Tuesday, 27 August 2013

About time...

Today I did something I'd been needing to do for a good 8 years. There is no way to explain how scratching that kind of a thing off a list feels. Mostly because sane people do not keep shit on their to do lists for 8 frakking years.

Today I went through the 12 boxes of books my mother's former publisher sent me back in 2004. I sorted them, counted them, and organized them, all 536 of them. That's right: 536 copies of 3 different books. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with them. I mean, I do not need 536 copies of my mother's books of poetry.

But it was good to get them sorted and re-boxed.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

places of worship

In a conversation last night, I heard myself explaining to someone why I never manage to make it to church on Sunday mornings. I swing dance on Saturday nights. I volunteer to help clean up at the end of the night. The end of the night is usually about 1 a.m. (last night it was 2/3 a.m.; thank you daylight savings). Usually I don't get home until close to two in the morning. Getting up at nine in the morning to brave the STO's Sunday bus schedule is just plain unappealing.

I'm not Godly. I'm an athiest, but I love my church. At least, I love it in principle. I went to church when I lived in Vancouver. My biggest impediment was the nearly-two-hour public transit trip. I'd love if my STO-related reason was the 'reason' I don't go to church here; when you get down to it, it's a convenient excuse.

I loved my church in Vancouver. I loved the youth I was advising. I loved the tree outside the window where I always chose to sit. I found that church peaceful. It was good for my soul.

I am home now, whatever that means. There is only one Unitarian Universalist church in Ottawa. It's the church I grew up in, and I mean that more literally than you can possibly imagine. The First UU Church is the physical site of so many adolescent antics, so many long, luxuriously sleepless nights full of laughter, so many trivial -but irreplaceable- memories. It is also where the ball dropped, where everything came crashing down, the stage of too many moments I can never forget, and too many more than I sometimes wish I could tuck away in drawers like sparrows in a museum, separate from the real world, ordered into categories that make scientific sense. The church -the physical space- is full of too many moments. Too many memories. Too many funerals.

That is my church. That is why I don't go back.

I am afraid. It is not an easy place for me. It is full of ghosts and half-truths and teenage miscommunications that shaped me. It is a place of worship, but I am trying to move past my past. How do you worship in a place that symbolizes that kind of pain, your own history, in a remotely healthy way?

How do I go back there like it's nothing? Like it's normal? Like life's normal? Like it ever was. I don't know if I really want to. I don't know if I am ready to face that yet.

Yet, I hate hearing myself make excuses to someone I barely know (but wish I knew better). I hate that I represent myself that way, that I must because this explanation is impossible right now because I can't be completely honest with him. Not now. Not there. Not yet? I hate that I want to explain it all to him, as if to dispell some myth of myself.

And so I write it all down and hope that it helps to make some small sense of it, that facing up to the excuses I'm making may, in some simple way, help me to make my peace with it.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Modern Day Sisyphus

Sometimes I just feel like life is a perpetual slog, as though I may as well be pushing a boulder uphill for all eternity.

Only... what did I do to deserve this? Was I as deceitful and avaricious as Sisyphus? I never cheated on my wife or killed people traveling through my lands, so why do I feel like my life mirrors the punishment dealt out by gods on an errant king?

I guess that's just it: it is not, but it FEELS like it is. It feels like every time I get close to completing something it just rolls back down a hill and I have to start all over again. It's discouraging, especially when you're going at life pretty much on your own. I don't come home to anyone, so there's never any good surprises there (unless it's mail from a few wonderful folks south of the border), and that can be nice. No surprises means no bad surprises, but it also means no good ones. The bathroom is never miraculously clean and the dishes are never miraculously done and dinner is never waiting for me.

I hate to admit it, and I may only be saying this out of weakness after the end of a particularly unproductive week, but life's lonely when you're going at it alone. I am usually okay with being alone. Usually, I love it. But some weeks just wear a person down. Some weeks, all anyone wants is a miracle. Right now, I'd kill for someone to come wisk me away on a Learjet and treat me to a few hockey games and steak dinners... Only, even as I long for that I know I wouldn't be able to enjoy it because it would feel too much like running away. I wouldn't feel like I'd earned it. And I don't really enjoy things I feel I haven't earned.

Only what do I feel I have earned? I am frustrated by my self, by whatever part of me gets stuck in these godforsaken ruts and leaves me feeling like a modern day Sisyphus, doomed to repeat (and fail to complete) a single action for the rest of eternity. Depression's a bitch, kids. I should probably get some of the magic pills again and fix it, but my stubborn streak is still fixedly against that plan. I keep thinking that I just need the right spark of inspiration to be able to plough through the banality of my life as it stands in this moment. Usually I would turn to one of a few books, but I left all those in BC in storage last summer never thinking that they would be there for this long.

I need to pull myself out of this rut, but how? Isn't that the eternal question? Perhaps that is the moral of the Sisyphus myth, the real moral: that you are doomed to stay in that rut, working on task that is impossible to achieve, unless you can negotiate your way out. Sisyphus wasn't able to - he was guarded and forced to stay to repent for his sins - but maybe I can. There is no guard keeping me here, so why is it so hard to walk away? Why is it that I can't walk away? Am I really so determined to find a solution to the impossible puzzle? Do I really think I can find away to keep the proverbial boulder on the top of the mountain? Is that even the point?

At the end of the day, I'm still not sure, but I know that going at it alone is wearing me out. I need to dig myself out of this. Can someone hand me a shovel? Or, at least, a pint of Keith's?