bi.

cw: homophobia, transphobia

I didn’t come out as bisexual until 2020. I needed to finally be seen for who I actually was, a bisexual woman in a heterosexual relationship. When my husband and I started dating, I asked him if he was okay being in a gay relationship. I had never asked that before because I hadn’t allowed myself to be bi. He’s not gay. I’m a woman. Why is it a gay relationship? Because I’m a gay person. I’m in the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve been there since I could remember.

The community was on the fence about folks like me when I was a kid. We were seen as selfish, confused, or somehow even more perverted than people who loved their own gender. It was all very confusing, so much so that I shouted allyship instead of coming out. It was hard being an ally to people who knew the pain of being rejected and still dismissed bi people.

Those same people would often dismiss or torment trans people and looking back, it was on them to look inward at their own homophobia and to question where their fear of trans people comes from. I read an anonymous article by a trans woman in a health magazine back in 2007. There weren’t articles by trans women in mainstream media then. I instantly felt seen and heartbroken for this woman, for the entire trans community. Here I was being told that I was confused and here she was, having to write anonymously so she wouldn’t be murdered the next day.*

The thing is, I was afraid to bring women home, to have them as a girlfriend, to shout “I love men AND women!” I missed out on what I think would have been some great love stories. Most of my friends knew, the ones that saw me outside of work. My club friends definitely knew. One of my cousins knew. I wasn’t completely closeted in some spaces. The spaces I felt safe enough in. Not all gay people are safe spaces to be around. But the majority of the straight people that I’ve met are not safe either. I try not to keep unsafe people around, it’s difficult when they can’t see their own homophobia within them. I have tried to have conversations and teach and usually end up feeling unseen and hurt.

It’s up to us, as individuals, to look inward at our phobias, the learned behaviour that tells us “this is the way to be safe”. Those learned behaviours and thought patterns and exclusionary measures are based on fear and misunderstanding. Gay people, trans people, and disabled people have been here just as long as ‘normal’ people. We’ve walked beside each other since the beginning.

We only want to ban your war guns, not your love. You want to ban and kill us for who we are. So when you use hurtful language or laugh and taunt and brush off homophobia, you’re standing on the same side as them. You’ve shown the gays how you really feel.

There’s still time to learn, listen, and grow out of those behaviours. It’s scary and feels weird but is one of the most rewarding things to finally be able to see the love people have for one another.

A note to my husband, thank you, love, for your unconditional love for me and for who I am. It’s okay that you’re not gay 😉

*I don’t want to belittle the fight that gay men and women have fought for so long. There is no but here. People have been murdered for who they love and for who they really are for millennia. It is time now to accept everyone under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.

torn.

I’m torn. Did you know that Natalie Imbruglia’s version of Torn is a cover? I didn’t. I can’t unsee the entire music video. It’s seared into my memory from the sheer amount of times I’ve seen it. Just like Titanic. Choir killed that Celine song for me. Grade 7 is a prime age for repetitiveness. Add in the ADHD and wow.

I’m rambling.

Back to the task at hand. I’m torn between two paths. I thought giving up on the idea that I’d be a mother would solve this but it did not. Well, okay, it did, but what ended up happening is the childfree path split into two.

I have so many options open to me right now except none of them feel safe. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t feel safe at the beginning though. At least I don’t think it does or should. The fear of failure either squashes the start or fuels it. I’ve experienced both. I know I can do what is needed, but do I want to?

Social media is so confusing. Add in the everchanging rules of capitalism. Advertising is inherently manipulative. Marketing isn’t far behind. There is a way to be ethical in these industries but it comes at a cost of a smaller audience with a higher pricetag. I sound jaded. It’s because I am. That’s not a really great way to be while in said industries. It’s a great disrupter though.

I waffle between putting my entire life out there on the internet or saying nothing online. Both are strange. Both feel weird. I grew up without social media. I was 23 years old when Facebook opened to the masses. I knew what it was like to gossip in real time and not read about it in someone’s vaguepost the next day. I was still getting pictures printed at London Drugs. I didn’t have a LiveJournal or a MySpace page. I was an Early Adopter, not an Innovator. It has taken over all of my friendships. It’s taken over how I share my life with people.

My love/hate for the internet is detrimental to my career. My career is based on the internet. I have to be here to make money to survive. I also have to decide on how much I’m willing to sell myself for. My productivity needs to come with a cost. Do I continue to share parts of myself, my life, for views? Or do I focus on the products and services I can offer and sell?

I used to love sharing my life on social media. It wasn’t for views or likes or to sell something. It wasn’t riddled with ads and the need to monetize every little thing. Consumer fatigue, there’s always a term for these things.

I’m tired.

There is a path in between these two paths I’m stuck in front of. It’s obviously the one that needs to be carved out.

wasted potential.

I’ve heard my entire life, since I can remember, that I’m wasting my potential. But what was that potential? Was it not those people’s expectations of me? They weren’t my expectations. I like to learn new things and move on. Moving on doesn’t meet expectations very often.

“What a waste.”

A waste of what? Energy, time, potential?

If I don’t want to do the follow-through, I won’t. Does the potential end once the follow-through has been accomplished? Yeah, I guess it does. It’s no longer just a thought, an idea. It’s tangible.

Does creating the idea but not following through equal failure? In a capitalist society, sure!

So where do I fit in as an ideas person? Someone who chases, looks, but doesn’t catch.

I’m not sure yet. All I know in this moment is that others’ expectations of me can no longer be my driving force to accomplish things. My potential is mine alone to do whatever I want with. Meeting other people’s expectations doesn’t serve me, and doesn’t let me live my own life. It forces me to live theirs which is impossible. I’ll never succeed.

I’m not a failure because I didn’t meet expectations or lived up to some sort of imaginary potential in other people’s minds.

My worth is not based on my productivity, how much money I make, how successful I am in the capitalist cog. That’s not for me. I’m returning the ladder I was given at birth. The rungs are splintered and broken apart and my hands have bled too much trying to climb it. I thought the ladder was there to support me but no, it was just dragging me along, demanding more and more.

It’s not lonely at the bottom. The people still climbing, the ones at the top, can’t see the ground. And that’s okay. Let them have the clouds. There’s plenty of room on the ground.

Repeat after me: My worth is not based on my productivity, potential, or success.

I am not other people’s expectations.

shattering masks.

content warning: suicidal ideation, mentions of suicide, anxiety, and depression.

I was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD back in September of last year and it’s been a whirlwind of acceptance, hurt feelings, and tears. I have an amazing support system that helped me through these last few months. I was also taught how to advocate for myself at a young age, thanks Mom, and knew how to walk the path to a diagnosis.


I have what therapists call good scaffolding. But even with good scaffolding, I struggled through life internally. My masks were strong. They started to crumble around 2014 when I lost my routine after being laid off. ADHD’ers hate routine, yet we thrive on it. We need it to live. But it physically hurts sometimes to follow through. I know how, I just can’t.

In 2015, I added a whole new layer of routine when I started college part-time and worked full-time. I had done this before with very different results. In 2004, at 21, I failed classes, lost friends, ruined relationships, and spent money like I had it. I was embarrassed to talk about failing out of college, but I realize now that I set myself up for failure, being undiagnosed in a world that barely understood ADHD was a failure in itself that I had no control over.

This time around at 34, I was determined to do well. I liked the classes I was taking. I liked my job. My mind was still holding onto negative coping mechanisms and masks that weren’t working. It manifested into migraines, anxiety, and depression. I sought help and was told to break up with my boyfriend and to avoid stress by my gp. Only one of those suggestions was good. I didn’t listen to either. I went to therapy in hopes of fixing myself and was told to do neurotypical solutions. Some of them worked. Most of them failed miserably and I was back to feeling like a failure. Except, I wasn’t failing school or work. I was succeeding. I’m actually smart!

The pandemic stole my routine from me but really, I gave it away willingly. It wasn’t serving me. It was soul crushing. My inability to not cry at every little thing spoke volumes. Those tears said RUN. As fast as possible. Run. You don’t belong here and that’s okay. You belong somewhere else.

I ran straight into my husband’s arms. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. 2020 would have been my last year alive and I would have left this wonderful life I’m living now behind for what I thought would be peace. It turns out, I was in a mild psychosis from severe depression. Meds were the answer. A more accepting and compassionate inner narrative has been the maintenance. None of this positive thinking crap. Positivity isn’t always compassionate and it isn’t always accepting either. My brain found comfort in death even though my body railed against it.

I’m glad I didn’t leave.

Would you be interested in reading about my diagnosis journey? Would that be helpful?

i’m a writer.

Content warning: suicide, paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 9.

My Dad called just now to see if I wanted to go to the CultureCrawl with him. Of course, Dad. I’ll go with you.

He’s reading this sentence now, wondering if I’m going to call him out on something he’s done in his past. Dad, you are a wonderful dad. Do I talk about you in therapy? Yes but I don’t want you to feel bad about that. I talk about Mom too. But mostly, I talk about myself. Obviously. Without therapy, I wouldn’t be alive (also love, family, weed and meds, and cats). We don’t talk about that though, you and I. I am now because I want other people to know they’re not alone. If I failed, they can too.

We don’t have to talk about it. It’s okay. I don’t mind you thinking that I’m just as stable-minded as you. It’s nice. One of my past colleagues told me that he’s never had a headache. I was speechless. How can someone never experience a headache? I have a headache at least once a day. It must be so hard for him to fully understand what a headache feels like. He might never find out.

What’s it like not having intrusive thoughts? To have a brain that doesn’t spiral into nothingness so quickly you don’t even realize you’re crying or frozen in place? What’s it like not having written that note?

Why am I writing this? Is it some sort of public catharsis? I’m compelled to write about it. I’m driven to sit at my desk and type whatever comes to mind. It’s raw and vulnerable and makes people angry with me sometimes. And yet, here I am.

I’ve volunteered for the Surrey International Writers’ Conference for 4 years now and every year I get asked what I write. What am I writing? What am I working on? I have a blog, I say sheepishly. What’s it about? I don’t know, me? Typography and storytelling. I guess? Calling out my family on their past regressions? I didn’t say that last part. Don’t worry.

Usually, I come away from the weekend newly inspired and energized. The workshops spoke to me in some way. This year was a bit different. I loved being there, seeing everyone again, and meeting new people. Watching others be inspired. It’s always magical. It still was but not in a writing way for me. Except when I sat in a workshop about changing your writing style and still keeping your current readers. The instructor said emphatically,

“You’re not an aspiring writer, if you write, you’re a writer.”

Susanna Kearsley

I feel like she was staring directly at me when she said this. She wasn’t but that’s okay. I felt it. So now what? I can’t just pretend I’m not this. I can’t just pretend I don’t have a mental illness(es) either. I can’t just pretend I’m normal. I should say I can’t keep pretending. Instead of feeling inwardly uncomfortable, I now make other people uncomfortable. I’m still learning. Imagine me but with grace. How does she look?

If you have intrusive thoughts, you’re not broken or a bad person. You don’t need or deserve to suffer through them. Please speak to someone you trust about them.

Talk Suicide Canada – Hours: Available 24/7/365 for calls; 4 PM—12 AM ET for texts; Languages: English, French. Learn more. Phone: 1.833.456.4566 SMS: 45645

vacuums don’t make good hairstylists.

This is going to sound like child abuse but it’s not. I promise. It was an unfortunate accident that we can all laugh at now instead of just my sister cackling at it at the time.

It is the 30th anniversary of my dad ripping out a quarter-sized chunk of hair from the top of my head with a vacuum. At least, I’m pretty sure it is. I was 7 or 8 so let’s just say it.

I know what it sounds like, why on earth would he do that? I’m stubborn and the part of his brain that deals with logical reactions suddenly shut down. I refused to move from my puzzle that was on the living room floor so he nudged and nudged and remembered how funny it was to put a beaterless vacuum on my sister’s head. She’d laugh and laugh as her hair was gently sucked up into the vacuum, leaving every strand of hair still firmly attached to her head.

My hair, on the other hand, did not stay in my head. My head whipped back and I screamed so loud. I’ll never forget the look of sheer terror on my best friend’s face. I don’t remember where she went after this incident. I’m pretty sure my mom called her mom and she was swiftly picked up from our house that day.

All I remember is mom ushering me upstairs and her shouting “Don’t laugh!” at my sister and her group of friends over and over again. They were 16 at the time and laughing because whose sister gets a chunk of hair ripped out of the top of her head?

My dad felt terrible. I’m pretty sure he apologized multiple times. My poor dad. He will never live this down either. We remind him of this at least yearly.

Here I am with the hairstyle I had to wear for months after.

Scratch that, mom is working on a birthday card and cannot look for a picture right now. You’ll have to wait.