Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Next drug, please!

I went back to the doctor and requested to see a specialist - i.e. a psychiatrist - to discuss my medication issue. (You were right, Teendoc.) My appointment isn't til just before Christmas, but hopefully I'll get a call before then. I upped the dosage as I was instructed and started to experience intense itching all over and I even had a hive on my face. I've got a scar on my inside cheek from catching it between my teeth sometime during one of my many intense dreams. (Can't find a nightguard in the drugstores yet.) Once, I even batted DH away as he attempted to kiss me goodbye before he left for work. I was not a happy camper. And of course, the continuing non interest in sex. I went back down to my usual dose of 150 mg. And now, I have started waking up during the night all sweaty. Not oily sweaty where the bedding is soaked or anything, but still a bit sweaty.

She gave me a requisition for hormone testing just in case I'm starting to get MENOPAUSAL. After she picked herself off the floor from me kicking the chair out from beneath her..... just kidding. I thought about it though. You know, she told me she was concerned about my mental health, but I was never suicidal. Just between you and me, I betcha she's medicated. What with all those free samples and all. I used to work for doctors, they get tons of them. Being concerned about my total health, including a healthy sex life, should be a concern of a doctor, but I guess that only matters to men. One word - Viagra. For women? Nada. Yeah, I gave it the old college try anyway and it was like I wonder who DH is having sex with, it's not me cause I can't feel a thing. I wonder if porn stars feel like that, fake it til you hear cut and then go get a ham sandwich. Yep. Is that under the TMI category? Naah! We've got dildocam stories between us all.

So somehow during all this, she misunderstood that I had quit the Effexor entirely. No, you told me not to do that, it was something that I had to cut down slowly. She actually used the words "titrate down". Twice. Apparently, my face had the look of someone who understood that term. I assumed what it meant. She was quite happy to get me the referral though she did say the psych would probably just pick another medication like she would. He had better listen more, I tell you that. And yes, I know, talking to me can be a chore. I tend to be circular in my thought processes, though I do get to my point eventually. It's a lovely habit that allows me to experience more, mull things over more than some people, tolerate more but some may call it indecisive. Whatever. The Christmas season is coming and the "lights out" rainy weather that this lovely city has to offer is on its way, and I don't want to spend the winter contemplating my broke ass, childless, artistic self all winter. I've got a life to live.

Thanks for listening and if you have any assvice - please do impart your wisdom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

TTC article

Check out the article in the September issue of O magazine, called "Trying". For once, an article about trying to conceive that's been the most effective in communicating the truth.


I shared my post yesterday with DH and we had a really great conversation. I was trying to explain to him how I felt, wondering if I truly communicated what I had been feeling. Mind you, my post wasn't long and he prefers few words to long, rambling, analyzing text. So often we are busy with other things, the daily caretaking of domestic crap to truly talk about other things, that I was grateful to have his complete attention. As a matter of fact, we had a really nice weekend really talking to each other. We went for a long walk in the endowment lands with his friend's dog that we had for the weekend. A black, flatcoat retriever named Moose. One of Sampson's buddies. He's kinda like the developmentally challenged younger brother. He looks similar to Samps but his hair is longer and silkier. He has the worst case of separation anxiety I've seen in a dog. He's needy and annoying and cute as hell at the same time.

I'm beginning to realize I can't fix my friend but I can do what I have learned. I went to my Buddhist discussion group yesterday afternoon, all excited. The theme was gratitude. We had guests and I told them my experience with my mum and my practice and how I felt ready to deal with friend. Not full of sorrow but feeling prepared and calm that I could offer my bubbly chatter, my silence, my ability to support her in whatever way she needed. This girl in her 20s spoke up. Her mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer and she was sad and worried and scared to death. She told me her mother was tough, but she was conflicted at whether she had to be positive all the time despite being weighed down by grief. She so desperately wanted to be strong for her mum. We all assured her that what she was feeling was normal, grief was inevitable, that she could develop a life condition that would give her what she needed.

She told me I was inspirational. I told her that her mum was lucky to have such a wonderful caring daughter. I was so happy that we could make her feel heard and understood at a time that she most needed it. One of our members had thyroid cancer in the past and she shared some amazing encouragement.

I am constantly reminded of what it means to be a mother, a daughter, to nurture and be needed. This yearning has been like a kind of grief for me for so long. I can't know the love of a developing life in side of me and the agony of losing it. I think of my friends out there, some of you, that have experienced this. I am ashamed to admit that years ago, I was envious that some had been a mother if only for a brief time, had something real to mourn. Can you believe that? Yep. Infertile women can. The ego knows no shame. I bow to your Buddha nature. I am only humbled by your ability to know that kind of love and remember.

I pray for Devadatta's safe journey and return. I am happy that I will see her soon. Thanks for listening/reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What really matters to me

On Friday, I finally got in touch with my friend, Devadatta who is fighting breast cancer. And the news is not good. Her cancer has returned and metastasized and has spread to her lungs, liver and blood. Swell. She was pretty matter of fact about it. She has done clinical studies, without much success and is now going to Peru to see a shaman. She won't be alone, she has a friend coming with her. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but you'd have to know her to know that it actually makes sense. She sent a picture of herself to him and without even knowing she had cancer, he knew precisely where she had tumours. Spooky, huh? A lot of events aligned to bring her to that decision and I fully support her. You see, she really doesn't have anything to lose at this point. She's done both western and alternative therapies and both have helped in varying degrees, but they really don't know what else they can do. She's fighting triple negative cancer and it keeps coming back. Chemotherapy and drugs are not effective for her and her only option seems to be radiation but because of the places that it has reoccurred, that might not happen. So, she's looking for a healing. I hope she find what she needs and I hope she comes back better than when she left. I will be leaving to spend some time with her upon her return. DH has been reminding me for months that we have enough aeroplan miles to get to Toronto if I wanted to go visit my friends, but I thought no, that will mean just spending more money I don't have. Then I talk to her and money becomes irrelevant. I just want to spend some time with her.

She'll be so tired when she gets back and I just want to do what I can for her. Just for a little while. She lives on the top floor apartment of a house and when I think of the steep flight of stairs she has to climb to come and go, I wince. Yeah, I know, I wear the part of the princess very well, I like my lattes and my leather boots. I'm at home in a chic boutique hotel and I'd rather shop than eat, but the day I washed my mother when she was in the hospital after her stroke, and she looked at me with such shame and loss of dignity at her own state, I understood what it was to love someone so much that you could bear their misery and hold them in love and do what had to be done anyway. Have you ever looked into the face of someone you loved who was suffering and absorbed that pain, if only for a minute? It changes you in a way. Love is what matters, not your pain or discomfort. I don't know how to explain this at the moment. Oh, crap, I wish I could find the right words. Ah, crap.

This search for motherhood, this search for a deep connection with another human being, there's ego, there's self delusion, there's yearning for love. It's all in there. In life and death.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Still waiting

We went to the adoption agency yesterday for a little face time. Just wanted to know what we could do to get things moving along. We were encouraged to hear that we were on the top of the list for a bi-racial baby and that we should hang in there. We have also discussed the possibility of posting on a couple of internet sites for more exposure in Canada. We would use a contact person there to handle any inquiries from birth mothers. I did learn though that the province of Ontario insists on anyone adopting out of there to hire a lawyer from there if the child is moving out of province. So in essence we'd be paying two lawyers when one lawyer would do. In Nova Scotia, adoptions are just plain discouraged. So the two provinces where we might find our bi-racial child, and thus avoiding US immigration, are proving to be problematic.

On our way home, hubby railed against the horrid expenses adoptive parents incur, as if infertile couples haven't shelled out enough money on fertility treatments and therapies, and that we'd be saving the province from supporting a needy child and why weren't they more helpful. That we could be using tens of thousands of dollars to buy that child an education or a new home or whatever. He ranted that there are some great people out there who could never undertake adoption because of the expense. I pointed out that it is only because we wanted a newborn and we could have chosen other options, like choosing an older child from a government waiting list. We did have choices. Not easy ones, but we did have choices. Not to mention, remaining childless. I know that's only one side of the whole equation, but his frustration was apparent. I can understand why it's so easy to be overwhelmed. Waiting can be very painful, as we all know. It can feel that you are being punished once again for not being fertile. There are so many people out there that could barely raise an objection never mind a child, but that doesn't stop them.

Ah, never mind. Onward and upward, back to the action plan.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tagged back!

Question: what's with the Blogger verification for posting comments? I used to just put in my name but now I have to put in letters and for some reason I can't see them.

I've been tagged by Loribeth at The Road Less Travelled so you can blame her. Haha.

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Where is your significant other? at work
3. Your hair color? black
4. Your mother? Demented
5. Your father? who?
6. Your favorite thing? Laptop
7. Your dream last night? can't remember thank goodness
8. Your dream/goal? Motherhood and a creative job that I get PAID for
9. The room you’re in? Living room
10. Your hobby? hidden object games, online Scrabble
11. Your fear? loss
12. Where do you want to be in six years? In my own home making cookies with my kid and husband
13. Where were you last night? Chanting at the culture centre
14. What you’re not? gainfully employed
15. One of your wish list items? Baby, pedicures on demand, smaller ass

16. Where you grew up? Ontario
17. The last thing you did? had coffee
18. What are you wearing? pajamas and the worlds comfiest robe
19. Your T.V.? Young and the Restless
20. Your pet? in my heart :(
21. Your computer? essential!
22. Your mood? bored
23. Missing someone? my dog
24. Your car? Mazda Tribute
25. Something you’re not wearing? perfume
26. Favorite store? London Drugs
27. Your Summer? endless
28. Love someone? yes I do!
29. Your favorite color? cranberry or orange
30. Last time you laughed? yesterday
31. Last time you cried? yesterday morning

So you folk are tagged now - don't pretend you have nothing else to do - !

Wordgirl at Blood Signs
chicklet at Bloorb
Pamela Jeanne at Coming2Terms
DMarie at Bella Vida
OHN at Only Half Nuts
Portraits in Sepia
Anna at Working on it

What now?

I bet you're all wondering what happened. I'm still wondering that myself. Talked to hubby about the situation, talked to the agency. Not having the immigration number was a problem, but I have tried calling the immigration number. It's the usual automated hell. I tried waiting, I tried pressing 0, I either get disconnected or told that number was invalid or that they can't transfer the call to an agent cause it's too busy. I don't have any further information from the agency yet regarding whether our profile was even approved, so it could be just one of those things. Oddly enough, I thought of this woman who gave birth and wanted to sign away her child so quickly and I was so upset. What if she changed her mind? Did she really know what she was doing? How old is she, does she have other children, who is she? I actually pictured myself by her bedside with a beautiful healthy little girl in my arms. Was she really choosing me or did it even matter to her? Where is this child now? Already, I'm attached. Ohmigosh, I was so overwhelmed with emotion.

Hubby was a little freaked about the bags of money in small unmarked bills (just kidding), but looks like some money that was locked up in a government RSP will soon become available. When we first started this, we were counting on being able to cash in some stocks which were doing very well. That idea was flushed down the toilet along with the rest of the market. Ah, the glamorous world of high finance. He was quite impressed with my action plan though. I think it helped us both realize that this adoption could really happen in real life, not just in our dreams.

I went to the culture centre last night, all revved up for some serious chanting and boy did I have a lot to chant for. It occurred to me that while I was chanting for bags of money that I could also chant for a "free" baby or a Canadian baby. That sounds horrible cause you can't really put a price on a child, but the reality is that people who adopt infants can afford to or have made significant sacrifices to do so. Potential parents would like to put the money away for a child's education or pay down their mortgage, but lawyers, agencies, and birth parents need to be taken care of. I understand that. The adoption process is not for the faint of heart, you have to be committed, you have to be strong. We're lucky, I actually know people who could come up with serious coin if I asked (ssh, hubby would kill me, he'd rather chew off his arm instead of borrowing), but we'll see about that. He married a woman with Bajan (Barbadian) blood and we do what we want. In secret. (insert voodoo music here.)

I also chanted for my girlfriend dealing with breast cancer. See, now that's a REAL problem. I'd like to go spend some time with her and we may have enough aeroplan miles. Though I appreciate hubby's efforts to deal with the current state of the economy and what it means to us personally, I also wish that he could put money in perspective. This is a child and our future, not a car, not a house. Debt sucks, but dying sucks harder. People first, money second. (Occasionally Suzie O. says something worthwhile.)

Thank you for all the encouragement and advice and support. Thanks Joanne for the offer to stay in Houston. When I know more, I'll let you all know.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I hate mornings

I've had a very busy morning. Just minutes after I wake up from another drug-induced dream where I wake up completely flustered like someone was on my last freaking nerve with a sore jaw and headache cause I was clenching my teeth so hard AND BEFORE MY MORNING COFFEE, I get a phone call and email from our adoption agency about a baby girl born on Monday(!) in Texas in need of biracial parents! And the birthmother wants to relinquish and sign today. Yep. And then I was told of the fees. Ahem. Let's just say - yikes! Long and short of it was that I got the impression that all I had to do was show up in Texas with a bagful of American dollars. I considered having a freak out. There's a hitch though.

We haven't been able to apply for an immigration ID number because our taxes haven't been filed and cleared yet. We are not prepared. As you may recall, several months ago, we had other things on our plate - like working on our marriage so thinking about paperwork was not our top priority. We have since remedied our dramatic marriage issues and the tax returns, but due to our European adventure where we were attempting to deal with the loss of our pet and actually have FUN, we didn't get our taxes back from the accountant. I was jetlagged when I returned so I told them to mail them and they mailed it to our old address instead, so by the time I figured out what was going on, weeks had passed and - well, our timeline is messed up. Hence, no immigration number. Yep. The agency encouraged me to call immigration with a hope and a prayer for said number, but of course, all miracles considered, we are not prepared with a bagful of American currency.

After a brief call to a friend and scouring my shower with lemon scented Vim and vaccuming the lint out of my bathroom fan vent, I sat down and drafted an action plan. A missed opportunity like this is a perfect wake up call to us. Nothing other than a bagful of money is going to solve this one in the next 5 minutes, so before I go out and buy a lottery ticket, we are going to sit down and talk about what we need to do to prepare ourselves to bring home a baby one day real soon. Before I have to wax grey hairs out of my chin.

Thank you for your kind words of support. I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moody times

I try not to write about DH but when it really starts to get to me, I can't help it. He's been pretty moody lately. I'm used to being the seriously unhinged one around here. The economy has been on everyone's mind lately and it's not any different here in Canada. BC has been economically strong and stable for the past few years, but when you're in certain financial sectors, the good times are over. His usual travel plans in the fall have been cancelled, no one is interested in making the big deals at the moment for obvious reasons. Earlier this year there was talk about us having enough money for the adoption and then some and now he's grocery shopping with me and looking for sales. That is not like him at all. He would just throw things in the cart and I would be the one digging around in my humongous purse looking for coupons as he rolled his eyes. He would laugh when I told him stories about how I would live on $20 a week for groceries and how my girlfriend and how I could eyeball the items in my basket and tell I was up to $19.95. Well, he ain't laughing now!

There are very few things that put him off his feed so to speak. Our dog's death was one. Just recently he got a tattoo of Big Boy's paw on his calf. I'll get a picture of it soon, I was just waiting for it to heal up. I kept asking him how much it was going to cost and he feigned ignorance. Apparently, it goes into the "worth it" category. As will mine. The other thing that is sure to get him down is worrying about money. I felt compelled to reassure him that I think about it too, but I've never really let the money thing get me down. After all, I'm an actress and after all these years, I'm used to the feast or famine rollercoaster. Yes, indeedy, life is way better when you have lots of money, no doubt about it. I'd rather have to debate between going to Bali or Thailand as oppose to brand name vs. no name can of beans. Back in the day, I used to toss and turn when I wasn't sure where the rent money was going to come from, but then it always came. So at some point, I decided not to worry about it, to just have faith that the money would come. Faith is not something he subscribes to, however. Since he is the breadwinner, he feels the weight of my expectations. His own expectations. He finally found a job he loves and it provided us a glimpse of the future we could have. So to see him toss and turn, not eat, get all short and impatient with me, well, it's upsetting. He keeps telling me everything will be okay, but he's not acting like it. He's started to rearrange things around here. Not a good sign. When things are out of his control, he seeks order in his home. So I did my best not to hyperventilate when he rearranged the office. I hate it when my stuff is moved around, but I let it go. My idea of rearranging is adding things, not taking things away.

Did I tell you I left my agent last week? Yep, it was long overdue, but I was practically ill over it. It is times like this that I wish I were a high powered something or other. I'm sure in another life I was. But when I go to sleep, I have to push away that evil whisper that says if only I was skinny enough, smart enough, more successful, more educated, more something I could make him happy. I push that whisper away with some daimoku and realize the truth is that I can't make someone happy any more than they can make me. I can't fix it. Nor does he want me to. In fact, he hates it when I try to.

I'm finally in a good mood and now he's in a funk. Swell.

Get real!

I was watching a program the other day - the Real Housewives of New York City. (It's the east coast version of the Real Housewives of Orange County - which deserves it's own separate rant.) It's a little like watching a car wreck - you want to turn away but you just can't. I'm sure there's a psychological term for that - anyone? I'm always amazed that people actually live like that. What I mean is that they live without a financial care in the world, their only ambition is to secure their position in the "in" crowd, the socialite set. Marrying Mr. Right with a 6 or 7 figure income is a skill that I never acquired, but apparently it does take some smarts. First you need a career, say a personal chef to busy, wealthy people and then you suck up to his parents by donating your time and services to a charity that you don't give a fig about to impress them and get their seal of approval. What if you are like one woman hanging in the Hamptons for the summer and you are not invited to a dinner party that your other friends were invited to? Eeks, why that's just plain rude and cause for revenge, right?

Honestly, it's like watching a bunch of mean girls in high school! Maybe this program serves as a sort of moral touchstone to the hoi polloi. I may have bills piling up cause I'm living beyond my means but I'm not like that! As one who has 2nd hand knowledge of such people, I feel confident to say they wealthy people have insecurities and problems just like the rest of us - they are just have more expensive problems. Like running out of travel points and having to pay for upgrades to first class or having wicked alimony payments or not being able to afford a private jet. It's all relative, folks.

Why just the other day, as this guy was asking me for spare change, I wanted to say - spare change? Hey listen buddy, I barely had enough for this $3.50 Starbucks non caramel macchiato, get real!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Two Thanksgivings

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends. We went away to the island to visit DH's parents and have turkey. We were about 10 minutes away from having everything all done and the power went out. Swell. There went to the Yorkshire puddings I was craving. Pffffft! They looked so promising in the oven all puffed out. Oh, well, the turkey was done, the roast potatoes were done, the brussel sprouts..... well, almost. We ate by candlelight and it was all very lovely and cozy. The power came back after 20 minutes though. I'm lucky to have such great in-laws, they are really funny and so loving. It was bittersweet as well because, well, we both didn't have our doggies around. They lost their dog the same day as we did. It was just an overnight visit and then back home to make another Thanksgiving dinner for my mum. I have to admit, it all gets a bit weary. We'll be repeating this at Christmas. We're going to Edmonton for a few days and then back on Boxing Day for Christmas dinner with my mum. I can't bring her with me, it's just too much for her and for me. I can feel the stress already. Their gatherings are always so raucous and fun, but I get no private time whatsoever, it's breakfast to midnight socializing and of course the group hugs and kisses at breakfast and bedtime. I'm sure we'll be driving around to look at the Christmas lights in the freezing cold and I'll miss Boxing Day shopping in a province with one tax. Then we'll fly back and do a quiet Christmas dinner for mum. I hate being away from her on the actual day. I know it won't make a difference to her, but still....

Sheesh! I'm not really complaining, how lucky am I? It's just that as much as I appreciate it, all that brouhaha is overwhelming for me. Our family Christmases were always marked by my dad disappearing into the basement to cry, my mum working like a dog to time all the dishes so they all came out at the same time, nice and hot, fake cheer and tension abounded. When I was older, I drank as much cheap wine as I could, then took off to the movies with my boyfriend. When my sullen brother in law relented, we had my sullen older sister over, and watched him gulp down the food with the thunder cloud over his head. The funny thing is that I still miss being with my family at Christmas - well, at least the ones I'm talking to anyway. In the best of all possible worlds, I'd love it if my uncle and my mum and my younger sister and her husband and little boy could be there. If nothing else, I could show my sister what wonderful people my husband comes from. My sister and husband do not get along. I'll save the details for another time. However, since she is the only sister I talk to, it would be nice if they could get along.

We had ham and candied yams and roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts (eww!) and mum had a good time. DH had a video of Celine Dion and she really enjoyed watching that. She started to rub my feet because they were so cold, and it's moments like that that make rushing home to be with her all worthwhile.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I think the reason so many IF bloggers write about their past so much, how they grew up and their old dreams because it's a way of making sense out of their expectations for the future. Where am I going now? That's what we all want to know.

I went to my Buddhist study group last night and we talked about a particular gosho(letter) passage that we have been studying for the past several months - it's called the the Ultimate Heritage of the Law of Life and Death. Nichiren Daishonin is answering a question from a follower, a former Tendai priest, about the meaning of life and death. When we deeply comprehend the greater self within that is the part of the life and death rhythm of the universe, then we will be free from the fear of death. In the chant - nam myo ho renge kyo - myo represents the limitless potential of life and ho represents death. Death, not the end of everything sense, but in the transitional sense. There's a lot more to this but it's more like life is a crest in a wave and as it descends (death), the wave is submerged back into the ocean. I told a senior member that I was really struggling to understand this with my whole life because I had lost my beloved pet and was still struggling with a deep sense of loss. If I understand that he was still here somewhere, part of everything, then why did I feel this way? He told me that grief was natural, that it was okay to be sad, that it took time, but by continuing chanting for my dog, that I could still do something for him, take care of him and that would give me comfort. Well, that's true. Sampson would greet members at my door and sit among us when we chanted. He would often sit beside me when I chanted and I still feel his presence.

And then I understood why I had become so depressed. I had become like that "fall leaf skittering across the sidewalk losing its bits." Loss. Grief. Struggling to find another dream. My career was at a standstill (though I had started directing and writing), motherhood remains elusive, I spent months losing weight and rekindling my relationship with my husband. I wasn't angry at him anymore. My life consisted of walking the dog, the odd audition and visiting my mother and for a while, it was enough. I was happy. Until I wasn't anymore. I had no direction. What had I achieved after making it through the roughest 5 years of my life? Equanimity? So fucking what? Then the damn dog died. In many ways, it feels like I'm starting my life over. And I didn't want to start over. I wasn't 25, I was 45. (Yeah, yeah 45 is the new 35...) I've got the grey hairs and the slightly sagging tits to prove it. And I was pissed. And true to my nature, I swallowed the rage. Mid life crisis. The life I thought I'd have was gone. Dead, so to speak. Chalk full of wisdom, living the high life on the vapours of my credit card. That sounds like a country song. The point that this is the lament of the middle class, someone who can afford this navel gazing, is not lost on me. I'm sure my mother may have had the same complaints, but she was too busy working in a mind numbing factory job. On second thought, she was quite bitter about it as I recall. So was my father.

In any event, I feel relieved to understand this. I applied for an event liaison job at a theatre and I will continue to search out more reasonably meaningful work. I've got an appointment with an agent this afternoon. It's quite possible that I will be leaving my present agent in the near future. I absolutely dread doing it, it's like breaking up with someone who just doesn't do it for you anymore. Blech. I hate change.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Shattered glass

Pam at Blood Signs asks "Do you ever ask yourself if you are the same person you have always been?"

Yeah, I do, in those quiet moments before you fall asleep and in the morning right before you're completely awake. I'm not a morose or quiet person by nature. I like parties and activity and bright lights. I know how to turn it on even when I'm sick. I'm funny and wickedly witty and I like making friends. I am sincere. The dark side of me has only been shown to a few people I trust to handle the weight. And of course, to you all out there. I reveal a lot more in written word. I've recognized that when I expend a huge amount of energy, for example, when I'm acting or directing, I need some downtime. I crave quiet time and reflection at least once a year away from people pulling at me for attention. I like my own company. Yet after a short while I get bored silly and I crave connection. Idle hands are the devil's playground and all that. Purpose, direction, a sense of mission is important to me. Without this, I am like a fall leaf skittering across the sidewalk, slowly losing my bits.

When I was growing up, I lived in a neighbourhood that was divided by a river and a small valley. The working class (low to middle class) lived on one side. That was us. Both my parents worked full time. My dad was a cabinet maker and my mum worked in a factory. She was trained as a secretary but I'm sure discrimination kept her from office jobs. The bigger homes, the middle class and upper middle class lived on the other. We had provincial housing on our side, they did not. We had moved from provincial housing to a semi-detached 3 bedroom bungalow with a huge backyard. Between us and the brand new hospital, hydro lines loomed and buzzed during the hot summers. I later found out it was probably cicadas but I always thought it was the hydro lines.

I used to have dreams of dinosaurs breaking through the hydro lines and killing everyone but me. That's what happens when you watch Lost World (a really old cheesy kids program that featured time travellers trapped in the dinosaur age) too much. I wanted to be noticed, to matter, to be heard, to get the hell out of there so badly. Who were these people and why can't they just smarten up? We never seemed to have enough - we always had to choose between one thing and another. My mum would always split the Twinkies package in half for our bag lunches. One for me, one for my sister. Always half. She could stretch a dollar from here to Kookamunga. One good present (the rest was stuff you needed) at Christmas, though I remember it killed me when one time my sister got the Love's Baby Soft perfume instead of me.

There were a few black families around, one or 2 Chinese or East Indian, mainly Italian and other white folk. We lived quite civilly together. The ugliness of racism touched my life, here and there, but for the most part, I felt safe. I was shielded by my parents and the Canadian habit to be fairly quiet about their bigotry. I grew up with friends and good grades. We rode our bikes all over the place and had grape Lolas in the summer and played in refrigerator boxes. I daydreamed a lot and always had magnificent adventures. But I never could quite shake the feeling that I didn't belong there. I would look out over the hydro lines from my bedroom window over the frozen tundra known as my backyard, and I loathed where I was, waited for my real family to show up and claim me.

My parents were West Indian and were of the ilk that believed that children were to be seen and not heard. They told you what to wear, what to think, no back talk allowed. They never asked for your opinion, just your grades. Actual conversations were rare, we just sort of reported in our family. They worked hard and us girls were expected to be good and tow the line. They didn't want to hear if we were upset or angry or sad. Our job was to go to school, listen to the teachers and be GOOD and stay out of trouble. Be VERY GOOD, because if were were less than perfect, we would be judged more harshly than the white kids. Oddly enough, that actually seemed to be the case.

Mum worked very hard to keep her little girls well groomed and clean, always ribbons in our hair. Oh, our hair! Not long. That was not good. Our hair was very nappy and did not grow very much. The braids on my plaited head was only about 2 inches or so. Oh, the tragedy of not having "good" hair. However, unlike other black kids I knew, my parents didn't beat us if we misbehaved. Whew, lucky us. Well, we got the slipper on the back of our legs every now and then. My mother used her slipper like a boomerang, no matter how fast we ran, her magic slipper never missed its mark. And the cuckoo stick was waved around a lot. (Like a paint stirring stick, it was for making a porridge-like West Indian dish.) We giggled and ran from the cuckoo stick.

My parent's marriage may have started out well, but it deteriorated into acrimony, despair, and varying degrees of sadness. They fought constantly (none of this crap about not arguing in front of the kids); my mother's petty humiliations and degradations, my father's anger, stoicism and depression oozed from the floral wallpaper. Occasional violence broke out so we hid in our rooms. I had a dog back then, Eli, brown and white cute mutt with a big fluffy tail, I held him tight when they argued.

Whenever I am asked to think back to a young age, say during an acting exercise, I am often left with blanks. Sometimes I can remember certain things or moods if I have an old photo in my mind's eye, but most of the time, I can't remember. I am sure it's because I spent a lot of time willing myself to forget, and all I can recall is the fact that I didn't really enjoy childhood. We were taught to never speak about what goes on in the home. Don't tell people your business. Not even to each other. So I didn't. For many, many years. I didn't tell when my dad put dog shit on my mother's bed because she didn't always have the time to pick it up. I didn't tell the time he shoved her outside in her bra in the wintertime. I didn't tell when he put his knee through the bedroom door when he felt we were ignoring him. I didn't tell my mother finally left him and moved us to a townhouse. I didn't tell when he broke in and he put his hands around her neck and choked her on the patio in front of a bunch of people while my sister and I tried to beat him off of her. One man in the crowd finally dragged him off of her. The police came, but in those days, they just gave the man a good talking to and that was that.

I'm pretty sure that was on THAT day, the path of who I was supposed to be changed. That was the day I felt true rage. Impotent rage. I was 11 yrs old. I was outraged to discover that life was unfair. I remember us coming in and finding broken mirror glass all over the place, the beloved TV missing. In that moment my father sprung out from the darkness and terrorized my mother, that sense of peace disappeared. A long time family friend was there, perhaps he had been helping us move, I don't know, but he stood back and did nothing. Nothing. What my father never realized that though my mother survived with only fingerprints on her neck, he might as well have been strangling me that day. For her audacious crime of wanting to live with her children without misery and pain, she deserved to be strangled in front of her female children and in front of strangers. He didn't love her, respect her or want her, but she had dared to sneak away from him and take his TV, his furniture, his children. My mother couldn't make it on her own and after a couple of months, we moved back home. And on THAT day, who I was changed again. I wasn't one of those kids who wanted their parents together at all costs. I could see my mother's suffering and I loathed her for being so weak, so helpless without a man. I hated my father for condemning us to live as hostages. I could barely conceal my contempt for both of them, but I learned to swallow rage. I smiled and carried on being GOOD.

Decades later, I learned more about them, understood them, I even forgave them for being flawed human beings. But sometimes I still wonder who I might have been.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Feeling better

Just to let you know that after I put out the SOS call, I felt better the next day. As in OMG, I don't feel like crap today. Now it could have been the sunshine (which has since departed our lovely city) but I'm hoping it was the meds plus spin class.

I had a minor flashback yesterday. It was really dark outside, rain was coming. I heard a firetruck siren. I thought of my dog who always howled when he heard firetruck sirens which lead to memories of his last moments in the animal emergency gasping, but I bolted to my Gohonzon and chanted like a mofo which got me back on track. I had a really important audition that morning and I did not need to feel weepy or vulnerable for the part. I had a good audition, albeit no director in the room (boo!) and then I went to the doctor. I felt pretty good, better than I had in a while. So she said stick with it and increase the dosage if I don't feel even better in a week. She had no advice for the no sex drive side effect which happens with all antidepressants. Swell.

You are right on all counts, Teendoc, but I'm going to hold off with specialist route because I'm hesitant about switching again. I honestly don't want to go through adjusting to more side effects with something else if I don't have to. I don't really want a psychiatrist referral on my record, since when I adopt, the social worker visits will commence again and I have no idea what paperwork or questions I'll have to go through again. When I had to get a medical exam last year, the doctor had to report my last depression which was several years ago.

As we head in to winter, this city, as beautiful as it is, transforms into a rainy, perpetually overcast no blue sky for weeks place and I've never gotten used to it. We had freezing temperatures and snow in Ontario, but at least the sun came out every now and then. But with Gohonzon, love, exercise, friends (that includes you guys), A BABY, and A BUSY, CREATIVE AND PROSPEROUS life I shall be fine.