December 30, 2013

Close Enough: A Catfish Story.

I don't blog much anymore because who the hell has the time to write a whole page of banal bullshit, let alone read it.

But, sometimes a motherfucker gets inspired.

For the last 3 years, I have followed the lives of people on Twitter, usually a safe arm's length away from the realities that lie behind the cleverness, the wittiness, the deadpan, and the drama. But lately the full frontal catfish nature of the internet has played me.

Now, I didn't know @nikkolascage or @theokayest as well as a lot of people thought they did. But, then again, who the hell did. I read the continued drama between her and a gentleman from Edmonton who moved to Calgary, desperately deluded that he would meet her and they could finally fall in love and be together. I caught the flashy ass and tit pics, and the KCCO hashtags. I smiled at her saucy posts and laughed along with her. She seemed so fantastic, I recall muttering to myself 'how can this chick be that hot AND this smart? What an asshole.'


Want the real story? Ask Ryncstar.

But this whole situation that has unraveled in the past two days has gotten me thinking about what the internet offers us, and the way it changes us. 
It allows us to reinvent, lie, design a person that may not be ourselves. But that is okay because with a quick account change or deletion, we exist again. And THIS time, we will be grander. Realer. Better.

I see it all the time. Some people even have numerous online accounts or personas, neither intersecting with the other, because one life wouldn't be comfortable with the world created by another. World's collide.

We take 30 pictures just to post a decent selfie. We gloss over the bad to illuminate the good or victimize ourselves with the tragic to get attention and sympathy. We are like these bush league directors of our online lives trying desperately to make a decent movie everyone is going to watch. We add party pics, and fun Vines, and tag friends, and even throw in a few songs for a killer soundtrack. We paint ourselves a bit happier, a bit smarter, a bit more together, a bit more apathetic, a bit MORE. We are martyrs for giving a homeless person five dollars and phoenix-from-the-ashes for getting out of bed after a break up. We are all fucking liars knee deep in hyperbole.

And most of our movies still suck.

The blonde on the left? Not @Nikkolascage. But it's a Nicole that lives in Calgary, so... close enough?

So, some people go a bit deeper with artistic license. They take it a bit farther. They flat-line the lies until they aren't even in their own movie anymore. And while I would feel astonishingly violated and victimized if someone used my real life to depict their very own Truman Show, I also feel stubbornly empathetic. I imagine what it would be like to have someone tell me how beautiful I was. Except they weren't looking at me. To have someone comment on how much fun I am. Except they weren't talking about any fun I was actually having. I imagine what it would feel like to try desperately to make connections with people who didn't even know me. Because I had painted myself completely out of the picture.

By the time they are ever comfortable enough to come clean and make a true connection with the people they had lied to lure in, it's too late. They're a fraud and they will only push people away. And if you are someone who lives almost solely on the internet, pushing the people online away means pulling the plug completely. You're not just breaking up with someone, you are breaking up with your life. And the only thing left that is authentic is your reputation.
And you know what they say... the internet is forever.

I have been guilty of shining up my life, especially when tragedy strikes. No one wants to hear your sorrowful bullshit and sometimes 'faking it to make it' is all you can muster. I try to balance it out with being honest when I look like hell and feel like hell and behave like an asshole. But at the end of the movie, I still want people to come away thinking I was exceptional, not an extra.

The difference is when my movie ends, regardless what people will be thinking about me, it will still be me they are thinking about. And I reckon sometimes in our hope to make an impact and not be forgotten, we forget to be ourselves.

And no amount of false friends or followers will be able to fill the void left by vacating your own life.

February 4, 2013

Former Mistreatment is Outdated.

"Give it a fucking rest. You don't have to remind everyone of the date and time of Greg's death. You fucking Facebooked it and less than 6 months later, you're fucking someone else. Saying pretty words doesn't change that shit."
This comment was left for me by an anonymous source. Of course it was. I wouldn't want to be accountable for this statement either. But I do think it has some merit and wanted to address it. I'm pretty sure whoever wrote this (and I have my suspicions) is not the only one who has assumed the worst of my behaviour in this regard.

When Greg died, I had the impression that a lot of people expected my grief to somehow equal the amount of love we shared, as if that's even possible. People judge how people should behave all the time, but it is an interesting thing when someone dies. There is weird protocol that is laid out but never divulged. Everyone wants you to feel & act a certain way. People gauge your mourning period like it somehow validates how you cared for the deceased. Some don't want you to be happy until they feel you should be, because otherwise you must not have valued your loved one enough.

Enough. It is impossible to be enough for some people.
Some expected me not to get out of bed for months. Some expected me not to laugh for weeks. Some thought I would obviously be alone for the rest of my life, eventually dying of heartbreak.

This could have happened. I could have allowed myself to do exactly what I felt like doing and let my life and my soul just waste away. But I have said it before and I mean it: Greg would never have allowed himself to be with me if he didn't know that I was strong enough to make it without him. In fact, we discussed whether or not he would want me to date/marry/fall in love if he passed away. He was astonished I would have even asked such a question. 
"I would want you to be happy."

And that is what I have been striving for. Not just for me- for us. For the Sheena and Greg that still exists and is still very real to me. The Greg and Sheena that still have beer at the Druid and laugh and make jokes at our own expense. The Sheena and Greg that embrace even the abhorrent and turn it into appreciation. We were greater than the sum of our parts. And this will be a fiber of my being until I die.

I will be Sheena and Greg for the rest of my life.

But beside that, I am still me. I am still the girl that makes off coloured jokes and says shit you should never say at funerals and dinner parties. I am still the one who cries at pictures of baby meerkats. I am still the girl that burns grilled cheese sandwiches. I am still the girl who can't fall asleep without noise. I am still the girl that tweets like it's going out of style and makes friends and thinks people are the most amazing things ever.

I'm still the girl that loves. Often. Liberally. With abandon.

And I will continue to. I will continue to love men. And women. And affection. And sex. And this may upset people that can not understand how I can exhibit such behaviour after six short months. People may not understand how I can be happy with another after the relationship that I had with Greg. They have even expressed that they don't understand how I can adore one and mourn the other.

Let me assure you, I can. And do.

People do not have to appreciate or respect my fumbling attempt at normalcy. But people are also in the fortunate position to not have to feel the void and longing that sits like a vacuum inside of me every fucking minute I am not asleep or ensconced in the love and support of my friends and family. I am still aching. I am tired of my own voice. I am still in healing and may never not be. But certain things lighten the load of this weight. And the love and affection and beauty of people are invaluable to me.

So, while I do not feel the need to justify my behaviour, let alone to someone unwilling to even sign their name to such a vile and insipid comment, I do understand that death is a muddled emotional area and insight is valuable. People want to know that Greg's name and memory has not been disavowed. They want to know that he is still as big to me in death as he was in life. People want me to honour him the way he so deserved.

And I just wanted to assure you all that if he were able, he would ease your minds. He would tell you he is just as loved and brilliant in my life as he was the first day I ever met him.

And then he'd tell you to see the new Star Trek trailer. It's awesome.

January 21, 2013

The Balance Between Lazy & Crazy.

Kyle Cease discusses the balance between being apathetic & lazy, and being a hyper-dramatic spiritual pixie. Where's the balance? Where's the grey area?

January 16, 2013

My Friend Got Me Marijuana.


No, I am not insinuating that marijuana in and of itself is a big fucking deal, in spite of what every asshole with a pot leaf flag and "CHRONIC" tee shirt would have you believe. Pot is pretty close to smoking potpourri if you take away the fact that we have spent billions of dollars on bullshit research trying to prove that it may or may not be the reason our kids are failing math.

The reason I am writing about this is because it's a big deal for ME. I have never been much of a pot smoker and when I did, I did it poorly. It's like watching a baby use chopsticks- it's clumsy, they're probably going to hurt themselves, and all you want to do is help them. Throw in an analogy about starving to death and it becomes clear the kind of infant I am with a joint in my hand.

I don't even know how to roll a joint.

I either smoke too little and feel nothing, or I smoke too much and can't speak. I become self-conscious and panicky. I stop conversing for fear that words will be misplaced or out-dated and people get nervous which makes me nervous and ohmyGod how has only three minutes passed since the last time I checked the clock I am going to be high forever can someone take me home now?

No exaggeration. Me on marijuana has traditionally been a fucking nightmare.

But I decided a while back that I wanted some for a few reasons:

1. Because my sleep was horrific and it was more natural and less addictive than prescription sleeping meds.
2. I may benefit from it's stress-relieving properties.
3. This will be fucking hilarious.

So, I am kicking around the idea of getting high one night, alone, and blogging the experience for posterity. One of the last times I got severely high, I watched Seinfeld and was astonished at how many inaccuracies and mistakes were in it and wrote them all down to send in to the producers. It was years after Seinfeld was already in syndication not to mention the fact that upon reading the seven pieces of scrawled upon looseleaf the next morning, not one word was legible. I am hilarious when I am high and I feel it would be a tragic disservice not to record it for you all to enjoy.

I'm not always such a bummer. Sometimes I encourage you to laugh at me.

I will be giving more updates on when this will be occurring on Twitter and Facebook, so feel free to check in. Or not, because let's face it, this is a pretty stupid idea.

See? I'm fitting in with the stoner community already.

January 11, 2013

Memory is a Terrible Thing When You Use it Right.

I haven't blogged in a while. Dictating and recording a life is a little difficult when you are attempting to survive it. But I do feel remiss. Things have happened. This post won't be pretty, but I will do my best to make it beautiful.

By now, everyone is aware that the love of my life died June 30th, 2012 at 1:36pm.
Yes. I recall that date, that time, every few hours, every day. And not just because I have his time of death as an reminder on my phone. This tragedy shut me down a little. It changed me. It altered how I see the world. This is assumed. This is obvious. This is not surprising. This is not what this post is about.

This post is about the miscarriage I suffered throughout the month of December and how I manage to convince myself that there is some reason to still get out of bed in the morning.

It wasn't a huge surprise. Nothing in my life ever really seems to be. All I knew to do was exhale. What better woman to be growing life inside her than the broken doll that felt life drain from her hands mere weeks before. In keeping with tradition, this development was not a secret to the people in my life. We made jokes. I was self-deprecating. There were deep conversations. There was more laughter. I cried. It was all we knew how to do.

But at the end of November, I started bleeding. Again, not surprising. I was having trouble keeping myself sustained, I was shocked my body had even gotten as far as it had in growing new life. It was barely keeping the old one afloat.
I went to the hospital. No heartbeat. I nodded. They gave me the list of warning signs and told me that there wasn't anything to do that nature wouldn't take care of on it's own. Come back if you have a fever. Watch your bleeding. Sorry for your loss. I didn't even get a pamphlet. The bleeding continued. Not a lot, but enough. My breasts stopped feeling sore. They never grew in size. I stopped gaining weight. I had no additional symptoms. My body just... quit.

I knew the feeling.

Weeks passed. The bleeding and the fatigue and the emptiness continued but never really got any better, nor any worse.Until one night when there was a additional gush of blood. Most normal people at this point would have been concerned. Concerned about their own health and safety. Concerned about the possibility of a mistake. Most people would have asked someone for help.
I, of course, did not.

Because tragedy was not a surprise.

So I called and ran over the list of symptoms and the nurse explained that "every woman is different." That was an under-statement in my case. I let it go. I stopped eating. I stopped drinking. My sleeping was a mess. I constantly cried and laughed and felt generally horrible. I had financial setbacks. The holidays were killing me. I wanted to quit my life. Noting out of the ordinary or surprising and yet everything felt too new to predict or control. So I decided not to fight it. And I continued to bleed. Every day.

"How are you feeling?"
"You look tired."
"How are you holding up?"
"Can I get you anything?"
"What do you need?"
"It will get better."
"You are so strong."
"We love you, Bee."

Between the holidays, my disintegrating new dating life, general pity, and my health, I couldn't decipher when one symptom bled into another only to become actual blood and what, if anything, I could do about any of it. Every fiber of my being was a sullen extension of a dying woman that finished sentences and told jokes.

After an excruciatingly long and hard month, I was ready for a reprieve. I had Christmas plans, I finally purchased gifts a week before Christmas day... it was almost over. 2012 was almost fucking over. I just needed to hold out a couple of more weeks.
A friend from Prana Holistic here in Edmonton came by one night to give me reflexology. She was aghast at my physical reaction to her treatment and explained that something was definitely not okay. I agreed. Nothing was okay.

That night I started to get a fever. I made the joke that her witchcraft was killing me and she was fired. The fever hit 103 degrees. Thinking it was sepsis from the miscarriage, I took the necessary precautions. If every woman was different, I was unrecognizable. I was sure this was par for the course. After all, wasn't everything? Nothing surprised me. So I slept and waited. Waited to get better. Waited for health. Waited for the holidays to come and go. Waited for my energy and my life to feel like mine again. I laid there thinking something wasn't right. I looked around and realized that nothing was right. So, I tried to sleep.

"How did you not know you were miscarrying this whole time?"
"Didn't you feel something was wrong?"
"How did you not go seek help?"
"We love you, Bee." 

Christmas eve, as I was waiting for my friend to show with eggnog so we could ring in Santa's birthday in style, I began to feel cramping. Not hugely painful, but not quite ignorable either. I said aloud, "Well, that's a feeling I haven't felt before..."
But nothing surprised me anymore. I went to the washroom.

I froze.

All I could see were tiny fingers amongst the bowl of my own blood, waving like a greeting and a good bye.

I immediately felt the life of us both drain from the room. 

"How are you feeling?"
"You look tired."
"How are you holding up?"
"Can I get you anything?"
"What do you need?"
"It will get better."
"You are so strong."
"We love you, Bee."

I could go into detail about retrieving it, mourning it, burying it. And I have considered it. Considered going into all the detail I so desperately longed for when I spent nights on websites and message boards digging for answers. And maybe one day I will. For the woman in small town Saskatchewan or Ontario or Minnesota three years from now who wants to know how different a woman she has to be before something is deemed wrong enough to worry about.

It was hard to move like a hollow shell through the next few days. I only told the necessary people I needed to and let the rest enjoy their Christmases as much as they could. People asked me how I was doing as the first Christmas without Greg would be the hardest one. I agreed and smiled. I told them I was okay and I wondered if I was lying.

"Can I be done now?", I weeped.

I thought it was over. Except it wasn't.

I proceeded to have what can only be described as labour alone in my bathroom as my body writhed in pain in an expedited attempt to eject what was left of the life previously distilled. The pain and blood were indescribable. At one point, limp and ruined in a dark bathroom, I gave in to the reality that I may die. I even said good bye. Aloud. To no one. After four hours, I opened my eyes and could actually see again. The bathroom may have resembled a murder scene, but I was still alive. I would like to say I was relieved but something happens when you give up on your own life. Especially after you have witnessed a smaller life give up on you.

The last few weeks I have experienced the typical physical, emotional, and hormonal adjustment period. Nothing surprising. I have had support. I have had love. I have had moments of laughter and joy. As with the tragedy of Greg's death, I feel I owe my sanity and my soul's armor to those around me who refused to let me whither and die. No matter how many times I decided to give up.

Because that is what I have realized. Life doesn't have boundaries. It can't be contained in a dying body, or a forming child, or a listless woman in a pile of tears on the floor. It resonates and undulates in everything and everyone. The life force from my friend's fingers into my feet; the life force in the soup or slurpee brought to my door at midnight; the life injected through the hugs, the tears, the kisses, the gestures made by even people I have never met. Life has changed forms a lot in the past six months, but it hasn't left me. It hasn't quit.

And neither have I.

"We love you, Bee."

So for now, I will let the woman who still looks at the pictures of her dead child every day look inside for a while at the life she has left. I will let her feel the love and the life that has kept her afloat while surrounded by death and the disintegration of the world she knew.
Maybe she can heal first before she attempts to heal the world. Or recreate it.

Maybe she can start to surprise herself.