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

cats, not babies.

Content warning: Infertility.

This is hard to write about because I thought I was over it. I had convinced myself that I was so why am I crying?

I’ve written about this before and from the content warning above, you already know what I’m about to say, except not. These are new emotions for me. I’m older, I’m at the end of the biological motherhood road. It feels like I took a million years to get here and yet, I was 18 just yesterday, holding my nephew and wondering about my own.

I’m not going to mention how my husband feels in this post. I can’t tell you how he feels about all of this, only he can and he won’t so, sorry. Just guess and know that his babies would be the cutest babies you have ever seen.

A lot happened last weekend at the conference I volunteered at. I noticed that my feelings and attitude towards pregnancy, babies, and children were jovial. I was genuinely happy to see my pregnant friend and I wanted to hear all about everyone’s kids. None of their stories made me sad. I was even asked multiple times by different people if I had kids and my answer didn’t hurt.

I have cats.

I say cats, plural because multiple cats make people feel better about me being childless somehow.

I’m pretty sure the reason why I was so calm and collected was that I was secretly hoping my period wouldn’t show up on Saturday. It didn’t. It didn’t show up on Sunday either and when Monday rolled around and it hadn’t made its presence known, I took a pregnancy test.

Not Pregnant.

Just like all the other tests. I told myself to wait until today. I knew my period was coming, I just like to torture myself with hope sometimes. I tried the whole “stop trying” thing. It was supposed to work. Everyone tells me it works. The thing they don’t say after is that sometimes it doesn’t work. Never say never except when it’s never.

I want to go back in time, pick myself up and drag her to my husband. Plop her down in front of him and say “Here! He’s right here! Have his baby before it’s too late!” I wonder if his past self would have been on board. So now what? I guess I have his houseplants that are actually mine, his coat rack, his fancy knife, and the clothes he leaves in the hamper when he goes away for weeks at a time to make our ends meet.

I want to stop trying. The disappointment of it all is too much for me. Annie gets what Annie wants* isn’t always true. And I know what you’re thinking. AH HA! That will be the moment you get what you want but that kind of hope is soul-crushing.

Please don’t stop telling me about your children. The way your face lights up when you tell me how you picked their name, your exasperated look when you explain that the blue cup is to never be used. You have their tiny shoes, their little dimpled hands to hold, their teeny voices saying “I love you.” Please share with me.

*There is a story here, of course, but that is for another time.

751

Unmarked. Uncared for. Discarded.

Loved. Missed. Cherished. Gone too soon and for no reason at all except racism and supremacy.

How do we as colonizers reconcile this? As someone from a family steeped in Catholicism, my roots created with colonialism, how do I repair the damage my ancestors made and were complicit to?

This isn’t about me. I need to face the demons that these unmarked graves represent within myself. I do not need to be forgiven by Indigenous Peoples for how I feel.

This isn’t about how this number makes white people feel. We should feel ashamed. We should have already known about these people and all of the other people that have been unearthed and will be as the “schools” are scanned. We were duped into believing that Canada was built through trade and mutual agreements. It’s up to us to educate ourselves. It’s up to us to reconcile. Not the other way around.

Some resources:

How to report and write on issues about Indigenous Peoples:

https://www.brusheducation.ca/books/elements-of-indigenous-style

https://www.theopennotebook.com/2019/06/18/covering-indigenous-communities-with-respect-and-sensitivity/

Reconciliation:

http://www.trc.ca/reconciliation/how-can-you-help.html