Something to Remember

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In the moment it's really hard to keep perspective. Everything is so now, so urgent. Or not, if you're one of the lucky people who can detach and calm themselves internally, not letting too much of the moment into their psyche.

I just, in my nesting craze, went through a box of old mementos. I'm obsessed with relics of the past. I was pretty ruthless this time though -casting aside anything that no longer 'sparks joy' as Marie Kondo would put it. I found so many things, letters, cards, a print out of an icq conversation… from past loves, crushes, heartache-causers and people I invariably caused pain to in some capacity when it all ended. It made me think about something I already know: I am lucky. I have had – from the time I first fell in love, so wholly and naively, right into the deep end of feelings – been so fortunate to experience the scope of love that I have. Reading through those letters, before second year university I had already had what, at the time, felt like epic loves and losses. I had thrown my heart into the hands of another and been so brave. I was never cautious and reading back through all that old stuff, I find it charming, sweet and really fucking pure how much I was able to feel and how giving I was of myself.

I want that back. I've become a person who has deep cuts and fissures that seem to never heal. I've become a fool-me-once type of person and I am ruthless in my self-protection now. Back then, when I first came out in high school, tenderly and with all the gumption of a wholesome, quirky, confident and plucky 16-year-old – I dared the world to challenge the love I felt. I was ready for a fight and none came. Not really. I think my own conviction shut up most of the nay-sayers and I was friendly and feisty enough that people didn't mess with me (for the most part).

I am lucky. I was shameless. I threw myself into closeness – not for the reasons some people might – self-doubt, need for validation, loneliness – I was passionate and curious. I heaped life onto life and had a wild time. It was awesome. Partly, I have my parents to thank – for letting me have enough range and confidence to navigate, and for supporting me without questioning whether putting all my heart in one basket was wise.

I found letters of apology, post-breakup, that I never sent – trying not to throw an old relationship out with the bathwater. I found cards promising to love me forever, from more than one woman. I found post-it notes, saved for eternity, telling me that she'd be right back after breakfast and didn't want to wake me. A letter from an ex-girlfriend who had stayed at my family's house while we went to Italy (she had looked after my cat and my brother who had refused to attend our family vacation). I found mix tapes, lovingly inscribed. Phone numbers written on match books. Ticket stubs.

Most bizarre, I found a letter – a printout from my first year university computer screen, from a person I no longer remember. It was so intimate, starting with: 'Reflections on lying at the foot of Alison's bed…' and went on to describe her thoughts at two am, after I'd fallen asleep as she continued to massage my feet. It's such a specific thing NOT to remember. She had left two pages of messages on my computer for me to find when I woke up. The things written there were clever, beautiful… how could I forget this person? Did I just have so many awesome, intimate and clandestine moments that I've lost track? Maybe I'm trusting too much in a memory that is almost always SO accurate. I remember everything, as long as it happened a long time ago, to the point that people often find it strange how much I still remember. So why does this person elude me? I really wish I could go back and ask: what didn't I know about you then that I should have? How did someone so eloquent and brazen escape my notice? Why didn't I snap you up? All I have left is a printout, which obviously struck me at the time, or why would I have saved it? There must have been a reason.

All this excavation of the past reminds me of how far I've come. The feelings then felt real, because they were, but now with new highs and lows, it seems amazing that we can possibly survive our own emotions – and contain so much of them in our lifetime. How do our hearts – in all that angsty, intensity not kill us? Sometimes they do, obviously.

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Recently, I participated in a friends' book: Portraits. My participation, the specifics of it, is anonymous – but I'm one of the women who shared stories of unresolved feelings about past relationships. It's a beautiful book and right up my alley: mining the past and turning real, specific memories into micro-fictions that are so universal and telling about the shared experiences we all go through. Unlike the author, who claims to find her feelings 'embarrassing' I love the anguish and awkwardness of feelings. My favourite way to laugh at myself is to take stock and perspective on the humiliations of my past, and to check-in with myself – because how I feel about my feelings is important. It tells me who I am. And how much I have changed, or haven't.

All the feels. I'm still open to it. I've just become harder. Because life has.

But I was refreshed today, in revisiting a simpler self. I literally loved like no one was watching. And damn it was adorable.

How do you feel about your past loves? Do you hold them close? Push them away? Forget all about them? What do they mean for you?

At the end of the letter I found it reads: "I wish I could have this night all over again". And so do I. I wish I could remember it. Remember everything. I bet it was epic.

Jordan Claire, if you're out there… holler back.

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Life and Death, and all these extremes

There has been so much of it lately. And while this started as a ‘preparing for baby’ blog, it’s also about life and how it unfolds. We just got back from an incredible trip to Portugal, where we soaked up and wrung out every drop of life we could squeeze from 15 days abroad. For more on that, you can check out my blog stylesavie.comstylesavie.com, where I’m charting the fashion, food and fun of life. It’s more public and though it includes some politics, particularly of the social justice and queer variety, it’s the fluffier side of writing, and it captures my life in images, more so than in text.

Here, I am more likely to unburden myself of the things that feel raw and unattractive; thank you for being a place where that seems possible, for supporting that need to unpack the things that can’t stay too long in the body.

While travel was beautiful and brimming, we also spent our days of fun and love traversing a terrain scorched by forest fires. There were places where the ground alongside the highway was black and still smouldering; the sky full of haze; the treese bare and black up to their necks, still hopeful and green at their peak. At intervals, we would see billowing smoke in the distance; sometimes there were patches of charred ground with rivulets of white curling up from cracks in the still-burning soil. It was ghostly and sad to see a place where we passed, untouched, while all this natural life, and the lives of those who live on the land were being threatened, as they watched – near by helpless.

There were moments when we raised a glass to the firefighters working tirelessly to combat the flames against all odds. There were nights where we danced in gay discotheques, in sweaty protest against the vicious shit being leveled at queer citizens in countries far from here. There are moments when I buckle my resolve tight around me because I know I am sheltered, but not immune to the venom that gets spat at women, interracial relationships, queerness, speaking your mind and that humanity can be very ugly. especially when you are caught off guard.

But I don’t want to live like that. I am a realist; mind racing always to consider the intellectual, reasoned response, fighting to head-off my other side, the one of pure emotion and instinct. I am the toughest bleeding heart I know. But away from people I fall apart sometimes.

When we got back from our travels, I anxiously went to pick up our cats from my parents’ place; alive, but not well. One of our little creatures has been with me for 14 years, but still retains a kittenish, floppy, affectionate nature that makes everyone fall in love with him. He is dog-like in his need to be right next to you, to greet you at the door and to need your touch at all times; he is catlike in his languid, stretching in the sun, all-up-in-your-everything personality; we find him in the linen cupboard, he likes to burrow into the clean laundry, to pull himself on his back along the underside of the couch by his paws. He is so trusting and purrs at the drop of a hat. or a show, or simply because he caught you looking at him.

So finding out that he has Horners, which we’d been treating, and that now it looks like he might have something seriously wrong, neurologically, is breaking my heart. Before we left, his eye was squinting and his one ear turned down; no pain, the vet said, keep watching. Now he is clumsy, has fallen over, seems confused and still wants desperately to be close to us, but can’t make it to the couch or to the bed without slipping.

Our other cat is a one-person cat. She is sweet as pie, but only to me, and sometimes to my wife. She hasn’t been being nice to him, which is not a change, but that breaks my heart, too. I wonder if he knows that he is dying. I can’t stop thinking about him being sick, because I look at him and I can see it, literally, in his eyes.

I’m home with him. Off until September, when the school year starts again. Putting away laundry, watching him always, I see him amble over. He stumbles a little. I dissolve into a pile, with the laundry, pulling him into my lap –

where he is happiest. Listening to music and crying big fat tears, while he is oblivious. Comforting me without knowing it, but also reminding me how lucky I have been to have this lump of love in my life for so long,

lump – in my throat now – because I can’t imagine only weeks or months with him.

We all have private worlds

we all

Have private worlds of worry

And of joy. 

No one talks enough about the brave faces we put 

Between the world and ourself 

Or our own mirror  

This is the face of someone who is holding It together. 

And not always well. 

Dance is saving my life. 

But being surrounded by the tiny feet and faces of all the sweet babies

Of company members is equal parts hard and inspiring 

People don’t talk about how miscarriage and loss and fighting

Changes your resiliency 

I don’t know how to bounce back 

When the certain things don’t seem so certain 

So I look up. 

I stare into the lights. 

It feels like Ani says,

“Every pop song in the radio

Is suddenly speaking to me” 

I do “feel better when I’m dancing…

We can do this together…”

And parts of these moments are being stolen 

Because sadness is always under all of it

I dance for myself 

Because it reminds me who I am 

And I don’t know if I can be happy 

Or if anyone can 

If they don’t know who they are

And what brings them joy 

So I humble myself and step out onto the stage 

  
Vulnerable in every sense of the word

No more tears. 

And trust myself to do what my body and mind knows how to do

“I’ll keep on making the same mistakes. 

I’ll keep on making them every day. 

Try everything.”

And I will. This is for me. 

And for you. Because if I’m okay

Maybe we will be, too. 

But at least I’ve taken care of my half. 

This is mine.

I’m doing better than I think I am. And I have this right now. No matter what happens.  

I will step forward. Not back. 

Investing in Omens

I had a dream that you held my hand

as we were following sleep

drifting

and when I woke up, I was sure it was a dream

In the morning, after falling back into my pillow,

I woke up, wondering.

I told you that I’d dreamed it

and you said, no

It was real.

And my hands and feet

have become loaded with meaning.

My fingers

empty without yours to curl inside them, around them.

Ring finger bare, for the stage, for performances where lights

will highlight difference and reflect where it shouldn’t…

is also bare for other reasons; barren.

so I’ve replaced our ring, with one from my father, just for today.

Until it makes sense again.

My father; a circle of strength.

I am chanelling that moment, when he saw something sparkle and thought of me; a man who always made me believe anything was possible if I wanted it.

I am hoping he is right.

And many things have been said of dreaming,

“It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness

Like a heartbeat.. drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost…”

Voices, not mine, mine, yours, all echo here.

And while my head and hands are distracted, I will look down, to my ankle, where the fibers are wearing thin.

Just a few strands left on the ribbon,

attached with so much expectation and hope

now hanging by threads.

I refuse to believe in not believing.

I will hope, against odds, because I believe that odds are worth bettering.

 

Looking Back: Baby Bump Face-Time

Found some sweet pictures on my phone: screen shots from our Face-Time conversation. Allia was away in NYC, interviewing Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver (of course), and after giving me a tour of her hotel room, she filled me in on her day.

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For the film Chappie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6bmTNadhJE)¬†¬†Sigourney answered her question, “If you could have a robot programmed to do anything for you, what would you want it to do?”

“I think I’d want a robot companion. Like in olden times when women had a companion to sew with, and to sit with…” and then she teased, self-deprecatingly, that she was giving away too much about herself.

After her glamorous day, all we wanted to do was talk. So we talked, and before our conversation ended, we’d both talked to the baby (bump). And made some really attractive faces, laughing our way to the ‘Goodnight.’

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face time GetAttachment (1)That’s why we miss each other when she travels for work. Cause she is always so pretty.