Thursday, August 20, 2020

"Speak soon, stay lucky..."

The first time I heard "Stay Lucky" by Gaslight Anthem was a long time ago. I loved it. The lyrics were fun, truth-speaking and relatable.

Over the years it was a song I always felt connected to and, after the last year (or more), there would be pieces every time I would hear it that seemed to jump out and address a particular situation.

This past week I was asked on multiple occasions, by multiple people, what my "speak soon, stay lucky" (the last lines of the song) tattoo meant. 

How do you put into words that type of connection?

Well, here, I'll try:

"It took so long to get me back on my feet,
It takes so long to find the words and the beat..."

These past few years have been a constant tire fire. 2020 has actually been a reprieve. Yes, you have read that correctly. I lost myself. And I lost a lot of who I was.

It took work and a lot of it.

But I'm back on my feet.

Music has always been like therapy to me.

Every time I would find myself hurting, in a hole, it was music I turned to. I can thank my dad for that. He always taught me that there is a song for everything.

"And it feels like all you'd have to do is step outside,
Stop pacing around and waiting for some moment that might never arrive..."

And I waited.

I waited on promises that never came true.

I waited on things dangled in front of me, like a hungry child, that never materialized.

I trusted people that I should not have.

Wouldn't it be so easy if we could just step outside and walk away from what plagues us? Alas...

"Nothing feels right in the winter and cold,
Steam, heat, clang and the dark at your door,
All the other rooms are a party tonight,
And you never got an invitation.

And you feel it in your bones, steady aching some more,
Twenty-five years gone about an hour ago,
Mama never told me there'd be days like these,
'Til it was much too late to recover..."

They were long months, and long winters.

I had dedicated my life to certain paths that seemed to be dead ends now, and that was hard.

Sacrifices, all in vain.

I got through with the love of some amazing people who talked, hugged, fed and cared for me. Every one of you mean the world to me.

But there is the chorus, the one part of the song that has always hit me where it hurts but in the most positive way.

"But you're never gonna find it,
Like when you were young and everybody used to call you 'Lucky'..."

These past couple of years I have struggled with where I have been and having to say goodbye to expectations.

When I was young they called me "lucky."

Lucky to be:

Smart
Athletic
Pretty
Loud
Outspoken
Funny

Lucky.

And I have been lucky.

Very.

So, I set goals for myself. Expectations. And then, there hits the realization that none of that is to be and those expectations have to be tempered.

And all of that potential that everyone groomed and praised is gone to waste so you had might as well accept where you are now.

But you are still lucky.

Just in a different way.

Those words inked on my chest, "speak soon, stay lucky," are the final words in the song but remind me that they're not the final words to my story.

And every day they remind me that I am still lucky and I do have a lot to look forward to.

That tattoo speaks to me like the song and, on days when I need a boost or reminder,

"It's right here in case you need it,
Like when you were young and everybody used to call you 'Lucky'..."

And there are a lot of times when I do need it.

So, there it is.

And a reminder to us all that when we have those bouts, when it feels like it is "much too late to recover," it never is.

It might take some time and more strength than you think you have, but you can recover.

And, when "it feels like you just might explode inside, you've been pacing around and waiting for some moment that might never arrive at all..." remember that there is a way out.

Do not be afraid to lean on those around you because I promise they are happy you are here.

There is a lesson to be learned in the line that says, "What you don't have, you don't need it anymore..."

I think sometimes that one is the hardest to accept.

Maybe what you thought you should have by now is not what is in the cards.

Maybe there is better.

If 2020 and 38 are any indication, the best is yet to come.

And on those days when things seem overwhelming and bad there are always little things that we should remember make us lucky.

I know I have been focusing on that.

And this year has brought me some things that have made me feel luckier than I ever have.

Sometimes you just have to move the goalposts.

So, my friends, have a great evening and, I know I have not written here in a while, so I'll try to make a habit of being around more...

"Speak soon, stay lucky."


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Let It Hurt





7:42 in the morning
8 seconds before it all sinks in
Put your best face on for the world
Fake another smile and just pretend
But you're just putting off the pain
Nothing's ever really gonna change

So let it hurt
Let it bleed
Let it take you
Right down to your knees
Let it burn
To the worst degree
May not be what you want
But it's what you need
Sometimes the only way around it
Is to let love do its work
And let it hurt
Yeah, let it hurt

3:28 in the morning
Counting up the spaces between the rain
You're getting used to
The rocks at the bottom
Your heart goes numb
But the lonely stays the same
And that's the price
You're bound to pay
And there's really
Nothing anyone can say
Oh, there's only just one way

Yeah might just find you're better for it
When ya let go and you learn
To let it hurt
Let it bleed
Let it take you
Right down to your knees
Sometimes the only way around it
Is to let love do its work
So go on, and let it hurt
Oh, let it hurt


7:42 in the morning
8 seconds before it all sinks in

Monday, March 9, 2020

Steel

Two pieces of  steel.

That's all they have ever been. Yet, since I was a kid, when things get hard I've known I could lace up the boots they were attached to and find some peace.

As I have gotten older those pieces of steel have gained more meaning and have brought me through stages I would never have gotten through otherwise.

Today was a hard day. I tend to be open about struggles but I cannot even put into words how today felt. I will try.

Hurt.

Hollow.

Empty.

Used.

Burned.

Those tend to sum it up.

Yet, at the end of it all, I knew I had to pull it all together and get to the rink. I'm glad I did.

I keep my circles small and always have. 3 years ago a friend invited me out to a skate and I am forever grateful he did. In that skate I found people I consider some of my best friends.

Tonight I sat in the room and one came over.

"You alright, buddy?"

"Not really."

"It's okay to not be okay."

And we hugged.

This is brief, I know.

But I just want to put out there how much it means to me to have 19 big brothers every Sunday.

Two pieces of steel.

That help keep it all together.

There are a few reasons I am still here.

One has fur, the others share two pieces of steel every Sunday and treat me like one of their own.

B'ys, I love you all.

And I just hope you know.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

"I think I have it figured out..."

Sitting outside on a crisp morning we sipped tea on the first morning we had spent together in nearly ten years.

She took a long drag of a cigarette and said, "I think I have it figured out, you know."

I looked up from my phone.

"The way we were raised - we expect that love is going to be what we were told. We're going to meet someone who adores us for who we are, fall in love and live happily ever after. It's never like that though, is it?"

I nodded and there was a stinging in my eyes not caused by the morning sun.

And over those ten days in Edmonton we talked a lot about broken hearts, breakdowns, hurt and a lack of peace.

Since our teenage years it seems like when one of us experiences their world turning upside down the world of the other follows. No matter how much we have drifted over the years and how long we went without talking sometimes there would always be the call on a random night from one of us to the other, with tears, and in some weird, dark coincidence tears from the other would follow.

I guess we have always been connected like that.

Except this winter.

When I got the text that asked, "So, remind me how to do this single thing again?" my own heart was full and I was in the middle of the happiest period I can remember. Things were new and bright. I had an extra bounce in my step and I finally felt like I knew where I belonged. People noticed and said I looked lighter and happier.

I was.

I thought it strange as I tried to help as best I could my best friend in the whole world - the person who I have shared a sisterly connection with since I was 2 and she was a 3 year old fresh to the Cove from Labrador City - that for once our worlds did not coincide and I could not share in her heartbreak but could be strong enough for her to lean on.

And then everything righted itself; the happiness I was allowed to taste for that brief moment was taken away.

So I picked up the phone and we grieved, as we had done so many times before.

Except heartbreak tastes extra bitter when you are grown.

I think we are both cynics now.

Starting over but not knowing how to even put one foot in front of the other.

There comes a point when you realize that wishing at 11:11 is a foolish little thing to do because those wishes never come true, and when you think one has it manifests itself in a twisted way that only mocks you.

There is no magic bullet that will fix it all.

What is it all?

It is the burning in your chest and the lump in your throat that never goes away.

It is laying awake all night long with everything going through your mind and wondering what you did wrong and what you could have done differently to change it all.

It is loss and grief, not knowing how to give your own heart closure and grieving so hard that it all presents itself as a darkness that just hangs over everything you do.

It is wondering why you have never been enough.

And it is exactly what she had said - childhood ideals that we carried so long and wanted to believe but now we grieve for the loss of believing in all of that too.

I never expected to be here, nor did she.

But, there is one thing I am sure of -

Hold dear those who have been in your life since you were 2; those who you played mudcakes with and fought over Barbie clothes with.

If you have that person in your life, make sure s/he knows that you have appreciated their friendship and love every single day.

And as we trek forward, phonecalls and texts to try and console the other as we move forward through all of this, I cannot help but think where I would be without her.

Always my confidante; always my bad influence; always my cousin but sister.

Soon we will be sitting on a snowy deck drinking tea in the frigid Edmonton winter.

January cannot come fast enough.

God knows my heart needs it.


Friday, July 19, 2019

"I've Changed..."

2018 was a bitch.

I entered 2019 like a woman in newly ironed fabrics, with so many promises and ideals as to what this year would bring. Love, travel, every day happiness brought through simple things.

I also hardened under that last loss.

When the substance of the past few years gets boiled down, the remnants are toxic bits and pieces of manipulation and hurt. I shelled up.

I built walls. These were Berlin level walls. Nothing was getting in. These were walls that separated east and west, my heart from what was out there, and I stood strong.

Then the sickle came along.

"MR. GORBACHEV TEAR DOWN THIS WALL."

Chipping.

Chipping.

The walls came down.

I let them. I admit that. I am still unsure if that was a mistake but, lord, was it ever the most perfect thing I've ever experienced. People started commenting on how happy I was, how relaxed and carefree.

How I looked better than I ever had; content.

And I was.

I felt like I finally had worth to someone.

Then life got in the way.

Life.

I spent days crying into the arms of every friend I have, and I will be forever grateful for each and every one of them for it. Many brought food I could not eat; others brought wine to get me drunk; and some just came and had their shirts soaked with tears they could not understand but accepted anyway.

It's funny how sometimes you think the whole idea of karma and fate are bullshit ideologies then you live something that the best screenwriter could not write and you're sitting in that pre-op waiting room just looking for a time to go scream and cry in the car.

Life, bro.

I try. I try so hard to give all I have but it is never enough. I am always left with the remnants, wondering where I went wrong, where I have been deficient.

I have never been enough. That is a reality. I have always been the cheated, the left, the hurt, and I cannot understand what I did to cause it. But I accept and carry on.

And even when I find where I am supposed to be there are complications that take that from me and say, "No. Not you."

I am tired. I am tired of working as hard as I can, doing what I am told, being all I have been raised to be and still sitting with the knot in my throat and the uncertainty.

This is ambiguous and I know this.

What I also know is that I am here, waiting. I have been waiting for some time. I wait, listen, read, and try to push through every day but it is hard.

At the end of the day I am here to give so much and wonder if I am screaming into the void, offering with no chance of reception.

I'm tired.

My friend Becka introduced me to Josh Joplin back when I was 16. It has been my personal anthem since then:

"I wanted perfection from every song I've ever sung,
That was wrong.
And I wanted something from every person I've ever loved
That was wrong.

And I've changed, I've changed,
I've reconsidered everything.
I'm fine now, oh I'm fine now,
Laid the barrel in my mouth.
And everything I've thought before,
I won't think anymore.
I've changed..."

But have I? Have I changed? The outcome certainly hasn't. I am still the one left.

And yet I try, I keep doing what I do, and I expect something different.

And I expect the old adage of "What is meant to be will be" to come true.

I am human.

And with that comes human energy that slowly wears down. For tonight I will watch "Big Little Lies," sip my wine and hope that in some universe the old adages are true.

11:11.

Every day I wish for the same.

And I hope life can give me that.

Goodnight.

And I still believe you that something like this always finds its way to come back around.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Alternately.

Some time last week I saw a tweet. I cannot find it for the life of me, nor do I remember the exact wording.

The gist was that there is a theory that somewhere out there you are living alternative lives based on other decisions you have made; that somewhere, in the stratosphere, many different incarnations of who you are happen to be are living different paths based on one small different choice, one small different decision.

And I wonder how those people are living.

We all come to crossroads.

There are so many moments in our lives where we make crucial decisions, small or large, that change our path and our circumstance; ones that shape where we go and how every day goes.

Those decisions shape what happens after we pour our morning coffee, when we step outside, how things will evolve and shape the day when we close our eyes and carry on with the next day of our lives.

This week, more than ever, I wonder how Dwan is living in those alternative universes.

Guilt is a heavy thing.

I have spent my time wondering how one simple decision, one simple choice, could have sent my life and my path in a different direction.

And it is hard.

How happy is Dwan in my alternative universe? Dwan who said yes months before, who took a chance, and who was ready, willing and did not close off and be unfair?

I imagine she is happy.

I imagine she is actually the happiest she has been, curled up tonight and falling asleep without doubt and breathing in the reality of how perfect tonight is while she tucks in.

I imagine she is living where and what I should be if I was not so difficult, stubborn and damaged.

And I imagine her heart is not telling her that if she had just not been unreasonable her fate might not have been altered and she might have finally been living in the universe she has hoped for and wanted for so long.

If there is anything I want you all to know it is take the chance.

Let your guard down and do not be afraid of what tries to let itself in.

Do not leave it up to your alternative selves to be the ones who are living happiness and who are taking the risks and chances to bring that happiness to you.

Tuck your fears aside, because not making that one decision could be detrimental.

Take it from me - take the risk. When something is in front of you that is good and real, take it.

Let the walls down.

I think the guilt will always be a cloak I wear now.

I will always have the "what if."

I keep hoping this universe is the one where everything works out and the cliche of what is meant to be will be.

I do not often believe in cliches.

There are clearly a few directions the past few weeks could have gone in. I keep remembering being told that there are a million decisions that could have been made, a million ways things could have gone but in the end what matters is the result of now.

But now I look and know that my decisions are the ones that have caused a pain that hurts in places I never knew hurt could live.

It is my fault and I am sorry.

"Cause it took such a heavy light to find you in the first place,
Through all that rain and remaining fog..."

And yet, I was too blind to see through it. That is my punishment to bear.

For now it is a matter of hope.

I hope this universe is the one where it all works out.

"Watching detectives chase the one that got away..."

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Mortal.

Most of you are probably here expecting me to talk about the accident. I am not here for that.

To summarize - it has been a week, I almost died.

Some things are clear; some are a haze.

Nothing is more sobering than when your doctor looks at you in that hospital bed and says, "You shouldn't be here."

I have never felt more mortal.

I will talk about it, in time.

Right now my sternum hurts, bruises keep popping out and my brain stays on overdrive.

I do know that this weekend was what I needed and I was surrounded by the people I needed to be.

This is not a long blog post.

This is not a testimonial, a gospel, a poetic expression of a life that is still here.

It is merely me saying I am here and I am glad for everyone who stopped by, reached out - friends, family, followers, strangers. Everyone.

I have had some time to reflect with a tube in my lung and morphine in my arm.

Life has never felt so close and I have never felt so fragile.

I have also never realized so badly that loving without abandon is necessary. There are no times for regrets and what ifs.

I know what went through my head when the impact happened and the glass shattered - my parents and the one face I was afraid I would never see again.

When metal hit the glass I know what I saw.

I get asked a lot.

I actually saw a lot, you know. I don't know why. I just did. And I missed you.

And nothing ever felt more important. Life is funny like that when it is being pulled away.

I know what I will no longer take for granted.

And I know how easily things can be stripped away now.

I am okay.

I am as okay as I can be.

And I am here.

Thank you to all who have reached out. I will be around more when the dust settles (no pun intended).

Life is a flash, folks. One minute you're on your way to hockey, the next you're fighting for your life.

Never take it for granted.

And, in the words of Tim McGraw, I've gotten a new understanding of how it feels to "live like you were dying."