Thursday, October 6, 2016

Twenty Sixteeni

2016 has been, by far, my best year in history.

It has also been, by far, the hardest, most painful and most dangerous year of my life.

It is not my desire to be controversial in order to create interest in my life, in particular. The details of any one life really don't matter to this story. Everyone has their own 'shit' to sort and, as luck would have it, a closely matching level of what they can manage.

Plus, you don't ever have to look far to see someone who has it better or worse than you. So why compete, really? It seriously doesn't matter who has the most, who does the most or who has it the worst or does the least. They're all ridiculous things to even consider. The only time anyone finds meaning in anything is when they do it for someone else, anyway. Even if their minds are good at convincing them otherwise.

You must also consider outside influence, like the impact wounds of life's machine gun array on any given day. Not everyone worries about the same things, but we do it with the same level of commitment. A wealthy person may stress over stock performance, while someone of lesser means might fret over educating their children. A homeless person worries about heat, shelter and food, while a person with mental illness may worry about their inner demons consuming them alive. Adulterers and tax evaders worry about being caught and a teenager may worry about not having friends. The point is, no matter the subject, the body's response is the same across the board... and worry is deadly.

This past year has seen me reach my threshold ... time, after time, after time. Each step - in any direction - stretching the boundaries of my heart, my mind and my body. The insight into my behavior alone, is invaluable ... and with all such things, a price has been paid. Then, there is panic. Here's a little unsolicited advice; until you have experienced completely irrational, debilitating panic, you do NOT get to have an opinion about it. When your own inner voice is creating monsters where none exist while completely ignoring the ones standing in front of you, it is very easy to lose the ability to discern the difference between threats that are real - like your deteriorating health - and threats that are entirely irrational - like believing in your chest that an oncoming thunderstorm is actually mortar attack on our fair city from some foreign foe.

Though, over time, your insight grows and eventually, you can stick little bits of rational evidence to the contrary of disaster into the cloud of panic ... convincing your mind to 'secure and hold', while your endocrine system has its panties on its head and is running around in circles, screaming at the top of its lungs.

Think about that seriously for a moment. Think about the kind of internal panic you would need in order to behave in that way. Then imagine that you know you shouldn't feel that way, but you do ... and then its as though your body and mind are at war... and you are helpless to affect it.

How do you look at your boss, for whom you have performed your function at a certain level for years and tell them "I just can't ... and I can't explain why". "I can't do the work, I can't handle the stress, I have zero tolerance for your crap and frankly, every time I look at you, hear your voice or even have a thought pertaining to you - I want to bash your head in with my ergonomically designed office chair ... and then make a bed under my desk and have a nap."

You don't ... if you want to eat for the foreseeable future.

How do you look at your spouse one day and say: "I still love you more than anyone or thing in the world and wouldn't change a hair on your perfect head ... But ... it isn't enough for me right now. I need more. More attention, more excitement, more sex, more money, more purpose, more love". More... like a gaping, ravenous black hole.

You can't ... if you wish to continue being with them.

How do you say to your close friends and family: "I know it is selfish of me, but I can't right now. I don't want to talk, because it makes me feel too bad ... I know that it hurts you that I won't, but I need you to understand that I wouldn't ask this of you if I didn't absolutely need for you to leave me alone. Please"?

If you want friends and family that you can continue to rely upon, this is not a great way to ensure it.

How do you look at your children and say: "Mama needs a little time out just now... like for a month or twelve. Can you just stop having your own 'kid' needs and problems for a while? Oh, and while you're at it, couldja cool it with the growing up so geezily fast? I know I am supposed to be spending more time enjoying you now because I'm going to regret not doing so when you are grown ... but seriously, guys can you cut me just a bit of slack?"

No, you say?

Here's a problem, there is only so much any one individual can manage. Some have a very low threshold, while others seem as though they are made of titanium. Sometimes, in an effort to simply keep your feet moving - no matter the direction - is more important than making actual progress. Sometimes we  commit crimes in small, insignificant ways, sneaking things in such tiny increments, you fail to see your culpability in the drama you are feeding. Until, of course, it has grown its own legs and run away with your mind, your heart, your family and your security. Not to mention the years of your life that you are going to regret anyway, because you were supposed to be enjoying them instead of barely surviving them.

Whatever your vice, you are 'more likely than not' to reach out for it in the moments when your pain is at its worst. Whether it is stunting or aestheticizing emotional growth, is sometimes impossible to discern, and truly matters not at the end of the day. It's still going to feel better than the hurt, and you are going to reach for it regularly. 

The pressure to be alive is suffocating. Add to that the expectations of your contribution to the outside world and the accompanying judgement and guilt of it all ... I some days don't know how there is anyone getting by anymore... yet we do. We live to fight another day ... or we don't.

So to each and every warrior out there, I submit for your approval: The Twenty Sixteeni

This poison is as individual as you are ... it is whatever is powerful enough to get you through one more minute, one more set back or, one more heartache, but not deadly enough to blow a massive hole in your existence.

For me, the healthy choice would be yoga and writing ... somehow, vodka and chocolate always seem so much easier to obtain.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

An 'Interesting' Experiment

I use interesting loosely.

Here is an example of some of the things I would say, write and/or believe about Danica Dragonfly if I was her best friend ... rather than her worst enemy:

Dani is one of the toughest bitches I know.
She embodies perseverance and rebirth.
She's a comedian about most everything and uses humor to protect herself from the harshness of life.
She is so concerned with how her mood, attitude, words and emotions effect everyone else, she perhaps loses herself in the desire to please everyone.
She is a great cook and you can feel how much love she has for you in any meal she prepares for you.
She is a really good mom ... her girls are loved hard and fiercely protected ... God help anyone who tries to hurt or disparage them. She also tends to employ this mothering tactic with the people closest to her in this world.
She is fierce.
She loves her husband immensely. He and their girls are her entire world and she makes no bones about this fact to anyone.
She is the 'git'er done girl'. If you need it done, Dani's your girl. She will work relentlessly to help you achieve whatever it is that has brought her to help.
Her work ethic is second to none. You do not have to question how much she brings to her occupation. It's 110%. Always. Even when she is barely capable of half her norm ... she will still give 110% of that.
She is completely authentic. For better or for worse. You needn't wonder.
Her ethical compass is always facing true north. Even though she has been forced through many trials and tests of her mettle, honesty and integrity.
Dani is highly talented. She is musical, a talented writer, has great taste in clothing, home décor and people and is highly creative in many areas of life.
She is intelligent... and very clever.
She is kind. To her own detriment by times.
She is passionate about the people she loves and loves freely, is the greatest cheerleader you could have and will go to the mat with or for you - every time.
She is as true a friend as anyone could have. She is loyal and will drop everything for one of her people in need.
She is very generous of spirit. Often winding up hurt due to that very generosity.
She is tidy in appearance and her home is pretty well always orderly and clean... ironically, her personality is anything but neat or orderly. She is a free spirit with an immense imagination and a talent for making the creatures in her sphere feel wanted, safe and loved.
She is weird.
She is a friend, mother, wife, lover, daughter, sister and holds (not to mention enjoys) the role of matriarch in her familial unit - on all levels.
When I die ... I want to be reincarnated as one of her fur-babies. I can't imagine a more enjoyable life than that. They are spoiled beyond belief and loved with complete abandon.
She's awesome and I love her.


...as compared to the vicious monkey brain version:

Dani is weak of spirit.
She can't seem to figure life out and has to try over and over - failure after failure.
She's an idiot clown that most people don't even 'get'.
No matter how hard she tries, she can't please anyone.
She bribes people with food and eats her own feelings.
Dani wants to be a good mom ... but seems destined to screw it up. She's selfish and sometimes too self involved to parent effectively. Her children often suffer and she feels powerless to effect that in any meaningful way.
She is fierce and often flies off, half cocked, without building a proper foundation of truths... winding up looking like a complete loud mouthed moron.
She has an amazing husband and marriage, but even still ... she seeks out attention and love from the outside. Trying to feed her ravenous ego.
She is anal and bossy and will run you over in her desire to 'fix' whatever is broken in your world ... whether you want that or not. She is a chronic and pathological 'advice-giver'. It becomes annoying to the point of distraction, by times.
She has consistently created hostile work environments due to her desire to please and then immediately developing resentment to said employer for expecting it again and again.
Circumstances have drawn out her inner dirt bag. Do NOT loan her money. She is a major credit risk.
Dani is the poster child for wasted talent. In nearly every way possible. Such a disappointment.
She has wasted God given smarts by giving in to circumstances, mental health issues and hardship... highlighting her general weakness of spirit.
She is kind, but with a price tag. She expects the same from the universe and has become bitter in later years having not realized any reward for her efforts.
She loves hard. Sometimes leaving metaphorical bruises. Sometimes against the will of her object of affection.
She is loyal ... to a fault, and has been known to stay in an employment situation for YEARS just to avoid disloyalty. It has been the single biggest contributor to her unhappiness in her employment for most of her life.
She is generous of spirit, but naïvely expects the same from her people and is fiercely disappointed by the inability of others to match her commitment.
She is neat and tidy on the outside and a catastrophic disaster area on the inside.
She is weird.
She is a friend, mother, wife, lover, daughter, sister and has struggled relentlessly with each and every one of these relationships.
When I die ... I want to be reincarnated as one of her fur-babies. They are spoiled beyond belief and loved with complete abandon... often preferred by her to the humans in her world.
She's affected, annoying, high strung, neurotic, damaged, bitter, controlling, failing at life, frightened and weak. She's an all around disappointment.

 

So why is it so hard for me to be my own friend, instead of systematically tearing myself down all the time?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dispicable ... them

I find myself sitting in awe of just how vile my employer actually is... and this time I mean the financial institution from whom I receive my pay. Or not.
 
To catch up, our consumer proposal had to be withdrawn because Revenue Canada is refusing to settle my 2013 taxes. You know the one where I don't owe $15K. Yeah ... that's the one. 
 
Anyway, to put a positive spin, we can re-file once this all settles. It sucks we couldn't get it behind us, but it certainly could be worse.
 
I am off on medical leave. I have gotten bad enough that I really can't handle that office. I am simply awaiting treatment. Not trying to screw anyone ... just want treatment. I tried my EAP. They couldn't help. I tried the insurance company that provides my benefits, they couldn't help. Both would cover a psychologist, but neither would do psychiatry. I am stuck with MSI.
 
Unfortunately, MSI has limitations and ... very ... long ... wait ... time. It isn't my fault. My referral has been in since mid May. We're talking around 10 weeks now. I have an appointment for Sept 6th and the only reason I got that was because I made a nuisance of myself. I would have been looking end of Sept to early Oct. But the appointment is with a Nurse Practitioner.
 
So ... I will have waited well over 100 days just to be triaged. It friggen sucks.
 
I want to start getting better. I cannot imagine how I am going to keep going like this. I am so tired. So raw. So afraid of everything. My mind goes to 'worst case scenario' in every situation. Here's a 'for instance'; we had crazy thunder and lightening storm the other night. Normally, I LOVE thunder and lightening... I was still taking that attitude outwardly (for the kids) ... but inside my head all I was thinking was that it was mortar fire I was hearing. That the port of our fair city was under attack. My throat closed up and the panic set in and all I kept thinking was that we needed to start running away, instead of sitting here like morons, watching a thunder and lightening storm. 
 
I wish I was exaggerating, but I am not. 
 
Last night, my husband took me and the girls for a walk up to a local lighthouse around sunset. It was breathtaking. The road we walk up is barred with a locked gate. The lighthouse does operate, so I imagine people do work up there now and then ... but this was Sunday at sunset. There were two trucks parked up at the lighthouse. Queue 'Worst Case Scenario Girl'. I was certain they were bad people, up to nothing for which they'd want witnesses. I refused to walk all the way up. My husband doesn't understand ... but he still turned us around, bless him.
 
Last week, I was in the tub. I heard Hubs go out the front door. In my mind, one of my cats had been hit by a car. I was so frightened to get out and find out it was true. It turned out he was just letting one of them in.
 
It is exhausting.
 
My doctor wants me to go outside every day and exercise. I fight it, but I am trying to overcome that ... because she swears to me it will help. So I do it. Tonight we went biking. Wednesday, I have my second of six introduction to yoga classes. She also wants me to schedule my days. My mind is incredibly active and I need to work hard to keep it reigned in. Schedules are important.
 
I am trying.
 
So, riddle me this - why did I spend another 40 minutes of my life defending myself to my company's "Health Services" department, today?
 
This woman grilled me like chicken. "Well ... do you have a shower every day? Do you cook or do house work? Do you go outside? Do you drive?" ... just to name a few of the questions. This is my THIRD grilling, by the way. I still don't have a clue if I am even on the path to getting access to the short term disability that I HAVE BEEN PAYING FOR. No idea if I will get paid this week. She knows what the proposed diagnosis is, by the way. Yeah. Bi Polar disorder. A major mental health illness. Yet I spent most of an hour defending the fact that I am trying to get better.
 
Why is it that I need to feel like following my doctor's orders is somehow wrong of me in the eyes of the 'Health Services' people? She is grilling me. All I want is to get better. I don't give a fuck what their HR manual says. Fire me, for fucks sake! I'm not going back to work until I am under treatment for this disorder. That is the end of the story. Do I need to have stage something cancer in order to qualify for medical leave? And ... let's be real here ... I don't understand what the hell is going on inside of me. I'm like a complete stranger to myself. If they are calling someone into question, why isn't it my doctor?
 
This is so incredibly despicable, it actually smells.
 
Meanwhile, my actual boss has demanded his office keys back. What the hell does that say to me?
 
Anyway ... I don't really care at the end of the day. I mean, we need the money. I need to be working. We are trying to rebuild our lives. We are trying to move forward. More than any. other. thing, I want to be better. To stop with this constant pain. Constant evil monkey-brain ... and that monkey is a cunt. She says the absolute worst things about me. She sounds like crinkly paper at night. A constant susurrus of negativity, anxiety and paranoia. All fueled by the overwhelming evidence to hand that I am bad. I am a liar. I am a dirt bag ... and the universe is insisting I suffer.

This sucks donkey sack ... and all I am trying to do is get better. Why do I have to be interrogated by these people. I am sick, for fucks sake!

Part of my orders was to write. Even if I hated what came out ... just keep writing until it becomes creative again. All of this black, sticky tar needs to get out of me. Through yoga and bike rides and camping trips and days at the beach... and with writing and slowing the hell down before I am a statistic that I don't want my kids to have to shoulder.


Until next rant ...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I Wear Makeup Every Day So I Cry Less

It's true... and sometimes it even works.
 
People think I am a bit of a "Prima Donna" based solely on my outward appearance ... but that hasn't been the case for quite a long time.
 
The last three years of my life have taught me some very tough lessons and revealed things to me I would simply rather not know about myself, my short-comings and foibles. They have shown me basement after basement, which seem infinitely endless ... though simple mathematics tells me I will hit the last one before much longer. I suspect that will be a hospital bed at the local psychiatric hospital for me ... assuming I could even get in ... and for my family? I couldn't say. Living on somebody's couch? In our truck? It is really the only thing left that we own that hasn't been taken away. 
 
Since 2013, we have lost two businesses, our house and my mind. After 15 years of renovating and flipping houses - all through my two daughters' childhoods, I will add - we ran into a particularly rough patch financially, when my spouse's business did a face plant (thanks to a large, multi-national company running him down). It happens ... what can you do? He was frantically looking for work, but no company wants to hire someone who has been self employed ... they are too difficult to control/manage (at least based on the feed back of a local job placement company). I was contracted to a mortgage broker through my own business, but my ability to deduct taxes from my income was annihilated due to the overwhelming financial needs of my household. Hence, I had a pretty serious tax issue brewing and no possible way to deal with it and still feed my children.
 
We approached the mortgage insurer that held the policy on our home after the lender involved refused to work with us (or even discuss the matter until we were in serious default) and were told they couldn't get involved unless the lender requested it. Here's a little nugget for you to chew on: The lender had no skin in the game. They knew full well that CMHC had to pay the claim once it got to the legal stage. Our lender was much more interested in nailing us with $150.00 service charges on every attempted payment, than actually trying to avoid foreclosure. This was on top of the $45.00 charges our bank was hitting us with... AND to make it even better, they were charging us the $150 even when it was a service charge that tried to go through. Essentially, we asked for some assistance in sorting the issue out without catastrophic loss and they threw us an anchor. We were paying 200%, 400%, 1600% etc... of the penalties until we finally had to stop all payments from the account and shut it down. It was the only way to staunch the flow.
 
At this point we went back to the lender and the insurer but, because it had gone to legal, neither could, nor would, help us then, either. It was at this point that the realization that we were going to lose our house set in. Everything we had worked so hard for - for the previous 15 years... was all about to unravel and there was not a damned thing we could do about it. We tried asking for all of the arrears and service charges to be tacked onto the balance of the mortgage and to simply reset the payments so we had a chance in hell of staying ... but they declined. BTW - this is a program that CMHC advertises as being available to Canadian families experiencing financial difficulty in order to avoid foreclosure. What they neglect to mention is: if you have a lender that refuses, they cannot/will not force them... so essentially, you're screwed.
 
Our home had been for sale for a number of months at this point, with little to no interest.
 
What happened instead is a real head scratcher for anyone with an ounce of sense in their head. What they did, was to extricate us from our house - forcing us into a rental payment that exceeded what we had been paying in mortgage payments and then they paid a property management company a king's ransom to take care of the empty shell of our lives. I'm not even kidding. I don't have the exact number in front of me as I type, but between legal fees, maintenance, heating, replacing the furnace, real estate charges, property management and whatever else they stuck in there, it was well above $20K and that doesn't even include the $9K+ of service charges listed in the disbursements. All lost by them at the end, as the eventual sale of the property left well over $70K still owing. $70-odd K that 4 months after the house finally sold, CMHC then wanted to talk to us about.
 
Yeah ... okay - sure. You wanna talk now, do you? Well ... fuck you, CMHC and the horse you rode in on ... AND the property management company, the realtor, the lawyers and the mortgage company! Fuck all of you!
 
In the meantime, I had a pre-teen child who had been struggling already socially in the school environment, that I had to uproot and plunk in a brand new school, in a brand new town. A child for whom we had been trying to access help - for the previous 3+ years through both the school system and the health care system ... and to no apparent avail. This was a child who was raging against the machine in every way. She was throwing violent tantrums at a rate of 3-4 per week where she screamed like someone was skinning her alive and, in some cases, became violent with me as well as her younger sister. A child who was floundering in classes and who was absolutely miserable, and an absolute misery with whom to live.
 
I had no idea what to do. I reached out to my baby sister who works in the education system in another province as a psychologist. She (God love her little cotton socks) was a plethora of assistance and helped me navigate our way through having my child assessed and seen by medical professionals - all in hopes of helping all of us cope while my life was literally flying into pieces in nearly every way possible. The diagnoses ranged from Autism to ADD to 'early onset' Bi-Polar disorder. To say it was scary, is an understatement - but I had to stay the course and advocate for her ... even though I was barely coping myself.
 
I had started self-medicating some time earlier, but it was escalating at this stage, for sure. Vodka and pot was how it started, but I found an even more powerful 'drug' of choice in the coming months. One that had the earmarks of total destruction where my marriage was concerned. I was working for a man that had absolutely zero issue exploiting my financial troubles to his advantage. I had informed him - in broad terms - what was happening financially because I felt obligated to do so while working in a financial position. He used this information to control and punish me for behavior he deemed unacceptable... like when I asked him for a raise. Docking me hours and pay at will. He is a very demanding man - nearly impossible to please - and has never been able to keep an assistant. Can't imagine why ...
 
When our lease was up at the first rental, we moved again ... changing the schools - AGAIN. It seemed to everyone on the outside, that I had completely lost my mind, but I was so incredibly miserable in that house and neighborhood - I simply had to leave if I wanted a chance at piecing our world back together. My husband had been working for a virtual call center from home and I essentially saw him when I brought his meals downstairs to that dungeon of an office, and again when I went back to retrieve the dirty dishes. I was (and continue to operate as) a single mother of two pre-teens. One with serious mental health issues of her own... all while mother nature blessed her with the toxic soup that is hormones and menstruation in young girls.
 
After we moved and Summer settled in, Hubs landed another job. A good paying, but with a heavy requirement for travel - job. Thank Heaven! This, in addition to the much better surroundings for us, as a family, and the introduction of an Occupational Therapist for my oldest, created a bubble under which, I could begin to recharge my battery. She did very well with this guidance and when school went back in September, she had real tools she could utilize and for the very first time in her life, she made not only a best friend ... but she landed herself a possey. It was the very best news I had received in nearly two full years at that point.
 
I can't tell you why I did so, other than because it felt good, but it was during this time that I reached out to someone I had known (and been insanely attracted to) as a twenty year old. I had heard he and his wife had separated and it was as if I had no real cognitive choice in the matter ... I simply couldn't leave it alone. Perhaps that is a cop out, but I'm certain I have beaten myself about the head and shoulders sufficiently to have paid the penance twice over. It wasn't long before he and I were hot and heavy ... over the internet, or in later days, the telephone. He had sense enough to not agree to see me in person - I know without hesitation there would have been a physical relationship, had I been the only deciding factor. He is a beautiful man. I got so very many things from that contact. He is very well written, highly intelligent, funny, kind beyond words and STABLE ... and let's not forget, he is the sexiest man I have ever encountered. I did make excuses enough to see him briefly a couple of times ... publicly ... but my entire body was reduced to goose-flesh and tingles in his presence. Every single hair on my body will still rise at the thought of his nearness. I referred to him as 'chocolate covered heroin'. The most valuable part of this contact, of course, was escape. I could escape into him. Away from bills and stress and asshole bosses and absentee husbands and children that needed me to be whole. I needed me to be whole and although it was a fallacy, I felt whole when I was entangled with him. I didn't feel like such a worthless dirt bag or complete waste of skin when I talked to him. I didn't feel so completely alone.
 
Shortly after Christmas, the financial fallout began. Revenue Canada had caught up to us, CMHC and a few other collectors were assembling the wolf pack that would see to the kill shot on our very short-lived reprieve. Against every cell in my body, my husband dragged me to a trustee in bankruptcy. I acted like a two year old and refused to even speak (it was initially a phone conversation, held behind the closed door of our bedroom - so the kids wouldn't hear.). It's funny how well that man knows me ... he just carried on - answering the questions as posed ... incorrectly ... and it wasn't long before my obsessive compulsive mind and mouth took over the meeting. Brilliant, really.

In the early parts of March, we assembled and sent three years worth of tax returns for me and two for my husband. We gathered all of the nasty legal and collection notices and went to the office of the trustee we eventually settled upon. We were dealing with the kind of numbers from which you simply can't recover ... short of winning a large jackpot in the lotto. (...and that is my only retirement plan, so I can't mess with that just yet) The seemingly very nice lady sat us down and gave us some options. Options I had actually not considered previously. We decided to file a consumer proposal, rather than going bankrupt. There were a number of reasons why this was preferable, not the least of which, the fact that once it was accepted, we could happily go about our lives and just treat it as a loan payment - right down to being able to pay it off early - should that glorious opportunity present itself. Sounded good. It seemed, in fact, that based on every piece of information provided to us (and after my insistent probing for worst case scenarios) we were on track for acceptance and finally ready to take that beautiful step forward into the rest of our lives... battered, but still kicking. Our marriage had certainly sustained collateral damage during the previous couple of years, but it seemed as though we had turned a corner and could shift our focus to our relationship and our girls while they were still kids.

On April 22nd, the ground opened and swallowed me into yet another basement. My husband, being the nosey and rather suspicious type that he is ... and after returning from yet another long business trip - hacked my cell phone and read an email chain that my 'amour' and I had been writing back and forth for a couple of days. I had actually started a cool off with him some time before that and had refocused myself on my own life and relationship ... but had 'fallen off the wagon', so to speak, in recent days. It was a pretty bad email for him to read. It seems I have developed quite a talent for erotica as a writing style.
 
It was 5:30am on that Friday when he returned home and read that email. I knew he had seen something by his strange behavior, but didn't know what ... and he wasn't talking. I got into the shower around 6ish and after a few minutes, he came in behind me. What happened next can really only be described as assault. He (very aggressively) began manhandling me from behind and when he did not get the response he wanted, he leaned into my ear and said in a violent whisper that he must not have the 'right' touch. I was like a deer in headlights. I didn't act. I didn't react. I finished washing and got out ... got ready for work, the kids off to school and got the hell out of there...
 
Right into the jaws of a boss that rides me like a circus pony, barking orders and impossible requests at me every 12 seconds.
 
Fast forward to that night, the shit hit the fan. I wound up - after an hour or so of complete meltdown on his part - with his head in my lap, sobbing. It was absolutely awful. We wound up hashing over this for the next couple of weeks and landed in marriage counseling shortly thereafter. Counseling that we 'graduated' from after one visit together and one each alone. Complete bullshit! I was, of course, encouraged to get individual counseling. This system sucks... and that was through the EAP at work ... so not publically funded. I was devastated!

During the weeks that followed, my general health deteriorated substantially. Having told my life line what had happened, he promptly disappeared from my world, deleting me from facebook, cutting off all contact. I am certain you could hear my heart break from outside of my body when I had fully digested the fact that he was gone. Even my husband knew ... and said as much. (...and I swear I never wanted to hurt him ... this was not about him ... it was entirely about me) I had already developed 'Irritable Bowel Syndrome' and was experiencing insomnia, cluster and migraine headaches, major indigestion and acid reflux, rampant panic attacks & high level anxiety and my state of depression had reached an all time low. I have been treated for clinical depression - more on than off - since I was 16 years old and have been continually medicated (much to my chagrin) for the past 11 years. I have likened life with me to a roller coaster ride for a very VERY long time. I can track my year in highs and lows ... every single one I remember, in fact. It's the same year over year. I am a very high functioning person... have always been... I am a verb. Over time, I have instituted numerous coping tactics to get me through these highs and lows - therefore making it nearly impossible for my doctor to diagnose what the real issue actually is.

In May, out of complete desperation, I turned (once again) to my primary physician for help. I asked her to refer me to a psychiatrist who could properly medicate and follow up in such a way as to level me out. Living life at the best of times as a roller coaster is hard enough, but facing the battles I have and continue to do - I need a level head and control over my emotional response more than ever. During that appointment, she asked me a set of different questions that she hadn't previously asked. Once I had given her my answers, she looked at me in a way that seemed a little horrified and said "this sounds like you may be bi-polar" ... and if so, "you are not being medicated properly at all." She prescribed a mood stabilizer, to go with the anti-depressant and other mood stabilizer I was already taking and put in a referral. The idea being that she would apply a Band-Aid until proper treatment could be obtained. That was eight weeks ago. I FINALLY heard back about an appointment this morning and I can't get in any sooner than September 29th. Do you believe that?
 
In the meantime, I have been put off work on a medical leave. Which has an inherent danger in and of itself. Being alone is not my friend. I am my own worst enemy and much more inclined to get myself into trouble when left unattended and with no purpose.
 
Meanwhile, Revenue Canada is dragging its heels reassessing my 2013 return. They have had it since mid-March and I received a letter mid-April stating that it had been forwarded to the appropriate department. I have 2014 and 2015 back, but still no 2013 after four full months. This is important because they assessed me arbitrarily at an income that was nearly 5 times more than I actually made that year and it is showing as a $14K debt ... where I actually should have had a refund that year of around 2K. This is only important because in a proposal, your creditors get to vote on whether or not your proposal passes. Their vote is weighted according to the amount of debt owed in comparison to the total amount of debt owed. There is a limited amount of time where the trustee can hold the proposal open and without accurate reductions being processed by Rev Can (for example) they have enough of the vote, when combined with one other creditor that has voted no, to prevent the proposal from passing. This means that if we don't immediately declare bankruptcy, we lose creditor protection and Revenue Canada is free to garnish our wages, seize our accounts and basically relegate us to living in a cardboard box... and the payment that we would have to make in a bankruptcy is about double what we can afford... and we are certainly not living the high life over here.
 
It seems unimaginably suspect and personal to me. Even when I call and speak to the multitude of people at Rev Can, when reading my file, they are all scratching their heads. Unable to figure out what in the hell is going on with my account. There isn't even a collector assigned, but a requirement to pay has already been issued - which is actually in contrast to their own internal policy. It is mind-numbingly frustrating and makes me just want to stop existence completely... except that I can't be the mother that 'offed' herself because she couldn't cope. I can't do that to my kids or my spouse or mother or friends that I haven't completely alienated so far. But I am not coping... and as hard as I try, I cannot seem to access any help.
 
I have been paying for short term disability through my hateful employer and have been attempting to access it - to very little avail. It would seem that they don't just let you take time off for medical issues ... you have to give them your 'barriers' so they can adjust your working environment to cope with the issue. Okay ... how about this: Fix my life. There is my barrier. I am cluster-fucked in almost every way a 'privileged white North American' can be. I can't keep a thought in my head to save my life, have absolutely nothing - nada to give the many people that count on me to function in their lives and the only damned thing that keeps me from crying incessantly, is make up ... and the knowledge that in order to keep crying, I have to drink even more water ...  and that seriously cuts into my vodka drinking capacity.
 
I am feeling completely abandoned by every system I have attempted to access and persecuted by the few that seem to want my blood on their teeth. Tomorrow marks the day we must decide what to do with the proposal. My husband is not going to be there because he is away for work. Oh and he just received his schedule for the rest of this year and it seems he will be away for three weeks at a time and home for one. I don't think I need to draw a picture of what is likely to happen in his absence. Even if my 'addiction' keeps me at bay ... I am sure I could locate another with a lesser set of morals.

I am afraid... and isolated and bone tired and I need help that doesn't seem to be coming.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Let's talk smack

Ever had one of those days where you imagine yourself walking into a cement wall again, and again, and again ... c'mon - don't lie. I know you know what I'm talking about.


My day began much the same as most others ... with me schmucking the sleep button roughly 4 times too many (and at 7 minutes per pop - I started at a 28 minute deficit) ... then off to the shower. Once clean, I set about the spackle & paint job that I recreate every morning and then off to work. My commute is roughly 25 minutes at a conservative 10kms over posted ... I may have pushed the envelope on that this am.


Recently, Narcissus (my boss man) decided to give me (or rather allow me to use) a company vehicle in lieu of a raise (... for the past 5 years of my devoted servitude). Now, I suppose the concept was not without merit. Having a vehicle paid for isn't all bad ... and you come off fairly good where taxes, etc are concerned. However, the style of vehicle becomes crucial in this equation. He owns three Mercedes. Very high end Mercedes - like I'm gonna say a little better than a quarter mil worth... I wasn't expecting a Lexus here - but I am management and I am his longest employee ('cause most have grabbed a clue LONG before 5 years go by and get the ef out) so I was at minimum expecting to have a say in the purchase so that it would be a functional vehicle for me. I am a mom ... with size 10 feet, I might add - I'm not little, and I have a family (as previously mentioned) as well as a 90 odd pound dog ... we had been finding the fit of our minivan on the tight side. So ... what does he go out and buy for me to drive? An effing Pontiac Wave ... sweet Mary, mother of God - what am I supposed to do with that? Had he bought me one for each foot, I might have worn them like roller skates ... seriously, folks - I really don't mean to sound quite so ungrateful, but I got groceries last night ... and you know the re-usable cloth bags that the stores are using now?? Six ... I could fit only SIX effing bags into my trunk ... no TP, no cat litter, no dogfood (I didn't buy any - 'cause I knew I would not have the room) ... hell - I didn't even buy laundry detergent for space concerns. I had both kids - so that's the back seat gone - and between my purse, my arse and my feet ... let's call the front occupied ... WTF??!! I'm going to have to do groceries over a two day span. I hate the grocery store. Never mind the fact that I might as well have my pay directly deposited there (not that I GET direct deposit) but ponder this: You move every item you purchase at least seven (often eight) times before ever considering eating it. Shelf - cart - conveyor belt - bag - cart - trunk - house - counter - cupboard/fridge/freezer/bathroom etc. EIGHT TIMES!!! Talk about waste of time and energy ... but to have to drag that over two trips - what am I? A masochist? Needless to say - I'm not overly happy about the car. Had I been allotted a budget and was able to come up with one that I chose - I could have seen that feeling like a perk ... but this? This feels like a punishment ... and if I wasn't in the financial state I am in - I would have declined to take it at all. And you know what? He is exploiting that very fact. He knows I am in a bad spot. He knows I need a vehicle. He could have bought out my van loan for me for LESS MONEY THAN THIS PIECE OF SHIT COST - like by $5K. Does that make an iota of sense to anyone out there? Every day he asks me how much I love my new car ... my inner self is sobbing way back behind memorized reruns of the Simpsons ... I hate it - I fucking hate it ... I'm black and blue from all the places I have hit my head, knees, hips, elbows ... I nearly knocked myself unconscious the other day trying to buckle my youngest's car seat. Still have an egg on my forehead from it. But ... my slightly more diplomatic outer voice simply says: it's fine... which makes him pissy because he wants me to swoon at his overwhelming generosity ... something I might have done if there was an ounce of truth behind the sentiment. Truth is, I have been a loyal and productive employee for 5 years. I have no health/dental. I have no pension, no company savings, no shares. I have NEVER gotten a raise in my salary. He has been known on many occasions to dock my pay for snow days, etc. I was promised commission 4 years ago. I was given a model/formula to follow and have been in line for a commission cheque EVERY YEAR since. I got a lap top for $1K and a $500.00 chq the very first year (which only represented half a year). He owes me well in excess of $8K (not including last year) and I've never seen a penny. When I asked him about it - he determined that since he didn't make enough profit from his other lines of business, that I somehow didn't deserve my bonus anymore. So, yeah - I am having a really tough time with the stupid effing piece of shit tin can on dinky wheels.


People wonder why I am bitter.



So, after my commute in the roller skate - I make it to work. There I am met with email after email containing unhappy news regarding files I am working. Next, I'll have me a little spat with an underwriter ... oh, no wait ... Narcissus just interrupted what I was working on so I could come in and polish his apple in front of his client ... act pleasant ... tell Mr Client how fantastic Narcissus is ... how lucky we all are, working within the hallowed halls of cock-henge ... never mind the fact that there is real work that needs to be completed on my desk, just make him look good - and I do... selling yet another ounce of my soul. Then it's back to ... what was I doing again?? Oh yes - I was picking a fight with a person who has all the power ... sounds familiar. Next I'll take seventeen calls from the same person - ew ... lunch! I'm gettin' the hell outta here. Back after lunch and another deal flies sideways ... now some fighting with a lawyer, that's always a treat.


Soon, it will be time to leave. I would feel more excited about this except the reality is that I am going to have to go BACK to the grocery store ... with both kids ... in the mini-mobile ... which puts supper behind and makes them cranky and me cranky and we'll fight all night long until either they crash, or I do.... smack .... smack .... smack ..... smack .... smack .... smack .... smack (this is me walking into the wall ...)


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Well ... it isn't "light"

There simply must be an explanation forthcoming. Mustn't there? 

Or would it really matter if we knew? Would it change anything?

Are we an experiment of some vastly supreme being? Or a play thing? Sustenance? Hosts?

Utterly undetected, they sidle up beside us and take us unaware. It isn't difficult to imagine these creatures into existence. They are everywhere ... always - a mere disturbance in the air that seeps into our flesh, nesting inside our soul - gorging on our emotion. 

Some take us gently.

The benevolent iteration leads us to our own spiritual nourishment. They guide us through our life long education and teach us how to survive. They thrive on our confidence, wisdom, generosity of spirit and love. They sustain their existence with our overflow, never taking more than they give. Drawn to the positivity we put forth in our world, they flock to us when we are bursting with happiness, goodwill and joy. 

Some, however, stalk us like prey. Preferring the meaty, sickeningly sweet smell of disparity to the clean, crisp taste of symbiosis. 

These needful things must elicit our pain, our sadness, our apathy and most gratifying of all - our fear, to slake their thirst. They coax our naughty inner selves out to play ... wreaking havoc on our lives and (if luck is with them) the lives of others ... further whetting their voracious appetites.

With the efficiency of an assembly line, they whip our ego and temper into a froth. Stealing our focus and dispatching us on fruitless witch hunts. Our choices become rash, our morality becomes lean ... soon, we are caught in a spiral of poor decisions and inevitably we wind up debilitated by fear and dissolution.

In response to the sudden trauma, we generate a defensive field that signals a feeding frenzy. Before we realize what is happening, we're swarmed by sharp teeth and tearing claws. They slip inside - through our mouth and nose and eyes ... filling our ears with malevolent voices and choking off our breath with despair.

The easiest chance for escaping the succubus is to submit; play dead ... go limp ... staunch the flow of emotion. Anything to escape the powerful jaws of our captors before being consumed, whole and alive. 

To spare us the agonizing, slow digestive process that will ensue, we wantonly run into the welcoming arms of yet another beast - equally sharp of tooth, with an endless appetite and inexorable grip. Drugs ... booze ... food ... sex – the vice is moot ... the need for escape is tantamount.

But the guilt, the fear ... they remain.

Worn thin by the relentless predatory pursuit of our own customized design, carrying the stench of a fresh kill, we are hunted in our dreams and into our wakeful hours ... further and further we sink into the abyss. Steeping in self pity so thick, it clogs our pores - sad sacks of failure. Becoming so certain of our doom, we fulfill our own prophecy. 

For our spirit to survive, it is imperative we react in ways that are entirely foreign to our thought process. Fabricating positivity from the deep dark well - in spite of certain annihilation of our spirit ... actively, relentlessly, unconditionally - choose happiness. Again and again ... until it sticks.

The antidote is the antithesis: Dogmatism in the face of overwhelming negativity. 

We must choose.

We must find our way clear to attract the positives of this life or be doomed to the jaws of our foe. An incomprehensible feat for the strongest heart, but diminished by our struggle ... the simple truth is that it is easier to succumb to the whim of our demons than to continue the fight. 

...and so many succumb. 

The very cry for existential validation nothing more than a dinner bell for the wicked abstract.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

...and THIS is why I need you to send bail money

I'm going to share a little secret with you.
 
Something people may not know about me.
 
You know ... because I am so 'discrete'.
 
Here you have it ... I hate realtors.
 
Hate. Them.
 
No ... REALLY. I mean it.
 
So for the back story ...
 
It all started about 6 years ago. Really this has been building since then. It was the decision that has now defined our daughters' childhood... and not so much in the good way.
 
I got it into my stupid little head that we should buy a house with an in-law suite so that my mom could move in with us when she retired.
 
... yadda, yadda, yadda, six years later we are about to be foreclosed upon by not one but two lenders ...
 
Oh ... and I yadda'd a bankruptcy, a trip through social services, two job losses, a business failure and very nearly, the end of my relationship with my mother.
 
It boggles my mind how this has played out. Honestly, I'm sitting in the middle of it and I can NOT reconcile how this went so terribly wrong. Can't do it.
 
I mean ... this is a thing dirt bags do. People who don't know how to run their own lives ... right?

Failures.

In an effort to escape with an ounce of dignity, we are attempting to sell the house at a loss and make settlement with the second lender. It's the best we can hope for at this point. It's been listed for 15 days. It's been shown three times and the first two felt there was just too much work here to be done but the last folks loved the location, the size, the view, the yard ... but because it needs windows and flooring and a little siding, it's too much work for them. My house is listed for twelve and a half grand under the tax assessment and rings in at less than $83 per square foot of house. Plus ... we are very negotiable.

Where in the sweet hell are you going to buy a house for that kind of money that DOESN'T need work? No place ... that's where.

So ... I emailed my realtor to impress upon him the various options that are available in the market place for purchase plus improvement mortgages and cash back mortgages ... Did anybody talk to them about that, I asked him.

Wanna know what he said?

"I told the other realtor we were negotiable ... I have to assume the buyers have a mortgage broker".

Are you freakin' kidding me? Did I or did I not JUST FUCKING HIRE YOU TO BE MY SALES PERSON? Be a mother fucking SALES PERSON and at least PRETEND like you earned your commission!

As a side bar - my sincere apology goes out to any realtor who actually DOES earn their keep ... but I'm here to tell you something - I have met an awful lot of you and not ONE SINGLE TIME has any one of ya'll done anything but enrage me.
                                                     
 I asked this guy for a copy of my CMA ... which is the market analysis ... so I could supply a copy to the lenders involved. That was 18 days ago ... after I was told one had been done to determine the listing price. Hmmm ... an untruth, perhaps?

I wound up completely re-writing the property description. His was two sentences and didn't mention a SINGLE feature of this house. I mean, the old girl needs a little work, but there are a ton of features ... you need to mention this stuff, dude ... if she were gonna sell herself, I could save myself close to fifteen grand.

Here's the thing I feel people in the real estate industry fail to notice: Many people wrap their entire self worth up into their homes. I have. Don't get me wrong, it isn't the house, in particular ... I realize that the best things in my life will come with me from this house ... but when we are talking about everything wrong with it, that translates into everything wrong with me. When they are rejecting my home because it isn't good enough for them, it translates into ME not being good enough. Add that to the cold hard facts at hand, and you've got yourself the recipe for some pretty spectacular self loathing.

It makes me so incredibly defensive ... which leads to a frenzied state of paranoia-fueled rage.

I came home from work today in such a state. It's been close to four hours and I'm still a little ragey.

It's been a pretty crappy go for nearly everyone I know. My dear friend of the past 20 years died a few weeks ago. just in my sphere of people, there is divorce, serious illness, money problems and job issues ... parents, children, pets ... you name it, we got it.

Is it ever gonna end? Is winter ever gonna go? As it sits now, we are expecting 40 - 50 cms of snow overnight tonight with sustained winds of 90kms per hour ... and gusts of 120 plus. With temps at -17 Celsius.

I can hardly wait.

Anyhoo ... as you can see, I am just a raging ray of sunshine and lollipops. This would be why I haven't been writing. I am vile. If you cut me right now, I am fairly certain there would be sticky black tar that would ooze out.

On the up side, I still adore my husband and my girls are healthy ... these really are the most important things. I do know this.

It's so hard to be positive ... but I'll keep trying.