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Friday, December 30, 2011

diagnose me

i didn't know it would be the 'last' time. it was a night filled with wine, shots and eventually cocaine. people say you can't smell cocaine. i can. he reached over my body across my face and i grabbed his hand and breathed it in deeply. i know this. i know this. i know this death. although i had drank heavily the 1st year i returned to calgary with ricky i hadn't used. i was laying on a bed trying to get ricky to sleep and he must have sensed the danger and shame around him because he kept crying for me and fighting sleep. i wanted away from him. he was something coming between me and my addiction. i hated him in that moment. i wanted to be free. i wanted only darkness. i took him back to our house and left him, turning on a baby monitor at 3am with him finally asleep after me laying beside him sipping red wine over his head for an hour till he nodded off. heading back next door i drank what was left in the knocked over bottles, the warm half dranken bottles left on counter's, the half smoked butts crumpled alone into ashtrays, the last of the hard liquor tipped over on the table. everyone else passed out on floors and couches. the guy with the coke half out on the couch i tried to wake him and whispered into his ear that i wanted more...he pulled me into his face and kissed me. reeking of booze and sweat and loneliness. he said he felt sick. i said just give me your flap, i'll do a line and come back to you ok. he slurred ok and handed it over to me. the bathroom lights blinding bright. my hand shaking because i had already snorted so much. the shame in knowing i was the last one and not done. why was it so hard for me to die. why couldn't i do it as quick as they could. i turned off the bathroom lights once my line was down and with the moonlight my only witness hung my tired head over the back of the toilet and inhaled the bitter powder off the cold porcelain tank. the glamor is a lie. the rush of a steady full line of cocaine hitting the back of my nose and dripping down my throat was like pulling a trigger. like firing a gun. except the gun is pointed at me. then floating and fighting and high and unstoppable the blood surges and i am alive again. sniffing and twitching and full of fear and self hate. he is passed out and i keep his drugs. i went home but stayed up doing more lines off my kitchen counter until the absolute shame of morning finally came. paranoia completely surrounded me. i stopped snorting at 5am and by 7am i was finally coming down. hard. i chain smoked inside out my bathroom window because i didn't want my neighbours next door to see i was still up.

at 830am Ricky woke up and sleepily stumbled out of the bedroom doorway into the living room where i sat panicked and shaking on the couch. curtains pulled. doors bolted. my head buried into the cushion. he came towards me and tried to crawl up but i shoved him off. he fussed and came at me again wanting to crawl up and nurse. i didn't want to breast-feed him with so much coke in my system so again i shoved him down and yelled for him to leave me alone. i turned on the cartoons. he insistently tried again and this time i shoved him hard knocking him onto the hardwood floor where he fell backwards and cried. i screamed at him to go away. i buried my face and screamed into the pillow that i wanted to die and i wanted god to take him and me and stop all of this pain. i bawled and violently hit the pillows. Ricky rarely looked directly into my eyes and i although many times i had turned his head towards me trying to force him to see me, he would always shift his eyes away. but now not only had he stopped crying, he also sat there looking right at me. right into my eyes. into me. he looked right through me. i looked away not able to face him. i dont know what he saw but it wasn't a mother. it was in this very moment that i experienced what addicts/alcoholics call their 'bottom'. what hurts enough to stop. mine was not being able to be his mother. not being able to look into my own child's eyes.

it separates my heart from my body to remember that morning almost 6 years ago. i have been sober each day since. i found the room's of alcoholics anonymous. i can't express in words the relief i found in knowing there were other people like me and that they had a solution. i had a different reaction to alcohol than normal drinker's. i learned that my body after ingesting the first drink reacts different chemically and produces a craving which makes me physically incapable of stopping. one drink had been too many and hundreds not ever enough. a obsession of my mind and an allergy of my body. the only disease that denies it's own existence must be self diagnosed. horrifying.

one really long, lonely, shaky sober year passes in which i take ricky to meetings with me. he is quiet and plays on the dirty carpets and people give him old candies out of their pockets and tell me it's good i am there. i don't look up for months, i am tired and angry and scared. having to face life sober once you've hidden in shadows so long you've become one yourself feels similar to what i imagine it would feel like having the skin ripped off of my face. but i dont know what else to do. so i keep crying and listening. i keep coming back. my fog lifts somewhat and i finally start to see dim light filter in windows i'd forgotten i'd left open. hope is still out of reach but i dont turn from it anymore. i long for it.

Ricky. maybe i just didn't see it. maybe i just didn't want too. maybe he was my first child and i didn't know any better. maybe i thought it would work itself out. he'd grow out of it. so what if he liked to line things up in rows, stack cans, play for hours with fans watching them spin. didn't boys do strange things. i was so isolated with no help or contact with friends family. how did i know. he didn't want to play with the other kids because they were boring. he was independent. he wasn't talking at 2 because he was a late bloomer. he was deep. maybe i had silenced him by not being available. maybe he would bloom now....maybe he would come back to me. i was too busy trying to stay sober i wasn't able to predict and duck when the world shifted and came barrelling straight at me...what changed us both forever and could not be fixed or taken back. 11 days before i celebrated my 1st year in sobriety my beautiful son Ricky is officially diagnosed with Autism.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

paradise lost

my son was born but it was my eyes that opened, my heart that started to beat again. he pulled fresh air into his little empty lungs and suddenly i could breathe. from the minute i heard his beautiful first soft cry i could hear everything else clearly.  i felt his unbearably soft skin with my finger's and rubbed my cheek over the top of his velvet head. his breathe smelled like faint brie cheese and the sweetest strawberries. the world faded away, all i could see and feel was this child. my world renewed. i was reborn alongside him. i had created a life, but it was Ricky who gave me back my own. he had given me the most precious and coveted gift imaginable, he had made me a mother. 

the jagged edges of the concrete sidewalks looked cold, hard, unforgiving. the world was suddenly too big, too fast. people touched his hands, his feet, his head, made comments. only days before he had been inside my body and now he seemed so exposed. people were trying to hold him, make him look at them, calling his name... he was on display. he was everybody's now, not just mine. i wanted to protect him, i wanted to put him back inside of me so that he would stay safe. the house, the room, the walls, the bed, my baby laying beside me. sleeping and nursing. watching him. minutes after leaving the room i'd be checking to see if he was still there, and not some fabricated thing of my wildest imaginings. nothing i have ever experienced felt as good as loving Ricky. holding him healed me. sleeping nose to nose i inhaled him. i even licked him once on his head to see what it felt like. when the sunlight from the window hit his skin it revealed a map of tiny intricate veins running just below, luminated and transparent. he is whole. he is perfect. how did i do that? i rocked and swung and sang and snuggled. i indulged in the bliss of new motherhood. he became all of my reasons. 

about 6 months later when the baby buzz settled and the fatigue lifted i realized that i was alone again. long days in the house with a new baby. no friends. another country. i visited R at his office but never had anything to actually talk to him about. the phone would ring and i'd be put on hold, one second, just a minute, this is an important call. it was money on the other line. R was a criminal defence attorney. the client loitering around school yards after prior convictions of molestation deserved a fair defence didn't he? the money paid in his defence were the clothes on my back, the food on my plate, the house over my head. my son's education. i had no right to complain about. its hard to swallow so you lie to yourself about where it comes from and what it is. everyone earns a living. everyone deserves a fair trial. waiting, forever waiting to be judged. 

i had to fly home every 3 mos as not to overstay my continual back to back visitor visa's and it wasn't long until i got detained with the baby in US customs because they suspected i was running drugs. US customs have no sense of humour. of course i had to mouth off which resulted in a search. they even took off Ricky's diaper and searched him. i bawled. it wasn't an internal search but still i was suspected of hiding drugs in my child's diaper. i had to fly back and forth because i had no status in the US. i was unmarried. it was R's fault i was in fucking limbo. i put the heat on him and after months and months of avoiding, fighting and me pushing him so hard about what we were doing he finally asked me to marry him because he was between a rock and a hard place. me being the hard place.  a plane flew overhead with a long banner that ead 'heather-will you marry me' i felt sick with anxiety. my stomach dropped and heaved. my vision blurred and everything got quiet, like when you have a car accident. things move in slow motion. have you ever said yes but meant no? the biggest baddest diamond yet. the one that would ruin everything.

well now that i had made him do that, i was filled with remorse and resentment over him not wanting too initially. over it being me who had insisted. i mindlessly sorted through paint samples because it must be the walls, not me. i waited for his call to ask about my day and confirm my existence. i became extremely restless. i paced. i cleaned the house manically and frantically. i ate once a day. at 5'9 with a normal weight of 145 lbs i had gone down to 129lbs. Ricky weighed something like 40 lbs at 10 mos. 1/3 the size of me. in the late afternoons i drank a few glasses of wine knowing i wouldn't have to drive anywhere. i'd be all dolled up and ready to be taken out for dinner somewhere fancy... just enough of a buzz to go undetected if i brushed my teeth and enough to carry on into the 'controlled' 2 glasses with dinner. sometimes Ricky would have loose diarrhea's from the red wine i drank because i was nursing. i started chain smoking again. the only places i ever went were the beach and the library. i wandered without meaning or purpose. i was connected to nothing. Sally, the lady at the thrift shop was my closest friend. i liked that she believed i was happy. ooohing and aaahing at the baby, the ring and my stories. telling me how she wished she could find a good man.

i couldn't contain my angst, my need to escape. R was never home and worked later and later. i met a girl down the street who was also stuck at home with a baby, she lived in the back suite of her inlaw's house. her boyfriend had gone'away'. caught, wouldn't rat out the guys who had gotten away so he went in for 2 years.  their son a little boy with gold cuban chains and curly brown hair. he played with Ricky while her and i drank, smoked and occasionally snorted a few lines. we'd drive over to the trailer court where R's secretary lived and buy coke. babies crying in car seats, being held in laps. shame always close to the surface. why when i had it so good. when my heart had finally been lifted up and filled with love from my child did i seek out the hurt, still. why was it always only a few breathes below my consciousness? what was wrong with me?

R and i fought constantly. one night a huge argument at the front door of his house. it wasn't good enough. i was lonely and angry and emptier than ever. in his face saying money wasn't love. but you sure can spend the money! he shoved me, i slapped back at him. he pushed me into the wall my face against the door. struggling. screaming. hitting, he back handed me hard across my face. Ricky had fallen off the bed in the back room onto the tile floor and was crying. i was wearing white shorts and a white tank top, looking into the hallway mirror at my reflection i saw my nose and lip bleeding. my baby wearing a white diaper and a white tank top came walking down the hallway towards me having hit his face on the floor, his nose and lip bleeding....and in that moment i saw it. my son...my mirror image...what i let happen to me i inadvertently allowed to happen identically to him. the visual was life changing. i was done. we had paper's drawn up by a lawyer friend of R's. custody arrangements for the next 18 years of my child's life on paper. who pays what, who see's him when. sharing holidays and birthday's. 2 weeks later i was gone. looking down over the florida key's glistening in their infamous sunset. paradise lost.

calgary. sort of close to home and sort of not. the world had a faulty seam and i had maliciously torn it right apart. names called, screaming matches on the phone. we dont have enough, we can't afford rent/to eat/live. you dont deserve my money, it was your choice to leave me. slamming the phone down and dialling again back and forth verbal bashing for hours. tears. punched walls. harsh words. very very harsh words. you stole my son. you worthless cunt. dirty stupid whore. worst mother in the world. your going to fuck him up. i hope you rot in hell. i drank and drank and drank. i drank for an entire year. Ricky wasn't talking like normal kids at his age. he didn't respond when i asked him things. he lined things up across the floor. he watched fans for hours laying on his back looking up totally engrossed in the constant movement. he spun cars wheels repeatedly and wouldn't make eye contact. he stacked cans of soup on my kitchen floor. he opened and closed doors without entering the room, pushed the same button a million times on his computer just to hear the same noise again and again. even though he was away somewhere in his own little world, he must have seen that alcohol, that opening a bottle is what i did to feel better in mine. the memory of my 2 year old son bringing me the bottle opener still brings tears to my eyes. i didn't see him.... but he saw me. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

can't see the forrest for the tree's.

i worked. i drank. i smoked. i found small routine and peace in monitoring people's habits. that lady always wears turtlenecks. he always grins and has red cheeks. she feels nervous but acts angry instead. funny mannerism's that must bring routine to people, their consistency comforting me. do people stay the same? what does it take to change? although the same guy riding his bike past my house at 8am everyday makes me feel like the world is on schedule he also makes me wonder what if it weren't? being there makes me imagine what his not being there would potentially signify. what if he gets a flat tire? breaks his leg? what if someone in his life that he loves dearly dies and he is too sad to ever ride his stupid bike again? what would it take to change his routine? to change a habit, or even a lifestyle? i have always been able to identify myself in strangers, and although i was keeping an extremely isolated profile, in their humanness i remained by a thread connected to their world. to my world. through people living i stayed alive. i watched them and eventually they allowed me the courage to ask myself. what would happen if i changed? i drifted like this because my spirit was shut down after my last binge and the damage i had done during it. i restrained from consuming cocaine because i was terrified of where my addiction had already taken me. or where me and it had gone willingly together rather. often at the end the result isn't what you were willing to have become your life. my lungs let air out without me asking them to breathe, my body moved forward without me wanting it to walk, i spoke without really meaning to say anything.  i existed within the motions, all the while not wanting too.

i limited my energy. it is so much work being an alcoholic. it's an uphill battle daily and it enters every part of your mind. when does my shift end. how much in in my bank account. minus the essentials. what a waste of money paying rent is. food. i guess i have to spend a bit on what i can't find/steal/get elsewhere. edible things from dinner's and parties taken home for later. don't spend money on food if you don't absolutely have to. always have enough smokes. bum as many as you can so your own stash stays full. what time does the liquor store open. how bad will the hangover be. who do i have to avoid. what time is the next shift. repeat. this cycle if your lucky ends in one startling event that makes you stop. liver disease. jail time. car accident. an event that allows you to see the the progression of disease. the danger coming your way. because you have 3 choices if you keep it up, jail, institutions or death.
i however like many alcoholics failed or was unwilling to see how bad was only getting worse. i did what most levelled headed drunks do....i decided to control my drinking. i will maintain a level of what comes just slightly before total destruction and failure. i will not drink into oblivion. i will not be arrested. i will not bleed. i will not fight. all of this was unnecessary and truthfully quite unladylike. 'it is the great obsession of every alcoholic to one day be able to control his drinking'. i will just keep the hurt at bay with a therapeutic amount of alcohol. i will avoid cocaine. this took a great deal of strength because every cell in my body at this point was against me, not to mention my own mind. but i had resolve. i would be strong!

within a week or two i met a man in a bar. a man who i would later discover was himself a sober alcoholic but still partaking in something i would also much later discover to be called the 13th step. in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous there are 12 steps to regain spiritual ground and live with integrity and happiness. the 13th step is one people frown upon because 13 stepping is when a sober member picks up women/men who are spiritually/physically addicted/early in their sobriety. a sober person should know better because they are suppose to 'be' better. the thing is, this isn't always true. some sober people remain the sickest of the bunch because although they remain dry from alcohol they continue to behave in an extremely unhealthy manner. picking flies off a fly stip isn't too hard. R had at that point himself over a decade of sobriety. a tanned, charming smooth talker. well dressed and just arrogant enough that he appeared sexy and entitled to a life better than where he stood. compared to the hoodie wearing broke 25 year old snowboarder's normally occupying the bar stools he looked like a beautiful apparition. how i wanted to go with him, whoever he was. well he turned out to be ricky's father. but in that bar that night in banff he was just some guy who wanted to get laid, a guy who was in if for himself. i'm not sure anything has changed actually. he is on his 5th wife, separate from the 4 other engagements. imagine asking 9 women to be the 'one'. but each of them probably has a really good story too. this is how our relationship began over the next few months, me flying down to visit him in florida.

i quit my job at the hospital. i had one last coke binge in a hotel room that resulted in a man from san diego who was known to police forcefully covering my entire upper chest and torso in deep bite marks. broken welts where he had held and pinched and bitten me. a rape kit was suggested. there was footage of me walking through the hotel lobby arm in arm with him so therefore enough for police to declare me a willing participant. willing enough to not be able to press charges anyways despite  on the same video 3 hrs later  stumbling back out holding my torn skirt hysterically hailing a cab. unfortunate but not proof that what had happened in the room that night was not all ok. illegal? i'm not sure. the guy had forced himself on me while i lay passed out but to me that wasn't really the offending portion. in fact that was how i had sex majority of the time. looking back i didn't actually want to 'have' sex with any of the men i had sex with. it just sort of happened to me. it had to happen. that was part of the deal. it wasn't rape, i still don't think it is. but maybe i'm wrong. had i been able to hold my head upright would i have protested? probably not because i had resigned myself to the understanding that it had to happen. the part that bothered me was the biting. breaking multiple patches of my skin. was biting illegal? it should be. an officer told me the man had said i had asked to be bitten. i also hadn't been the one to call the cops, my friend at work had called which to them appeared unconvincing of a victim. i shook this off as a very bad experience in which way too much blow was snorted by two very fucked up people who accidentally had some sort of sex. they took photo's of my injuries. they made a file on me. always thinking on my toes for the next escape i scammed an adivan prescription citing the foreseeable events of inability to sleep without intense fear as a result of the events that had taken place. i was proud of getting that script. see i thought there is a good side to every bad one. sedatives. i definitely needed sedatives. the marks remained purple for weeks, bruising and eventually turning black and then blue. blue is my favourite colour, although not that shade.

within a month i was visiting R in the florida keys which if you have ever been a practicing alcoholic in the shitty frozen overpriced town of banff alberta is like winning the fucking lottery. i happily packed all my best tight things and my cigarette's and flew down on his dime. i was a perfect coat tail riding candidate.  arriving on scene with little to no self worth or esteem. check. no voice of my own. check. agreeable to being used, treated poorly, kept and paid for. check check check and CHECK. thankfully i wasn't damaged enough physically that i still qualified as arm candy. blonde hair, big breasts. beside's in that moment what i wasn't willing to do.

due to a dui and a revoked license i had to wait a year and retake my permit to be able to drive in the states. i made sure i did this because my new car wasn't a 1991 rusted out honda prelude with no insurance, it was a detailed white convertible bmw. dinner's out at fancy restaurants on private islands where the table sits in the sand on the beach. white linens. champagne. service! money equals power and prestige! people are catering to him/me. i kept my drinking 'civilized' because obviously i cleaned up nice and was much more prized than before so couldn't blow it. it meant sneaking drinks in beforehand and afterwards. being an alcoholic himself i'm sure he must have realized on some level. i however had no idea my drinking qualified as alcoholic. in my mind alcoholics were bums on streets. dirty and jobless and crazy. i was wearing 500$ high heels. i was not alcoholic. and even if i had had hard times before meeting him it was obviously circumstantial and now i would be ok. i would adjust to this new lifestyle and be less stressed therefore not having to drink so much if i chose not too. you see i thought i still had a choice. when in reality i had crossed the line of not being able to stop long ago. i started visiting florida regularly flying back to my mothers in red deer in between. biding my time. don't come on too strong. but how do i make him want to keep me? although i though i was playing the part of R's girlfriend quite well the truth is he had an awful temper often going into rages, screaming and occasionally violent. sushi dinners on his boat at sunset. flying to vegas to see the rolling stones. staying at a cabin on literally the edge of the grand canyon. miami shopping spree's. people work out anger issue's.

once in the very early stages of dating we were in the car fighting, hollering and throwing his hands everywhere he intentionally ripped off the rear view mirror saying i was lucky it wasn't my face. look what i'd made him do. grabbing the wheel and laying rubber spinning the car around driving us off. i might loose him. i would do better. being told his friends hated me and they knew i was just a whore. being told he loved me and how sorry he was. being told i was a stupid worthless cunt. a vicious cunt. i started fighting back and told him what i thought. often to my demise i have always had and voiced my opinion. when i was home back in alberta he screamed into the phone accusing me of cheating. we loved to hate each other. i thought about throwing in the towel. it's just that the thread count in the towel was so soft. sitting in my mothers house in red deer quickly encouraged me to put a different spin on things. there had to be an upside....he would change once i proved myself. maybe he had been hurt in the past thats why he was angry and untrusting. i would help fix him.

while in florida i didn't have much to actually do. i didn't have friends. he worked non stop. i snooped in his house finding boxes of 'trophies'. dozens of picture's of naked/half naked women. when we had met and spent the night together in banff he had also taken my photograph. was i in here somewhere? ooh was i at the top? these women looked like they were from the 1980's. i was born that year so i assumed he had been 'collecting' for a long time. on his computer dozens and dozens of nameless women. on his boat with their bikini tops off, giggling in bathtubs full of bubbles, even running happily up beaches towards the predatory camera lens awaiting them. the picture's were dated not too far apart from one another, sometimes even overlapping. but they weren't here anymore were they? i was. i would just have to be better. be the skinniest, the prettiest, the most obedient. i would make his friends jealous because thats what he seems to want, to be better than everyone. i would sit in his fancy cars and houses and pretend to be perfect for him. i wanted to be the one he chose because i was the most deserving. and obviously i needed to be saved the most. complete relinquishing of power. i lived for him.

abuse=jewellery. it started out small. he didn't come home and just hit me. it would be arguments over quality of life, your not home enough, you don't love me, you work all the time. arm grabbing, hair pulling, dish throwing, police visiting arguments. he was a criminal defence attorney so the cops knew him excused a lot of it as he pleaded crazy girlfriend. when she met me his outspoken drug dealing cuban secretary declared 'that one sure as shit ain't leaving quietly!' she knew my grip was tight. for every fight or time i got slapped or shoved into a wall i received a gift according to the severity of the crime. being slapped or kicked meant a chain with a pearl or stone. being back handed and spit on usually meant a diamond. within the year i had diamond stud earrings, 2 diamond tennis bracelets, a diamond pendant necklace, a diamond encrusted watch. you do the math. i became the woman who jumped out of still moving vehicle's onto the interstate slamming her high heel into the side of the car door. i became the woman who lost weight and dyed her hair platinum blond. i became the woman who drank only diet red bull and smoked to stay slim. i became the woman who worried only about what he thought of me. i became the woman who asked for her money, for keys, for permission. we had good times but it never should have been we were both sick. he always reminded me that the things were his and would never be mine. i was constantly reminded how lucky i was that he 'loved' me. sex was cold and passionless. i felt like i was in a movie and i played that part. a woman can fake orgasms but she cannot unfortunatley fake an entire relationship. although i did try. despite all this i was desperate to stay with him, fearing the entire while my days might be numbered. i might end up a picture in a box, some other girl finding me. my resourcefulness knew exactly how to ensure my survival. on a list of amends 'except when to do so would injure them or other's' this admission i pray never hurts R because today our relationship is somewhat mended and he is in ricky's life in a positive way. ricky ellis benjamin wunsch was born on october 8th 2003. delivered naturally he weighed 11lbs 5oz and measured 2 feet long. no pain medication. i was a supporter of pain. now he had to love me forever, i had given him a son. i couldn't see the forrest for all the tree's.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

home again home again


feeling trapped and dirty after 7 days of driving and sleeping unshowered in the van we pulled into the rocky mountains from the east just as the sun was going down. the mountains will always be my home. the endless beautiful grey ridges, radiant peaks and jagged slopes. their ancient faces drinking up the sun. watching over us, knowing that we hurt. guarding us from each other, from ourselves. there is a time in everyone's life where the house you grow up in doesn't feel like it's your home anymore. the walls exhale and quietly release you. in my house they had whispered 'your on your own' and then they fell down. i couldn't go back. pride wouldn't let me. i didn't feel i belonged anywhere. i didn't want to be a burden on my mom. she had her world torn apart, at least i could stay out of her way. i secretly wished she would stand up and tell me my place. 'here is your bed, you sleep here because you are my daughter and i will make sure your safe' my mother did not know how to show love, was fearful of showing it. she has never told me out loud that she loves me. she wrote it once in a letter. she was fearful of so many things. the world controlling her instead of her standing up to it. i can see now why now it was hard for her but it doesn't stop me from wishing she had fought harder for me back then. i was so angry and hateful. she threw up her hands. she gave up. the knowledge that neither one of my parents was actually in charge was numbing. i am certain it was this revelation that made me lean lustfully and violently towards risk. if your not gonna stop me...well then, maybe i won't ever stop. i ran before i could stand bringing forth with me the mentality of don't ever let them see you stumble.

i ended up renting a tiny basement suite with S who started back working with the army. i was just 20, he was now 36. i found a job as a nursing assistant in banff. to piss him off or make him love me, i'm still not entirely certain which, i bought him a dog. kia. a black pitbull. let the record show buying something living to revitalize something dead does not work. it only makes the dead thing more undeniable. we were dead. S started to suggest threesome's as being a good way to 'perk' things up and to illustrate his position started buying porn. underage international school girls. big surprise. a few months and our relationship had amounted to non stop screaming and door slamming. i started driving into banff and partying again with my old friend E. eventually i packed my things and left. the self professed human pitbull didn't want to hold on any longer. my jaw hurt. my heart hurt. my lips were cracked and bleeding. i needed a drink. to freshen up, start again. desperation ceased...lockjaw released. so it was goodbye to S that porno purchasing egotistical pedophile. how dare he think he could do any better. life happen in your 20's. i was entitled to something more. this world owed me and i would collect.

in banff i worked taking care of seniors, people who needed me. i loved being with them and feeling appreciated and valued. i cleaned their diaper's. i spoon fed them and wiped their drool. i brushed their hair. i bathed them. clipped nails. put makeup on. i sang. let them sneak occasionally out for cigarette's. i snuck the diabetic's cake. i put their teeth into cups. i kissed them while they slept. i heard the sound of their hips breaking as they hit the hard polished hospital floors. i watched their eyes go hazy as their bodies surrendered to sadness. i watched their minds forget. i unplugged oxygen machine's while the  families sat there in total grief. i gave quick remorseful downward glances. i wrapped up their cold heavy bodies and lay them on the slab. caring for the elderly healed me just enough, made me feel important enough that before long i was ready to reopen my own wounds. i grew anxious. restless. depressed. i would have panic attacks and visions of rape and slaughter. i was filled with fear. i new i had nothing. nobody. my mom had moved away from canmore with my two younger sister's. no thanks i'm ok. i'll just stay here. i stopped speaking to them. resented her for helping them and not even questioning if i'd be ok. not even asking about me. i was the one exhibiting 'risky' behaviour after all so i must be enjoying what i was doing. my wool blackened. i had these strange reoccurring visions of laying down in the middle of picturesque main street banff, closing my eyes to rest, waiting for the early morning traffic. it calmed me. my familiar. my touchstone. what i knew instinctually was hurt. this i'm sure is not entirely a parental error. i don't know why i am like this. i suppose i feel safer hurting because i understand it. if i'm already hurting then i dont have to fear it happening. i dont have to fear it jumping out and catching me off guard, fear it taking away my happiness. i didn't let my my expectations to get up by believing in something only to have them crash and fall all that distance back down. by something thats fails me. something that leaves me. someone that tells me i'm not worth it. i will not let myself be happy because the loss of happiness is far beyond hurt. the loss of happiness is death. 

like a forceful wind alcohol pulled me forward and backwards again, i leaned into it and most of the time it held me up. welcome back. of course i waited for you. absorb. absolve. release me. let me go. let me be gone. to get myself out of the constant darkness i also started snorting cocaine. it felt like alcohol's bigger badder brother who had just gotten out of jail. dangerous. night after night the same crowd. same scene. i didn't care about the people. i cared about my escape. slipping away. everything in my world became about how to get back there. any alcoholic woman knows that one hazard of the trade is men. we do resent the past nor wish to close the door on it. and as the story goes....the true story anyways....is that it was on or around this time that i incidentally slept with about a million men, give or take a few. my drinking friend from work J and i had created a game... she saw a guy she would bet me i couldn't 'get' and i'd get him. the magician up on stage. i passed him a note in the middle of his act that said 'i dont believe in magic'. after the show he handed me his room key. on the bedside dresser a wallet with a photo inside of 2 beautiful smiling kids. brother and sister. straight teeth and blonde bangs. the bouncer. motorcycles. gym passes. angry ex girlfriend. the football player. retired. grey cup trophy ring. steaks and seafood. called me sweet cheeks. the newfie waiter turned apprentice electrician. we lived in his flop house where coke binges went on every weekend. people gathered in tense silence as the drugs were put down onto the table. soprano's always on tv. nervous twitchy glances making sure other people were throwing down too, people secretive about their stash. sneaking into bathrooms with the prettiest girls. hunting each other down. killing ourselves. no eye contact. shame fills the air but in a minute you wont have to feel that anymore. it's your turn. hollowed out cut off plastic pen cover's. plastic tubes from the gas station horoscope's. your nose right down to the dirty table some guy holding your hair. the burning sensation as it hit's the inside of your nose. sinus's drip. sniffles. 101 signs your kid's on drug's. the instant numbing rush. floating and weightless and free. shedding layer's. i just want to die in peace. broken glass and no food. it didn't matter. i had left my body. i wasn't there anymore.

the hockey player. free drinks. the musician. free drugs. if i hear him now on the radio i change the station. my skin itches and i see him on his cell phone lying to his girlfriend outside the tour bus. i feel him fucking me in a bunk bed with a foot of headspace above us. i smell him stinking of sweat and whiskey and endless cigarette's. and this one's for nothing. and this one's for fun. and this one is about rock and roll and comic books and bubble gum. due at work in 3 hrs i wake up hundreds of miles away in saskatchewan. i still owe him $120 for the bus. bartenders. australians. a pharmaceutical representative. they all became the same person. i became them. they became me. we merged. traded. i wish i could lie but it came easily to me. i had built up a wall and i didn't feel them anymore. i didn't really feel anything anymore. anything that didn't relate directly to me scoring drugs/booze didn't matter. i was punched out cold on the sidewalk in front of a cab once by a man and the people in the above balcony drunkenly cheered. i opened my eyes to my boyfriend smashing out his teeth. it was survival. we lived indoors but barely.

the world went soft and quiet like it does right before an accident. slow motion. 'baby if i coke you up all night your mine' thats fine....i'm not even my own. i may as well be yours. i stopped dreaming both figuratively and literally. entire paycheque's disappeared. dialling the bank frantically at 3am to see if i had at least 20$ left because you can't withdraw19.99$ for the dealer can you. that 1.50$ service fee for an atm withdrawl was the most evil bogus fucking charge ever. i ate hospital food, even the old people's mashed up food. i found a container of potato salad once in the safeway parking lot and it was the only thing i ate that day beside's cracker's. i stole hospital kleenex and tampons. i saved nothing. i ruined everything. i inhaled it. i consumed it. i fought it. i escaped it. i isolated. i binged. on bed's, in hotel rooms, cars, park benches, alley's, public washrooms. sex and drugs. i still can't walk into a bathroom stall that has a little shelf above the back of the toilet and not invision dragging my finger slowly over it's surface... imaging straddling the toilet and pulling out the flap from my pocket. a throw down just for me. 

my usage steadily increased over the two years i lived there. i binged alone with cocaine one night in a single basement room that belonged to my ex boyfriend. dim orange lights. underground. a bed and a dresser. his dog. i was paranoid people were watching me. that the dog knew more than he was letting on. i stood up and smoked out the tiny window above the bed until the sun came up. sunrise to a coke addict mean's nothing more than remorse and shame. the curtain comes up and there you are alone on stage, everyone can see you. who you really are. junked out and trashy and worthless. i became exactly who you told me i was. i had waited for him for hours snorting lines by myself pacing back and forth in that room. my nose bleeding. my heart pounding. i have never wanted so badly in my life to die. i thought maybe if i just snort it all. it would finally end. my pathetic life. i couldn't even cry there was nothing inside of me. decomposing in my own personal addicted hell. waiting for someone who never came. where was he? what was i even doing here? suddenly i was so ashamed for being so fucked up and having waited so long for him. i lit a smoke and walked quickly through the deep snow crunching underfoot towards the house i lived in. my head down praying i didn't see anyone i knew. back in the room i rented i sat on the floor and looked into the sliding closet mirror. staring into my own eyes i couldn't see myself. the girl in the reflection wasn't me. i felt hatred. terror. shame. i went quickly to the bathroom and brought back with me a ceramic octopus soap dispenser. i locked my door and forced myself to look into my own eyes as i smashed it repeatedly into my own face. i deserved this. i couldn't overdose. the intense impact of it's weight on my face over and over. i didn't stop for what felt like 15 minutes. i woke up the next day to splitting excruciating pain, half my face so swollen and purple my eyelashes weren't even visible. puffy red welts and black lines of dried tears that had taken the mascara down with them towards my chin. my forehead above my swollen shut eye was smashed. shattered. split open.

in xray at the same hospital i worked in i explained that i had been mugged. the tech had tears in his eyes and said he couldn't believe this had happened to a nice girl like me. who could have done this? i had fractured 90% of the way through my cheekbone in 3 different places. one more blow from the 'beer' bottle i claimed to have been hit with and my cheekbone would have collapsed into my face resulting in severe vision loss, structural damage of eye ball position, bone grafts or a metal implant held with screws. only i could have hurt myself this badly. because i hated myself the most.

in an addicts life there are times when you stop monetarily and think maybe your are powerless, out of control even. that you might need to get help. that breaking your own face with a smiling ceramic octopus soap dispenser may be a red flag. the cycle continues because although the addiction causes immeasurable pain to the addict, the only known cure is more of the same. i didn't see there being an end other than death. i couldn't stop.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

dirty soul mexico

i met S in los angeles on my flight back to north america. he was tanned and smiling but his desperation was almost visible. i could see him now. why does a 40 year old want to be with a 20 year old? it's so they can be in control. feel powerful. the older a man becomes the more glaring this defect may appear. i guess nepal had run its course for him. he was home. well actually he was living out of his ford areostar van that he had made into a camper with a huge sheet of plywood across the folded down back seats. trying to appear aloof and confident i avoided personal matter's and gave him the general stories of my shit laden adventures abroad including beaches and bbq's in lieu of cocaine and abortions. yes yes i was worldly now...i so hoped he could see that.


we drove to the edge of the city smog...emissions of greed and lust clouding the skyline in the rearview mirror. east into arizona. death valley. the grand canyon. sedona. landing after a failed border crossing in joshua tree to climb. i was much more unsure of him now. resentment came out in sudden angry bursts. i was mad at myself for throwing in the towel to come home to a guy, who admittedly wasn't god anymore. to avoid this admission actually becoming a reality i chose denial mainly because it is a very versatile defence, it can be applied liberally to almost any situation. thus during our climbing campout i engaged in long elaborate imaginings of how he just needed a break and how he had come to his senses. i let S slowly creep back inside my heart despite the fact there wasn't much left between us except familiarity. i hadn't exactly been waiting by the phone.

we crossed through Heroica Nogales and headed down the long gorgeous west coast of Mexico. beautiful images painted on rock cliffs of mothers and virgins neither of whom i could relate too. we drove for days finally stopping in Bucerius to unpack the van and settle into a tiny one room apartment. S worked for a man D who rented there with his wife L every year. we were glad to have more localized contacts. i had met D in canada multiple times rafting before with S, his wife however hated me instantaneously. years later i crossed paths with her going through security at the calgary airport. she was one of the baggage inspectors and i thought she'd flag me for sure but i avoided her enough that i went through another line undetected. she was older than her husband, i would guess 45. she had very short spiky grey hair and collected 'bats'. she wore knee length everything and made really snippy remarks. at the time i was 20, thin, tanned and reckless usually scamtily clad in some bikini inspired outfit with flowy scarves and big sunglasses. i would have hated me too. D was a goof and liked to play around which suited S and me but not her. i don't think she appreciated it.

we drove one night down long dark dirt roads to a turtle farm owned by a strange acid eating old hippy  C. while waiting for the eggs to hatch we drank wine and smoked cheap ciggarett'es on the back deck of his beach house. early into the morning hours we stumbled out to the sand in celebration scooping the tiny turtles up and carrying them safely out to the sea. they made it. released. on the way home we were stopped by 3 men with machine guns in small truck on the little road leading out of the compound. D/L spoke spanish and L seeing it the proper opportunity to mouth off did exactly that. D trying to calm the man down. the man becoming increasingly agitated yelling...why are you out so late? where are you going? do you have drugs? are you selling drugs? the voices growing angrier and finally shouting the man went to open the side door. i looked out at one of the men standing beside the vehicle and he grinned at me with dark eyes, flipped his tongue up and down and fired his gun into the sky. the other men yelled out and i closed my eyes. suddenly everything went silent. inside our van we had D's two big black  rotweiler's which had started to bark and growl. D explained they were 'peligroso' in spanish meaning very dangerous. the man turned to his friends spoke a few words, smiled and waved us through. i was so relieved. i don't know what would have happened if we didn't have the dogs.

for the most part we walked up and down beautiful beaches, ate at local cantina's, wandered outdoor gift shops. long winding cobblestone alleys dusty and hot. chica hey chica. come here pretty lady. the men would whisper from doorways. the flowers everywhere like vines beautiful deep purple. one afternoon we took a small boat to the yet to be discovered island cove called Yelapa. google image it. it is the the most beautiful place on earth. people napping on the open decks of their catamaran boats. local women carrying lemon/lime pies on their heads to sell on the beach. donkeys wandering freely. paraglider's swooping down through the clear cloudless blue sky from the cliffs above. a village with no electricity. deep lush jungle behind the small beach businesses. paradise.

back in Bucerius our building was alive. an old man who frequently had young prostitute's over lived beside us. out of my small dirty kitchen window i could see into his living room where they would show him their goods before money was passed and they went to the back room. it entertained me for hours spying on him. upstairs a drug dealer we called senior toucan because of his long nose. his friend a police officer. always helping one another. a man downstairs who beat his wife/children every night. the cries and the screams and then the slamming door, him leaving to the bar. i sat in the lower darkened courtyard amongst the coconut tree's in the deep green grass listening to mexico at night. beautiful dirty soul mexico. a place where you are either saved or soiled. wealth and poverty. dead animals in the streets. dogs wandering everywhere, starving and limbless. old trucks and dusty dirty roads and orchards. elaborately decorated graveyards. 2 months later we loaded the van and started the long drive back to canada. arguing and angry. mexico hadn't saved us and i suspected not much could.

Monday, May 23, 2011

malaysia

kuala lumpar. the automatic doors of the airport open to release me into a new whole world...the weight and dampness of the hot malaysian night hits me like a wall. i can still feel the thickness of that first breathe heavy inside my lungs. i point to an address in my guide book. the taxi takes me downtown. i felt rejuvenated by the ice cold water in the hostel shower. the dirt and tears and hell roll from my sweaty skin onto the small cracked blue and white tiles below...the hurt pooling around my feet and finally slipping away into the drain. canada is gone. australia is gone. i'm alone here. it doesn't feel real. i dont feel anything. i'm tired and want my bed.

my 7$ buys me a bottom bunk in a small shared room. that amazing clean feeling of being right out of the shower and into soft sleets pulls me quickly into exhaustion. but its so hot i cant sleep. its 3am....i'm restless. usually dependent on alcohol to aid me into slumber this sober new environment has me wired. careful not to wake anyone i wander up a few flights of stairs onto the roof where there is an open air terrace with old foutons and couches. i stand there underneath the enormous sky. can you see me now? an old empty birdhouse hangs off a wall. some fake plants. the city lights are incredible. endless and soft. pink and red. small dirty windows peeking out over hundreds of clothes lines attached between buildings. malaysia is sleeping and its dark quiet lull calms me.

i wake up inside my mind feeling heavy and alone. i remember who i am. sad. i suddenly feel very stupid and exposed. strangers applying deodorant, belt buckles clinking, door's closing. laughing. music. i wait till the room empties and quickly get dressed. although i have no plans i feel pretty damn cool once i get outside. i'm in malaysia. this beats canmore's ass any day. i light a smoke and walk into the city, into the heat, away from my fears of being a nobody. animals in tiny cages hang from outside people's balconies. music. yelling. chanting. incense. oils. smoke. gasoline. dirt. plucked chickens hung from their feet. other's alive in small pens waiting for the grill. fish in bucket's. fresh. moped's and rickshaw's hauling garbage/animals/people. traffic traffic traffic. sitting down at the street cafe's, the cars literally brush past your shoulder's nudging you half out of your seat. the tables are spilling out onto the road. the people form a fluid human river. its 36 degree's... which is like being baked alive if you can't find air conditioning/shade. the toilets are large holes dug into dirt with an old piece of wood on either side to balance while you squat. a bucket of water, no toilet paper. this was my first culture shock. the 15lbs foot long rat that ran past my feet was the second. normal in kitchens. keeps the bugs out.

heavyhearted children without arms/legs, wrapped in soggy stained bandages, infectious boils/rashes flipping their huge eyelashes up and down while intermittently starring down at their bare feet. begging for the  uneaten rice off your plate. if you watch them long enough you'll see they all go back to a big man lurking by the sidelines to hand him their coins.

at night people crowd around at outside bars with tub's of iced beer in the middle of crappy little plastic tables. other backpacker's. people like me who are stuck in a place between forever and not nearly long enough. australians/canadians/a few americans. we fade into the nights together. weeks pass amongst the street vendor's with their fake watches, bags, sunglasses. the vegetable/fruit markets. the sizzling meat. the shops with gold chains/jewellery. shop keeper's lighting incense outside doorways in bundles leaving piles of ashes for prayer. prosperity. school kids flood by in uniforms laughing. men working. women shopping. i watch them all.

small plates wrapped in plastic bags. when your done eating... your bag thrown away and a new bag slides on for next customer. no water. no dishes. juice comes in a small bag with an elastic band holding a straw into the top. men grab your ass and disappear. again and again. vanishing into the heaving bustling crowds. so many people in such a small space. another face. another...another. fast hands. then a whisper in your ear...but when you turn no one there. small sweat drops trickle down my face. its 11pm and still 28 degree's. no wind at all.

i head back to hostel...the rooftop terrace cooler in the night. a few people at the woven straw table with the big round glass top are playing cards. beers and cigarette's. a swedish guy with very blue eyes. we smoke my marlboro's. he doesn't speak english so we don't say much. he sews my ripped dress. one thing leads to another. it always come to this. more like business i've always found it. what do you have for me? what do you want in return? he was buying beers. i had to get rid of him. i was tired. blah blah blah i hope he has a big dick.

one man becomes many different men. giving yourself away is exactly that, the more you give the less you have. at 20 i lost track. i felt nothing but a conquest and it became a game. who can i attract? who can i win? i didn't feel him inside me. i didn't see the dark city around us. i didn't smell the warm hibiscus flower in the breeze. i didn't taste the tears on my cheek. i sure as hell didn't hear the universe screaming at me. STOP. booze. sex. throwing up. passing out. blacking out. falling down. falling in/out/onto. finally a 20 hour bus ride up into the mountains. cameron highlands. breathtaking. my visa almost up, my money almost gone. my liver as tired as my vagina.

returning from nepal a letter comes from S. 'meet me in mexico... i still love you'

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

grace

to be trapped inside yourself is a very dangerous thing, the risks escalating considerably if you have not ever been taught just exactly how to get out.  

...being pregnant, broke and abandoned in a crack house on the other side of the world scared me just enough to reach out and ask for help. unfortunately the closest thing to help was the junkie neighbour's floor to sleep on for the night. i told them what had happened and that i didn't know what to do. also i think looking back i wanted L to worry thinking i had gone and didn't need him if he came back. i was carrying his child after all. i didn't want to sleep in the house he had left me in. so next door i smoked and smoked and finally curled into my sleeping bag on the floor in the living room. the couple who lived there and some other guy played cards and smoked crack from a broken green glass pipe. smells like rubber when it's smoked. each with swollen faces and hard beady eyes sitting around a table cluttered with empty beer bottles full of cigarette ashes. their kids crying themselves to sleep in the back room. i can still hear their children crying. they asked me to join them but the party didn't seem like mine anymore. it belonged to someone else. it wasn't fun anymore. my mind spinning. how did i get pregnant anyways? how long did it take to damage a unborn baby by using/drinking? how developed was a fetus by 9 weeks? they had taken my passport saying they didn't trust me but that if i hadn't stolen anything by the morning i could have it back. i felt totally helpless. cried myself to sleep. 

now for most of my life the worst part about waking up has been remembering where i am. their house no exception. it was early maybe 6am, no signs of life. my passport on the table soaked in beer. i found the address to a crisis center in a ripped dusty old phone book on top of the fridge. grabbed an orange off the counter, shoved my backpack together and quickly left. walked for over an hour in the hot sun with all my stuff on my back. in a waiting room...waiting...to speak to a counsellor. sitting there i remember was the first time i felt tired. tired enough to not get back up. this was the first time in my life suicide crossed my mind. i wasn't going to jump out the window right then. the thought just appeared. it wasn't even a formed thought and it certainly didn't stay long. it passed by darkly and quietly, almost like a possible alternative to the present. i can't remember what the counsellor told me. basically your fucked in a much more professional manner. she couldn't give me money. only advice. pamphlets to read about what to do in the event of being fucked. i think she told me to go home. instead i went back to the empty house and i'm not exactly sure why...the truth was, i was wandering lost in a fog. i wasn't sure exactly where to go. i sat there for almost 6 hours looking at the wall and smoking rolled cigarette's when i heard a car pull into the driveway. it was L. resentment surged up like a tidal wave inside of me. anger covered my eyes in bright red and fear put it's hand tightly over my mouth. taking pity on me i guess. he never said otherwise. 'more trouble than your worth' was the only thing he said on the 12 hour drive back to cronulla. i was just thankful to get a ride back. 

my old roommate begrudgingly opened her door temporarily as the room was still vacant and i was obviously in a state of distress. she said i could find work and back pay her. i think part of her liked me, the same part that liked to watch train wreck's. 

a friend appeared. K, a man i still love and treasure to this day. he was an early morning walker who stopped frequently at the small cafe. then he would swim in the ocean. he is the one friend i made in australia. i'm not sure if i told him how much he saved me, or what the money i was borrowing was actually for. knowing me back then i most likely lied saying it was rent related. i bet he never thought he'd see it again.

abortion clinic in sydney. the polite way to phrase voiding an unborn life is terminate- by definition 'coming to an end or capable of ending' was i capable? i was almost 12 wks by this point. 3 months. i will never forget this day as it has taken something away that should have stayed. something i should have been more careful with. this day took happiness and hope and left shame, guilt and grief. a small hallway. nurse holding my hand. lay back on the table. soft blue gown. exposed. open. the mask coming towards my face. {.......it's not a soul...not yet....is it? just think of it as science....i cant go back home with a baby. how did this happen to me? ....just do it. he doesn't want you. you loser. you miserable fucking worthless whore. your hurt is spreading now...taking other's with it....look at all the things you have destroyed...... } warm and fuzzy. the next world comes to me. i'm floating in the soft pink cracked porcelain bath tub with swirls of blood surrounding me. i'm fine. no you can't take this away. i've already tried. the only thing that takes it away is alcohol. alcohol. alcohol. passed out. alive. hungover. passed out. blackness. and on and on and on. one morning i stood up and blood poured down my legs.

get it together. new job. nanny. 2,4,7. louie, christian and peter. three little boys all from different father's. 3 months live in. i met the mother the day i was hired in her enormous mansion. after that i never saw her again. i cooked, cleaned, read books, bathed, dressed, ironed...i was their mom. not much time to drink. it was a really nice time i enjoyed them. i normally picked them up after their school in the car but one day walked bringing along the stroller in case louie's legs got tired on the way home. i was moving hastily running late, bumping it all around behind me, pulling it up curbs. a lady looked at me in shock from her car thinking there was a baby in it. but there was no baby. i was pushing an empty stoller. she would have been a girl. she would have been 12. she would have been named gracie. i'm sorry gracie.

i had been in australia almost a year when my position was up. a girl arrived for the interview outside the house in her black convertible with music blaring. 'your the old nanny? 'yup' i said putting out my smoke. 'are they brats?' she asked. i smiled. she was a wild crazy thing. blond hair. tight shirt. enormous fake breasts. glossy lips. hadn't bothered to turn off her music. she went to turn as i asked 'aren't you going in for the job?' 'nope, sounds like work...need a ride?' she said heading towards her car. haha she just threw in the towel right there. billy jean was blasting as she sped up the windy hills away from the enormous mansions along manly beach. i remember thinking she's fun. she's crazy. so reckless. i love her. i want her wild strength. but you know i can't even remember her name. she was the girl who taught me to roll down your window down and blow gum out as hard as you could, to insert a tampon while driving, to politely accept or decline group sex, to steal. we snorted beautiful thick white rails at her house for 3 wks. people sprawled everywhere in her fancy apartment. together we were like fire and gasoline. explosive. volatile. we consumed you. man, drug or bottle. 

ok now it ends abruptly and i'm terribly sorry but i do not recall exactly how. my next memory is flying to melbourne, taking a bus along the great ocean road to adelaide and being lifted up again in the belly of a 747 into the beautiful soft clouds towards malaysia. disappearing into the air.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

what goes up...must come down...

sitting next to me on my first international flight to the land down under was a very well dressed business man from LA. we chatted, he ordered me a drink, touched my leg. he slid his credit card through the phone on the seat in front of me and asked softly as he passed it over to me 'who do you want to call baby?' i remember thinking, nobody. warm red wine in miniature bottles. i closed my eyes feeling glamorous. arriving in LA i had a 5 hour layover and was waiting outside when he casually walked out into the light smog of los angeles, into the humidity, into the arms of a beautiful woman... who was presumably his wife considering she had 30 grand on her hand. the man that was laughing and flirting with me not 30 mins before now looked back over his broad armani clad shoulder, right through me. i lit a smoke. 

we flew for almost 2 endless days with stopovers and awful delays....by the time we touched down on australian soil i was exhausted to the point of being delirious. was it day or night? the passengers anxious and blurred, the noises distorted and far off, i felt numb and gave in letting the flow of people carry me along like a current towards the baggage carousel. as my backpack rolled by me on the conveyer belt it occurred to me albiet briefly where i was and exactly what i'd done. i had just flown around the globe on a whim. an angry prideful whim. 

outside the wind was warm and it was night. my feet ached and were thankful for the firm ground finally underneath them. a taxi took me to a hostel in kings cross which is the last place you want to be in downtown sydney at 3am unless your a shit faced university student who's lost his way, a crack dealer or a hooker. i curled up into the thin sheet on the lower half of an old wooden bunk bed, my backpack against the wall behind me. images flying through my head. excited and scared. 

the next morning when i woke up i realized it wasn't a dream. i felt hungover without having drank. in my pocket 200$ and an email address of an australian boy D i had met in canmore. if it wasn't for this particular family taking me in while i found somewhere to work/rent i can't imagine what would have happened to me. the mom S was funny and strong willed and curious, wondering what the hell i was up too. the 2 younger brothers R &A shy and handsome. their father an indian man (dot not feather) was arrogant and outspoken. i shouldn't complain even 12 years later as i was technically nothing more than a squatter in my sleeping bag on the floor of his small office. D played guitar and was... and still is handsome beyond your wildest imagining. eyes and voice absolutely dreamy. i stayed 10 days watching him, eating with his family, contemplating my next move. maybe longer. i remember the dad telling me over supper one night that i ate like a horse and did all girls from canada eat with such an appetite? then excusing myself to go and throw up in their bathroom. i was so angry. watching the water spin the opposite way down the drain, i felt all the rage and shame i had ran from. had i gone so far away to feel exactly the same?

i found work at a tiny beach cafe wearing hideous flower shirts and serving coffee in flip flops. the boss yelled at me and spit at my feet saying i was a fucking worthless sheila. i took night shifts in a fine dining restaurant with white linens and polished silverware. one night an elderly lady drank so much wine and as she teetered to the front i asked her if she was alright...she smiled politely and putting her head slowly down began to vomit. instinctively i put my hands forward. standing there with two cupped hands full of old lady puke, my second day on the job. other than that particular experience the dining room was quite elegant. i rented a room in a small apartment shared with a chubby girl who had a pet rat that she let it sleep in her shirt at night. she didn't like me very much but needed the rent. the bathtub a light chipped porcelain pink. she hid her food. i looked in underwear drawer once and she had huge lacy dark costumes. goth. we avoided each other out of respect. on days off i'd walk down past the morning market's when the vendors were just putting out their fruit. melons and papay's and mango's. small winding paths around the oceans edge, kids with surf boards running down the esplanade. waves salty and crashing. the air heavy with humidity. a spot in the warm sand. cronulla. i liked not knowing anything about the place. i loved that no one knew anything about me. 

it didn't take long to lock eyes with one of the cook's over an order of lobster ready to be taken out. tall, dark hair, sly grin. a surfer boy named L. we became close right away. after shift we would sit on the big rock's at the edge of the ocean. drink warm red wine till we couldn't stand, eat stale bread bread that we had tucked away into our pockets, laugh about people. we made our plans out-loud. he felt dangerous with open ends, like me going nowhere fast. living in his apartment...i think we fell in love. i fell in something anyways. he also played guitar but not at all like D, his guitar wasn't soft and instrumental...L's guitar was your neighbor fucking hates you aggressive and loud. drugs. ectasy, mushrooms, dope. nothing too crazy. a bit of cocaine. one hangover blended into another and months went by like this. lighting incense. listening to beth orton. thinking about the food we couldn't afford because we drank it. a period of intense forgetting. one night we unknowingly arrived home into a domestic scene caused by his not so long ago ex who had ripped all his (my) belongings into shreds. a crazed drunken screaming woman is a fascinating thing unless she's after you. she was older than me and much more worn. she had broken cd's, town picture's, ripped clothing. withing seconds both her hands around my neck choking me against the side of the apartment i no longer felt was mine. i can still feel her long fake nails in my skin. she ran as police arrived. i sat there across from 2 cops looking up at L thinking my surfer dude was perhaps not so 'chill' after all. the one thing she yelled at me as she left was repeating over and over in my mind.... 'don't trust him...don't trust him' 


L and i traveled hours north by train to surfer's paradise along with his roomate N to work at a catering company for the FX games. we somehow found an abandoned crack house/pot grow op and i suppose he paid somebody something to sleep there and maintain the plants. it was an absolute leaking stinking shithole. 2 huge barking dogs outside belonging to nobody. peeling paint. no hot water. dirty shag carpet. we had no money and no food. stealing from work to survive. cigarette's go last and i chain smoked sitting on a sofa i was certain somebody had died on, and probably not that long ago either. tiny lizards clung onto the moisture of the walls and cockroaches scurried across the floor. i turned 19. the job at the catering company fell through getting us only a week or two of pay. we found a flat of generic grape pop which quieted our rumbling stomach's. molded bread and fruit. i desperatley got hired at some ritzy asshole place in town called 'cairo'. a few shifts in i was already showing up late and tired. not because i was hungover. not because i wasn't eating or because i was high. but because i was pregnant. almost 3 months pregnant. i found out the same day they fired me.

what comes up must come down my friend...but the higher the thing is, the longer it takes to do so... and the clouds were still far far beneath my dirty tanned feet until i woke up one morning inside the house alone. my life inside the backpack propped up against the wall. the driveway empty. a scribbled note saying 'i can't take this anymore' he had left me. 


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

off she goes....

....and that's exactly what i did...and it was good at first, my hurt.

i disappeared into it. i needed it to justify the escape. the moment when the liquid rolled smoothly across my lips, thats the moment i hurt for. within seconds relief. numb slowly washed over my body. like when you dip a fabric into water....the moisture quickly absorbs creeping up through it, defying gravity. thirsty. i relaxed, alcohol seduced me, it lifted me slowly up and gently carried me far far away. nothing hurt there. i was sure anyone who saw me would think...look at her; such a brave tormented soul, so strong and so real. she is surviving. there's something remarkably beautiful about the beginning of alcoholism. the way it loves you entirely. the way it devours you completely. there's nothing beautiful about the end of it though. but at 18 i was only just taking flight. my wings just unfolding...i was gonna fucking soar.

alcohol was my new safety. my new hiding place. the fuzzy corners pulled up like a warm blanket, every sip i would ease myself further from life. when i came out of the drunk it obviously hurt. the stark reality hurt. the soberness and brightness hurt. hangover's became constant. a best friend who never let me down, always waiting, always there. the very first time i tasted it i had wanted more, the thirst came from inside me.
although i'm not exactly sure where over the next few years i would loose my ability to choose. when i wanted it and when i needed it. over the next few years if i started i wasn't able to stop. i lost the control of choice. progressively, it takes time. you don't die all at once silly. that would be far too serious. you die in little pieces.

with booze comes men. it didn't take me long to tally up a few notches on theold  bed post. my friend E counted but i could barely remember the day of the week let alone how many men had been through my pants. sex was a means to an end. men bought drinks, smokes. they drove. they showed you off. they had cash. they were easy to manipulate because they wanted one thing. you slept with them to get rid of them after you'd gotten what you wanted. didn't everyone do this? i wanted to drink far more than i wanted anything else. the dressing up. the socializing. the dancing, the laughter. it was just part of the game. it seemed men had more power so i played their game. getting their attention, getting their room key. how fun. getting alcohol. serious business.

most of my partying was done in banff with my friend E. canmore wasn't a cool place to party unless you were sitting in the stolen family minivan down by the power station drinking and smoking with some equally angst ridden high school girlfriend. M. she had pink hair, thats how mad she was. her and i did that once or twice. or the dyke. the bush parties where you fell into rivers and bonfires. the cops half heartedly chased you.   waking up in mud, pissed pants, twigs in your hair.

in banff we'd party more civilized. we'd do our hair and makeup. we'd wear sexy shoes. E would stay at her boyfriend's place. i'd have to find a guy to find a bed. my most frequent choice was D.  he was a bouncer. yes a fat head but he was a hunk. green eyes and the muscles on his arms. 3am i'd beg to crash. he'd always let me in. i don't remember the sex apart from that he could never come. probaly because he had a girlfriend. sometimes she would come over early in the morning and ring the buzzer in the back alley at the bottom of the stairs. the stairs that lead up to his place. the stairs i'd fallen up so many times before. i'm sure my DNA is still on those fucking stairs. D lived in a loft above a mainstreet business. one morning his gf was on her way up. he yanked me out of bed, mumbled 'sorry'...opened the steel bedroom door which led out onto the roof and shoved me out into the blinding early morning sun. half dressed, head swollen from booze, mascara smudged. the door opened again. thank god...and out flew my shoes. fucker. so there under the huge judgmental sky i sat clumsily in the corner of that roof with the little silver chimneys, on small white rocks hoping no one could see me. and if they did see me maybe they would think i was just hanging out, smoking, waiting for my prince.

the first time i felt shame however wasn't a luxury stay in banff but a sleazy pub night in canmore. an old bald creepy looking bartender feeding me shot after shot after shot. flirt and drank for free? earlier i had put on lipstick on and kissed over a shot glass down onto the napkin to make a print of my lips. my napkin along with many other's was put up onto his bar for a keepsake. peanuts shells trampled on all over the floor. dumb ski signs hung on the walls and above the doors. 3am with only stragglers left he followed me into the womens washrooms and forced me to my knee's. held my head. i threw up into my mouth. afterwards i snorted the cocaine he gave me because i was so ashamed. my drinks hadn't been free after all.

i finished my high school through correspondence. S wrote me letters every 2-3wks from nepal. i still have them tied up in a bundle, the paper soft and blue. i missed him so badly.
it was at this point i decided that travelling would save me. the geographical cure. a new perspective. what was the very opposite side of the world to canmore? australia. i think my mother gave in and let me spend a chunk of her baby bonus 'savings' for me to travel with instead of put towards education because she knew it was all or nothing with me. i was in my self destruct 'phase' and from what she'd already seen she knew i was an already steadily ticking time bomb. i also think she felt guilty because of the whole dad thing which of course i used to my advantage. 1000$ towards my ticket, i saved the rest. my 1st passport. i almost failed my medical exam because i had keynotes in my urine. inadequate diet/nourishment from throwing up. trying to be skinny for S. but hey... to hell with him and to hell with everything else.  i would just leave everything behind.
i would recreate myself. see the world. explore. find whatever it was that was missing...because something was definitely missing. so....whoosh off she goes....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

S is for sin

so....mmmm.......ah yes. living in sin...in mom's basement. 

i had lied to S about my age for an entire month when we first met. smug and horny he figured i was 19'ish and damn if i didn't figure i had it made. i had him hooked. S was going to take care of me and all i had to do was keep him happy. i didn't feel good about myself inside but my outside, now that got attention. the infamous macfarlan clevage. now listen up mother's/father's...the power and thrill that this type of attention brings to a girl who doesn't think she's worthwhile is incredible. it dangerous and terrifying. it changes who you are. it made me feel beautiful and special. it made me feel like i counted. i didn't bother myself thinking about the fact his attentions might have been for all the wrong reasons. i equated his attention to being a worthy person. i gave him my power. if he thought i was good, then i was good. my esteem became dependent entirely on male approval. (BAD)

he brought me to the army base and flaunted me in front of all the other soldier's in the tiny dark tv room with my party friend E. we wore our tightest 'outfits'. i cringe at a memory flash or faux leather pants. like plastic almost very sweaty inside. S held my hand and kissed my cheek at the coffee shop downtown. people talked but someone had picked me, claimed me...i felt untouchable, protected from their judgments. i had a man, not a boy. i was 16 then he was 31. how cool did i feel. really fucking cool. 

S and i camped and hiked all over kaninaskis. we white water rafted. he taught me how to climb. how to build shelter in the woods. which bear poop belonged to who, which berry to eat/not eat. he trained the army in outdoor adventure's and i got to live so much of it first hand. when i think of him, i remember being outside. best of all i was creating a new identity. i was going to be the healthy nature girl. i soon started to realize i wasn't as 'fit' as i could have been. i smoked but i wasn't about to quit that because it kept you thin. i'm sure i can thank cosmopolitan magazine for that trivial piece of bullshit not that they endorsed tobacco but fat girls didn't have boyfriends was the overall message within the pages. i started running, nothing quite like the feeling of getting away from something physically. running running running. i had angry feminist raging ani difranco music blaring in my ears and a self manta i would repeat to myself each step my foot hit the pavement....worthless stupid fat bitch...he's not gonna want you....worthless stupid fat bitch...nobody likes you.... i rode my bike a lot. i also started throwing up everything i ate. i would go to wendy's and eat till i was stuffed, it felt so good to be full...having a secret also felt good. i was taking matters into my own hands. i had the control. i had a job as a chambermaid in canmore so i often was in bathrooms which made it easy. the hardest part is a quiet place to do it. i imagined the lives of the people's rooms i was in, their perfume bottles on the bathroom counter, their beautiful jewlery and clothing. the ladies must have been married and happy, loved. the men's shirts thrown casually onto chairs. their belts across beds. ironed suits. professionals. father's who probably loved their kids. how did people end up so successful? how did people end up important like that? ....their things scattered in rooms for useless people like me to pick up. i envied them. 

had moved out of mom's to bow valley campground which is just north of the exit to kananaskis country. it isnt a town, its basically half dozen houses for staff of the park. no store just tree's. he rented a room off a woman named K. she sneered at me and visa versa. i once rode my bike there to suprise them because i was sure she liked him and was acting on it. from canmore 20 mins by car...it must have taken me hours on my 3 speed bike. i'd have done anything to keep my place.
now if your well versed on bulimia you know that you don't actually get much skinnier, if anything you gain weight; something about your body going into starvation mode and clinging onto every calorie consumed thereafter. i had bloodshot eyes i threw up so violently and so often. i began chain smoking. i hated that i still lived at home it made me feel like i was a child. S didn't want to live together so i started working night shifts at a pub downtown and renting a room in canmore to prove my independence. my landlord L introduced me to whiskey and john lee hooker. no funny business he was a good man. i'd dropped out just before meeting S but was now taking my classes through correspondence booklets. i came left as i pleased.

when i turned 17 and we had 'dated for 2 years S started talking about travelling. he wanted to go to nepal. he began to finalize his trekking plans, mapping routes, confirming dates...finally purchasing his plane tickets. i had no extra money so i couldnt follow. i say follow because i wasn't invited. he was moving on. my security evaporating i was terrified and angry at him. i felt it before i knew it. i was being abandoned. again. the maturity i felt by with S started to disappear. same as before i didn't believe in me. truthfully there was no real relationship. c'mon how long can sex with a teenage girl float your boat. 2 years thats how long. i couldn't change his mind. i contemplated skipping my birth control pill to trap him. probably cosmo thinking again. but it was inevitable and instead of being deserted again i beat him to the punch. i went right back to the escape zone. drinking and drinking and drinking some more. we fought more and more. it was the end. S left for nepal. the day he flew i drank 2litres of pink zinfedel and fell into blackouts waking up only to cry. i smoked till i couldn't breathe. i drank till i couldn't see. 

my friend E and i were back in full swing, thick as thieves. now of actual legal drinking with real ID'S the bouncers did big fat headed double takes thinking 'huh haven't these two been coming in here for 3 years?' yup. and now i had a mission. delete it all. delete my life.