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

May 3, 2010

Alternative Histories....

Somewhere in my jumble of thoughts tonight, I sprouted the idea to rethink my life.... to retell it with a new orientation.

So often I have recounted my history to people and it has focused on strife. One thing after the other. Hurdle after hurdle - and this narrative definitely doesn't paint a whole picture of me. My motivation for focusing on the pain was, I guess, I didn't want to forget it, or I wanted everyone else to know how much I had overcome. Maybe because it helps me looks strong, or maybe because after hearing a history like that, they would be more forgiving of my faults.

Well, it's time for a new history - an alternate history line:

I was born in Gold Rush territory. Well, by the time I got there, it was a pulp and paper town in the middle of British Columbia. I had an older sister, and a mom and dad who loved me very much. I don't remember much of my early days in there - and it's not because my sister dropped me on my head when I was back from the hospital - I left when I was two years old. At the age of four, I was living with my mom and sister and two amazing grandparents in Lake Shawnigan - in a beautiful house with a wild garden, and across the street was the lake. I remember gardening with my grandma, I remember the birds. I remember my grandma's hairbrushes - she had two.

By the time I was five, we moved into a great little townhouse across from the University of Victoria. I know I was five because that was also the number of our townhouse... I thought I might have had something to do with that. In my room, there was a secret room behind one of the closets. The ceiling was low and I played house and marbles and the organ back there. And I had a Fisher Price record player. I went to a nearby school, and was cared for by a good family while my mom was at work. Me and the son Nick used to built forts with cushions and sheets. I remember looking at his bare ass as we were crawling through one of our tunnels. I also remember his mom walking in on us when we were pretending to be mommy and daddy. I couldn't understand why she was so mad! And why it was such a big deal that she was going to tell my mom about it. Thankfully, it was not a problem for my mom, not that I remember.

By the time I was in Grade One, my grandparents moved to Victoria and moved into a little bungalow close to my elementary school - they took care of me and my sister after school - sometimes beforehand as well. My grandpa had their detached garage converted into a workshop so they could have their sewing business right there, and I loved coming home from school when my Grandma was in the workshop - I would watch colourful strips of fabric fall into the little brown bag she had attached at the side of her serger. And I would watch the multiple spools of threads all turn together jerk by jerk.

About this time, my dad remarried a really nice lady, who used to read to me and my sister a lot. Before not too long, I had a little sister, which was such a special and unexpected amazing thing for me! And this also involved amazing little vacations in the town I was born in - in the home I'd first come into - as well another location in North Vancouver, in the home of a clockmaker, which involved a lot of tick-tick-ticking.

Elementary school was okay. I knew the same kids for a long time, and I liked playing with clay, and I liked choir. I tended to excel in academics, but was never quite at the top of my class. I kind of liked soccer too, depending on the crowd. I learned how to mouth people off in certain situations, and how to be an angel in others, and I also learned how to entertain others - or maybe just entertain myself - with humour... absurd, cheeky, or shocking humour. Play with other girls often involved a yo-yo-ing mix of emotional exposure and then betrayal. And play with boys was often thrilling, new territory. Often competitive.

The best boys to play with were the ones at my townhouse - two brothers the same age as me and my older sister. I learned how to play with fire from one of them, and was always intrigued by the forts he built, and I got really into the elaborate updates he would give us about how our townhouse was at war with the townhouse across from us - I even carried out orders for the protection and honour of "our side"!

Brownies and girl guides were good experiences. Met lots of girls, nice ones, fat ones, weird ones, shy ones, prissy ones, high-achievers with many badges. I wonder how they would think of me? Was I quiet? I definitely never sewed any badges on my scarf. I liked the crafts. And the games. And the nature trips. And the leader, whose name was Owl.

I got a paper route, delivering the Pennysaver once a week in my grandparent's neighbourhood. Usually, by the time I got back from school, my grandpa had stuff the papers with all their inserts - work that I felt should have been my job, but my grandpa insisted on doing this.

I moved to a different neighbourhood again, and lived in a big house on the ocean. I loved exploring on the beach. I loved going out in a boat on the ocean. It was a lot of peaceful exploration. Maybe it was here that I learned about time spent alone, in "nature" - but maybe not. I was in B.C. after all... and my dad used to take me and my sister camping at Longbeach fairly regularly.

I went to high school at a private school, starting there about the same time I moved into a new townhouse - that townhouse was walking distance to Salvation Army, where I loved foraging for used clothes. It was also walking distance to a friend that I'd made in junior high who I'd become really attached to. She set me up with my first boyfriend. She also I think set me up with my first tokes, and first rave, and probably a bunch of other firsts too. First sushi for sure.

The first boyfriend was fun. Sure, it lasted only four months - but it was the first time I'd been in love - for him too. It took me a long time to get over him.

I loved graduation. It was a signal of freedom!

I went to university in Burnaby - lived in residence on top of a mountain. Met people from all over B.C. and many from all over the world. I was exposed to a lot of ideas and perspectives and well...

Okay - that is as far as this alternate history is going to go for tonight. I originally restricted myself to five minutes to write all of this out. And it's now been about 50 - and already, I feel my mind is opened up to a fresh vault of memories.... oh how refreshing it is to remember the good!