Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Shaman

Mom and I went to see “The Horse Boy” at what was called the Atlantic Canadian Premiere. Before the lady who organized the screening could show the movie, she had to get the rights to show it in Canada and had to get it rated for Canadian Audiences. It made me remember how many small, good, movies there are that we not only don’t get to see, we don’t even hear about.

The movie was about Rowan a little boy with Autism. The Autism had such a hold on his body that he couldn’t connect with other people, other children, and had tantrums that started for no reason and often lasted for hours. Even though the little boy was school aged, his parents were unable to convince him to pooh in the toilet, resulting in a “code brown.”

This movie was also about his parents Rupert and Kristin as they take a huge leap of faith. Rupert loved horses and in a great sequence they showed a temper tantrum that seemed to last for hours and when Rupert placed Rowan on horseback he calmed right down and he began to have conversations with his dad about the horse.

Before Rowan was born his father, a travel writer, and his mother, a psychology professor, would travel to great exotic places around the world, but with Rowan they were unable to travel. With much planning, they decided to take their little boy on horseback across Mongolia to be healed by the horses and the Shaman.

As the trip started it appeared it was going to be a disaster, the horses had only been trained 3 days to take western riders, Rowan rejected the horses and screamed and screamed, the horse that Kristin had kept kicking her, and the first Shaman told Kristen that she had to cleanse the area that Rowan entered the world from and then the two parents needed to be beaten with branches.

The Mongolian guide hired to translate and take them on their journey brought his son, who was the same age as Rowan. For the first time ever, Rowan started to connect with another child, it was awkward, and it was mentioned that the guide’s son had amazing patients, but there was a connection happening.

Soon they were a family traveling having an adventure. On the last few days of the trip they came to the final Shaman. Who, although very sick, agreed to perform a ritual on Rowan, and at the end told them that they would see changes happening very quickly and by tomorrow he they would not have to deal with “Code Browns” any more. They were skeptical but thanked the man very much and the next day they were on their way.

Cut to Rowan, running across the swamp, going to the toilet by himself; his parents no longer having to clean up after him. He soon got better and better, he still has autism, but he can have birthday parties, ride a horse with supervision and his parents are confident enough in his behavior to hire a baby sitter and have a romantic night out.

Now whether it was just that his parents were totally focused on their son for a week, or Rowan needed to be out of the industrialized world or that there was something to be said for the magic the shamans performed, this boy appeared to be changed.

If it was the spiritual connection made with this boy, it makes me wonder if I’m missing something in my life. I’ve tried at times of craziness to latch on to church, to meditating, to saying prayers and mantras by candle light, and I’ve never felt any better, always worse. It’s not until I pushed it all away and focused on my health, my journal and writing that I’ve felt whole. Maybe writing is my magic. But I still wonder “Is there something else out there for me?”

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stuck but Not

I've been writing a lot of journals about love and attraction, but nothing that can be shared with confidence. I've also done a lot of creative writing and when it's there, there's no time to stop for a blog. I posted a brain storm that I did on the computer last night but the images are strong and I want them to be mine for a while. It's scary to go a week and not have something to blog.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Who I Am

So I think I’m supposed to be a writer. Although that may seem like a logical conclusion, there have always been other options. I’ve had jobs at museums and I was bar staff and hotel staff, all while trying to figure out who I was.

I went into University dead set on becoming an actress, something I wanted to be since teachers started putting me in school plays in elementary school. A Film maker; and yes even a singer and pianist as a hobby, at one point before I moved home I was singing and paying an hour a day, although I wasn’t really good enough to share with others, I loved it. I also love food and how it affects people and thought that something along that line would be an acceptable future.

In University I got the vibe that I didn’t want to take the acting program, and was sure I’d come back to it after I graduated. Two of the professors spoke with me about auditioning and an old English teacher was quite disappointed that I decided to take the writing directing side and didn’t audition. I don’t say this to brag, but to say that it was an option, and there has always been a feeling of loss and confusion about whether or not I made the right decision.

Over the past ten years, the only thing to follow me, the only thing I can’t live without doing is writing. No matter where I am, no matter how many people I push away or pull toward me, there’s always been a paper and pen, there’s always a book or a film to inspire me to want to write more, or write something different. My imagination and heart can always find something to say through writing, it always needs to communicate this way.

Yesterday, I pulled out some of my books about writing, and followed some of the activities they had suggested; some of the places to put my brain and how to think to be creative. It made my brain go in a different direction and I brainstormed some pretty amazing (at least to me) ideas and. It made me want to write more and make more time for my writing. I made me feel hopeful about writing again.

Even if it’s never published, even if it’s only friends who get to see this side of me, I’m supposed to be writing. I am a writer.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Looking to the Past to See the Future

When AOL was winding down at the call centre, I hated it; I was so unhappy with the program. They were pushing a call time that I couldn’t attain, I didn’t understand what was going on until a week before they left, I was getting great monitor scores, but the people who were calling in were giving me bad reviews. When I asked: “What can I do better?” I was simply told: “I don’t know.” At one point they stopped routing calls to me and I would go an eight hour shift with two or three calls. Thankfully, we were allowed to read books at that time, so I was able to amuse myself during a shift. I had to actually go to a supervisor and ask that they give me more calls.

An email passed around that told of a new program coming to the call centre and anyone interested should send a reply. I practically sent a cover letter. I didn’t want to sound like I was begging, but I asked to be one of the few that were being moved. In the weeks that followed people were saying their good-byes and soon there was a training class and I checked my e-mails again. I couldn’t figure out how they forgot me.

Even through all my athiestness I found myself close to tears one night in the bathroom saying “God, you know I hate this program why didn’t you move me?” Soon, though it seemed like forever, AOL was phased out and I was the last of the last to go. We were sitting there in the last days and my friend said “What if this new program is worse than AOL?” My body did things when she said that that I didn’t know it could do, my insides moved around, my heart beat faster, hands got sweaty, and I got scared and depressed and wanted to run away, all in one moment.

PCF followed, and although it was tough in the beginning I did well. I was part of the team for at least six months when my name was pulled and I was moved, temporarily, to the program I wanted so much to be a part of during AOL. No problem, I thought. I can do this.

I did the training program and was soon set in the middle of people I couldn’t connect with, knowing that I would only be there a few months, working with computer programs that were dated, not user friendly and I didn’t like the program as much as PCF. I’m told that if you’re put there and know you’re going to stay a while, you fit in better. But I was so relieved the day they moved us back to PCF.

So even though at the end of AOL I was angry and confused, I ended up where I was supposed to be, I like the people and I’m part of the e-mail team with PCF.

Today, change seems like something I’d be ready for. I would like to know more excel so I could move forward at the call centre, I would like to take some of the week long writing courses that I read about from the WFNS, and moving back to the city (which is at least 2 or 3 blogs on its own) is always being considered. I know whatever I decide on will take a lot of work, and that things will happen when they’re supposed to. I know that some of the future may be difficult and just because it’s right, doesn’t mean I’ll like it or understand it, but it will be leading to something good. I just need to make some decisions and know that the outcomes will lead to good.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

RIP Scotch on the Rocks

I saw “Remember Me” tonight and at one point in the movie Pierce Bronson walks into the restaurant in New York (The Oak Room) and asks for a Laphroaig.

“That’s one of my favorites.” I say to my friend sitting next to me.
“What is it? She asks.
“It’s a Scotch.”

But if you’re keeping notes Scotch isn’t gluten free and I resolved many years ago that I wouldn’t have a drink of scotch again, ever. And the past 5 years I’ve been fine not drinking at all. Many times, I picked up a glass of wine and turned up my nose and until last Saturday night didn’t even consider drinking a rum and coke. If my body couldn’t handle wine I didn't want to try a harder liquor. I’ve been out a few times with friends and not wanted to drink, we danced and talked (as best as you can with loud dance music in your ears) and my mantra was “It says do not take medication with alcohol; I don’t want to get sick again.”

But alcohol and I have a great little past. I was bar staff for goodness sake. One working New Years Eve we started the night off with a shot of rum. There were staff parties and people who could mix you fancy drinks and when you showed interest, they taught you about Laphroaig.

And if you want to go back before bar staff life there was university life. Thursday nights at the grad house with the horoscopes, and a glass (or a few) of wine with the girls and anyone else who cared to join. “Drink without Quilt.” “Down the hatch and out the sn@tch.” Drinking was part of who we were.

When I was sick and not hanging out with friends I was ok with not drinking, but I wanted that freedom again.

Then I turned on Facebook and there was the announcement that Corey Haim had died: Prescription drugs. This of course follows Brittany Murphy, Heath Ledger, (whatever happened to Michael Jackson) and someone known to the family was put in the hospital when she mixed alcohol with anti depressants. It all became a little too real.

So today when I picked up my prescription I asked to speak to the pharmacist. I asked what would happen if I had a few drinks with the medication that I’m on. She said, “It’s not something you should do.”

It’ll mess up my nervous system and maybe one time I’d be ok but maybe the next time I wouldn’t be. She did say a social drink of a single glass of wine or a beer, once or twice a year wouldn’t be too bad, and I eagerly asked: “what about a rum and coke or a vodka and orange juice?” No, that was not a good idea.

So I’m not allowed to drink anymore. I’m glad I asked, but I’m not ok with it. I don’t mind giving up cheesecake and pizza forever. But alcohol, realizing what it means to give that up forever has made me a little sad.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Tummy has a Happy: Cauliflower Salad

1 Head Cauliflower chopped and steamed so it’s a little soft
1 English Cucumber cut into triangles
1 Green Pepper Chopped
2 Tomatoes chopped

Coat with
11/2 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
And 1 Tablespoon Wheat Free Tamari

Mix and Serve

Monday, March 8, 2010

Two Rum and Coke

So I made myself sick (no not from the 2 rum and cokes I had on Saturday night… but they did make the bright coloured cloths more fun at Frenchies the next day… I’m really not supposed to mix my medication with alcohol.) And it wasn’t a cold sick either; it was a shaking noxious feeling all through my body.

While taking the writing workshop from Nina Munteanu, she suggested that we use our fellow classmates to start a writing group. Of course it was a good idea; we all had her workshop to bring us together. A few of us, who didn’t really know much about each other, exchanged names and e-mail addresses and we agreed to meet the first Saturday of the month.

I used the meeting as a deadline, to take the last criticism I was given about my story “Reaching” and improve the story, so I could read it out loud (I’ll have to start making more deadlines for my writing). The narrator, who is also the main character says “I” a lot, so I fixed it up based on the over abundance of “I’s”, any grammar mistakes I could find and missing words, or words that show up too often.

When I got to the library, we spoke of what our goals were with this group: something I still need to define for myself as “I want to work with other people and share writing…” is a bit of a cop out, so I’ll work on that too. We spoke for a long time about our own writing and what we do and I mentioned that I brought my writing with me, so in the third quarter of the writing group I read “Reaching.”

I didn’t figure reading out loud would be a problem. I have a degree in theatre which involved a lot of sharing stories, my own and others, with people, and after a few years of sitting in the closest thing to a corner I could find at a call centre, I finally broke out of that “I’m shy and don’t want to talk to anyone mode.” Really, there’s not very much I won’t say and I’m not afraid to speak to strangers when needed. In high school I read my own story out loud about a girl who had lost her father and after no emotional attachment when writing I started to cry in front of everyone. I had to hand the story over to someone else to finish. So other then the fact that I hopped I didn’t cry, I didn’t think there was going to be a problem reading my story out loud. After all, a lot had happened since high school.

After the second page my voice started to shake and my mind started to think about what I was saying, I began to wonder what everyone else was thinking. I wondered what my images were like that I was presenting people with. I started to think of the story as a whole, not as sentences and paragraphs.

In university one of the students wrote a play where she took her emotions and over exaggerated them to the point where it made people uncomfortable and embarrassed. And as I was reading there were paragraphs that stepped outside of the comfort and flow of the story and made me uncomfortable, they were too much for this little story. All this sharing of emotion, this hearing my story another way started to affect me. My voice continued to quiver and shake. My mouth became dry and I began circling the things that I needed to change. It’s not very much mind you, but the experience was new and very helpful, and frightening.

When I was finished I poured myself a good glass of town water and we finished the workshop. I went to the mall. It was on the way to the mall that I got nervous. My body started to shake and by the time I gave my prunes and frozen raspberries to the girl at the checkout I was worried I was going to throw up on her. I added a bottle of water to the groceries and when I got to the food court I took out two Tylenols to settle my stomach. I guess telling a dirty joke to your friends at work is a little different than sharing a story that is very personal to a group of people. It was a big step. But I feel better and more confident for doing it.

And then I had two rum and coke.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Want Things to Happen Fast.

It was early in the morning for me. Fridays are usually a laid back time when I write things on the computer and lounge around the house, so it was weird to be dressed and out of the door before I would even go for a run (there’s no prep for a run, throw on some stinky cloths and a hat and run around the block a couple times). I put on the ear-buds and walked up the hill my mind racing; I’m most creative in the morning new ideas and coffee, mixing with old dreams and new words. When I got to the writing workshop, I sat down and wrote a whole bunch of ideas down knowing I’d be sure to forget them otherwise.

The workshop it’s self was about being a facilitator of a writing group, and although it was advertised for mental illness, that didn’t enter into it very much. So I was a little disappointed, but the people who were involved with the last workshop I took are interested in starting a writing group, and there’s usually something to be learned at a writing workshop if you dig deep enough.

The writing activities were not directed at any particular piece we were working on, but to get you writing in general. That took me outside of myself and had me working on things that didn’t interest me; but I realized that I have the tools to keep writing even when a piece has me stuck. Before the medication I would just sit and write. Eventually a story would emerge, sometimes it was good enough to share, and most times it wasn’t. But I would sit and write and give my piece its own type of beginning middle and end and I would be proud of it. I’m still waiting for that magic pill that I will pick up my short story and say “I know how to make the sentences better” and all of a sudden I’m back in high school and my picture is back on the wall because I did a good job.

When I tell people who have depression that I write so that my world makes sense, I tell them when I started it would take me three pages of freefall writing to get to the bottom of my emotions and now if I’m not feeling right I can grab a paper and a pen and within a couple sentences or paragraphs I can usually find out what’s wrong and find an answer. I have to remember that when I started it was three pages, and if I’m going to work on my creative writing, it may need 3 pages for a while too.

Today is about reality. Maybe this year will be about reality, about stepping out of the fantasies that I create when I’m alone and focus on what is going on around me, it’s great to imagine that I’m a great writer but I need to work on my writing to get there. I have the tools… I need the confidence and the time to take the long way around, so that in the future I can take the quick way. It’s patience and perseverance for a girl who likes things to happen fast.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Frosty Duncan"

Compliments of the Urban Dictionary

A piece of excrement wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for later use. Item may also be contained in Tupperware or other freshness locking vessel. Mainly used as a description in scientific research papers for studies in zoology, biology, xenology and medicine.
1. "Please fetch me the Frosty Duncan from the Kelvinator"
2. "Why is there a frosty Duncan on my dinner plate?"
3. The Koalas' Frosty Duncan contained trace amounts of Eucalyptus.
4. The Frosty Duncan was placed into the microwave for 2 minutes.

I didn't know this. In my second year of university I walked into "own space" and was asked "what's your porn name?" You take your first pet (Frosty) and the street you live on (Duncan) and the name worked compared to other names I could have used. I've never forgotten it.