The 20th Anniversary of … My Period

I wasn’t like a lot of girls that I knew or seen in movies. I was never anticipating that day where I “entered womanhood”, acting like I was better and somehow more mature than the other girls in my class, who had yet to have their period. As far as I was concerned, I hoped it never came. I mean, I didn’t need to have children. It was just a monthly burden anyway. I was willing to wait.

Puberty wasn’t regular discourse in my house. Everything I learned about it, I got second hand by some of my older cousins, the Canadian tv show Ready or Not and these life cycle books from the 60’s or 70’s that my mother gave me at age 9. My cousins were of no help. They liked to talk about horror stories as a way to intimidate me. But, they had been through it and survived, so I was hopeful I would as well.Read More »

A Psychic Told Me That I Will Marry You

Yes, I believe in psychics because they are real and know things. Many years ago, my mother and her friends would visit a psychic named Doreen, a little French woman nearby where we lived. Each time she went, usually a year a part from each other, she’d come home and tell me things about our family. It always made me uncomfortable that this strange woman knew things about me that no one else did. She often told my mother about relationships my brother and I were having. Well… In high school I didn’t have any, but she said that I was very picky, refused to settle and was going to have a very rocky relationship history. – She wasn’t wrong.

Then, when I was 21 and in my first serious relationship, I decided to go see her myself. I brought my friend to tag along and get his own reading. I remember feeling so intimated. This woman was going to tell me things about myself that no one knows, then she is going to tell me what I can expect in the future. What if it sucks? She made sure to tell me, that my life is very much in flux and so it can be difficult to predict the future. Just because that’s the path I’m on, doesn’t mean it will stay that way. The reading is more accurate within a year or two. That made sense. It was also a relief that if the future sucked, I can probably make changes to create a new path.Read More »

What 2016 Has Taught Me

I settle. I’m a settler. I’m afraid of success and my life is a reflection of the poor choices I make as a way to negate success. I have always known this to some extent, but I never fully realized it’s depth.

Some time during my teen years I watched this show on one of those lifetime or women’s networks. It was a reality show before reality shows became the perplexing garbage that they are today. A group of women going through a hard time lived together with a few life coaches. Together they learned to heal themselves and each other. One of the life coaches told a woman during their session that “procrastination is a fear of success”. It’s not a sign of incompetance or laziness, it’s a fear to move forward in your life. More than 10 years later, it still resonates.

So what does this mean? How exactly do I define success? That’s a bit difficult to answer and in the words of Alanis Morissette, “I haven’t got it all figured out just yet.” But I have realized the way it ties into my relationships with people, specifically lovers.Read More »

Notes to Boys

Last year I read Pamela Ribon’s novel “Notes to Boys”. I became interested in her book because I’m a fan of her other novels and her blog where she posted some of the letters last year. Her letters were heart wrenching, embarrassing and sweet all at the same time.

It got me thinking about the excitement of passing notes in class and the tome my friends and I would write each other during spare periods about our lives and the boys we were crushing on, how they said hi to us in the hallway, smiled at us in class or asked to borrow our notes (this was the best one because they would have to talk to you again). Then I remembered that one particularly cringe worthy time my best friend and I decided to write letters to our respective crushes (true loves). Her and I bonded while agonizing over our unrequited (probably) loves and came up with a plan – we would write love letters to the boy in a spiral bound notebook and date them like a journal whenever we were feeling particularly overcome with heartache. These journals would be delivered to the boy at graduation or the last day of school so we didn’t have to face the shame of rejection. I think we also agreed to hand the journals to each other’s lover to save even that embarrassment. – good thinking, right?Read More »

View from the Top

All morning I was having panic attacks, so when we got to the CN Tower I chose to do everything but go to the top. C and I got the $35 tickets which allowed us to take in a 3D movie about surfing the Titian waves with the beautiful, nearly naked Kelly Slater and a motion video/ride about a sawmill that we had to wait extra long to enjoy. Once that was finished though, the only thing we had left to do was wait in line for the elevator. Watching people go up the tower from the outside is terrifying but actually going up it wasn’t scary at all – even looking through the glass floor. 1 minute later we were at the top.

The view of Toronto was spectacular; it was difficult to be scared. People looked like ants, tall buildings miniature and cars like toys. The landscape didn’t look real. I could have easily been in a playground if it wasn’t for the view. We walked around taking pictures at every angle. I got a pop that cost $3.75! Then we went down some stairs to the ‘glass floor’. Not as big as I thought it would be; it didn’t help that about 20 people were splayed across it while just as many were taking pictures. Eventually it was our turn. We took several amusing pictures then decided to go up to the Sky Pod. Apparently (I found this out once I got there) you can go even higher – Another 1000 ft. or so. Read More »

Childhood Home

It’s so strange looking around this house where only my parents now live, and realizing that in a few short days, I will never set foot inside it again. I grew up here. Spent 28 years of my life either living or visiting this house. I have seen it go through many renovations, major life moments happened to me here, the start of friendships and the loss, boyfriends, many family members who have lived with us over the years, animals, neighbours and more.

Now is the time to move forward and on to better things. My parents are moving out of town to be closer to my brother and me, so not only am I never going to see this house again I may never really come back to this town. I’m ready for the change. It’s good for my family, but the realization is also a bit strange. Read More »

This is 30

I feel less apologetic nowadays. I try to live my life my way without the influence of everyone around me. It’s not easy; it would seem that everyone feels that they can live your life better than you. The truth is though, that I believe we always know what’s best and as you get older, I think it becomes easier to listen to yourself. At least that is the case with me.

Along with aging, the sudden realization of mortality hangs over you. There are so many things that I still want to do and every year I feel like my time is limited. Over the last 4 years I have suffered from panic attacks. They are quite debilitating at times, you want to push everyone away, they become difficult to control and no one around you tends to understand them. I have been on and off medication and over the last few months (off medication) they have gotten worse. I have even ended up in the hospital twice because I couldn’t get them under control without the use of a sedative.Read More »

Get Psyched

The thing with taking the bus when you live in the outskirts is that you are 1 of 2 things: Either really early or late. You are never just on time for anything. I show up 30 minutes early for my doctor’s appointment (which basically means I am an hour early) after already having to wait 2 hours just to take the connection to the hospital.

The people here are always interesting. But, it’s expected seeing that this is a psychiatric hospital. I’m an outpatient, thankfully. Before I can open the main doors into the building, a man bursts through, “Can I have a smoke M’am?” When I say I don’t smoke he immediately asks the person coming in after me. I imagine he’ll harass everyone until he gets a cigarette.Read More »

The Day I Had a Stroke (part 3)

click to see part 1 or part 2

The Next Eleven Weeks

The roommates I had in rehab were characters. I would much rather talk about them than my struggles. All you need to know is that by the time I left the hospital, I reached my goal, and was able to walk out with no assistance.

My first roommate was pure French so we communicated in signs. At times she would speak French to me and I English to her. She was a sweet 84 yr old lady who just so happened to snore like transport. And it was never consistent. Sometimes it sounded as though she was choking on an animal. It was too much at times.

After she went home, I got an 83 yr old roommate who was getting an onset of Alzheimer’s. I am not a very loud person and she refused to wear her hearing aid, so there was a lot of confusion in our conversations. Eventually she began calling me Catherine and had a penchant for asking me questions while I was trying to sleep.

My last roommate was a 52 yr old woman who cried like a 6 yr old when she didn’t get her own way. She was rude, offensive and a pathological liar. She used to bitch about the nurses and the doctor’s constantly when she was in the wrong. I nodded my head for a while, then, I snapped. Oddly enough, it only made her like me more. She also would stay up all hours of the night watching TV and eating chips while making orgasmic sounds.  I even think she ate chips in her sleep.  It disgusted me… I wonder who ended up being her new roommate?

The Day I Had a Stroke (part 2)

If you would like to read part 1 click here

The First Two Weeks

I don’t really remember the first week in hospital, just a slight glimpse – a doctor here, a catscan there. My brain was quite scrambled at the time. I had millions of fragmented thoughts running through my head all the time. This made it difficult to tell the difference between dreaming and being awake, day or night. My brain became this remarkable entity working to piece the puzzle back together while I witnessed it.

As it turns out, I had a brain hemorrhage. I would later find out that more specifically, I had an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke. It’s still difficult for me to say, or even to admit, which is why I wanted to put it all out there to begin with.

The worst part was the headaches. The headaches were constant, every second of the day for months. In the beginning I was on morphine to cope with them, eventually graduating to Tylenol 3 with codeine and then to regular Tylenol. Secondly, the paralysis was difficult to deal with. I was paralyzed on the entire right side of my body. It didn’t bother me that much at first because I was so out of it, but eventually it got to me. I had a catheter put in, to help me pee (I called it my pee bag). I hated it. Who would have thought I’d miss peeing on my own? When I did have to go to the bathroom it took 3 nurses to keep me seated on the toilet. If they let go I would fall in. Every morning the nurses bathed me and all I could do was lay there weak. I even got my period, which I could do nothing about. I also became extremely sensitive to light. I wouldn’t be able to turn on any lights or open the blinds. This contributed to not knowing when it was day or night.

I never lost the ability to talk but it was extremely difficult for me. I severed the connection between the location of where my vocabulary is and the ability to speak. I was only able to speak in short simple sentences. I had developed word finding difficulties which I’m still working on. I lost the ability to read during the early stages. It was disheartening to lose something that was so important to me. Especially after I dedicated this year to reading 25 books. It was strange as well trying to read the cards that were given to me and not understanding the language. I began to feel like everything that I worked hard for and everything that was important to me was for nothing. Yet, oddly enough, I never got depressed. I cried a lot, but I accepted the challenge. I was curious as to what this all meant. 

* On a side note, I haven’t given up reading as many books as I can before January. I’ve read two since the hospital and hope to read two more. That will bring me to lucky 13.