Genderless Onesies & Other Winter Worries

Fall

The summer is nearing an end, you can tell because the store shelves are filling up with Halloween essentials.  The humid stifling summer air is being replaced by a cool breeze and the need for a sweater.  Soon the flip flops will be put away in exchange for reliable boots and warm socks.  Emerald trees against royal blue skies will give way to streets full of discarded leaves.  The sidewalks will be flooded in puddles of reds, yellows, and oranges in varying degrees of decay that crunch beneath your feet as you walk through them.

Fall has always been my favorite of the seasons.  It’s been scientifically proven that our olfactory senses come alive with the drop in temperature.  The smell of sunscreen and barbecues will be replaced by the smell of wood stoves, decomposing vegetation, crab apples and pumpkin spice.  I love everything about Fall.  The only thing I hate is that it ends far too soon ushering a good five or six months of winter.  My depression usually peaks during the winter months.  The eastern Canadian winters are very unforgiving so I end up staying inside more, selectively hibernating while I pack on the winter 10-15 pounds.  I consume Netflix and books to pass the days away until it’s bearable outside without having to wear several layers of clothing or being afraid of falling on ice and ending up as a viral video on all your friends’ Facebook feeds.

More than anything, I fear the impending isolation as it becomes increasingly difficult to get around.  I fear being alone with my uptight depression brain seeping it’s seasonal negativity.

Summer Sam is so much more fun.  She’s more upbeat.  She takes more pride in her appearance, has more energy and doesn’t experience the intense pain the cold damp weather brings.  She’s also a better dresser.  When the cold weather approaches she packs away her cute tops, comfy capris, summer dresses and cute sandals in a big Rubbermaid bin, and essentially transforms into a winter ready, fluffy, fleecy fashion crime.  It’s true.  In exchange for feeling like a lady, I get to revisit infancy in my warm genderless onesies.  Instead of showing off my fresh pedicures in a sassy sandal, I’m rocking high wool socks and my unisex, weather appropriate boots.  Fashion no longer matters to me as I simply try to stay warm, dry and comfortable.  I have no shame in taking my dog out to pee in my neighborhood wearing Christmas fleece jammies and a bitchy resting face come February.

Looking back, this was actually a pretty decent summer.  I got outside a lot, even got a tan for the first time in years even if no one else can tell besides me.  I swam.  I got to swim in the ocean, a lake and a pool.  I took a boat ride.  I reconnected with my old bestie.  We’ve been friends since the eighth grade and I never would have survived my teen years with my family without her.  My sister from another mister.  We reminisced about old times and shared some new ones as well.  I re launched my blog with a brand new name letting go of my old pen name and some of the ghosts that went with it.   I enjoyed sunny days with my love (“C”) as we walked around our neighborhood examining historic buildings that we previously missed.  We picnicked in the park with hamburgers and far too many pigeons for her liking. (personally, I love pigeons so I’d throw bits of food to attract them in hordes as “C” squealed in terror running away while I laughed).  We laughed a lot.  We loved a lot.   We took walks down the boardwalk with my miniature dachshund, Lucy, to people watch or watch the boats pull into port.  We got to visit and spend time with her family, my new family, who are some of the nicest people and best cooks you’d ever meet.  To finish off the summer, my city, Saint John, New Brunswick, is hosting the “Fundy Fan Fest”.  This is where artists, actors, filmmakers, get together for the fans.  I am a nerd.  I’m a Whovian (Doctor Who fanatic) and a lifelong Trekkie so this is my jam.   I couldn’t afford to attend much but I did end up visiting “Midnight” a.k.a the Impala from TV’s Supernatural.  I got to touch it. Midnight Impala

Kevin Smith This past Saturday night, “C” and I attended a live podcast performance of Jay and Silent Bob Get Old with Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes.  After the show, I got to meet Kevin Smith and give him a hug.  It was such a great moment for me.  I’ve admired his work since Mallrats and he remains as one of my all time favorite filmmakers.  It really was the pinnacle of my summer.   The blessings of a good summer will give me something to smile about on my sad pain days as the days grow colder and darker.

The battle for me lies in staying positive and active with my writing during the depressing winter months.    I tend to slip into self doubt, like most people would slip into sweatpants.  I need to resist that.   I need to resist that voice in the back of my mind that constantly tells me I’m not good enough.  I need to write daily even if I’m not happy with it.  I need to be as consistent in my writing as I am in fighting depression.

It’s a mixed bag of feelings as I grieve the loss of summer, and the warmth, welcome the Fall, while, fearing the winter…

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam


Image – Fall- courtesy of Pixabay User Valiunic/Coffee

A Letter To My 10 Year Old Self

Writing a letterAs I was spreading a thick layer of depilatory cream on my upper lip and chin this evening, it occurred to me that no one prepared me for this. No one told me I’d have to spend extra time in the mirror looking for errant black hairs. No one prepared me for having whiskers. No one told me I’d turn into a man for fuck’s sake and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.  

Come to think of it, I feel like there have been a number of things I just wasn’t prepared for. I thought I would write a letter to my 10 year old self to warn her. 

Dear Sam,

I thought you would appreciate a head’s up from your future self. We are now 43 years old and things didn’t quite go as we thought it would, so I’m just going to lay it all out there for you in point form.  Brace yourself. 

You will get fat in your twenties, please for the love of God, stay away from those donuts, pizza and potato chips or at least pace yourself. Stay active and eat right. You may not be aware of this now but when you get older it becomes harder to poop, so eat all your fruits and vegetables.  

In the future we won’t be dating boys. You know how you like to watch Daisy Duke in her short shorts? In the future, this will become far more socially acceptable and you won’t have to hide your love of Madonna and her belly button. It will even become legal for a woman to marry another woman. They’ll throw parades for people like us and it will be fabulous. The only downside is that with gay marriage comes gay divorce and you will experience that too if you jump in too quickly and trust the wrong person. Pay close attention to the signs that your partner is cheating, you’ll be able to see that up close and in action in 2 short years when your mom and dad break up. 

You’ll become a dog person. I know that sounds impossible to you given your life long love of cats and all things kitty, but you will meet a dog one day that changes your mind about dogs and you’ll see how awesome they are.

Can you imagine a world where we can take our phones with us? Now, I know you’re thinking of one of those 15 pound phones with the giant aerial right? Looks like a shoebox? They get smaller, smaller and smaller and then a little bigger, then bigger again so we can watch TV on them! No one has house phones anymore. We all carry tiny computers around with us everywhere. Not like the Commodore 64 either. They’re lightening fast with bold bright lifelike colors and have this remarkable thing called the Internet. It’s like having a library at your fingertips with a world of information a click or tap away. The whole world is connected now and you can talk to someone on the other side of the world just like that. No one sends letters anymore and rarely do people actually TALK on the phones we all carry. We simply send each other text messages instead. In fact, we have basically developed a new language based solely on shortened words and pictures of faces we call emoticons. The whole thing is going to blow you away. You won’t need to visit libraries anymore, or bookstores for that matter, or really any stores since we have this thing called Amazon now that sells pretty much anything you will ever need. We don’t really do things in person anymore. You will hardly have to leave your house. The only problem is that we end up giving away all of our privacy and personal information in exchange for the convenience. There’s a book you should read, it’s called 1984 by George Orwell, that should explain it better for you. 

The world is a pretty crazy place right now, the Americans elected Donald Trump as their President. I know. Our Prime Minister is actually Pierre Trudeau’s son and he got elected with a promise of legal pot for everyone. You know that stuff from the Cheech and Chong movies your parents watch? Well in the future, a lot of people use it for medication, even you.

You will end up with crippling pain in your body from something called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or Fibromyalgia as they generalize it. You also end up with pretty severe Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease and Endometriosis. You will have pain all the time and it will get worse as you age, so enjoy your life now. Enjoy being able to freely move and run, even with your bum ankles. Climb as many trees as you can find, sink as many basketballs as possible and ride your bike with total abandon because you will really miss that when you get older and your mobility decreases with illness.

You won’t ever be a Mom. I know you wanted to but that disease I told you about, Endometriosis, is going to cause cysts to grow all over your insides and destroy your uterus and you’ll only have one ovary. It’s okay though because in the future, less and less women are able to have babies, so you won’t be the only one. You can still have pets and enjoy your friends’ kids and honestly, you’ll be so tired and ill so frequently that you probably wouldn’t be the best mom anyway.  

A lot of famous people will die. People that you love. One of them, is Michael Jackson. Michael will leave quite the legacy. Some stuff will happen with him that you won’t know if you should believe. Just remember the good stuff about Michael. Robin Williams, Prince, David Bowie, Whitney Houston, George Michael and many others die unexpectedly. The one that will hurt the most is Leonard Nimmoy. I know how much you love Spock. On a side note, Star Trek is still going! They’re still making new movies and there will be several spin off series for you to look forward to.

Work hard in school. Work so hard that you earn scholarships. Education will become really expensive and very necessary to gain steady employment. Without it, you will have to work in retail or in call Centers answering questions and taking complaints from assholes. You’ll do it so long that when your phone does ring, it will make you sweat and shudder and throw up in your mouth a little bit. You will grow to loath a ringing telephone. 

Continue writing. Maybe work harder with that. In the future people can self publish, you won’t even need a publisher at first, you can write your book and put it right on Amazon. Keep reading, books never go out of style. Keep learning. Your love of learning will stay with you throughout your life.

One last thing I need to talk to you about it the reason you are sad. You have something called clinical depression and you already have a pretty remarkable case of something else called anxiety disorder. That’s the thing that makes you cry before you go to school, it’s what causes that pain you get in your stomach all the time. You will have this for the rest of your life. You will try many treatments, medications and lifestyle changes but it will always be there. Try not to let it get the best of you, learn to soothe yourself because your parents won’t. They will never understand it. Learn to be strong, secure and resilient. Learn to love yourself. You’re not alone and you will meet some pretty great friends that will become your chosen family.  

Your life will be hard but remember, God never gives us more than we can handle. You can apply that reasoning when you find out you can’t have babies. Also apply that logic when you don’t move past a B cup in bras.  

Stay strong little warrior. 

PS. You are lactose intolerant, please stop drinking milk and lay off the cheese slices.

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Appointments.  Are There Anything Worse?

I am sitting here dumping a Lukewarm cup of tea down my neck hole fussing about my appointments today in my head.
I’m guessing normal people don’t do this. They probably just get up feeling rested in the mornings, go to their jobs and appointments and then home to their pet unicorns and eat mana as it rains down from the Heavens.. 

Stress. Why do I stress about everything? My anxiety levels rise, my heart beats a little faster, I start walking into door frames and bumping into things as I am otherwise distracted by my worries, then I start chewing on my fingers and cuticles as scenarios play out in my mind.

Today’s appointment is with Mental Health. I have been dealing with clinical depression for my entire adult life. I’ve been on medication since I was 18 years old. I have severe anxiety as well as PTSD. I moved to Saint John, New Brunswick with my partner two years ago and it has been DIFFICULT to find doctors here. It turns out I moved to the sickest province in Canada; meaning there are more chronically ill people here than anywhere else in Canada. That means doctors have limits on how many patients they can see, it means limited access to specialists, long wait times and full emergency rooms at the hospitals. I also don’t have a vehicle so that makes transportation difficult. I have to do quite a bit of walking to get around, and on days like today (rainy, damp and cold) I am going to need an appointment with a long hot bath and my heating pad when I get home. So this appointment with Mental Health; I don’t know what to expect really, but these are the possible outcomes:

“Ugh you people with your “chronic illness” and your “chronic pain” don’t you know how much of a drag you people are? You people are just whiny little pissers who just can’t toughen up and deal.” I picture a nasally lady with glasses much too large for her face with one of those long gold chains that attaches to your glasses so you don’t lose them. She has a knitted sweater around her shoulders  probably knitted by her friend Myrtle last Christmas, poor Myrtle has the rheumatoid arthritis so she can’t knit like she used to so Sheila (that’s what I named the Mental Health lady) wears it often because it reminds her of the everyday struggles and that people can overcome anything. Sheila is also slapping a nightstick in her palm. Not sure where she got that but, I feel scared.

“Wow. You are literally THE craziest broad I have ever met. You need some serious help. How do you get through life at all even? I’m not sure I can continue this session today.” The uptight tight faced lady then places a call and requests Igor and Hugo immediately. At that point I am carted away by 2 beasts of men in a straight jacket against my will. 

“Yeah you have some legitimate issues for sure, unfortunately so does everyone else so you will need to go on a waiting list for a year or so. It could be less if suicide rates continue to rise.” This time it’s a man who looks like kind of like David Suzuki only less Asian. He’s wearing brown pants with brown loafers and grey socks to match his grey shirt. I find him oddly comforting so I agree to go on his list.

“What problems? You’re completely and utterly lying. Pain? You are not in a wheelchair nor do you have cancer, why are you wasting my time today?” This guy kind of looks like Sigmund Freud only he speaks with a British accent and wears his shirt collar buttoned up with a bow tie. Normally I think, ‘Bowties are cool’ but not in this particular case. It just comes across as simply pompous. 

I don’t make it to my appointment at all, instead I just collapse from exhaustion and pain in the street while the rain beats on my face. The camera pans out from above and I am all alone drowning in rain, tears and failures while people hurriedly walk past and over me.

Wow, that’s a little dramatic Sam, and yes I am aware of that but this is how my brain works. Mostly I’m simply afraid of opening up to yet another doctor/medical professional with little to no help as an end result.  

After this appointment, I have yet another with a social worker from Community Living here in the city. They assist people with disabilities attain help from different resources. I don’t have some of the documents they want though and need more time so again I stress.

What would a life without anxiety feel like? Would it be as liberating as I assume it would or would you even notice how lucky you are?

Worry

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,
Sam

Photo credit http://www.demotivation.us/worrying-works-1281560.html