Climbing Up

Today is Father’s Day.

My father has become a kind and caring man. I don’t doubt that. We may not speak anymore, but that is by my choice. He became the father of another family. Even though it hurts, I wish him happiness. Even though we’ll never have the relationship I wished we had, I hope his children love him.

I have been fortunate to build my own family over the last 10 years. My husband is wonderful, my kids are a damn handful but they’re great kids. I’ve got a fantastic best friend/sister and an adorable ‘wife’.

My life doesn’t fit prescribed Hallmark holidays. That used to really upset me. It would hurt watching others celebrate these days with their families. Even in the beginning with my created family it sometimes hurt to see. The family that raised me is so broken. I’ve been told I am dead to them. I have been discarded so many times you’d think it wouldn’t hurt anymore.

Of course, not all of my family thinks that way and I stay in touch with those who treat me with kindness.

After this week off on stress leave, I’ve come to realize some things that are actually pretty common sense:

  • You can’t make people love you.
  • You shouldn’t waste energy wishing that things in the past happened differently.
  • When you change, even when it’s for the better, there will always be someone in your past who doesn’t like it.
  • Leave those people behind.

It’s been ten years since I hit rock bottom. It’s been a brutal climb, but I’m halfway up. I’ve been pulled back a few times by the slimy hands of my past. I’ve been taunted and berated.

But I’ll continue to climb. I will live my life for me. After all, no one else can live it for me.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Waking Up

It’s like I’ve been sleeping. Not necessarily dreaming, but sleeping. Lost in a that void of darkness that is warm and comforting.

Ten years ago in June 2008 I tried to die by suicide. Ten years ago I wanted to disappear into the never-ending blackness and never return. Looking back, it is no surprise why I got to that point. I’ve talked about it before in previous  posts.

Looking back on my road to recovery I realize I’m not exactly where I want to be. Not yet. These last ten months of my husband being gone for work have stressed my mind to limits I didn’t want to reach again. While I may tout myself as being strong and unbreakable, I do crumble just as much as other people. There are things I know I need to implement to continue to have a healthy mind. I haven’t implemented them and I blame work, no time, stress, life. These are excuses and I recognize them for that.

As I address my recovery, I need to go back. I need to unload how I got to that point ten years ago.

I didn’t have an easy childhood. While it wasn’t as bad as it has been for many others in the world, it was bad enough for me. I’ve had thoughts of suicide since I was eleven years old. These thoughts didn’t progress to the how I would die by suicide until I was thirteen. Before that, I just wanted to disappear. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. I wanted the constant pain I felt to just stop. When you’re a child,  you don’t understand what these thoughts mean. I am an adult now, so I understand. I know now.

I tried cutting my arms to see how much it would hurt with the pocket knife my father gave me when I was thirteen. I did it again with a box cutter when I was twenty-four. I have a tattoo over the scars now.

When I was fourteen, I started pulling out my hair. On my head, on my legs, my underarms. I would pluck that hair over and over. I had bald spots in my late teens on the back of my head and would wear my hair in a ponytail or under a bandanna to hide it. I don’t know if I did it because it allowed me to feel some sense of control over the life that I felt was rapidly spiraling out of control. I don’t know if I did it because it provided some sort of relief or if I enjoyed the slight sting that would accompany plucking out a hair, but I did it.

Even now, when I’m distracted and playing with my hair, I might pluck a hair or two. It’s not nearly as bad as it was before, but I have moments of almost-baldness in spots.

In my youth, and even now, I wear the mask. The mask of ‘everything’s fine’. There’s nothing wrong. I can handle this. I can do it. I don’t need help. I used to be really bad at asking for help. There are times when I won’t ask for help because the people I’ve asked have made it seem like an inconvenience to them. I’ve encountered this a lot while living in this town for the last five years. Some people are quick to offer, but when they are asked, it’s clear that they don’t want to. I don’t want people to help me because they feel obligated. So I don’t ask.

In two weeks I will leave this town. My family will once again be a complete unit living under one roof. I will have a new home to paint and decorate. I will have an office to set up as I prepare to work from home. I have so many things to look forward to.

I am only leaving behind two friends. I am finally okay with that.

The stress of everything that I’ve had to deal with on my own over the last ten months has finally hit a breaking point. I am writing this post from a coffee shop. I am on stress leave. There have been a host of things from work struggles to family struggles to depression lying to me that culminated in this leave. I am grateful that I have the means to take this leave.

The recent celebrity suicides have reminded me of my own darkness. They have reminded me that it’s been ten years since my attempt. It’s not like you ever really forget. It’s not the last time I had thoughts of suicide either. Just because I think about it doesn’t mean I’m going to do it. My supports have been lacking, but that is on me. I am using this week of stress leave to redefine what I need to be healthy so that I can put those needs into practice. I am cultivating a plan so that I can be the best me that I can.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

The Words I Couldn’t Say

I’ll start with an apology.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for being a terrible granddaughter.

I was so happy that you knew who I was when I called to wish you a happy birthday today. I had heard the dementia was bad and I wasn’t expecting us to be able to talk. The call was less than 2.5 minutes. You told me you love me; that you’ll always love me. Then you cried.

The last time I heard you cry like that was when you had heart surgery decades ago. If you weren’t ill, I don’t think you would have cried. My grandfather was too proud to cry.

Laughter, anger, humility. Those you could express. For men of our culture and your generation, you don’t cry.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I never call. I’m sorry I don’t write or send you pictures of your great-grandchildren. I’m afraid. Afraid that she’ll find them and take them.

I’m sorry you will probably never see me again. I’m sorry that the next time I see you it will be when we inter your body next to my grandmother: your loving wife.

I can’t go back there. When you pass, it will be the last time I go back. I can’t bring myself to be there.

I will try to call more often. I want to, but I’m scared. I’m scared my voice will make you cry again. I’m scared she’ll be the one to answer your phone one day. I’m terrified of the day when you don’t know my voice.

I’m selfish. These are excuses. The fear is real, but I could do more.

Thank you.

Thank you for being the only positive male role model I had growing up. Thank you for taking me to karate, to choir, getting me that wedding singer job, allowing me to live with you when your daughter cast me out.

Thank you for knowing my voice. For telling me that you love me. That you’ll always love me. Those words mean more to me than you will ever realize.

I hope this illness doesn’t ravage you. I hope I was able to be a good granddaughter when I was younger. I hope I made you proud. I hope, as your mind slips away and your body fails you that the memories you have of me are positive. I hope, that when the time finally comes, that you can go in peace.

I love you, Grandpa.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 2 comments

No, Thanks.

I was surprised by a message on Twitter. Not so much a message as a reply to something I posted. I honestly can’t even tell you what the comment was. I was so distracted by something else. Another thing on this message that demanded my attention.

The name of the person tweeting to me.

Now, I have just under 3000 followers (which makes me feel damn special) and I haven’t figured out that Lists thing yet. However, this person, their name, it was very obvious who they were.

So obvious that it sent me into a panic. The chest tightens. The heart begins to beat furiously. Momentary flashbacks of supressed memories devour the mind. All this in the span of seconds. Purely because of a name and the person it belongs to.

I was able to save myself, however. I caught myself quicker than I have before and calmly evoked the spell that would bring me peace: Block This User?

Oh hells yes. Yes please. No, I do not want this person following me. No, I do not want them to be able to contact me. No thanks. But thanks for the spell, for the button.

One method of contact cut. Sliced. Revoked and removed.

No, thanks.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

The Spring is a Lie

It’s been a while since I dropped a line here. It’s a balmy -5 (Feels like -12) here in Manitoba. My poor kid keeps asking when spring is going to get here. There’s snow on the ground and ice everywhere. For someone from southern rural Ontario, these temperatures at this time of year are not fun. Here’s a super condensed version of what the hell I’ve been up to in the last few months:

Shit I’ve Done

There have been some changes in personnel at work with people leaving for other opportunities or retirement. The team of 9 when I started is now a team of 5. I’m adapting to the changes, but it doesn’t mean I like them.

I’ve sold my house in the town I live in and have bought a bigger house in a smaller town further away from where I am now. I can work from home, so my job is not in jeopardy. This smaller town should allow my family to slow down and take a breath. It’s been almost a year since my husband went to live and work in a city 2.5 hours away. There have been some struggles on my end but we’re all surviving.

I’m listening to the All-Out 90s playlist on Spotify and I still know all the words to all these songs. The 90s was just last week anyway, right?

I had a coffee date last night with a former coworker/current friend for the first time in a while. I always appreciate when he makes time to hang out with me. I miss working with this guy and I’m jealous of his success, but I also support him 100% and will fight anyone who tries to bring him down. Because I’m a ninja and you don’t mess with my friends.

I’m scattered and all over the place but that’s just how I am. There’s not much I can, or want, to do about it.

Shit I Plan to Do

With the end of classes means I have more time on my hands. More time to write, I hope. I’ve been playing around with Pressbooks and have uploaded some short stories from TAK on there. Considering using Pressbooks as my platform for TAK as a whole when I’m ready. Still undecided on that at the moment.

After we move, I want to buy a free standing heavy bag so I can get back to kickboxing. I will be the cool kid who kickboxes in her basement to old DVDs. I need to get back in shape (I’ve been saying this for….10 years now?) and I think this is the best way I’ll be able to.

I have a house to pack. I’ve packed around 11 boxes so far and they’re only books and I still have 2 bookshelves to pack.

Next Friday I take the final exam of my undergraduate career. It’s a scary moment because after this it’s time to apply for the Master’s program I’ve been working towards for the last 3 years. It’s scary because it’s the end of an era: a way of life. It’s scary because there is no guarantee I’ll even get into the program. It’s also scary because damn: what do I do from here?

I have a tattoo appointment because tattoos are life.

The Joy and the Madness

I’ll probably be more active on here again since I’ve found myself with the time. I’ve been pretty active on Twitter in the last little bit. Tweeting about mental health and being a lovable idiot when it suits me.

I also dyed my hair. Because I’m fun like that.

Aw. Aren’t I just precious?

I’ve also remembered that I fit into t-shirts made for children. Specifically, I can wear an XL (or size 14) in boys. This means I get to wear sweet-ass shirts like this for $8 and no tax:

I am going to buy more because they are amazing.

And thus ends the randomness of my day. I’ll be back to posting musings and perhaps more about my book.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Cascading Petals: A Review

(5 / 5)

Come into the world of Jewel Hart: a teenager with a beautiful soul who is experiencing ugly hardships. Within the pages of Cascading Petals by Jane C. Brady, we will learn just what the sources of these hardships are. It’s not easy to exist in high school, especially when you’ve been made the target of bullies for the majority of your life. With one year left, Jewel braces herself to get this final torture over and done. It won’t go easy for her, however. With the new transfer student Jewel finds her life flipped upside down. Enemies have the potential to become friends and acquaintances become that much closer. Is there love in Jewel’s future? Or is there only heartache?

Brady captures the torture of being a bullied high school student with such majesty; it was hard to put the book down. Anyone who struggled, or is struggling, in that time of their life will immediately identify with the way Brady portrays her characters. She also shows her antagonists as human, which can be difficult to do. When you’ve experienced bullying, the hardest thing, aside from surviving, is realizing that your tormentors are just as human as you are. It’s a very realistic approach and lends itself well to this book. Her depiction of how schools have been handling bullying in Canada was also very accurate. While there are good schools out there, the majority have been severely unprepared to address the issue, even when something tragic happens.

The only downfall of this book would have to be some of the descriptions that the characters use for each other. When transfer student Kaiden Carter describes how Jewel appears to him, it’s with very over-the-top imagery which can be hard to swallow. While this is a young adult novel and that language is expected, it’s a bit much in some places. As a teen reading the book, however, it might be easier to accept.

It is important to note that Brady does not hold back in the repercussions of her characters actions. There are events that take place in the book that may act as triggers for sensitive readers, so that should be taken into consideration before settling down to read. It’s heartbreaking for those who get invested in the lives of the characters to watch them struggle and go through such pain. By bouncing the book back and forth between different viewpoints, the full picture can be seen which can cause a larger impact on the reader.

For a young adult novel it was pleasantly surprising to feel so invested in how things turned out for the protagonists of Cascading Petals by Jane C. Brady. As a reader outside the target for this book, it was great to feel connected to the characters right from the start. Covering difficult topics and fairly crafting each characters personality and backstory, Brady does a great job making her book worth the read. By doing such a realistic job, all readers will find themselves swallowed up and eager for more.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Book Reviews, 0 comments

Mindful Musings #231

I will float here

Empty of substance

Surrounded by a false warmth.

The world

My current world

Is lacking.

I teeter between grief and madness.

Pain and delirium.

Agony and strife.

The shattered pieces

Of my strength

Are littered at my feet.

The breaking point was breached.

Yet it will be rebuilt.

As I lie here.

Surrounded by the false warmth

As the tiny pieces of my soul

Refill my empty cup.

 

 

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Musings, 0 comments

Poetry in the Bathtub

It’s been quite some time since I just wrote what I’ve been up to. I wish I could say that everything has just been so fabulous I was too busy having fun to write. It’s really been as I’m sure you suspect: stressful and busy.

Major Life Happenings

There have been a few, what I would consider, major changes in my life in the last six months that have lead me to feeling overwhelmed and extremely tired. They are as follows:

  • Husband gets a job in a city 2.5 hours away. This means he needs to rent an apartment (sadly, with strangers) pay rent and only be able to come home on weekends.
    • This has lead me to acting as a single parent of two very high energy, and one very high emotional needs, children. Boys, to be specific.
  • A coworker got a new job in an awesome, stable position. I react to this change in a very surprising, not-so-great way. I’m still surprised at my own reaction to this news.
  • There are extreme issues at my eldest sons daycare which lead me to pulling him from it and placing myself in an extremely stressful and awkward situation.

I am happy to report that most of these issues are being dealt with. My sons childcare issues have just been resolved in the last week with changes to begin in January 2018. Tomorrow is the last day of school for the year and I should be sitting pretty. I’m grateful to have such an accommodating workplace because I know I wouldn’t have been able to keep my job in light of the impact it has had on my work schedule.

The reaction I had to my coworker departing is being dealt with. I surprised even myself with how I initially took the news. It was mostly due to shock, but there were underlying concerns as well. I am meeting with my counsellor again and we’re addressing it. I have yet to write the departing coworker into a short story where I kill them off and satisfy my unhappiness.

My husband being absent is another thing. This is the right move for our family as he now has an amazing job that he feels confident he will be happy in for the rest of his working life. We plan to move out closer to his job at the end of the school year, so I only have 6 more months of living like this. It’s not what I envisioned myself doing, for sure, but it’s a necessary evil.

Behold My Field of Fucks, and See that it is Barren

This has all done a number on my empathy and patience level for bullshit. I have none left. My tolerance is at an all time low and I’m actively working on mindfulness activities so that I don’t blow my top over stupid stuff. Where does that lead me? Why, it leads me to writing poetry in my bathtub on a Thursday evening.

After my board meeting ended earlier than expected I had attempted to arrange a hang out. Sadly, it wasn’t to be so I came home with really nothing to do. Usually a bath makes me happy but my tub is absolute shite and I can’t wait to move. Still, into the tub I went, writing poetry and this post on my tablet on the side of the tub. I really want one of those things that goes across the tub so you can write more naturally. I will spend hours in the tub if you’d let me.

I’ve also started journaling again. On paper, privately, where I can get out my innermost thoughts without offending the general population. Once I am done with my board meetings I hope to actively write TAK again. I haven’t touched it in a year and I’ve been dreaming of new direction to take it. I so badly want to give it my attention. Perhaps a throw-away character who very closely resembles the coworker who abandoned me will show up only to be disposed of quite spectacularly. That is still up for debate.

But most of all, I want to be still. I want to be rested. I want to have less stress. I want to be able to call the babysitter because I’m going out to a movie or a drink with a friend. I want to be able to put my kids to bed and devote the next three hours to working on my book. I want to be able to read a real, physical book and not worry that I actually have a million things I should be paying attention to.

Perhaps the new year will show me a new outlook. 2017 has been very difficult and I most certainly could use a break.

Here’s crossing my finger, my toes and my eyes and 2018 comes with renewed passion and energy.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments
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