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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

missing: me, myself, and I

T Swift Lyric

Sometimes a lyric deeply resonates with you. You hear it and your entire world stops. The only thing you know is, “This. This is exactly what I feel but I couldn’t put words to it.”

And it’s amazing how much can change in a decade. And it’s strange what dates we cling to as we keep track of time. Some people have said I should let go of these dates, but I can’t. I don’t want to. They are a reminder of how much of the battle I have fought, and not lost.


Ten years ago today, I was 30. I had just been offered a new job a couple of days prior. Our apartment burned down in the evening.

Ten years ago. So much has happened since then. So many changes. I’m still in the same job I had just been offered. I’m now 40. I own a house.

We didn’t lose anything important in the fire. Shawn was home when the flat above us went up in flames. He was able to get out with the dogs. I came home early from work. We watched firefighters battle the blaze for over 4 hours. We didn’t know where we’d live.

But it worked out. We survived. We got stronger.


Three years ago today, the sky came crashing down.  It has taken me a long time to realize that my trauma from this event isn’t just seeing a life end in front of me, in one of the most gruesome ways I can imagine, but also that it was because I could have died. Had I not stopped suddenly, that man would have landed on top of me, and I would not have walked away from this at all. Therapy helped me realize, and begin to deal with this.

My life did not end that morning, three years ago. I might have flash backs and panic attacks, and think I can feel something on me that I need to desperately clean off, but I survived.

The past three years have not been easy. I think a person can only be so strong. And I think experiencing something like this changes a person. Not always right away, and it can be subtle, but there’s change in a person.

There is change in me. I am not the same person I was before 8am on March 27, 2013. I am not. What wide-eyed innocence I still had within me, I think is gone.  I don’t trust the world. I don’t trust the city.

Sometimes I worry I have lost my ability to trust ever again.

And mostly, I don’t know where my old self went. I’m not saying I wish I could always stay the same, because that’s not what I want. I want back the parts of me that scattered when the sky fell. I want the parts of me that still believed in whimsy, and magic, and innocence to come back.

I am no longer enjoying things I used to enjoy with my entire being. I hardly read anymore. I don’t seem to be able to find joy in much of anything. I am acting out of character in many ways, and I’m so very tired of…well, almost everything.

I have done so much work within myself, and I know there’s more to do. But I am tired. I am an expert on all things ME. I know myself inside, and out. I am so in tune with my entire being that I can’t tune it out.

I have come such a long way in ten years. I have come even further in the past three years. But somewhere since 2013 I lost parts of myself that I don’t think I will ever get back, and my heart breaks over that loss. Because I was finally starting to like ME. I was finally comfortable being myself.

And now, I don’t know who I am anymore. So much of me has changed. I don’t show it to the world. I don’t tell it to the world. I just know. I know myself well enough to know that who I am, who I was, who I have been, is different.

I have a lot more work to do as I try and figure myself out. What do I like? What do I love? What do I want to do? How much do I want to change, and how much do I want to bury deep down inside?

I didn’t die the day the sky fell, but I shattered into a million pieces, and some of those piece are still lost.


There’s a major, major fire happening down the street from us. I first noticed the smoke out of the corner of my eye through the back door around 4:30pm this afternoon. At first I thought it was a dark storm cloud but then it moved super fast and got bigger. So we went out, around the corner and tried to find the source. It was all just SMOKE. Huge, dense clouds of smoke, yet we couldn’t smell anything. Not a thing. We couldn’t get far because the sidewalks still aren’t ploughed from the snowstorm this weekend and we couldn’t walk in the street because of the traffic. The cops and firetrucks were blocking off the street. We stopped where we were and you could see the orange light of the flames reflecting off the clouds of smoke every so often.

We came home and I searched the internet and posted on facebook about it. We weren’t sure what was on fire. I was praying it wasn’t the gas station not too far from us. Turns out it was an apartment complex down the street. The fire was in the roof. The emergency vehicles are still blocking off the road near our corner and it’s 5 hours later. I have seen photos on local news sites and the fire looked bad. The fire was in the roof.

It reminded us of that time our place burned down in 2006. The fire ended up being in the roof then, too. When the firemen broke the roof with their axe the top of our building exploded. This fire has over 60 firefighters going at it. There is still smoke and 45 apartments have to be vacated. Two days before Christmas.

But the extra surreal thing for me right now is that when I looked back at my blog archive for the post I wrote about OUR fire I noticed something.

Our fire happened on the same day as the day the guy jumped off the building and landed in front of me. Nearly on top of me.

The same day.

Seven years apart.

March 27, 2006 and March 27, 2013.

Shawn was home with the dogs the time the building caught fire (it was in the apartment above us). He was safe, so were Annie and Jinx. It could have been worse. Had I not stopped to see if a truck was going to drive into the loading bay, I’d have had jumper guy land on top of me. But as traumatized I am by his fall and splattering, I was also safe from harm. (Mostly.)

I find myself wondering what might have happened to be on March 27, 1999. I can’t recall anything major or life-threatening. Or March 27, 1992? March 27, 1985?

I know I’m probably thinking way too much into this, but it’s just so jarring to realize that two major events that could have ended in loss of life happened on the same date. It’s weird.

And I feel a little light headed now so I think I’ll take an anti-anxiety pill and go to bed because I just don’t want to think about trauma and sadness and fear and tragedy anymore. Those poor people in the apartment complex. It’s never a good time for something like this to happen but in December, in the winter… it’s one of the worst times. I hope some of the hotels/motels around here are kind enough to open their doors to those in need right now. I can’t imagine it’ll happen, but it would be very nice if it did.


(And side note: Monkey was the first comment on both of my tragic moment posts. Seeing that made me smile because she is one of the most amazing friends. Thank you, Monkey.)

(Extra side note: I’m sorry my blogging has been all depressing as heck lately. I’m working through stuff and it helps to write it out. Christmas is soon so I’ll have something a little more glittery to write about in a while. Thanks for sticking around though if you have been.)

how to process

Yesterday I found out that an author whom I’d gotten to know over the years has died. Then I found out he took his own life. This is a man who was very passionate about educating people, mostly kids, about mental illness and suicide prevention. He was 32. He has a wife and a two-year old. That he died had me in shock. That he took his own life… just added to that shock.

Today I found out that he took his own life by jumping off the roof of his parents’ building.

I can’t even process this. I can’t.

Losing someone you respected and connected with is one thing. Losing someone through suicide is a completely different thing.

Adding this incident on top of what I am already dealing with is just brain overload.

I am home from work until the end of January because I am still trying to heal from the trauma of having a man jump off a 50-floor building and land in front of me back in March. I already can’t seem to process THAT day. I thought I’d been doing ok, but obviously the break down in November was a clear sign that I wasn’t as ok as I thought. I’m having nightmares and night sweats and anxiety attacks over anything at random times of the day. I am not hungry, I am angry, I am crying over nothing. I am lost.

And I was feeling a little better. And now I have this news to process through my brain that is already confused by why someone would jump off a building and almost land on top of me (it was really that close. Distressing details in this post, if you wanted to read them and haven’t already). I almost lost my life at the end of March. I didn’t. I was lucky.

I felt like I got this author friend. We weren’t close, but I really connected with what he said at an event I was at. I bought his book immediately and went over to speak with him. He signed my book. It was a book about teen suicide and mental illness. He’d been through similar things as I had and I just connected with him. I love his writing. I thought what he had to say when he did public speaking was so heartfelt and honest. He was a gentle soul. One who was still healing and seemed to be on the right track to winning his battles.

But obviously that wasn’t quite the case this week. Something went wrong. I don’t know what was going on in his life or his head that made him make the decisions he made. Something broke inside of him and it’s just a horribly sad thing to find out.

I am having trouble with how familiar the incident is. I can only think of how the people who found him must have felt. How terrifying it is to have someone fall out of the sky in front of you. And if you weren’t there to see him fall, then to find him after he fell. The anger, the shock, the fear, the grief, the sadness and the complete inexplicableness of it all. The unbelieveableness.

I feel like this is all too much for me right now. I don’t know how to feel or react or if I’m ok but I won’t be days, months, years from now. It’s all too similar. Too much.

Maybe I just need to take a bigger break from things. Not just from work but from the internet and my laptop. There’s just too much out there. I don’t want to hide forever but I think I might need to just take a vacation from all the noise social media creates.

I’m so broken up over the loss of this man. I’m tired of hearing about suicide. Child or adult. It just needs to stop.


I’m supposed to write about this. Write it down and get it out of my head. Write it down and change the memory. Make the memory more safe and less jarring, sharp edges that slice me open every time I close my eyes.

I’m supposed to feel safe, and comforted as I re-live an event that I thought I had managed to overcome but is apparently still with me and is trying to claw its way out.

Turns out delayed onset of PTSD is a thing. Who knew? I didn’t. I thought everything I did to help myself get over the shock and horror of the jumper guy back in March was enough. I thought I was ok. I thought I had dealt with it and moved on.

But I’m not ok.

At least, not right now. Right now I am a broken mess. I am pieces of a person I don’t even recognize anymore. Nothing I see has colour or sparkle – even the glitter ornaments I just made this weekend. I am a shadow of myself. I am grey and bland.

I wasn’t just not dealing with November for any old reason though. That’s sort of nice to know. By the end of the month I was so broken I didn’t think I could be repaired. I couldn’t cope with anything – I still can’t, although I think I am very slowly on the mend. I had a breakdown in my boss’s office and I knew, just knew, that I couldn’t come into work the next week. I needed to be away.

Away. Away. Away.

From everything.

Because even though work isn’t really the happy, mirth-filled land that it used to be, I didn’t really hate everyone and everything as much as I did right then. As much as I do right now. I could survive. I could talk to people. I am not really the bitter, rage-filled, weeping mess that I am these days. That is not who I am.

I don’t normally forget so many words or lose chunks of time.

I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know how to react to things like a normal person.

I have lost the ability to care about anything. Everything. I hate everything so, so much. I hate people. I hate life. I hate books. I hate music.

So. Much. Anger.

I can’t be out in public with people around. I can’t. Extreme anxiety, panic, rage. Tears.

But I called employee assistance and I spoke to someone and after hearing my story and hearing my words, this wonderfully comforting woman told me I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t broken. I was suffering from a major trauma and shock to my system that my body is trying to make sense of and heal from. Although I did so many wonderfully proactive and healthy things to try to make sure I could heal from the trauma, I needed to do more. I needed to be quiet and take a break from things while my body dealt with the absolutely unrealistic thing that happened. It needed to heal, like a wound. My brain is still processing the event and although I did good things to help myself heal, it wasn’t enough and really, it hasn’t even been a year since it happened.

November is similar to March in the terms of weather and the coat I am wearing, the coat I was wearing when it happened. Who knows what other triggers there are right now. Ones that subconsciously I remember but might not be aware of. Sure I know that sounds set my body off, but that’s something that I remember. Other factors – temperature, lighting, smells, are more subtle and not ones you really think about all that obviously.

I am not sleeping. I am not eating. I am not coping with anything. Nothing I like to do has flavour or colour. Nothing. I have zero interest in anything. I can’t think. I can’t speak. I can’t cope. I can’t make a decision. Everything – every single thing – overwhelms me.

I can’t even go back and read the post I wrote after it happened. I can’t.

But I need to. I need to write out what happened. I have been asked to do a writing exercise where I spend 5 or 10 minutes writing about exactly what happened. Write about it when I am feeling calm and safe  – even if I have to take half an ativan to get there – and I have to write about it and then rip up the paper and think, “I’m letting this go.”

And you know what? I think this is a brilliant idea that will work well for me. I really do. But I can’t actually get to the point where I am able to write this down. I can’t. The thought of it fills me with shards of ice and glass. The breath leaves my lungs. I can’t breathe.

I thought I was ok. I really did. I did so much stuff to help myself and I thought I had managed this trauma effectively. Turns out I need to do more.

I’m useless at work so I am on leave. I see my family doctor tomorrow to hopefully be able to stay home until the new year. I’m not looking for time off, I just can’t be at work right now. I can’t. I can’t handle anything there. I can’t deal with the people (I hate them all so much right now. But I don’t hate them! But I do.). I can’t deal with the work (I hate it so much right now. But I don’t hate it. I might be unhappy with work, but I don’t hate it. But I do.). It makes me angry and anxious and that added stress is making the PTSD worse. The final straw was something that happened financially to us and I just broke. Broken. Shattered. Crumpled.

There is so much negative in our lives right now, very little happy and it’s getting so, so hard to keep myself from drowning. I thought I was just falling back into depression, but it didn’t feel right. It’s not the same as when I was manic depressive and medicated. It was different. A different flavour. Something was off. I wasn’t ME.

This isn’t who I am right now. I am some strange, disassociated person right now. I don’t know who I am. I am a shell.

That stupid jumper guy has ruined so much for me. He’s broken me, even though I was lucky enough to have had the universe stop me from walking forward so he didn’t land ON me. I’m alive, but I feel just as broken as his splattered body right now. My brain, my soul, and my heart aren’t working the way they should.

I feel like I won’t ever be right. I won’t ever be me again. I have been robbed of something so dear and precious that I don’t think I’ll ever get it back. I refuse to let myself live like this though, I will fight with every single breath in my body to put my pieces back together. I can’t hide from the world. I don’t want to hide from the world. I just need a little vacation from it all to help put myself back together and build up my strength so I can face everything again.

I want to read and enjoy the worlds in my head.

I want to listen to music and feel my soul rejoice with emotion.

I want to be able to speak with people and not want to kick them.

I want to be able to smile again without it feeling like I am trying to lift a 75-tonne weight.

I want to be able to breathe. To eat. To sleep.

To live life.

I want to be ME.

So, I’m working on it. Please be patient with me.

i have never moved on moving day

It’s Canada Day today! I’m sitting on the couch wearing my Canada tank top that I bought in Disney World (of all places) back in 2004. It was from the Canada pavilion in Epcot. It was the nicest Canada shirt I have seen and I live in a city full of tourist shops.

(the actual point of this post is under a brief explanation/expression of frustration over politics in my province.)

Unfortunately in my province, Canada Day isn’t really a holiday that the local politicians and many of my provincial neighbours like to celebrate. The language tensions between the French and English are absolutely ridiculous and these days, downright racist (on both sides.) I am a proud Canadian and I am also very proud to be bilingual. Why the entire country can’t just adopt bilingualism is beyond me.

ANYHOW… In Montreal, July 1st is more than just Canada Day. It’s also a traditional moving day for most people since most apartment leases are up June 30. You can’t rent a moving truck to save your life today. You have to book months in advance, unless you want to pay through the nose to get even a small trailer to haul your fridge, stove, couch and bed off to a new abode.

With language and politics being really hot topics in my province, often stores will tailor their weekly circulars (ads) to make them more local. Many of the big stores hardly announce Canada Day on their sales in Quebec. This year, Best Buy did something that has caused somewhat of an outrage and although I can SEE what they were trying to do, I think making this decision this year, at a time when the Government is getting all Dictatory and infringing on people’s human rights, was  bad timing on their part. Best Buy announced MOVING DAY sales this week in their Montreal flyers. Not CANADA DAY, which is what July 1st is in this country, but MOVING DAY which is its own event in Montreal, but NOT a holiday in any means. I can see how this store is trying to acknowledge something that’s local and a sort of Big Deal in a major city, but they pretty much just ignored the fact that we celebrate Canada Day here, too. It would be like some major city in the US not caring that it was Independence Day and rather, focus on some event that takes place every year on that day. Can you imagine the outrage in the US if someone didn’t acknowledge the 4th of July as it should properly be acknowledged? Yeah.

So this big box store pretty much just shunned Canada Day in my own province and I’m pretty sure it was to avoid complaints from those few but loud Quebecois who refuse to have anything to do with Canada. And this is how they went about it. Not a good move on their part and really bad timing on making this decision. We’re in the middle of Pastagate, Spoongate, Free Education Let’s Riot in the Streets Every Month-gate and so on – and the latest story on how if people speak anything other than French in a grocery store staff room it will become a ghetto!) It is very frustrating to live here right now and not as easy as people think to just pack up and move to the Rest of Canada as everyone just tells us to do.

BUT – what this all made me think of was that in every single instance in my life that I have moved into a new place I have never ONCE done this on the traditional Montreal Moving Day weekend! I moved out of my home in 1997 at the end of December. Left that first apartment in August 1998 after some evicted guy tried to burn it down and Mir & I felt like we’d be a lot safer off somewhere far, far away from that. So before Labour Day we were in another apartment that I lived in for 6 years until I officially moved in with Shawn to our place in Verdun in 2004. THAT place DID burn down in March 2006 so we lived in my in-laws’ basement for a year until we bought and moved into our house in April 2007.

So that’s:

December 1997
August 1998
April 2004
March 2006
April 2007

Not one moving date even came close to July 1st. I am such a rebel in this province. Booyah!

And you know what? I handled all dealings with everything that comes with moving in a very bilingual manner. One thing I love about my province is how it’s allowed me to be able to speak two languages fluently and be proud of that.