

into places we don’t really

want to go; corners we

can’t get out of?

I’m sitting on my couch, trying to drink my cup of tea before it cools, can’t even seem to manage that anymore. It’s 4:56am and it’s decaf. I’ve been awake about an hour and a half. HardWorker’s alarm is going off for the third time. The cat has already been out and in again. Fourth time. Just get the f@ck up, already! There’s little crawling scratchy noises coming from my living room ceiling — I’ve been hearing that for weeks — fifth time — and I’ve pretty much given up trying to figure out what it is. My tea is cold.

You know those things we join — those groups, those challenges, (sixth time) those write/draw/photograph/post/seventh time/plank/squat/whatever things we’ve all seen and been “challenged” to do and probably agreed to or signed on for? Why?? EIGHTH TIME.

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t need another thing to fail at; some other task I *seriously, just get up! ninth time* can’t complete. What is it about “human nature” that makes us put ourselves through these things? ‘Cause I’m pretty damn sure it’s not in my actual nature to complete anything — gestation aside — and yet I say ‘yes’ and join in. I have, on occasion, tried to get others to sign up.

It must have stopped snowing; seems darker out than it did two hours ago.

I mean, look, I’m here writing this incoherent meandering post (which

I probably won’t finish) instead of lying in bed sleeping because that’s just another challenge

I have failed at. By the way, if the formatting on this ends up being disjointed as well as the train of thought, that’s down to the stupidity of iOs and or app developers who are constantly updating games and shit but can’t seem to figure out how to make a page scroll above a keyboard. And why doesn’t the WP app recognize what has been written/edited/saved in WP in a browser?

But I digress. Here’s the thing: I stopped wearing my fitbit because I suck at remembering to put it back on after I shower, and most of the steps I take during the day are done with something (like a laundry basket) in my arms so they don’t ever seem to exist, and I already know how poorly

I am sleeping, thank you,

I don’t need you to remind me.

Even my favourite Spider Solitaire game decided to do an update that now has it keeping count of and displaying HOW MANY GAMES I’VE ABANDONED IN THE LAST SEVEN DAYS. Seriously. Who actually thought *that* was a critical piece of information that needed to be added???

Have I mentioned I’ve been awake since about 3:17??

On a side note: if *boyfriend* jeans and t-shirts and socks and whatever else is/are being designed and tailored for women, THEY’RE NOT REALLY *BOYFRIEND* CLOTHES ANYMORE.

And also, my grocery store has joined the ever-growing ranks of establishments offering healthy snacks instead of cookies to children who can’t make it through the shopping trip without a treat. (Why not adults? I took a clementine last week — sue me.) They even have a sign up: HEY KID’S, ENJOY A HEALTHY SNACK WHILE SHOPPING! Well, actually, they now have a sign up with the apostrophe circled and a little note beside it saying, “no apostrophe needed”. Oh, shit, I just remembered that last week I corrected a sign in another store that was drawing attention to the table of “STATIONARY” they were trying to unload. Some days I am not fit for human consumption .

I’m going to reheat my tea now. Good morning!

Categories: NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, Sleep, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

winning

You win.
You broke me.

I no longer yearn to feel your hands
upon my skin
or care to share
the air from where you stand
beside me
don’t miss the spark
that passed between us
from the start
or sense the quiver
that brushing by you
could deliver
to my soul

I’m done.
It’s over.
You won.

Categories: love, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, poetry, words | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

still holding

Today, the 14th of November, marks the first anniversary of the death of my best friend’s mother.

A year ago I wrote this, and I’m offering it up again today.

This afternoon (or yesterday afternoon, technically — life and schedules only allow so much leeway) I held her close and she said, “Thank you for thinking of me.” I squeezed a little harder, whispering, “I’ve still got you.” To which she replied, “I know.”

Categories: family, friendship, loss, love, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

09 november

Since I’m still up, it’s still my today, which makes it still 09NOV.

Today’s post can be found on my instagram feed. 

And now I’m going to bed. 

“That’s the news, good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.” — Chevy Chase

Categories: media, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, words | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

small talk

** This was actually yesterday’s post, but the wordpress app and I are not seeing eye to eye (on the iPad) — and apparently now online on the desktop, too!! (just lost 1/2 of this post although I saved the changes) — so it was not able to be published last night. **

You know how a few days ago I said I was going to stop some things? Well, I did and I have. To a degree. It’s hard, man! I check my e-mail today and see that someone I follow on Twitter has been quoted in The Daily Call (?),  and not knowing how big of a pit I would be falling into, I decided to take a quick look. Ha! What a mistake that was. I did manage to pull myself out after 5-10 minutes, though. Tried to scroll through my facebook feed without clicking any links and to be honest, I can’t actually remember how successful I was. But since I did get two loads of laundry done and one bed stripped and re-sheeted/linened before heading out to the city for my hair appointment, I think I did okay.

There’s a lot that goes on in a hair salon — chit-chat, gossip, the radio plays, the television is on the local 24-hour headline news station (sound off), the phone keeps ringing and people come in and go out. So as I’m getting my hair washed I can’t help but see some of the stories that are on the news and it’s all I can do to keep from allowing the water to blind me to save my sanity.

As I sat for my cut, my hairdresser and I spoke of many things, as we do, and once we got the stupidity of the news stories out of the way we moved on to other things: Fashion, the beauty industry, our children, Christmas. We discussed how the beauty business is a billion dollar industry and that even though we both find it ridiculous, it is, after all, her livelihood; how horrible we both find any number of things about the fashion industry, including the fact that women’s sizes now stretch shrink all the way down to 00 and 000, and that certain trends just won’t die the horrible deaths they deserve; my son being in grade 8 and loving his vintage adidas jacket, and me dyeing his hair black for Hallowe’en, while her boys are grown and survived some dubious fashion trends that still refuse to die. We talked about my mother’s aborted postponed/rescheduled hip replacement surgery and her father’s recent cancer diagnosis. We mentioned make-up and eyelash enhancing volumizing serum and then we laughed because we both know that I don’t wear make-up and thus have no wisdom whatsoever to contribute to any such conversation other than, “If I wear mascara, people think I’m dressed fancy!” We discussed how I already knew in grade 9 (almost 40 years ago!!) that I was wholly incapable of conversing with any of the other girls in the washroom at a dance because all they were talking about was shampoo, hairspray, and boys. She complained that it was totally unfair that I had been able to realise that, already, at age 14.

We finished up, we settled up, and we booked my next two appointments.

The realisation that I am actually able to make small talk came as a bit of a surprise to me. And a welcome one at that. Whew!

 

 

 

Categories: friendship, memories, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#inktober

So there’s this little thing called inktober and this year I decided to participate, even though I’m not much of a drawer. I mean, honestly, even in school, my doodles usually just consisted of a couple of flowers, some pom-pom looking trees, or 20-30 different sized triangles joined together. Sure, I took art in grades 9 & 10, but my favourite units were lino-cut prints, ceramics, plaster sculptures, and the like. Sketching was really not my thing.

Still, I thought, it’s not about how good or bad I am at it, it’s about doing it. I didn’t keep up with all the prompts (which trust me, I needed since me just sitting down and drawing something will result in the same aforementioned doodles, still, after lo these many years) but I did manage a few. I posted them to instagram, but only to my private account and not to my blog-associated one, since I’m shy that way, but I thought I may as well share them with you here.

sword

          

shy

                                 

crooked

run

shattered

teeming


cloud

 

Categories: art, memories, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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