Sunday, August 28, 2011

Something tells me you are here with me :) PART 3

When I Look to The Sky - Train

Well, that was some interesting read eh?

I'm not going to try and convince you that you should believe. I'm just saying it happened to me and I believe. The thing is, I don't think a kid can make that kind of stuff up. It was a different time. Television programming, media, books and anything else that children were exposed was restricted compared to today. Although I kept diaries most of my life none of the experiences I shared with you were ever recorded. They were forgotten/repressed until a trigger was experienced that caused the memory to flood back in detail that astounds even me. I might be off of the ages a bit but being as my childhood memories are all divided between life with Mom and all my siblings and after my Mom and sisters died (12 years old +) We are at the very least talking about a prepubescent child.

Of course now, I am very open to the possibility and reality that ghosts and spirits are among us. I have lived enough, read enough and learned enough that I have made up my own mind. I have had other experiences in my adult years that keep my faith alive but never anything as vivid or "real" as what I have already shared. I also think that youngsters are much more open to have such experiences because their minds have not been tainted by the naysayers and the freedom associated with being a child allows us to be open and accept what we hear and feel without question. And yes, I will admit that part of my belief today stems from the fact that I experienced so much personal loss as a young person that I had to believe in something in order to accept without going completely off the deep end or wallowing in self-pity.

Today, I take great comfort in knowing that I am not alone, that I have a small army of guardian angels protecting me and my children. I have not been convinced on the reality of spirits being photographed as ghostly orbs in photographs but I am open to the possibility. I simply offer up this photographs for you to ponder. Personally I think it unusual that of all the pictures taken that night, only this one has "orbs" and interestingly there are 3 of them on each of us....I'm just saying...

Something tells me you are here with me :) PART 2

When I Look to the Sky - Train

Like it happened yesterday, I remember setting off to school alone. Alone, because I had been dawdling and my siblings left without me so they wouldn't be late. But I was already going to be late so I meandered as soon as I was out of the line of vision of my mother. In the first block I had to pass the house with the Doberman Pincer that always barked fiercely at people walking by carefully and slowly so he wouldn't get loose and attack me. That dog always terrified me. Then there was the hedge with the ladybugs that I loved to see but feared them jumping from the leaf and onto me. I was probably about 8 years old and lost in my own little world. Having overcome those terrifying hurdles, my mind began to wander and I started thinking about God and how we came to be and whether we were alone in the wonderous vastness of the universe. And then suddenly I am not looking up to the sky any longer...instead I watch - from a vantage point some 5 feet above my head - I watch as I step off the curb and begin to cross Jewell Street. I was in awe...this was so cool. I watched until I was 3/4 of the way across the street and then I was back. The memory ends there. I probably got in trouble for being late for school...but I blocked that!
It was many years later before I learned or heard about "the white light" theory or of people who have "died" and experienced the same thing I did as a child. I didn't know it at the time...but when I initially heard of the phenomenon I immediately recalled the experience and decided I probably was supposed to die then - perhaps being hit by a car but "someone" changed their mind and let me live. Thank you whoever you are :)

Something tells me you are here with me :) PART 1

When I Look To the Sky - Train

This is an absolutely amazing song and I chose this video specifically instead of the official version simply because when I hear it and the words I don't think of a love song but I relate it to my life. You may not get the same sense from the song buy I find that music speaks to me. One line of phrase grabs me and pulls me in. Enjoy the song however it speaks to you...

Listening to this song today got me to thinking about some memories that I may or may not have shared with you. It's not something that I am ashamed of but some people are sceptics and think it's not possible to have occurred that the experiences have come from external sources. You can believe or not...your choice...I'm just telling it how it happened to me :)

Yeah, already sounds crazy eh? As you may be aware, my dad died when I was 2 years old. I remember nothing about him. Mom never spoke of him (it has been told to me that it was too painful for her to do so), and we (me and my 3 other siblings) were too young to ask any questions. We knew he was dead, we visited his final resting place often, especially in the warmer months when Mom planted marigolds at the base of the masouleum that loomed large against the passing traffic on Oliver Road in Thunder Bay.
Anyways, I was about 7 years old I had cut my foot and gotten stitches and I was not in a good mood. I was up in my bedroom alone, sitting on the end of my bed and rifling through my clothes in the dresser drawer. I was feeling very sorry for myself. I don't know if it was because I had to get stitches or that it was sore or maybe the injury put a halt to other plans, but as I sat there I heard my name being called. "Giselle!" I hollered out in response "What?", and I got no other answer. Then it happened again "Giselle!" Not getting an answer to my response, I hobbled down the short hallway and made my way to the basement stairs. I followed the laughter and chatter that I heard coming from there. I stood at the top of the stairs and asked who was calling and what did they want. "No-one...go away" If I could have stomped away in anger I would have! Well, it turns out that they were down there planning a surprise party for me to help me feel better. And as they sang "For She's a Jolly Good Fella" I felt the love and guilt for my anger at their earlier rebuff.
Flash forward 10 years or so. I am at the house of my Aunt and Uncle in Thunder Bay. It is Saturday or Sunday morning. I have dropped in for a visit as I was passing by. For many years we (my brother and I) were not allowed or encouraged to visit with Aunt Lillian and Uncle Camillo or spend time with our cousins. Long story short - Granny thought they were a bad influence because they were from my Dad's side of the family and he was an alcoholic. But they were family so when I became mobile and mature enough to realize what I was missing - I hoped on my bike and popped in on them. Anyways, on this particular morning only Uncle Camillo was home. I don't remember how it came to be that I was sitting at the kitchen table and watched him come into the kitchen having just woken up. He was shaking like a leaf and I thought maybe he was ill. He puttered in the kitchen for a bit and made some small talk. He could barely hold a glass in his hand until he reached under the kitchen sink for his bottle. It seemed that with his first sips, his shaking disappeared and he got bright-eyed and alert. And then he was asking me if I wanted anything and he called me "Giselle". And I asked him, why. He was the only person who ever called me all other family I was Gigi. And he sat down and told me that it was my father that wanted me named Giselle and when everyone else started calling me Gigi, he never did. He loved the name Giselle for me. But after he died, my mother found that hearing the name was painful for her and for official documentation my name was changed to Elizabeth.
Listening to my uncle tell me this story, I instantly went back in my mind to that moment so many years ago that I heard someone call me Giselle and decided that it was my father that had been calling me.
The thing is, I never dwelt on the memory in fact if you had asked about an early childhood memory it sure wouldn't have come up. It was an obsession, it was barely an afterthought. But clearly it was stored away in my memory because it came flooding back in great detail like it just happened.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Changes are Happening

Changes by David Bowie

Well I don't think such a monumental event can occur for a second time without being duly noted. I am not talking about the earthquake that was allegedly felt in the Greater Toronto Area...I say allegedly because I never felt it (although I was stunned by a blow to the head at the time :) any case, back to life-changing event.

The last wee fledgling is leaving the nest. I knew this day was coming, I encouraged it's arrival and felt very prepared with its' occurrence. The funny thing is that there was a time when I dreaded the day(s) that they would leave. Besides the obvious blow to the age-denial aspect, it gives pause to the notion that they no longer need you. But it happened so gradually that there was time to adjust.

The boy really left home just after his 18th birthday. He didn't move across town or even to a nearby city...he moved halfway across the country. Okay to be fair, he went away to Halifax, Nova Scotia to attend university. Initially I can't say I was too thrilled with the decision but the reality is that he was doing exactly what I always hoped he would. He was being mature and responsible and making decisions for himself that he hoped would be best for his future. For my own selfish reasons, I would have preferred him to be closer...less than a 24 hour drive at! But it really worked out for the best. He was hugely successful in school, got an amazing job right after graduating, made some life-long friendships and nurtured some with old friends. And while he put me in the proverbial "poor house", his absence allowed his sister and I to spend some quality time cultivating our relationship and she began to shine brightly and came out from the shadow cast by her brothers strong personality. Win-win-win! In all honesty, I figured he would probably end up back home for awhile after graduation...but wow I barely got used to his mess around the house and he was gone. It was a good move for him and he still pops by and surprises me with his visits. I love surprise visitors :)

But like I say, just 3 months later and I am sending off the girl to face the world without me. But she won't be alone and she won't be far. She is moving to another job in a place where there is a public transit system to accommodate her reluctance to drive. But that is just the excuse she is using...she is moving in with her boyfriend :) She goes with my blessing and full-approval. He is an awesome person. And maybe if she ever gets her license, maybe I will be able to look forward to her popping in too!

I can't say I won't and don't miss them both but that is the price we pay as parents. We have invested 20+ years in these beautiful creations of ours. It was our job and we were committed 24/7. But as proof of our successful endeavour, we can send off into the world well-adjusted, successful, moral, caring, compassionate, conscientious individuals to conquer and leave their own mark on the world. I have left mine and I can look back upon it with pride. I done good! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Will I always be here spinning my wheels"

Sass Jordan: I Want to Believe

I know that some people are not going to be too happy with me making this public admission but I don't think it is something to hide from or be ashamed of. Since the end of December 2011 I have been suffering from the big "D". Depression. Partly unaware, partly denial, I did not seek active treatment until March of 2012. Thinking back to the early part of the year, there were signs that I was falling into the depths. But in the confusion of my mind I did not see it and no one else saw enough of the pieces of the puzzle to understand the whole picture. I didn't hide anything intentionally, I've always been a private person who battled life on my own.

I wish I could count on one hand how many setbacks I have suffered since that time. Again, hindsight having 20/20 vision, most were not that catastrophic as they seemed at the time. But that is neither here nor my fragile mental state these glitches seemed insurmountable and overwhelming. I had professional support, I told those that I felt I had made suffer through my struggles what I was trying to deal with. I didn't make announcements but I screamed for help in my own cryptic way. Some people heard and were there for me. Thank you to them.

Some people have run, tails between their legs. I'm sorry for you but glad for me that I have had the opportunity to see your true colours before I invested too much more time with you.

There was something I read that really hit home with me..."I may have gone off the deep end, but to be fair, I was treading water to start with." In my life, I think I have dealt with a lot of tragedy and misfortune in my life. And I have overcome and faced most obstacle essentially on my own. I have learned to rely on myself because there really was no one else there. That was my reality. Anyways, people have always said I was strong and recently I have been really bothered by that. I don't feel all!

But I get it now....I was never strong. What you saw was Stubborness and Fight. Don't wrong my family I will stand and fight to protect them with everything I have. I will bend over backwards and give everything that I have, every fibre of my being to shelter them from pain. And it wasn't just my kids, it was anyone and anything I cared about and that included the kids at work. And I did it without fear. I thought my wall was big enough and strong enough to protect me.

Do what you want to me but leave them alone! And that simple sentence was my downfall; (this is good shit, someone should be writing it down lol). They (work supervisors at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board) attacked me. They attacked my personality, my integrity, my belief system, my stubborness, my drive, my wall. They crumbled my wall, bit by bit over the years. And I let them because I had faith in the goodness of humanity that hid behind the cloak of Catholicity and Diversity. They preached acceptance...but in the end....they didn't accept me. I had fear, I didn't stand up for myself, they broke me until I didn't have any faith or hope and I believed them that I was no good. And I am still afraid. Driving past any school physically sickens me.

I need more time to get a grip and stop spinning my wheels. Or at least time to turn this old jalopy around and throw mud up in there face for a change!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's raining glass in Toronto

It's Raining Men - The Weather Girls

I'm not much of a TV watcher but I do periodically try and catch the news. Yesterday there was yet another report of glass from Condo balconies in downtown Toronto raining down on the sidewalks many feet below. I think this is about the 8th time in as many months that this has happened. Fortunately only one woman was hurt when she suffered minor cuts on her wrists. As busy as the streets are in the city, this amazes me.

The news report was quite fascinating last night. They talked about the pros and cons of tempered vs laminated glass. Using glass similar to the windshield of cars that don't shatter was presented as an option, but if that slipped from its' mooring it would fall in one big sheet. With the momentum and speed that would be picked up on the way down, anyone hit by it on the ground would suffer much more serious injuries than just minor cuts. So really not a reasonable option.

But the perplexing question is why. Why is that suddenly all this glass is shattering and falling. Several buildings are affected so you can not really look to the contractor unless they all use identical shoddy workmanship in the same areas. It is doubtful that the same supplier was used for all the building materials. Each building probably had different architects and engineers. I don't know how many building inspectors the city has but that should be investigated.

Now the thing that bothers me about this whole issue and I do not claim to be a contractor, inspector, architect or engineer.. I am intrigued by the fact that the balconies affected all seem to be fairly high up on the buildings...nothing on the 10th floor or lower? The same construction etc on all floors one would think. On last nights news report they were showing how strong the type of glass used actually was and they rammed a 2x4 into it to try and break a pane. Several attempts failed. What finally shattered it was a blow with a hammer. So I got to thinking...all the broken panes seem to be falling from 30 floors and up with no specific building being targeted. And therein lies the foundation of my musing. Intentional vandalism. Someone from another building doing some target practice with a BB gun or some other projectile. When you look at the thumbtack size pieces of glass that have rained down onto the streets below, there is no way that anyone could piece it together to find a shattering point. 

I'm not saying it's a for sure or even if I really believe...I'm just saying maybe and perhaps other scenarios should be considered for this phenomenon. Surely this isn't the hottest or driest summer we have ever had that could be causing glass to shrink from its moorings and randomly fall...

PS News report from last night spoke of 15 incidents since last December and although many more buildings have been affected only two developers have been. The glass will be replaced by laminated panes. I hope they don't fall...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cooked or raw an egg is easy to crack...and so am I...Take me out I'm done

They're Coming to Take Me Away - Napoleon XIV

A half an hour ago, I felt good. I thought it was gonna be a good day. The past few days have been on an even keel - nothing really exciting but at least nothing to bring me down. Part of that is my own doing. I'm an avoider - if I pretend it's not there, then it really isn't. Like bills in the mail. I don't open them so they don't exist. I don't answer the phone, so no one can ask anything of me or make demands of me. It is a very strict and efficient way of screening who I allow to invade my space and life.

But today....I let my guard down. And I could kick myself for it now. I'm mad at me for allowing it; not them for doing it. That is rather typical behaviour for me unfortunately. I was feeling good, the doorbell rang and I answered. It was a courier. I thought of Chris expecting something. I opened the door. It was an envelope, I looked at the sender. It was the Dufferin Peel Catholic District  School Board. Why didn't I stand strong and refuse the letter? Why am I so weak? Why am I so damn eager to please? Why did I open the damn thing? Sometimes I think I deserve to be miserable so subconsciously I sabotage myself. I don't have any other explanations.

They have bullied me to the point of defeat and I keep letting them do it over and over again. WHY? I wish I could understand....

These past few days, London England has been experiencing some horrific acts of violence in the form of evening riots and vandalism. Buildings have been torched. Stores have been looted to the bare walls. It started because some people were angry that one person suffered an injustice at the hands of authority figures. In a show of support, people gathered and things got out of hand. I'm seeing a parallel because I can understand the mentality and frustration level of not being heard.

I completely understand why workers go "postal" and go to work with a gun to seek justice. I'm not saying it is right, just that I understand. I would do the same if it would mean that someone would listen. Sometimes the people who are the quietest are the ones who are screaming the loudest! Can you hear me?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Frog Who Dreamed of Being a King

I Am I Said by Neil Diamond
"I am I said to no one there 
And no one heard at all not even the chair
I am I cried 
I am said I
And I am lost and I can't even say why
Leaving me lonely still"

I wasn't more than 16 years old. I was in the grips of a very lonely and sad period of my life for reasons I don't want to get into. I heard this song again and it touched me to the deepest part of my soul. It was released in 1971 and one of the first albums that my mom bought for me and it began a life long love affair with the man and his music. The talent this man has blows my mind. Especially in the 1970's and 1980's I got a lot of comfort from this singer/songwriter. My first foray into celebrity worship, I belonged to his fan club and once in the early 1980's I even spoke to him on the phone through a radio promotion on CHUM-FM. But I have never attended one of his concerts...either lack of money or impossible schedule co-ordination. But I have a massive collection of his albums and cassettes and even some CD's although there I opted for a box set. There were just too many to replace a third!

But I digress...back to 16 years old and lonely. I can't listen to the song without bringing back the visual of a sad girl sitting cross-legged in front of the house, oblivious to the traffic going by. In the house and through the open front door one song blares over and over again. This song. And back in the day when there was no "repeat" button, the girl with tears streaming down her face got up and lifted the needle off the record to expertly place it back to the beginning and play and sing and cry all over again.

It could have been written about me. I related to every word. I felt invisible like I was reaching out to people but being shut out or turned away. I wanted to be a part of family, I wanted to be valued, I wanted to be normal...but I was none of it. Like Neil Diamond not feeling a part of either coast, I felt like I didn't belong, didn't fit in. The difference being...I could say why. But I didn't want to say why. I was tired of being "that poor disfigured (ugly) girl who lost her whole family and look at her now." To me that is the frog who dreamed of being a king. I wanted to be like everyone else. Happy family dinners. Being loved. Having someone care if you lived or died. Yeah, it's harsh but it is the way I felt at the time. What is worse is that today...30 years later...not much has changed...

Thursday, August 04, 2011

"These times when the world falls apart make us who we are"

"Well the day
Tonight feels like a million miles away
And these times just won't change
Life just stays the same
I'd give anything to see the light of day

What you do
No one can decide it's up to you
And who you are is what you choose
These times when the world falls apart
Make us who we are"

So, I was listening to this song the other day and the lyrics jumped out at me like I had been hit over the head. Lifehouse is an amazingly under-rated band at the best of times. I highly recommend giving them a listen. Nothing specific, everything they have done.

But back to the song...I don't like the day time. I am a capable, intelligent, successful professional. It's easy to write that...but when I think about work I turn to a quivering mass of jelly. My mouth goes dry and tears well up in my eyes. I am so damn afraid! I am afraid of getting hurt again, afraid of being powerless and out of control. It's even more so scary because I've never felt like this before. Oh, I've been scared before even terrified - but this is different.

There is fear that you can conquer because we now that logically nothing will really happen. Like when I stepped on the glass floor at the CN Tower. Or being forced to jump into the drivers seat of a 27' truck loaded with everything I owned towing a sedan on a dolly with a 8 and 9 year old piled into the front seat. I had never driven a vehicle so big let alone on a cross-country trek. But I did it and although there were complications to that one was hurt and we survived to smile about it later.

Work is fear I can't conquer because I have no assurance that I won't be hurt again. And damn I was hurt bad and I was powerless and weak and couldn't fight it. They have won and they nearly killed me and they have never accepted a modicum of responsibility. So if they think what they did was okay (even right) what is to stop them from doing it again and again. For those who don't know - "they" are The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. Call a spade a spade - they are bullies and discriminate against staff - the hypocrites!

Yet, I am still the one who fears the day! During the day, I want to hide from the world. I don't want to go to the mall and see the back to school sales going on. I don't want to see the kids hanging around the mall. I don't want to risk seeing people I once worked with. Thinking about leaving the security of my four walls or fence enclosed patio makes me anxious. I don't want to think about work - it makes me physically sick. It makes me hurt.

My world fell apart and it made me who I am. I am trying to re-build again. How many times will my world fall apart before there is no solid foundation left on which to build? Before I haven't got the strength to lift the bricks...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Just sorting things out...

Pink Panther From Head to Toe - Doug Goodwin

I am torn between wanting everyone to know about the website because I am so proud of what it has become so far and what I have been able to do and on the other hand I have always been able to remain so private only allowing a privaleged few to penetrate the wall. And I got to choose who and when for the most part. I'm sure people talked but I found overall friends were reluctant to tell "my" story without clearing it with me or keeping it bare bones.

By really putting it out there - I mean going all out. I saw a vehicle with a website on it and thought "Hey, why not?" But there is an answer to that. For starters, even though my picture is on the website, when I am in the car I am the real thing that can be put with it. What if I am having a bad day? Or driving Lydia to work in less than respectable attire? What if I forgot my make-up that morning? I'll constantly be advertising and will always have to be "on". Additionally and perhaps the hardest one for me to wrap myself around. I know that it is mostly people I know who are going to the website but I will be opening it up to neighbours. That would blow my anonymity out of the water. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I don't know, but I do know it would be an adjustment.

Well, now this hasn't helped - lol! I am still unsure. I thought that by writing it would help me to sort things out - as it usually does. Maybe I'll publish and go toss a coin. :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Sucked the blue from the sky and coloured my mood with it...

I don't understand, it is a beautiful day. The sun is peeking through the thin wispy high level clouds giving the sky a hue of the palest of blues with a serene and calming feel. The breeze is slow and steady with occcassional bursts to remind you of the warm surrounding air. But I am not enjoying the day. I have sucked the blue from the sky and coloured my mood with it.

I can't seem to do anything to change direction. I've bombarded my head with positive thoughts as I vainly try to fake it. But the positive thoughts can't obscure the mental images. I saw a terrible picture that was taken of me and I can't let it go. Everyone has probably had unflattering pictures taken...tell me...How do you let it go? As much as I tell myself one bad one vs 2 "okay" ones...the only one that sticks vividly in the forefront of my mind is the bad one. And believe me I am not being harsh. It is so bad, I have to apologise to everyone who looks at me because that is what you see all the time...I am so sorry :(

My version of revenge! BERL 262

This is the vehicle and the driver I'll never forget for I got a good look at him as he cut me off. He wasn't even looking at the road...he was gunning me off. If I did something wrong I am really sorry. But I know I didn't cut him off cuz I didn't change lanes. I was keeping up with traffic...even 5 km over limit. So that wasn't it. He's just an a$$hole? That's it! And isn't it amusing that these a$$holes behind the perceived security of their Detroit Body Armor probably would have the balls to say or do anything to your face. Cowards!

It was a Dodge Caravan type vehicle although it didn't have a name plate which tells me that it has been in an accident or repainted for another reason. I saw the orange tree shaped air freshener when I noticed in my side mirror that he was steering into my rear quarter panel on the drivers side. That is also when I got a good look at his brown skin and pale blue turban wrapped around his head. Maybe that was the was wound too tightly. :(

It saddens me that some people can value life so little that they don't care who they take out. Maybe he saw the fear and shock in my face and maybe he liked it, because he wasn't done with me yet. Oh no, he wanted another chance and he swerved and recklessly changed lanes until he came up beside me on the passenger side for another shot. He was just starting to pass me when he cut in front of me. Had I not slammed my brakes on, I would have hit him in the drivers door...damn instincts...that could have been my justice...him shrouded in the plastic sheet, turban unraveled and passengers racked with grief...yes!

I will put my ax away now for I have better things to do. But I do hope that in the next life he come back as a lower life form...if there is one! Unless I see him on the road again...then all bets are off...

As a follow-up, I took the sage advice of a friend and reported the incident to the police as part of the Road Watch program. Based on his behaviour I seriously doubt that he has much respect for the laws of this country but I will sleep better knowing I did the right thing by my fellow citizens because unless he had it in for me specifically, none of us are safe really...