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.