life with an ostomy. candid, not sugar-coated. empowered, not embarrassed.

Apr. 30, 2010

Life comes from death

I am doing surprisingly well. I feel able to look beyond, on bob my way on through some pretty intense things today. I feel like there's even some kind of cosmic beauty in it all.

When I woke up this morning, I was already feeling the weight of a bunch of little setbacks. Like my dismal effort with choir - being the only member who has not only not learned by heart a very complicated piece... I didn't even recognize it when everyone else was bursting with the song! And God! on Monday, I learned that seven video interviews I'd done for the oral history project had no sound! Bloody hell! And I was feeling so stressed about the job I have come to hate, and stressed about not having heard back from the museum guy still. oh, and then there would be that little gem of a comment from my last post, something about my writing being a bunch of drivel and my life being pathetic. Read for yourself. ...or if it was you that wrote that... buddy, do you need a hug? It didn't actually bother me that much, I am just trying to looking for hard evidence of how crummy I felt. I am also really missing my boyfriend, who is still out of the country for more than two weeks.

Nothing too crazy, huh? Just life.
But in my journal-writing this morning, I found myself writing tonnes and tonnes of stuff about continuing. Onward! Because I have no choice! Continue! Even though I just didn't want to muster the energy, and don't know what anything will amount to, I will continue.

I think that got me through the day... through my panic when I lost my wallet - my Visa, my money I had just taken out of the bank machine, my birth certificate, SIN card, all my ID, etc... AND I also lost my notebook for the reporting I do... I had notes from three different unwritten stories in there. That all happened when I was on my way to see my counsellor, who I was determined to discuss an exit strategy with for the job I hate. A couple hours earlier I had been to a harmonica lesson where I basically outlined how miserable I was with the job and how I just had to quit, but had no idea what was next. And then I went to a local elementary school to get a comment for an article I am writing. When I left, on my bike, I guess my backpack was not properly closed, and somewhere between my hood and where my counsellor is, my bag opened up and my wallet and notebook fell out. After going over the whole route four times, I couldn't find anything. No trace. Not even a crumpled up, tire-marked notepad. Nothing. Gone.

So I was panicked about having lost that stuff, but also panicked because I wanted to quit my job and was relying so heavily on my counsellor's guidance, but I had to scrap the appointment as soon as I saw her because of my missing wallet and notes. As I was going back and forth over the route, and feeling so charged... I knew what I had to do - just quit my job! It just rose up within me with certainty! I had to!

What was brilliant was when I got back home, I got an email from the museum guy telling me I was, in fact, getting the money for my project! So... I made the decision to quit without having my counsellor hold my hand, and without the safety net of new income. The universe delivered. I also asked the guy at the flower shop downstairs if I could borrow some money and we ended up having a really good talk, mostly about corruption, and he even gave me a bouquet of flowers! He also convinced me to sit with my convictions about quitting until tomorrow... and quit then, calmly and confidently.

And what was beautiful?? Well, I know it's in there somewhere. The beauty has something to do with losing my wallet and feeling okay. I mean, it's so symbolic of my identity. My identity... so rooted in that birth certificate, which is now... who the hell knows where? It reminds me of an anecdote I read about some kind of plant recently... how the tall mother plant died but its offspring, which came up from it's roots were healthy and thriving some distance away.

I don't need my original birth certificate for a secure sense of identity. I will keep thriving with its death. And the death of so much else. Over time.

Apr. 16, 2010


well, that last post, when I read it over, did sound a bit confusing. I think I was letting some of my insecurities get the better of me... the museum was not in fact cutting me out of the project. There is value in what I'm doing - yes, on my own terms, but yes, other people believe in the potential of the project as well, which is validating. I have to trust that other people can trust me to do good work! But I do need to keep my values close at hand when it comes to editorial control of this project (ie - i won't censor negative things people have to say about the neighbouhood in favour of a positive-at-all-costs piece of bullshit AND i will respect the dignity of all people i come into contact with in the neighbourhood).

Okay, well there is something else i have been a bit confused about. I was writing and rewriting an email to my partner, and erased the whole damn thing because I wasn't making sense - it was contradictory. and so I am turning to this blog as a space for maybe working it all out.

Here is the meat:

- my life is beginning to take root, and I am feebly gaining networks, reputation, a portfolio, and a better, more confident sense of self in my work

- i am also gaining relative grounding on the homefront, with gardening, becoming a bit more rooted in my neighbourhood, bridging the gap more and more successfully between the city i left and the home I am now creating, fixing up our apartment piece by piece, loving my time here, feeling safe

- i am getting married and reading this annoying book called "the meaning of wife" - granted i haven't gotten to the chapter where the author seeks to resolve some of the major predicaments that women in marriages find themselves in - but i am sick of reading about stats and pop culture indications that married life leads to frustration for married women, whether they decide to be be careerists or to work in the home.

- my fiancé, now out of the country, is tossing around ideas for what to do with his future, and has been advised - by his supervisor - that post-docs are the way to go if you really want to dig your heels further into your research and be secure. (The email I was writing and rewriting was relating to this.)

Aha! Now I see the tension... now I see why I was feeling confused as I was writing to my partner.... I have a way of ignoring all my own needs, or pretending my projects aren't important. I was writing him telling him that I wanted him to make decisions about his future based on his own instincts and interests, and that I will support him, and don't want him to feel pressure to provide for our family - we will figure it out together, etc, etc. But, frankly... what I have just realized is that:

- yes, i am open to moving again if that's what is in his future
- no, i would not move again if it was me leading the way
- yes, i want to build my own life - a delicate balance of home and community and work and art
- yes, i would have to start from scratch again if we were to move again
- yes, if we did move again, i would expect my partner to provide for our family... I mean, more of the onus would have to be on him, because he is the one who is leading the way, and what about me? what about me?

Laterally thinking... there doesn't *have* to be this tension. We have... feebly... talked before about projects together. We haven't really successfully worked on a big project together. well, other than the immense project of a relationship... a home, routines, roadtrips, chores, barbeques, bits and pieces of art and music together... very small bits and pieces. We have dreamed of dreaming up a dream before.... like wouldn't it be a good idea if we embarked on a big project together? I mean, having a family is a big project... but I mean being partners in the creation of something that includes both of our interests (which overlap a lot) and aptitudes (which do not overlap that much), and which creates something that was not there before. Hmmm... what will this be, what will this be?

And, is this a good idea?

I don't know. I am not ready to commit to the idea of creating a common project together, but I do think it is a good option for us... especially if we plan to be more nomadic in our lives. Something so that I have continuity, so that I am not some second-ranked follower. I'm better than that, I deserve to think of myself in higher regards. I think as the next two years shake out, we may have a better idea of our futures together. So for now, I continue to dig my heels in here, and now I know what I am going to say to my partner.