I feel…

I often wonder how many times I’ve started a sentence with “I feel like”. It always seems to be about how I feel, and at the same time I feel like I ignore my feelings. I think about how many times I have felt like I was going to break, crack up, or go crazy. It’s why I didn’t want to do drugs. I felt like it would get me there faster, and I would never come back. I like the idea sometimes of never coming back, never coming back to the part of me that holds on to normal. I don’t imagine I’ll start dropping acid anytime soon, but I don’t want to be afraid to lose it anymore. Maybe I’m not.

I stood in a room last night, a room of relative strangers, but not so strange that I couldn’t break down in front of them. I started to speak. Then I started to cry, and then I couldn’t breathe, or more accurately I was trying to breathe through the crying to calm myself down, I was holding on to my belly. Holding my stomach as if that was where all the tears were sitting, pressing down to keep them from reaching my eyes, my throat. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the suffering in the world. By all the pain we cause each other. By all the ways I try to shut down my pain, or flog myself with it, as if the feelings I have are weak and stupid. That my breaking down last night, or having natural human emotions, made me look unstable. In reality, what happened after I finished talking and crying was alot of people coming up to me, hugging me and thanking me. I sat down and a friend of mine asked me how I survived in the Downtown Eastside for so long. I guess he didn’t know how I could maintain the connection if I cry so easily. I came to the community, and I became a part of it in some ways. I had many kinds of experiences; from the traumatic, to the incredibly joyful, and heartbreaking. I learned how to get angry there, and that my crying was a good sign. It means I still feel. It means my heart hasn’t hardened to what I’ve seen. It means I will not accept the circumstances that cause unnessecary suffering. It means I am not complacent.


Together again

Last year The Economist compared Vancouver’s escalating violent crime to the situation in Colombia. Our “civil city” could never be as miserable as that barbaric place, no, not us.

And then here, in a more desirable comparison, is the top 31 places to go in 2010 from the New York Times website. Vancouver Island was the pick of the Province coming in at number 25. Followed by our friends in Colombia at 26. Well, maybe not that desirable on a list of 31, but still pretty good ; )


2009 is almost over, thank you.

Many positive things happened to me this year. So, since this blog is more often about misery than joy, I will end the year, and therefore begin it, with joy.

My best of 2009

January 31st – I broke through my 4 year creative block and figured out what I wanted to say with my student film.

April 24th- Screened my film, received the MVP Award for the Documentary program, and discovered my confidence as an artist.

June 23rd- Had 13 fibroid tumours removed from my uterus.

Had many amazing friends take care of me while I was recovering from surgery, and many more lend me their homes while I’ve been without one.
I have had tremendously positive feedback about my film, and not just from friends and family.
I get to take care of the person who brought me into the world, at moments it feels like a burden, others like a gift.

This whole year has been filled with burdens, struggles, a lot of laughing and crying, many gifts, and counterintuitive decisions. Most years have probably been like that, it’s just never been so glaring.

Happy New Year to me, and to you.
My wishes for myself and the world: I wish for clarity to fall over the universe like a rainstorm on a hot day, a relief, and a reminder to never be complacent. That we walk out of the haze of the multitude of morally ambiguous choices we make every day, and make the one we would have made if we had nothing to lose.

50 days(make that 48) until the Olympics

I wanted to start writing this post the day I noticed the Olympic clock showing 50 days to go until we get our “world-class” screw. The marketing is amping up. There are reports in the paper each day about another fucked up thing VANOC is doing to screw artists, small business people and of course the daily invasions of privacy by police and RCMP towards any dissenters and their acquaintances.

I was talking to some friends the other day about feeling like I needed a plan for when the Olympics are officially here. I started to imagine what I would do if I had unlimited resources and Bond-like equipment at my disposal, and I was a shape-shifter. I would perch myself on the top of Shangri-La (the highest building in the city of Vancouver) and I would set up my lair. I would have all kinds of tracking equipment. I would document everything that was happening everywhere for the entire Olympics. I could zoom in anywhere. Not sure what I would do from there. Mostly I just wanted to float above it, watch all of it, not the games, but the dynamics in the street. I feel afraid. I wonder if it will be like a lot of things that happen in this city, a lot of hype and then nothing. Or will it be like the many riots that have happened in this city over the last 100 years, resulting in deaths. I am trying to think of a third option, but all I seem to be left with is this sense that something deeper will be lost after everyone has gone home with all their souvenirs, Believe t-shirts and quatchi dolls.

What will be lost? What do I think I would see high on top of Shangri-La? I would watch the city I fell in love with lose any sense of innocence it ever had. Expo was a mild plundering, but the Olympics is a whole new level of criminal. No place is innocent, certainly not Vancouver. It’s not like we haven’t experienced collective trauma as a city. So how does this feel different and what do I imagine will happen to this not-so innocent place? Not sure. I just know that the city will be armed with a level of security that we have never seen before and it’s pretty clear that VANOC, and the City have no qualms about taking away our human rights for the sake of the games. People aren’t going to behave, and they shouldn’t. People are pissed, and for good reason.

People are losing their homes, they have friends that are losing their homes, we are paying more and getting less, and there are people dying on the streets. It’s magical actually, how we can put up new buildings on Hastings Street and nothing seems as bad, like somehow the problem with homelessness dissappeared. We can dress up the streets, repave, put in benches, gardens and nice bathrooms, and the poverty and addiction has vanished. It’s not just the Olympics that are trying to create the illusion that Vancouver really is “the best place on earth”. Our planning department, developers and local BIA’s have used it as an excuse/incentive to gentrify. To create a false reality. Where people are pretty, healthy and wealthy, and everything is “fine”.

So what do I think is going to happen? More accurately I will hope, because I can’t know. So I hope that no one gets hurt, but people have already been hurt. I hope that the Olympics will be the the much needed kick in the head to knock us out of our naval gazey complacency. Maybe that’s what we’ll lose, our sense of security that we live in the best place on earth, and that we need to fight to keep it that way, make it that way, and no political party, or international sporting/cultural event in the world is going to do that for us.

I am cursed to sleep below noisy people

I am house sitting at a very lovely place just off Robson Street. Surprisingly quiet with the exception of the cow that lives upstairs who wears her heels around the house and so does her friend that has been giving her orgasms the last couple of mornings, not sure if he is in heels, or if it’s a he at all. I don’t really care. I just care that she plays her music at 12:30 at night, bangs around at 4am with no sense of anyone around her having to sleep. I find it appalling actually. These people like the ones I lived under for almost 4 years, with little consciousness of the impact on those around them, under them. What does this bitch upstairs do when the people who are usually here are home? They have a little baby. Anyway, couldn’t sleep because of the noise, and one of the cats that I’m looking after here licked my earplugs, so I was heading to the bathroom to find something like peroxide to clean them, and see if I can sleep. Mostly I can’t. I just want to go yell at somebody, like this self-absorbed twat upstairs. It’s so oppressive, noise coming from above, like someone is stepping on you. I can remember countless times wanting to grab the feet of my young neighbour and pull her right through the floor to make her stop. My head feeling swollen from all the tension, lack of sleep. Maybe all the sleep deprivation over the years is why I’m feeling more nuts than ever.

Dreaming of Snakes and baby Elephants

I have this very clear image in my head of the outline of a hat. The hat is the outline of the boa constrictor, inside the book “The Little Prince”. Inside the hat, the stomach of the boa constrictor, is an elephant. It always amazed me that something so thin and long could consume something so large and round. I had a dream the other night about a baby elephant in an area surrounded by snakes. Throughout the dream I was sure the elephant would protect me from all these snakes, but none of them were dying, and the elephant was playing, and disappearing. I would look on the ground and there would be these tiny figures of elephants, made of petrified wood, or dried shit. The snakes were everywhere; hanging from the trees, running through the surface of the water, on the ground, and I would leap to avoid them biting me, killing me. I could see them all so clearly. I’m not sure if it was a lucid dream, but I realized when I was crossing the water to avoid the largest snakes, that I could leap over this space, stay in the air long enough to hit the edge of the other side.

I have had an elephant fascination since I was little. My mother used to tell me to dream of them before I went to bed; dream of them pink and blue and fluffy, floating on clouds. I read a story a long time ago, a news story, that the orphaned babies require touching teams for the first six months of their life. They need to bond, if they don’t have constant touch they will die. I related to the lack of touch, and feeling like I would disappear into some hole in the world if no one touched me. I didn’t want people to, it felt awkward. I’m better about it now.

When I was in Grand Forks last month, I went in to a shop that had all kinds of things in it, but mostly stones and crystals. I used to really like going in to these kinds of stores. I’m not sure how much I believed in any healing power, but I was willing to try. Anyway, I was holding a bunch of different stones and crystals, some felt better than others. The owner of the shop and I were talking. He said he didn’t know much about what they did, he just knew what he liked. He eventually showed me this one piece he hadn’t put out. He thought I should see it. When he handed it to me I felt like I was in the “Lord of the Rings”. Not sure if I was Frodo or Smeagol, at that moment I felt like Frodo, but more excited. I was being handed the power sword. A serpentine wand from Peru. Slightly bigger and thicker than my middle finger. It was green and black, and carved in the shaped of a wand. A sharp point on the end. The night before the dream I took the point and I circled it around my right eye, and my right cheekbone. The right side of my head gives me a lot of trouble. I heard once, a long time ago that we process trauma through our right eye. I think it goes everywhere personally. When I get triggered, sometimes my right eye feels like it’s freezing. The last four months, the whole right side of my head has felt so heavy and irritated. My friend in Grand Forks said the right eye is connected to the liver in Chinese Medicine, and emotionally, to anger.

I always identified with Elephants. I have perceived them as gentle giants, so sensitive, protective, loyal, filled with memories, fearless, and terrified of the smallest things. Snakes are menacing, lethal. They also represent transformation, fertility, good things. In the dream, I don’t think I was that afraid of them. I had to save myself, the Elephants clearly weren’t able to help me. The snakes are still in my head, the long ones particularly, just under the surface of the water, and so green. Now I feel like Harry Potter, my eye is starting to hurt.

Why… weirds me out

Generally I’m not a writing snob. My grammar and punctuation are horrible, as anyone can tell by reading my blog. I do have some peeves though. First is the excessive use of…I’ve been getting e-mail from some people who do this… constantly. It’s like their drooling, or sighing like a teenager full of melancholy. I hate it. I think it’s supposed to look poetic, but it just looks like fill in the blanks. I see the place for it, but it’s often only one place, not ten. Also, shortening really bugs me. LOL, OMG, WTF, and when people say Docs. It seems like another sign of our laziness. I never liked shortening people’s names either, unless I met them when it was already shortened, like my friend Kate, who is Kathleen. Although I don’t think I would say laugh out loud, I would say oh my god and what the fuck. The long versions though. That’s it, until I find something equally useless and snarky to bitch about.