“I Think He’s A Wizard…..”

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These are conversations I had recently with my friend Rebecca, and I decided they were too good not to share. Also, I figured it was about damn time I wrote another blog post, and since I don’t have anything interesting to report, this is going to have to do. 

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*a couple weeks ago, on the phone*

Rebecca: I got some stuff at a yard sale today.

Me: Oh yeah? Like what?

Rebecca: Well, there were a few things I wanted for my apartment, but the woman was getting ready to close up shop, so she insisted I take a bunch of stuff. So I have some purses, and some Catholic figurines….

Me: You bought Catholic figurines?

Rebecca: They were included.

Me: Well, what are they?

Rebecca: There’s one of this woman kneeling down with a sheep…..and another woman with a halo thing over her head. And this guy in a fancy purple robe…..I think he’s a wizard.

Me:…..A Catholic wizard? Wait…..are there two other dudes who are dressed kind of like him?

Rebecca: Yeah.

Me: Um, dude. They aren’t wizards. They’re wise men. And the woman with the halo is the Virgin Mary. I’m pretty sure you just accidentally bought a nativity scene. How did you not know that?

Rebecca: Because I’m Jewish?

Me: Oh. Right. Good point.

*Yesterday, after coming over to Rebecca’s and seeing her purchases displayed on the side table*

Me: Hey, is this your nativity scene?

Rebecca: Yeah. It’s great, huh?

Me: Oh! You didn’t tell me you got the manger too….Where’s the baby Jesus?

Rebecca: He might be in the freezer with one of the wise men.

Me: ……..why is the baby Jesus in the freezer?

Rebecca: To kill any germs on him.

Me: Of course.

Rebecca: Here. Here’s a frozen wise man. *rummages around some more in the freezer* Oh. Maybe I didn’t get Jesus…..

Me: So…you bought an entire Catholic nativity scene, minus the baby Jesus? So everyone’s just standing around an empty manger? 

Rebecca: Yeah. It’s a Jewish nativity scene. We’re still waiting for him. 

Me: That actually is kind of appropriate.

 

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We Must Accept Finite Disappointment, but Never Lose Infinite Hope.

Well, it’s happened again. Sometimes it comes on suddenly, like a tidal wave, other times, like this time around, it sneaks up on me, like a predator stalking it’s prey. The one thing I have learned over the years is that, eventually, the depression will come back. And so it has. And it’s changing my life, for better or for worse.

I am about to embark on a leave of absence from my job, because thanks to my mental health issues, I can’t work right now. So many thoughts swirl through my head when I think about this situation: “How can I afford to live?”; “What will people think?”; “What does this mean about who I am?”. It can go on and on. As someone who has so much of my identity wrapped up in what I do for a living, it’s terrifying to think of not having my job to structure my life, to give meaning to my days.

My pride has also taken a big hit. It’s a humbling experience to have to come to a point where you have no choice but to accept your limitations and make decisions based on them. I think: “But I’m not the sort of person who can’t hold a job”; “Does this mean I’m a failure?”

And then there’s the anger.”How can this be happening to me AGAIN?”; “Haven’t I been trying so hard for so long? Why don’t I see results?”

So, I’m disappointed. Clearly. But as it says in the Martin Luther King Jr. quote above, I also believe that we can never lose hope. And so I hope. I hope that this break will give me the time I need to get well. I hope that the people around me will understand. I hope for a future for myself that includes happiness and joy and love and all of the wonderful things that life has to offer.

If I’ve learned anything from my experiences with the black hole of depression, I’ve learned this. Sometimes it feels like you are trapped in a dark room with no doors and windows and it seems like you will never get out. But just because you can’t see the way out into the light doesn’t mean it’s not there. Sometimes you just have to feel along the wall for a little while to find the door.

So that’s what I’m going to do. My life is on the other side of that door, and my hope is a small candle that will light my way until I find it. And if you’re someone who’s feeling similar to this right now, who’s trapped in your own version of that dark room, just keep looking for the door. You can find your way out too.

Never lose hope. I promise I won’t.

Conversational Geniuses: Part Deux

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Earlier this afternoon….

Rebecca: Want some MSG soup?

Me: No. I’m good. Wait. what kind of soup?

Rebecca: MSG soup. Tomato.

Me: Sure, I’ll have a little.

Rebecca: Well, it’s cuppa soup, so do you want a cup?

Me: I don’t want to eat all your soup.

Rebecca: This shit’s so good you’re gonna cry. You’re gonna be like: “where’s this been my whole life?” Fucking Lipton bullshit soup.

Me: I’m excited.

Later on…

R: I’m gonna watch 30 Rock. And so are you.

Me: Am I? That sounded ominous.

Rebecca: It’s just going to be on.”Episode 5…there is no I in America….”

Me: (singing)….there are no cats in America……remember that movie?

Rebecca: Yeah, what is it?

An American Tale. You know, Fievel.

A few minutes later…..

Rebecca: This is yours. Don’t spill on my couch. (places a cup of soup on the table beside me).

Me: Thank you! I won’t.

Rebecca: Not that you will. I probably will. That was more of a note to myself.

This is what our hang-outs look like. We’re pretty boring. You’re welcome for this extra-special glimpse into my life.

Conversational Geniuses

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Here’s a transcript of a conversation I had with my friend Rebecca this afternoon.

Rebecca: I think I might have overdosed once, but just made it through.

Me: I definitely had alcohol poisoning once, but didn’t go to the hospital. I occasionally miss alcohol.

Rebecca: You know if I were to get an alcohol buzz right now, I would immediately need heroin. I used to drink just to get up the nerve to go to really dangerous neighbourhoods to buy drugs.

Me: I just drank….because….I’m an alcoholic.

Rebecca: Well, that’s why I do drugs.

me: Your cat is adorable.

Rebecca: She really is. She just loves the love.

 

We need hobbies.  STAT. 

A Series of Letters to People I Owe Money To.

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Dear Rogers,

I KNOW. Please stop calling me. I will not answer my phone when you call me during the day, because, as you WELL KNOW, you charge me for daytime minutes. Maybe if you didn’t charge an arm and a leg for your phone service we wouldn’t be in this predicament. I can’t imagine that you will be in financial dire straits if you don’t get my 150 dollars immediately. So back off.

Love, 

Jenn

 

Dear VISA,

I am writing this letter to let you know what I think about your policy of loaning money to people who can’t possibly be trusted to pay you back. Quite frankly, I think you’re a fool. Shame on you for lending me that much money with NO PROOF whatsoever that I am the sort of person who makes good on IOUs. You have no one but yourself to blame.

Love,

Jenn

 

Dear OSAP,

Don’t you have something called loan forgiveness? Can I have some of that? Forgiveness is such a wonderful spiritual principle – I recommend you practice it more often. And you can start with me. 

Love,

Jenn

 

Dear TD Bank,

Thank you for lending me all that money when I was a student. Unfortunately, I’m just a social worker now, which isn’t the most lucrative profession in the world. I’d appreciate it if you’d stop taking all that money out of my bank account each month; I kind of need it for smokes. I appreciate your understanding.

Love,

Jenn

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

Just add it to my tab. 

Love,

Jenn

Why I’ll Never Be A Comedian: Part 2

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You might be wondering, after reading the title of this post, what happened to Why I’ll Never Be A Comedian: Part 1. That’s a really good question. You should ASK THE FRIGGIN’ INTERNET BECAUSE THAT’S WHO LOST THE ALMOST ENTIRELY COMPLETED ENTRY I WROTE AT 3:30 IN THE MORNING.

It would seem that I have no sense of humour when it comes to these things. More proof that I’ll never be a comedian, I guess.

Phoenix Re-Rising and A New Sun Shines……

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Some of you may know that I have tattoos. My very first one was of a small-ish flaming sun on my right shoulder that I got when I was 18 years old. The next 2 were ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs on the inside and outside of my left ankle that symbolize mother and father (I love you Mom and Dad!) when I was about 25. After that my addiction was in full force.

When I decided to quit drinking  the last last last time (it’s funny now that I’m in AA. Oh, you didn’t know that either? Well, now that I’m in full confessional mode, I might as well lay that out there too) and smoking (the last last last last…… oh, fuck it. Who’s counting anymore?)  I opted for a much larger tattoo. I chose a phoenix, the symbol of rebirth, and had it tattooed all the way down the left side of my back. I had had my last drink about a week before, and I smoked my last cigarette right before I walked in the door of the tattoo studio. And that was it. I didn’t look back. For about 6 months that time.

Lucky for me the metaphor of the phoenix is that it rises from the ashes OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, so this Monday I went back to my tattoo artist, Jen, (TCB Tattoo on Queen and Bathurst, I recommend her!) and told her I wanted 2 things done. Well, 3. The first was just that I needed a touch-up to my final tattoo that I had done last fall, the word ‘breathe’ on my foot. But I also told her I wanted a new sun covering up the old one, as the old one was faded and tired looking, and needed some sprucing up. With all the changes coming up in my life in the next couple months, work moving to a new building, me moving to a new apartment with a new roommate (more on that later), my ongoing commitment to recovery, I felt like I wanted a symbol of a bright new day. So I got one.

And then there was the phoenix. I asked her to add some new feathers and flames to the bottom. Because this week I was going to tackle the smoking problem again. Those of you who know me well have heard this a million times over and are probably rolling your eyes so far back in your head you can’t even read this anymore. I don’t blame you. But I have to see it this way: if I stop trying to quit, it sure as hell will NEVER happen, so I have to at the very least keep on damn well trying. So with the tongue-in-cheek metaphor of there being new ashes to rise from, we added some new flames to my phoenix. And tomorrow is the 9th. April 9th, 2011 is my alcohol sobriety date. And now, fingers crossed, it will be my nicotine sobriety date as well.

Here’s hoping.