I Was the Exception

 

Ok, I survived the weekend!!! Hurray! This is part is probably going to be the most difficult to write and the most difficult to read.  I’m writing this on my birthday, and weirdly enough it’s kind of a bday gift to myself. I’ve been carrying it for a week and I can feel it in my body because I’ve been putting it off. Time to let go.

**Trigger Warning**

A detailed, but not too detailed account of a suicide attempt is what I’m trying to conquer today. If you’re at work/school/public- Wait until the time is right.

I have to remind myself why it’s important to me to get this part out. It’s something not a lot of people know about me unless you’re in my family or a childhood best friend. It’s important to speak about it not only to understand my thought process, but also to understand the impact it made on my environment and the people in it.

From 7-16 nothing really stands out too much. My dad and I moved to a small town called Chetwynd (pop. 3500) in Northern BC. I continued with school and turned out to be quite the academic and athlete. I’ve always been a fringe kid. Meaning that I was accepted into all crowds in school, but never really fully committed to any of them. Even then, I knew to treat people the way I wanted to be treated. I was a perfectionist and wanted validation for being so awesome*. Culturally, I was expected to be humble, so praise was minimal. Again, as a child, the way I interpreted that was to think that nothing I did was ever good enough*. I felt alone, confused, and empty most of the time, but I thought that was normal.

At that time, I also tapped into my ability to… I’m trying to think of a less harsh word to use than manipulate, but that’s completely accurate. I tapped into my ability to manipulate situations to get what I wanted out of them*.

Ok, so we covered super strict upbringing, over-achiever, fake smiles etc… Then sixteen happened. To know me is to know that I’ve got a wild side J I was born under every ferocious, fiery, and domineering sign available (Fire-Fire-Aries-Tiger-Mars-God of War etc.). When I was close to 16 I discovered this alternate version of me. Needless to say, my super strict father was not a fan. We fought to the point that I decided to move in with my mother who was located in the beautiful mountain town of Canmore.

Having a teenage delivered in full ‘whoremonal’ rebellion probably wasn’t the easiest thing to deal with, but my mom did her best. I got the sense she had some residual guilt for not being able to raise me, so the rules were very lax. I continued school in Canmore, got a job and partied, a lot. My grades dropped, and I gradually stopped going to school. The perfectionist is me was screaming at the top of her lungs; I became a failure in my own eyes.

I remember trying to turn things around and get back on track so many times. I would write unrealistic unattainable goals and give myself deadlines, only to fail miserably at them. Finally, I decided I needed to scare myself straight. So I hatched a plan, a plan that would almost kill me. My goal wasn’t to die; my goal was to get close enough to death so that I could appreciate life. I mean I’d been living, but I didn’t feel alive.

I’d often thought about suicide and associated it as almost a glamorous thing to do (suicide ideation). What was different this time was that I made a plan and gave myself a deadline (no pun). The day rolled around and I was almost reconsidering. My family had been away for the weekend. The clock was ticking until their return… I borrowed something of my sister’s and I didn’t have enough time to wash it before they got home, I knew she’d be pissed at me. That tiny little detail led me to follow through.

I carefully calculated what I thought were all the factors. My plan was: do it, have them find me passed out, go to the hospital, everything turn out all right, close call, and be cured.

Simple right?

I overdosed.

This is what really happened: Did it, parents came home 4 hrs later than expected, they found me almost dead, CPR’d then lights and sirens to Canmore hospital, intubated then lights and sirens all the way to Calgary, 3 days in a coma, 2 days in ICU w/restraints and my very own guard, 7 days in kiddy mental health ward, immediate family flew in from everywhere, and I was poked, prodded, and questioned until I was a mad, mad little teenager.

That wasn’t the plan.

I failed to factor in many things. I did not factor in the effect it would have on my mom and sister when they found me- lifeless. I did not factor in the fact that my dad would get that call and have to drop everything to come to be with me. I did not factor the emotional impact it would have on anyone who got that call. The fact that my school had to tell my classes I was ‘sick’ and in hospital so my classmates could make me a card for said unknown illness. The fact that I was so close to having permanent brain damage. The fact that my close friends blamed themselves for not seeing any warning signs. How do you explain that that wasn’t the ‘plan’?

You can’t.

Wherever I was for those 3 days I came back with some invaluable knowledge.

My life was a gift, and when it begins or ends is out of my hands. I vowed to explore all other options before ever making an attempt again, because I really shouldn’t have survived.

 

24 Hour Crisis Helpline 403-266-HELP (4357).

http://www.suicideprevention.ca/survivor-support/after-a-suicide-attempt/

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Onset/ In the Beginning

In the beginning:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creative-development/201106/the-highly-sensitive-child

I’m trying to think of a way to write this section so it seems less essay-ish (i.e. boring). When talking about anyone’s childhood experiences there’s a huge amount of research and psychological ‘blah blah blah’ that one must take into account. I’m going to leave out the research component until the Rebuilding Mod section; however, I’m going to (*) the points that we’ll have to revisit.

I was a quiet, smart kid, and I don’t ever remember my parents being together.  After their separation, it was decided that I’d live with my pa. I was my dad’s first child and he’d been in the country a year or two before having me*. I visited my ma on holidays and weekends when we lived near her.

Here’s a list of perspectives I gained as a child just because I was born into them:

1) Bi-racial/West African Culture/ Esketemc First Nations Culture/ Canadian Culture.*

2) Youngest child (Mom’s family)/Oldest child (Dad’s family)/Only Child (Raised by dad)*

3) Small town life/ Reserve Life/ Being the only ‘black’ kid in most situations.

After writing this I realise why I find it so important to wear many hats, it’s all know!  Give me all the HATS!

My dad moved to Canada with nothing, and soon I was thrown in the mix and he had to build a life for us. This meant a lot of work, so he was always working. I understand now why he had to work, but as a child I questioned why couldn’t he spend this time with me. Why was his work more important than me*? I wanted so badly to be nurtured but no one was around to do it*. I also just wanted some damn recognition for being such an amazing little human being*.

I was cared for by numerous people while my dad was working. Some were good and taught me things/skills that I still have today, and others were…bad. As a child I was vulnerable to these people*. I learned by the age of 7 that I had no one to rely on but myself*. So from then on I decided I had no choice but to go in alone- At the age of 7!!!

I ate for comfort and so I could protect myself when needed. I withdrew, because according to me, no one really cared anyway*. I wasn’t happy, so I began to observe and mimic everyone around me. I read body language and facial expressions and gave them what they wanted so they’d leave me alone*.  I slowly shut all of my emotions down…until no one could hurt me. Survival Mod.

I always have time to talk!

24 Hour Crisis Helpline 403-266-HELP (4357).

That Fire

When you truly want something

Mountains will fall to your feet,

because they know they don’t stand a chance

you’ll trip over yourself

make a fool of yourself

you’ll step off the cliff into the unknown without question

you’ll sing having never sung before

you’ll create

you’ll scheme

When you truly want something

you will be fearless.

Because not having it,

was never an option.

Oh dear.

After a rather comical Skype interview with Jes of The Militant Baker, I got the news that I was in the conference. I thought I’d be doing something burlesque related, but I was chosen to speak on mental health…Ooh, and then everything made sense. I am who I am today because of what I’ve accomplished in terms of my mental health. It only makes sense that I would go full circle and be speaking about it. To be honest, this scares the shit out of me. This means I’m going to have to be honest with whole world about where I came from. And my story is far from fairytale.

First my laptop cord gave out, so no more TV or grandiose email writing for me. Then my iPod cord followed…I was alone with myself all week :S My electronics left me hanging, OR they did me a favor depending on how you look at it. I needed to be without distractions. With this conference quickly approaching I needed to focus on my story and put pen to paper.  I felt nervous because I’m going to be coming face to face with a past that’s been there, but I haven’t put it on the for front in awhile.

It’s funny, because when you think of the moment you’re experiencing right now, every other moment leading up to this one seems to make sense.  The details are so intricate but they always weave together perfectly.

What got me here? Well first of all, where is here?

My 28th birthday is quickly approaching. Hurray, I’m still alive. I’ve been invited to speak at conference with some ridiculously renowned self-love advocates… err what (still in shock)? I’m a burlesque dancer and nothing satisfies me more that seeing other women feeling empowered. One of the best lessons I’ve learned in this lifetime is to lead by example, so I live a life that’s filled with passion and purpose (>In my perspective<).

Here is:

1)   Alive!

2)   I am in love with life.

3)   I recognize that I am surrounded by unconditional love.

4)   I have the unconditional support of friends, family and community.

5)   I accept and love myself as I am.

6)   I give love freely and unconditionally.

7)   I feel empowered and I want to help empower others.

8)   I am able to ask for help when I need it.

All these things seem almost unbelievable considering where I came from. There were many times in life when I can remember the inability to feel anything. I was an empty human for the vast majority of my lifetime.

I remember depressive thoughts and tendencies since I was around 7 years old. The first time I remember not feeling depressed was when I was 17 or 18 and had had my first round of anti-depressants.  Think about that, that’s pretty much half my lifetime not knowing happiness or any other emotion for that matter; I had lost my ability to feel. Trying to describe depression to someone who’s never experienced it, or any mental health related issue is like trying to describe the flavour ‘spicy/hot’ to someone who can’t taste (shut up, I didn’t take how to make really impactful analogies in school).

“It burns!”

“But I thought it was a flavour?”

“Yea, the flavour of burning pain-ish”

“Okay…”

(Shut up, I didn’t take how to make really impactful analogies in school).

Feeling nothing or emptiness was the most excruciating thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. So excruciating that I didn’t think twice about trying to end my life at 16. So for those who say ‘I’d wish you’d just snap out of it’- shut the fuck up, seriously.  If death seems like the only option for relief, that should give you an idea of how unbearable dealing with this illness is, it’s deadly.

So I feel like I’ve just come out to everyone. This went from being a very private piece of knowledge to a very public one. This is my truth and I think it’s important to share. Ideally, I’d like people to relate and feel a little less alone in this world. I want you to see the person I am now, and know that this is where I came from.  The sunshine and butterflies you see now is only because I came from a lifetime of darkness. And I realise now, that this life I’ve been given with all of its ups and downs, and my ability to feel and experience all of it is truly a gift.

As a reader, I just want you to know that mentally I’m as stable and healthy as ever. There’s a lot of light in me, but I still like to explore those dark places through my art(s), i.e. Monday Blues.

Ok, so this story is going to be broken down into different parts.

To give you a rough idea:

  1. Onset/Childhood
  2. The attempt
  3. Coping without healing
  4. Rock Bottom
  5. Rebuilding Mod
  6. Hi, I am amazing. Haha kidding 😉

i) What I understand today.

If you find that you need to talk I’m always here, I just ask that it be not in an overly celebratory public setting (i.e. nothing kills a party like bringing up that one time I tried to…)

You can also call the Distress Centre – 24 Hour Crisis Helpline 403-266-HELP (4357).

Seriously?! That easy, huh?

I’ve been struggling with this blog thingy. I haven’t been able to work out a formula that really works for me. Should I post in the same format every week? Are people actually enjoying what I write? My goal was to make relatable. I wanted people to feel uplifted and empowered after reading it. People kept saying they were looking forward to me blogging, and I was excited to do it. Now I’m here, facing my biggest fear, writing publically. Good thing my computer spell checks for me!

This week I’ve had the pleasure of realising that I help people just by being my authentic self. It’s kind of weird to think or give yourself credit that you’re helping people just because you’re being you. ???Right?!??

Around 3 years ago, I started a journey that included honoring exactly who I am. Ever since, I’ve had people some I know and some I’ve never met before, thank me. It’s kind of mind blowing, because being myself is probably the most rewarding job in the world; although, it’s not always the easiest. This past weekend I was minding my own crazy self-business and was stopped by someone who I had smiled at in passing. She stopped me and told me that she wanted to thank me. It always catches me off guard, but this happens ALL the time. It’s not that I’m boasting it’s just really fuckin’ cool. She told me that she saw me dressed up and having a great time at this party. Previously, she didn’t even try dressing up because she was worried about her size (she was a beautiful size, she really had nothing to worry about). She told me that after she saw me, she went and got changed into something more festive. @#$%^&**&^^%#$ Umm, FUCK YA! I didn’t even have to do anything, but be.me.

 

This made me realize that my posts were all too similar, they don’t represent everything that I am. It’s not always rosy in my world. In fact, a lot is up in the air right now. I’m going to write to accurately reflect what is actually happening, or what’s happened in the past. It’s hard because I was taught to keep some things private and to be modest (har har). But in order to be successful, I have to really go there, don’t I?

During the turning point of my life (which I can explain another time), I was taught to never try and change anyone, just lead by example. So, if people see me in state that is fully accepting of myself and happy…Maybe, just maybe…Image

I can help people dressed like this? Hahaha 😉 

 

http://www.rebellesociety.com/2013/07/24/a-writers-heart-explodes-6-affirmations-to-make-peace-with-your-words/

Move me

I question all the time if I’m doing the right thing. All the time.

No one can answer that question but me.

AM I doing the right thing?… Some days I really don’t know.

Some days I wish things were different.

But every once in awhile there’s a moment.
A moment of clarity.

A moment your soul ignites
and you are infinite.
your heart swells, and your eyes well at all the beauty unfolding before you.
The moment that you realize that the strength of your own heart

is equivalent…

equivalent to the rays of the sun,

to the winds of a storm,

to the sheer strength of a river and yet it surrenders to a water fall without question. There are moments when I let the sheer strength of my heart overwhelm me.

There are moments that are just for you to see.

moments
when you’re inspired
you’re refueled and driven.
moments when your purpose speaks and your journey is validated.
moments when you appreciate all that is, and all that will be.
In those moments the message is simple: carry on.Image

What if?

…Continued

Fear of failure

Can I pull this off? Am I enough?  I feel like we’ve been robbed of our ability to decide this for ourselves. There are so many outside influences it makes it almost taboo for an individual to come to this conclusion on their own. Without going too go deep into it, there are systems out there running on the basis that we believe we are not good enough as we are. I honestly believe true freedom comes when you write your own rules. I don’t believe in ‘failure’. Therefore, it’s impossible for me to fail at anything. You’re experiencing everything you’re supposed to at any given moment. I see people suffering and spending so much time on the ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’s,’ and that makes me sad. It’s a hard habit to break, but when you can appreciate each moment for what it’s worth, it makes a huge difference.

To leave on this journey I had to convince myself that I was enough, and it wasn’t easy!  I think I’ve been testing myself up until this point with small challenging trips here and there. Around three years ago I set the intention of being jet set and being a traveler.  I remember looking up at the planes passing by in the sky and telling  myself that I wanted to be on those planes, going wherever they were going.  I made it happen:

Montreal, Burning Man (x2), London, Brighton, Paris, and Costa Rica.

Each trip taught me more about myself and ignited a fire within me. You have to learn to be in tune with your intuition, and how to ebb and flow.  My last trip to Costa Rica helped me make the drastic decision to drop everything and begin this new chapter of my life.

I’ll explain Costa in my next post 🙂 TBC…

Image

If you had the opportunity to completely reinvent yourself, who would you be? If you could be the YOU of your dreams, what would be different?

I would live with passion in everything I did.

Help people. I want them to feel empowered.

Stand for what I believe in.

Perform and connect on a deeper level.

Avid traveler/troublemaker (wink wink).

Leave everyone I came in contact with better off than when I met them. Everyone, even the dicks 😉

If I’m happy, I have to ability to give.

I’m here trying to make this happen. I still have a run in with the naysayers, but I smile and just keep running. It’s interesting to observe these automatic blocks people have so deeply ingrained in their minds. They’re so limiting and defeating in nature. I’m not buying this  doing-that-will-result-in-automatic-failure idea. Doing what I love will make me fail at life, you say?…

The thing is, this life is mine to live, mine to enjoy. My happiness is my responsibility, and trust me, I want to max out on happiness. Don’t you? Because you can.

Freezing a moment in life.

A descriptive

July 28 2pm- Bus Stop

There’s the dapperest (I made that word up:)) all-knowing young man sitting beside me. He’s asking an older kid very mature questions. His sneakers are white, like really white. The boy he’s asking is becoming increasingly excited by the amount of pretty black women filing up the bus stop. He fidgets and glances over trying to catch anyone’s eye. They just keep piling in, all in different garb, but all carrying a melodic sweetness.

There’s a flock of pigeons scouring the ground in front of me. They all leave after deciding theres nothing to gain from the area. All but one. I think it’s looking at me. It treads closer and I give it the evil eye. I hate birds. Hate em’. I’m worried the bird can sense my hatred of birds. My fear of birds. I think it’s eyeing my bagels. It better not come any closer. It came closer. My eyes widen, trying to will it away.  Out of the corner of my right eye a toddler as cute as a button runs in straight towards the bird. The bird retreats. My tiny tiny knight in shining armor. He doesn’t know it though.  The sun in shining, and the breeze is cool. Everything is perfect.

Back to the beginning.

Where to start? Headphones on. Music Playing. I hope it’ll just flow. I’ve been avoiding this post because I worry that it will send me into a reflective black hole. I’m also on the fence about what to do with my weekend, so I’m hoping that writing will inspire me.

I guess that’s a good place to start- how do I make decisions in my life? Well, I’m usually alone (solitude), and I’m usually listening to music. I depend heavily on the feeling  get when I picture myself in the situation at hand. There’s a particular feeling that comes from the spot right below my heart that lets me know that it’s the right decision. Never fails. It can take some time to recognize this feeling, but the more you tune it to it, the louder and easier it gets. I just wish I could trust it right from the beginning though, because I often end up questioning it and then coming back around and trying to execute it very last minute. I can’t really complain though, it adds to the adventure 🙂

Image

My intuition has obviously played a huge role in me being where I am today. Every once in awhile I get a random word or phrase repeatedly turning up everywhere. I see it and hear it everywhere (I.e. surrender, duality, security, etc.) The phrase that’s been with me since the beginning of the year is ‘let go of security’. When it first came up I knew it exactly what it meant and was like ‘oh shit’. Oh man, what a scary thing to come up. Really universe?!
And so it began..what security to me?

I hate to be a dick, but I think I’m going to break this into two parts.

To give you a bit of insight- Where am I now? Outside of London at a friends, jobless, happy as f*ck, and on an adventure.

Where did I come from? Calgary Ab, Job, Car, Things and all that good stuff. I had a dream. Now I’m trying to live it, and I know I’ll succeed.

…to be continued.

My love

My love doesn’t take from you. My love doesn’t have an agenda. It’s a gift I give freely. My love doesn’t regret. My love doesn’t fear, anymore.

My love is a gift, which I draw from an endless well. I’m eager to distribute it, because I have so much. My love doesn’t keep tabs or score. My love is easy, like water. You take it, and it sustains you. My love never collects.

“I really like being free and happy” he says. I smiled to myself, my love doesn’t shackle and chain. But I know where this comes from. Some people use love…aggressively. The idea that love could make one not free, and not happy seems absurd, but to some it’s a reality. It’s commonly depicted as how love works. You need to guard it and give it to the worthy, give it to those who work hard for it. Be careful, because love(ing) makes you vulnerable.

Ego enters stage left.

There was a time, when my self-worth was determined by the reciprocity.

But that girl has grown into this woman.

I feel that giving a gift and expecting one in return kind of defeats the purpose…

I’m full. My love flows freely to those who need it. My path crosses everyone it needs to at any given moment. In this moment, I have everything I need, and I won’t stop giving. Everything is perfect.

I hope he understands- that I am temporary.