Genes

Genes
Jeans
Dreams
Schemes
Demons
Shrieking
Screaming
Teaming
Teens seeming redeemed
Scheming and preening

Kneeling
Feeling
Staring at the ceiling
Grieving

Look down
At the ground
Hide your flaws so they can’t be found
Joke around
Jokes abound
Jokes surround
Truths abound

Surprise
I have no eyes
Mother cries
Abilities denied her
Emotions collide with comments off side

Genetic
Frenetic and altogether hectic
Select it
Protect it
Project itReject it

Get in
Fit in
Sit or stand in

It hurts
To be treated like dirt
To be constantly told that you’re just a jerk
Go to work
Work harder
Eat less
Be blessed
Always remember to be the best
If not, you’re nothing
If you’d had the chance to change a little something…
Would you?

Yes

So it seems
Your dreams
Your schemes now drowned out by your screams
The themes of perfection
Affection

Shattered at your feet

You can’t create perfect
So deal with the defects
And how your words affect
Those of us who came from you

Why do you resent
Lament
Present me with your intent
How can I hear you over your pain?
What did you gain?
Do you feel sane now?
Cuz I feel slain, now.

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Bigger

My eggs are bigger than yours.

My hole is bigger than yours

My earnings are bigger than yours

My rage is bigger than yours

My fists are bigger than yours

My boots are bigger than yours

My feelings are bigger than yours

My car is bigger than yours

My house is bigger than yours

My greed is bigger than yours

My envy is bigger than yours

My ego is bigger than yours

My ship is bigger than yours.

My joy is tinier than yours

My world is tinier than yours

My understanding is tinier than yours

My empathy is tinier than yours

My laughter is tinier than yours

My community is tinier than yours…

My kindness is tinier than yours

My penis is tinier than yours

My opinions are bigger than yours

My attitude is bigger than yours

My debt is bigger than yours

My hurt is bigger than yours

My sorrow is bigger than yours

My defense is bigger than yours

My shame is bigger than yours

My self loathing is bigger than yours

My hope is bigger than yours

My intentions are bigger than yours

My boobs are bigger than yours…

But you can’t compare the size of our hurt, our self loathing, our shame. It isn’t a competition. Our traumas, though different, are approximately the same size. Your’s just feels bigger right now because you don’t have a support system…

My support system is bigger than yours…

But that’s because I was lucky enough to be brought up pretty well from a pretty kind and well meaning family. So just because I was given a lot more love and opportunity than you were, it doesn’t mean I’m bigger or better than you. It means our environments were different. But we feel and deal with our big ugly hurts in very similar ways. Only real difference is that where you have someone who encourages you to relate to them and only them, I have had the fortune of finding good, incredibly supportive friends. Not just yes friends, real friends. Friends who don’t let me get away with my bullshit. Friends who call me out when I’ve done or said something upsetting or hurtful in some way. We may not always agree, and that’s the entire point of real friends. If we all agreed on everything how boring and lame would that be? Remember the candy store? Same concept here.

But I know you feel small right now. I know you are ripped open from throat to groin by grief. I recognize that you are stuck and that it is so goddamn hard to change our self distructive patterns.

I know you

I see you

I miss you

I have been you

I can’t go back to being you or ever being around you…

But I love you

I respect you

I know that beyond the layers of defense, the real kind, cool woman I once fell in love with is still there. I am heartbroken that I will likely never get to see that version of her again, because she smashed me down in ways i can’t and won’t forget.

But I do forgive her. I truly, authenticly forgive her.

She is an embodiment of Lillith, and that is terrifying. But I wouldn’t be me without Lillith. We teach in this society to run as far away from our demons as we possibly can. When the human and the klingon become two sepperate entities, disgusted and ashamed that the other exists, they can’t work together to save themselves. When they don’t work together they both die horribly. So, we need to see and recognize our demons and the people and triggers that bring those demons forth. The last thing you want to do is to cut out family, so, if you can manage it, don’t shove your demons away before first understanding the part of you that they play.

What is your narrative? What story have you been told all your life? Is this story working for you? If it isn’t, why isn’t it and do you think it is worth rewriting to make it better? Do you want people in your life who support the betterment of yourself? Or would you prefer people who held no standards, no expectations of you? Either answer is totally acceptable. It is sipmly up to you to decide which way works better for you? But understand that when you spend a great deal of your friendship not being true to yourself or anyone else around you, you can’t be surprised when everyone starts moving forward but you. As adults, we have to take responsibility for the things that we are and are not comfortable with. It may not be easy, and you are definitely not going to be pleasing everyone. But if you are truly feeling good in yourself and your choices, that is what is most important.

I do hope that she can do whatever she needs to do in order to ease her pain. But I will not be used and then discarded when going gets hard. I am always going to be the blunt friend, and if you have a problem with that you’d better tell me so I can do what I can to make you comfortable. But if I don’t know that I’ve upset you, I can’t fix it.

And though i can now sit with and recognize my demons and the things that make them come out, I know the kind of people by whom I choose not to be surrounded. One can forgive and still hold love but not have to be around that person. Many believe that the two are mutually exclusive, but they certainly are not. I’m putting this down then handing it up. The hurt will fade eventually. I just hope you can break your cycles, for I fear that should you not, you will end up completely alone.

Gifts

We are obsessed.

WE spend so much of our time on this Earth riding down the path that has been laid in front of us. This path is one that we have traveled for most of our lives. And everyone’s path, while differing in the sites we might see along the way, ends up being pretty much the same. Come into the world, spend a few years as a baby, then pre-school, then public and high school. Then if you’re smart, university. If you’re a bit more hands on its college. And if you’re not good at anything you work a shitty blue collar job just to make enough money to pay off all the debt you acquired, then get married, have kids, work till you hate your life and then die. This, at least in western society, is the accepted path.

But this is not why I’m here today. I’m here to talk about our gifts. We spend an inordinate amount of time in our lives comparing our gifts and feeling like we have not much to offer, and our gifts are inferior to those of others. I had a long life chat with the sparrow yesterday, and she’s been talking to me about her gifts. But every time she brings it up I find myself feeling disgusted by my lack of ability. I can’t get my head around the fact that she’s only a young adult in this life, but somehow she’s way more advanced spiritually than I, and I hate that about myself. But then she tells me that she has the same issue with another one of her friends.

We always sit and think that our gifts, our paths, our experiences and end results all have to measure up to everyone else’s. We fight with ourselves constantly in life, because we know that what we feel and what we want is exactly that, but the world’s expectations of us don’t allow us to transcend said pattern.

So let’s think about a candy store. Nobody would go into a store that only sold Kinder eggs and nothing else. When you go into a candy store, you get your normal everyday chocolate bar section. Then you have maybe some amazing imported European chocolate in the next aisle. In aisle three you might find your Latin American chocolate. And then look over here at aisle four. You didn’t like all the chocolate, but that’s ok. We’ve got all the delicious sour keys and sour patch kids and sour skittles and sour candy in aisle four. But wait!!! Aisle five? What’s there? Swedish berries of course, and jubejubes and jelly beans. Not jelly bellys though cuz fuck those. I’m talking real, original jelly beans. THe ones where the greens are spirament, not lime.

So I ask you, what shop do you want to be in? The candy store? Or the Kinder Egg store? If you chose the candy store, what aisle do you find yourself most drawn to? If we can accept that the candy store sells every kind of candy that you can imagine, why do we struggle to remember that we are all the different candy? For the record, I’m the kind of Latin chocolate that has the chillies in it.

I would like to issue you all a challenge this week. Sit back with your feet planted on the floor. Make sure you have a nice comfortable surface but that you are sat up relatively straight. Now close your eyes and take three deep breaths. As you are breathing, allow yourself to go for a stroll through the candy store and see what you see. I bet you’re gonna find wonderful sweets you didn’t even know existed. Sample the treats. See how they smell, how the look, how they sound as your teeth bite, and most importantly how do they taste? You don’t necessarily have to pick just one, in fact the more different flavours you love, the more awesome your gifts are likely to be. You probably don’t know this right now, but your gifts are no better and no worse than mine or the sparrow’s or the sportscar’s gifts. Your gift is so succulent and delicious. Your gift(s) are great, even if as yet unrecognized.

What Happens When I Press This Button

Well hi there.  Remember me?  I used to have a blog over here, but one thing led to another and I really just got lazy, also my Mars Edit Crack broke. But after many months of battling a 2013 21.5 inch iMac my beloved has beat it into submission and I now have working Windows.  So I wondered if it would play nicer with WordPress than Mac did. I’m not sure yet how to find my tags, but I will futz about with this and see what happens.

 

In the meantime, so much has happened since I updated here. I finally acquired a degree, though that seemed to take forever. Since then I took a few extra psych courses, I auditioned and was denied to the Music Therapy masters program at Laurier. I got a cat, I worked teaching music to people with special needs for a year and a half.  I then realized that working for other people maybe wasn’t my favourite thing so I quit my job, went off to England for a month, had my mind completely turned inside out and on its ass, and then brought my beloved home with me to spend the summer here.  My job now is busking, and it is the most awesome fun way to make money I could have ever dreamed of. I don’t even have to work that hard but I get paid super well for it and am becoming known in and around Kingston.  We even set up outside the ice cream shop on Wolfe Island one Saturday in early June. I was supposed to come back there last weekend but apparently I got strep. Delicious. So I’m still on antibiotics for that, but I’m definitely improving.

 

I am still dating the guy about whom I wrote my last post. On Tuesday we will have been collared to each other for two years.  This fact is insane to me.  I have no idea where the time went, but I do know that I really have found my one, for absolute certain I think.  He is just about to go into his third year of counselling with mentoring studies, after which he has been issued a two year work visa so he can live and work here with me.

 

We also kinda sorta bought a house.  I say kinda sorta cuz its not technically mine, but it is though.  I won’t go into details here as I don’t need all my private affairs being public knowledge but suffice it to say I own a triplex now. I’ll be living in a teeny one bedroom for the first year, but when he comes to live with me we’re moving into the two bedroom unit upstairs. It has a rooftop patio and Mom bought me a porch swing for it. I’m going to be living the dream guys, literally living the dream. When we move into the upstairs there will most definitely be a house warming weekend.

 

And in other news, my brother is getting married on August fifth to the most awesome woman.  I adore her, as does he, so I guess for my birthday I’ll be getting a new sister in law.  I think that’s a pretty sweet gift.
That’s all for now so I will now see how to do other things on here and hopefully be back a little more regularly henceforth.

Because (Contains one seriously inappropriate line because I needed a rhyme)

Because…

 

Because you stayed with Neil that night,

And sang your songs of stoned delight

You were dropped into my life

And I thought I liked you

 

Because we talked for weeks on end,

Dispite that Neil was not my friend,

You didn’t like my sexual trend

But still I got to know you

 

Because we we talked for many days

Because Swamp was the game we played

Because, at the time, my life you made

I soon began to like you

 

Because you the boys were being mean

Because I whined and made a scene

Because you came on talk of Team… (fuck you it rhymed! Bite me!)

I thus began to want you

 

Because you opposed all my advances

Because you hid from taking chances

Because you liked no social dances

I thought I’d never get you

 

Because we talked almost three years,

Because I shared my hopes and fears

Because you helped me ignore their jeers

I wished I could be with you

 

Because last year on Halloween,

I saw a part of you yet unseen

Started to learn through what you had been

I finally began to know you

 

Because next month I lost my guy,

Because I thought that I should die

Because infront of you I cried

I started to adore you

 

Because you lost her not long after

While I read about the drafters

I had to help you find your laughter

And you said you started to trust me

 

Because you did the MDMA

And I put all on hold that day

And I moved all things out of the way

You finally started to warm to me

 

Because we talked for hours and hours

Because from us ideas showered

Because together our intellect towered

You started to respect me… (Even though for the longest time ever you said I was not intellectual… RFuck you up the ass)

 

Because you then began to trust

Because you knew our connection was a must

Your emotional walls I began to bust

And I think you started to need me

 

Because you finally came to me

Stopped being what you thought you should be

Because you made me flul of glea, (no that’s not a euphamism for your cum, though this is also true)

Twas then I got to meet you

 

Because you taught me to be myself

I finally improved my mental health

Tried to put the whore on the shelf

You got to know the real me

 

Because you showed me who I am

Introduced me to Dan and Cam

And into me your dick did slam

I finally got to have you

 

Because you came for three whole weeks

You never thought I was a freak

Together we could both be geeks

And it was then I truly knew you…Because we talked, all the time

Because I know that you are mine

I had to make this retarded rhyme…

To tell you that I love you

Interview with a papa

I haven’t posted since I went to my music terapy conference.  I will post about that soon, but in the meantime, I was given my final assignment for my developmental psychology course and I thought I might post both my interview with Dad and my analysis here, as I found what I learned to be very fascinating.  Thanks to Humanity for transcribing my recorded interview.  I could not have done this assignment without you.

 

Barbara MacDougall
5962810
Psyc251 Assignment 4:

barb:
This is for psyc 251, developmental psychology and I am interviewing you about me as a child, which may or may not be one of your favourite things to talk about.
So we’re learning about temperament right now, so my first question is: can you describe to me what my temperament was like as a baby?
dad:
You were a happy baby, you were happy pretty much all the time.
barb: Really? I find that hard to believe.
dad:
You smiled a lot, and you were happy, you just were, I don’t recall you making a big fuss. There were some times when you were colicky or whatever, but nothing was extreme, you just seemed by and large happy and content.
barb:
So can you describe an experience that you had with me, any particular experience that demonstrates this?
dad:
Demonstrates what?
barb:
Demonstrates this temperament.
dad:
Your happiness?
Well when you were less than 1 year old, I remembered you being happier rather than not.
Even now, when you’re 29 you have the same delight in rocking.
When you were less than a year old, and I remember you always smiling and laughing and just being at your best when you were on this rocking horse, It was a wooden rocking horse that we had where you would pretty much put to the tips of the rockers on either end, thinking that you were gonna do a full flip on the rocking horse. But you’d just laugh and smile and carry on.
So I can’t remember other specifics but I remember you being generally a very happy baby.
barb:
Temperament as a child is a strong indicator of how one is going to turn out later in life.
There are 3 main types of temperament that most babies fall in to.
There are easy babies which by the sounds of it you’re saying I was. There are difficult babies, which are babies that get really upset and freak out about, anything. They don’t do well with strangers, any new situation is upsetting to them. They cry a lot they have a lot of problems.
And then there are babies who are slow to warm up, which is pretty self-explanatory, at first they might be fussy and carry on and get upset, but they eventually will calm down and be alright and adapt to their surroundings.
So what did you think about parenting, and did your expectations of parenting style change after you had me. What did you initially think parenting was going to be like, and how did it change after I was born?
dad:
Well because you were our first child, we didn’t have a parenting style.
Because both your Mom and I were nurses, we knew probably a little more than the average young parent back in that day, we had read the books, we had done pre-natal classes, we had learned about all those kinds of things when we were in training to be nurses.
So we thought we would be realistic parents, and I don’t know that we had a style per say, I can tell you what I learned after our parenting style changed a fair amount after your brother came along.
barb:
And why was that?
dad:
Well, we didn’t realize at the time because of your blindness, we had to teach you a few more things, than what we had to specifically teach cameron, and we didn’t know that we were “teaching”
That we wouldn’t have to teach other babies that.
barb:
Can you give an example?
dad:
handing you a glass of milk, we had to teach you to set that milk down on a hard surface, because you didn’t have the benefit of seeing what everybody else did with a cup or glass and the surface.
So we had to make sure that we taught you, if we didn’t specifically teach you to set it down, if we were always reaching out and grabbing the cup from you when you were done, you would potentially get in the habit of just letting it go in mid-air because there was always someone who took care of it.
At that young age, you didn’t know that you had to set it down.
So there were a lot of things that your brother learned by observing others, that we had to specifically teach you.
barb:
Ok, wow! So on that note then, how did you guys go about teaching me how to crawl and walk then? Because wouldn’t normal sighted babies just see that and then do it??
dad:
I think that’s more reflexive, I think there’s an inmate desire to move yourself, to loco-mote.
One of the things we did when you were very young, because your uncle Clark was an olympic athlete, and he was going to university at the time and he had some friends in kinesiology, he actually with his friends developed some little game, that was aimed at helping you understand your body and space.
So part of the game was, we had a little bracelet made with a bell on it, and we would put it on your right arm, your right wrist, and your left wrist, then your right leg, and your left ankle
and you would just jiggle it, and we thought you were probably learning a little bit more about your body and its motion by being able to associate the sound of you moving your arm, because if you didn’t have that sound even though you move, you’d have that kinaesthetic since, but you don’t have a secondary queue.
Where as a sighted child would not only feel their leg moving, but they would often times see their leg moving.
So things like that.
barb:
So what struggles, if any did you have in parenting, that you had not expected with me.
dad:
Well struggles?
Well I’ll tel you a general one, and then I’ll tell you a specific one.
The general one, well was of course. You were blind, we didn’t know what we were supposed to do, we didn’t know. We’d never had a baby before, so we were very worried that we weren’t teaching you, or maybe we needed to be better to teach you things.
So it was a challenge, but it wasn’t.
You were our daughter, we were absolutely in love with you from the second you were born, well before you were born.
But it was frightening, I suppose, in the early days to go, “okay? How do we do this?” How do we teach you, and help you be successful, are we prepared? Do we know enough things.
So we did things, like we phoned infant stimulation.
Which was reserved for children I think with downs and with cerebral palsy, and other major issues.
Infant stim wasn’t really something for the blind, we were insistent that we could perhaps learn something from the people, that would be the interventionists for infant stimulation, to help you understand your world.
barb:
and that’s where jan came in?
dad:
and that’s where we met jan.
When we phoned originally, I remember this in London, they said there was an 18 month waiting list.
and I remember thinking if it’s an 18 month waiting list it’ll be too late for being an infant, if you don’t get service for 18 months.
and I don’t remember if I complained or whether I made some further noise, but we ended up seeing a therapist, and that was Jan, within a couple months.
and I think we were probably a bit of a novelty, because they had probably never been asked to give support to a blind child, that would be my guess.
So that’s the general part right? The challenges.
One specific one that I remember, for a few months was you getting your night and days mixed up.
That posed a bit of a challenge at some point there because you were awake all night and sleeping all day, and your mother was probably exhausted there, and I think that was when she was off on a maternity leave, think that was real early stage.
Jan helped us sort that one out, which was music boxes.
The strategy was have a specific music box that you wind up after your bath and you’re getting ready to bed, changing your diaper, putting you in your sleeper and all that stuff, we’d put that one music box on, and then every morning we’d put the other kind of rise and shine music box on, to get you used to, this is what happens at night, this is the way routine’s gonna go and this is what happens during the day.
You were lucky enough that it only took you a few days to turn it around.
Barb:
Well that’s good.
dad:
Yeah it was a bit miraculous, either that or we were just so exhausted we couldn’t remember.
So does that answer your question?
barb:
That does answer my question.
dad:
I can’t think of challenges Barb, I wouldn’t say you were a challenge, we were always very concerned about will you be able to be successful, and then the surgeries, right. You had some pretty massive surgeries.
barb: Can you just give a brief overview?
dad:
Well the first major hospitalization thing was simply you going in, and they were going to do exploratory, look into your eyes under anaesthetic, and see what’s actually there and do scans and so on.
barb:
How old was i?
dad:
You must’ve been 6 months, maybe 8 months, maybe less?
and then your second surgery was the major one, where they were going to expand the orbital structures of your eye, and that was a brand new procedure, something that had only been done once in the US, and it was all very theoretical, and you were around 2 years of age.
I had started at the college and that was in 87, you were born in 86, and I think it was within the first year.
So it was either 88, or it might have been 89.
You would have been around 2 years old, and what I remember about that.
Is they’ve got this huge piece of surgery that’s going to involve taking bone out of your skull, and then directing the orbital structures of your cranial bone, and your facial structure, and then put these wedges of bone inside there, to expand the socket of your eye to 80% of an adult size.
and the experience was that they don’t manage to, the orbit of your eye grows by virtue of your eye growing, and it puts pressure against the bone, and that’s what stimulates the bone to grow.
barb:
Right.
dad:
and because you had no eyeballs, you had nothing to push the bones there. So people with your condition often have sunken eyes and no cheek bones, because that’s made up of your orbit.
and if they tried to stimulate bone growth with conformers, progressively larger conformers, the problem with that is, typically it wouldn’t put pressure toward the outside of the orbit, it would put pressure toward the back of your eye.
So anyways, that surgery they said it was gonna be about 6 or 7 hours, and 11 hours later you came out of surgery.
barb:
Oh god.
dad:
and I lost, oh probably about 7 years of my life with worrying there.
We saw you in recovery.
barb:
Was I freaking out?
dad:
No. and what I remember saying to you, was “what does the duck say?” and you said “Quack quack.” and I knew you were alright.
Because I was terrified that you’d been under anaesthetic for so long, and they had messed around with your head etc.
And then the next day, of course the swelling had set in, and you looked like stewy from family guy.
You had a head that was insanely grotesquely swollen and misshapen, your head looked like a football, like an oversized rugby ball.
and you had 2 iv’s one in each leg,
barb: Why did I need 2?
dad: and one in your arm. and you had drains coming out of your head.
So you had all of these tubes coming out of you, and your mother and I had been toilet training you a couple months before your surgery.
We decided that we needed to stop toilet training you, because we were afraid that you would associate this surgery with your toilet training.
We had it in our head, because we had read somewhere that kids associating untoward events as negative punishment for not toilet training properly.
barb:
ok.
dad:
So we decided to back off the toilet training because you were gonna have this big, stressful event in your life right?
barb:
Yeah.
dad:
So we left you in diapers and really backed off, but the day after your surgery with all of these tubes coming out of you, the first thing you said is you wanted to go to the bathroom.
barb:
haha.
dad: and the nurses got you up and got you on a toilet, and you never used a diaper after that day. That I remember, you were toilet trained! hah.
barb:
I have 2 more questions.
My first one is, how much were you guys around when I was a baby, how much were you working what was life like for you guys at that time, other than having me?
dad:
Well for me, I was teaching nursing, so I was home every night, I didn’t go anywhere. It was like in those early days for your first 7 years, I was home every night.
Now I did work probably, often times at night, but that would technically be after dinner was made, and after you guys had a bath and off to bed so to speak.
barb:
Didn’t mom work shift work?
dad:
and your mom worked shift work, at the hospital, so there were lots and lots of times where it was just me.
barb: So if mom was working during the day, and you were working during the day, who was taking care of me when I was a baby if you were both at work?
dad:
Well I don’t remember the specific order, there was your aunt alice, and there was Judy.
and the first baby sitter you had was Brenda and ray.
barb:
Because that can often account for children’s temperaments, how much time the parents actually spend with kids.
dad:
Well we put you in day care at one point, for a couple days a week.
Because you didn’t need day care, because we had care, but we put you in day care, so you could be with other people. You could integrate and socialize with other children.
barb:
and so my last question, is. Did you have to change, other than the part where you were teaching me a lot more things than Cameron was his temperament different than mine, and if so did you have to change your parenting style a lot?
dad:
Yes he has a completely different temperament, he was unhappy, I think Cam was in pain or something for some time.
He had earaches, he had sore throats, he had legitimate physical issues as a small child, with recurring ear infections and so on, but there wasn’t a day that would go by when he didn’t cry.
He was in distress of some kind. So that was a different kind of parenting, I suppose in trying to work our way through that.
barb:
How did I deal with that?
dad:
You know what, I don’t recall you having issues with your brother when he was really really young, you were not very nice when he was a toddler.
Neither of you guys were, you guys did your own nipping and teasing each other, by and large he helped you a lot right?
barb: Yeah.
Dad: and probably shouldn’t have, again we were smart enough to go ok, Cameron can’t be the helper for his sister, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t the helper often times.
barb:
Yep.
barb:
Thanks for answering my questions, I have a lot to work with here.

As is evidenced by my father’s reminiscing on my childhood, I had a very easy temperament. Funny, considering I am now an adult and am incredibly quick to react to emotional situations in extreme ways. The theory of temperament in infancy is largely indicative of how the individual will turn out as an adult. While I do feel emotions very intensely, whether that be joy, sadness, hurt, for the most part it is true that I am, in fact, happy. This temperament was made evident when my father recounted the story of my facial cranial reconstructive surgery. The fact that the doctors spent approximately eleven hours performing a highly complex surgery on my head and I was not only able to tell Dad what the duck said but was determined that I was going to use the potty is indicative that I was very adaptable and resilient. I was, and still am, not going to allow traumatic incidents to get the better of me and it is essential that I bounce back and adapt to whatever happens. As I can bounce back emotionally, so too can I “bounce” physically.
Dad was most likely right in suggesting that when I was a child it was useful to play the locomotion game that my uncle and his friends created for me. I do wonder how physically self aware I might have been without it. As an adult, I tend to wear bracelets and necklaces that make noise when I move my wrists or head, and I am strangely comforted by having things that click and jingle when I move.
Rocking has always been a source of great pleasure for me. When dealing with people on the autism spectrum, actions such as rocking are referred to as stimming, (short for stimulating). Along with the rocking horse that I rocked onto each end, I also had a plastic swing that they hung from the ceiling in our basement. Even now at twenty-nine years old, I spend as much time on swings as I possibly can.
It is a common trait in blind people to need increased stimulation, whether that’s rocking back and forth, pacing around a room, flapping their hands and fingers, or some even tend to poke at their eyes. I have heard that the eye poking is only common in people who once had sight and lost it later in life. Apparently poking the eyes stimulates a response where they perceive tiny lights at the back of their eyes. For myself and probably most of the rockers, this stimulus comes from a deep seeded need to sense more of what is around us. When we remain static, we can only sense what is in the immediate vicinity, but if we are constantly moving, we are covering more of the area around us, thus allowing us to experience increased sensation of the surroundings. What I found most intriguing about this behaviour in particular is the fact that they actually were, at some point, able to convince me to stop rocking. I never stopped wiggling my hands, but I once was able to truly sit still, until I was seventeen, and I was sent to a segregated school specifically for blind people when I was in grade twelve. All of a sudden I was surrounded by blind kids and teens who rocked uncontrollably. Teachers and residence support staff never discouraged this, and without even being conscious of it, I started rocking again. I think it was within the first few weeks of my being segregated that this habit began again, and I have been unable to stop since, even when people tell me it looks ridiculous and that I need to stop.
As my parents were both very intelligent and both nurses, their main goal in raising me was to ensure that I was as “normal” as I could be. They have often told me that it was of utmost importance that I “run with the sighted kids”. As a result of this goal, I was placed in a daycare from a very young age. It is apparent then that my parents believed in Vygotsky’s sociocultural approach to my development and that even though I had care, it was crucial that they placed me in daycare so I could learn and interact with other children my age. They wanted me to fit in so much that I can remember playing soccer with the kids when I was six years old. They wanted me to play the same sports and have all the same opportunities as any other child, so that summer my father and I would come onto the soccer field, every Tuesday night at 6:30 P.M. I was goal keeper and Dad would tell me which way to move to block the ball. I did relatively well considering I was slower to react than a sighted kid would be, but we quit at the end of the summer. That said, I was still grateful for the opportunity to play soccer with my friends, and being able to “run with the sighted kids” quite literally. My parents took an authoritative approach to my upbringing. They always told me why I was doing what they asked of me, especially my father. As a result I was much more excited to learn and experience the world around me, even if things seemed frightening.
One of the points of the interview that I found most intriguing and that never would have occurred to me before was when Dad discussed how his teaching style had to change when they had my brother. The fact that they had to literally teach me to put a cup on a hard surface was, to them, quite natural. Since they naturally taught me this and I was their first child, they figured they would have to teach any baby this, not realizing that Cameron would be able to see the movement of setting the cup on the table and imitate based on visual observation. While they retained an authoritative parenting style with my brother, the teaching style was much more visually based, whereas with me I learned so much by touching and physically interacting with my world.
In communicating with other blind people and in seeing how I personally shifted after moving to the school for the blind, it is evident that my parents had the right idea in keeping me as integrated as possible. I had the opportunity at the school to observe children that had been there since they were in kindergarten and many of Bowlby and Spitz’s observations about children raised in institutions proved startlingly accurate. While the children didn’t often seem listless or depressed, there was a shockingly high rate of social isolation and stunted mental development. While there, I never understood why so many students were held back two to three years, and I was always amazed by how many children had disabilities other than blindness. At the time, I thought that their mental conditions were evident from birth and that their parents must have put them in the school because they did not know how to adequately aid them in their development. While the second part may still be true, after learning about the affects of children being institutionalized, I now wonder if some of those challenges came about as a result of being left there from such a young age.
As I have been working on this assignment, I also started to wonder whether or not anyone has ever performed some sort of formal or informal study to examine a correlation between blind individuals who were integrated or segregated and the likelihood of them living independently and/or having some type of job, whether volunteer or paid. I would posit that those of us who spent most of our lives “running with the sighted kids” are far more likely to live independently and enrol in post secondary education, as well as feel motivated to find work. Though it is difficult for disabled people to find paid work in a large percentage of cases, I believe that we as integrated individuals are far more likely to keep trying even if we don’t succeed right away. This phenomenon can be explained using Dweck’s theory of self attribution and achievement motivation. The children who spent their lives at the segregated school were always reminded that above all else, they were blind and they were different. Therefore they were held to a much lower standard than those of us who integrated. I knew I was blind and that a lot of these things might take longer to learn than they would for my sighted peers, but I was never allowed to use blindness as an excuse to not try something. I was and still am always being pushed to find a job, to get a higher education, to make friends and integrate into the world as a useful and active member of society. Although I feel this pressure very intensely and often cannot stand my mother for pushing to the point of hurting me, I am grateful every day that I ran with the sighted kids, and this will never stop. I am taking this course as a prerequisite to becoming a music therapist, and I know that through the integration of music and psychotherapy I will be the one who helps kids and adults overcome whatever challenges they may face.

New Orleans was sinking yet somehow I was able to swim…

A year ago today I thought I was broken.  I had no idea how I was going to get through life.  I was in what should be one of the greatest cities on Earth.  I was with my mother, so I was safe.  I was listening to amazing music; on the street, in every bar and restaurant, in the park, down by the water.  I was eating fried catfish, or beignets, or barbecue…  I was exploring the French market…  And I was broken and bleeding.

 

A few days before, we had been out for dinner to celebrate our first anniversary.  We were engaged and I was so sure that getting married would be the push I needed to feel safe, secure, and like I had everything I needed.  We had breakfast that morning and then proceeded to play on the swings, one of our favourite pastimes.  The wind was high but it was bright and sunny and we were discussing the idea of getting a cat together.  I never wanted a female cat, but we wanted someone who would be cuddly and love people.  We responded to some ads on Kijiji and we were in touch with one woman who seemed like she might have exactly the right cats for us.

 

I really convinced myself that getting married would solve my doubts about that relationship; that somehow I actually would love him if we got married and I could stop being so afraid of the things I was trying so desperately to keep buried in the subconscious.

 

Equality was something I never had the chance to experience in that relationship.  I don’t want to sit and play victim here, because that is not constructive or useful in any way.  That said, I always felt inferior to him.  I felt that I was just a woman and that for all intents and purposes he was superior to me in every way.  And he did have an undeniable anger and arrogance that fed that belief until it was full to bursting.  From the beginning of our friendship back in late 2012 he made it clear that I was “just a woman” and that women should never be put in positions of power due to our emotional nature.  We don’t use logic to think through decisions and we just run on emotion alone.  I felt like I had to fight throughout that entire relationship and that is no way to garner trust or faith or any of those things that you are supposed to have when you’re in a relationship.

 

So I fought.  I attacked whenever I felt anything that wasn’t positive, and that was often.  I hated feeling so small, so worthless, so… woman-like if that’s how you think of women.  I would manipulate and try to use everything I could to diminish him and make him feel as small and shitty as I felt that he made me feel… That’s an awful lot of feelings.

 

And I didn’t love him.  I knew that from probably a week and a half into the thing if not sooner.  The weakness, the powerlessness, the feeling that he was superior just hurt, all the time.  During that time I smoked a lot of weed.  Funny thing about weed, people say it makes you feel better when you’re down.  For me, this is not the case.  It is not a mood stabilizer but a mood enhancer.  The other down side is it makes me see, with complete clarity, whatever I might be feeling subconsciously.  So from the first time that Jake and I went to the lounge, I was seeing all the reasons I wasn’t in to him.  I didn’t want to see that stuff.  I wanted a boyfriend who could give me what I needed… And to his credit, he really did try.  He showed up, he took care of me.  He did all the right actions even if not always saying the right words.  I often tell people that I loved him because I needed him, and that’s not how love is supposed to be.  But I didn’t understand at the time what it was about him that I wasn’t happy with, so I just tried to deny it.  For 367 days exactly.  I just wanted to love him so much but I felt hurt by him all the time even with him doing things, helping me with things, it was never right.

 

So after that breakup, which started out as a break (I call it the fake break because it kind of seems like it was a break of convenience to keep me around in case he changed his mind), I had no idea what I’d done wrong.  The hardest part of that breakup was that he was too scared to tell me to my face.  He waited until I was gone to tell me.  Upon further reflection, that may have happened as a result of the manipulations I used to play on him.  I often took great joy in pushing him as far as I could before making him feel guilty and somehow getting him back every time.  So really I can’t blame him for waiting.  See?  I know now what was up.  I think I knew it then but it was in that category of things I didn’t want to admit to myself..

 

If real change and progress is to occur, however, one has to be accountable for one’s actions, both positive and negative.  When we are in that much pain it is hard to recognize our part in the ultimate destruction.  Not only did he have to deal with my power games, he also had to hear about the past relationship, all the time.  Every single day, in some way or another, I talked about the past.  I never understood why that ended the way it did and depression was well and truly out of control by the end of me and Jake, even by the end of the last one.  I didn’t give myself time to heal.  I thought 13 months would have been enough, but when you don’t understand the issue, you really can’t fix it.

 

So how is it that I’m back in a new relationship after even less time than the last one? That’s a good question, one that I have been contemplating for the last month at least.  I think that I am finally at the point where I see my mistakes.  I’m not saying everything that broke in those two relationships was my fault.  It definitely takes two people to make or break a relationship.  Having said that though, I am finally communicating and being communicated with.  From the time I got back home from New Orleans, Alex was there.  We talked for hours every day, and I was so blessed that he was able to see and call me out on the parts that were mine.  They weren’t nice to hear, they sometimes didn’t make me feel great… Hell they reminded me of what a complete and utter failure I was in every way, but once I got past that feeling of failure and disappointment, progress actually started to happen..

 

I think the most important thing that I didn’t have in my other relationships was honest communication.  I don’t know whether or not they tried, but I felt like I never really understood what I was doing to upset people.  I don’t know if they tried to tell me and I just felt so powerless that I fought and shoved them down or if they never actually were able to express the problems, but I know them now.  Alex is not afraid to say the things that I don’t want to hear when he feels I need to hear them.  He is not afraid to challenge me, and he doesn’t let me get away with manipulation or bullshit, because he has done that stuff himself in the past.  And we are both incredibly great at getting to the root of an issue right when it comes up.  Granted we are still in the first weeks of this thing, the honeymoon phase, people call it.

 

But I was starting to feel better even before we were officially together.  I am seeing a new psychiatrist now who  I absolutely love.  I feel so comfortable and safe talking to her; more so than I have with any other psychiatrist.  Its funny because when I first switched from the guy at Queen’s to this new one, I was terrified.  I actually missed the first appointment because I was completely freaking out about the idea of having to start over from the beginning, with a woman no less.  Not that women don’t make great psychs, they do, but I was afraid and threatened and I always thought that I could get along better with men overall.  But here we are.  I started with her in March and I actually look forward to seeing her and talking about whatever needs discussing..

 

Another thing that seems to have helped is the realization that some of my actions… fuck it… a lot of my actions are very common in people with BPD.  Alex found a few books on the subject that opened my eyes to a lot of things, and I think that I am finally doing better.  One of the biggest things that I realized in this last year was that I am more than just my sexuality.  For so long I believed that the best way to make guys like me was with my body.  I never consciously understood that, and I don’t remember how I finally came to that realization, but now that I’ve put a lot of that aside, I feel so much more confident, so much more authentic, and the people who only wanted me for the things I could do for them physically are no longer in my life, and this is an amazing thing.  There’s so much more that I may or may not go into in another post, but suffice it to say that I really did need to hit rock bottom before I could start healing, and the recovery process will obviously take time.  But I’m ok right now. Really and truly I’m ok.

 

Jake, if you’re reading this, I am sorry for all the horrible shit I put you through.  I am sorry that my insecurities transferred to my treatment of you.  You did and said a lot of hurtful things, but I did too and for my part I am sorry.  I hope that some day you will let your anger at the world go.  It is so toxic, not only mentally but physically and you are a genuinely good person, anger aside.  I hope you find joy and peace in your life and thank you for trying with me for as long as you did.  We had some pretty great times, and though it took a lot of time, my head is finally above water and I can breathe easy.