dys·func·tion /dɪsˈfʌŋkʃən/ [dis-fuhngk-shuhn]–noun
1. Medicine/Medical . malfunctioning, as of an organ or structure of the body. 2. any malfunctioning part or element: the dysfunctions of the country's economy. 3. Sociology . a consequence of a social practice or behavior pattern that undermines the stability of a social system.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life - Part 3: Relationships

Yay! A third part to the Life Series! *excitement overwhelms*

Calm down now. It's okay. Everthing will be fine.



Part 3: Relationships

This is a continuation of my previous rant(s?), Part 1: Eductation, and Part 2: Children. This section is about...Relationships.

Dictionary.com defines a relationship as:

re·la·tion·ship
/[ri-ley-shuh n-ship]
–noun
1. a connection, association, or involvement.
2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.
3. an emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students.
4. a sexual involvement; affair.


But my opinion is that society views it as so much more. Allow me to present my interpretation of the modern definition.


re·la·tion·ship
/[ri-ley-shuh n-ship]
–noun
1. public connection, association, or involvement.
2. connection between persons by blood or marriage, by which we compare ourselves to all others.
3. an emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students, that is monitored and judged by peers and strangers.
4. a sexual involvement; affair, that you must judge your worth and value upon.
5. a goal that must be achieved. Must be.



Obviously this doesn't apply to every person on the face of the planet, but this is a lot of what I see. And even moreso, what I've lived.



When I was in elementary school (around grade 6... 12 years old) boys and girls began pairing off into 'couples'. They would one day announce that they were Boyfriend and Girlfriend, then they would beging holding hands and cuddling on the playground at recess. Perhaps they would do similar activities if they could organize a group date to the movies, or even better, a double/triple/quadruple date.

Although the activities involved with being in a couple were still quite juvenille, it became apparent early on that you either were in a couple, or were deemed unfit.

Oh God I wanted to fit in so badly.

Now don't get me wrong, I had feelings for almost all of the boys that I was Girlfriended to, but looking back now it seems sad/funny/ridiculous to have been with so many people. I got into the habit of asking girls if they had a boyfriend, and then as my awareness of different sexualities increased I changed the question to an all encompassing: "How's your love life?"

I became a bit of a joke in highschool. Having so many boyfriends led to people asking me "Do you have a new boyfriend?" The way one would ask if that was a new haircut. The saddest part is that a good portion of the time I would have to answer yes.

Even now, when I talk to a person whom I haven't spoken to in a while, they feel the need to volunteer the current status of their love life...even though I no longer ask. I don't know if it is something that my old friends had come to expect from me, or if more likely it is something that everyone has come to believe is must-know information.

I met up recently with a friend I haven't seen in five or more years. When I asked her what was 'new with her', the first sentence out of her mouth was: "Well, I still don't have a boyfriend."

Another friend and I were catching up late one night when she chose to volunteer her "not-boyfriend, but, oh I don't know, it's tough," which I don't mind hearing about (DEAR FRIENDS, PLEASE DON'T STOP TELLING ME STUFF ABOUT YOUR LIVES. I REALLY DO CARE!!!) but I was concerned with the "mirroring" that she was doing throughout the story. Almost as if she were judging whether or not she was worth the trouble a relationship might potentially put on this boy.

A third friend: took her self-esteem and flushed it down the toilet due to some crap luck with boys, even though she knows that relationships are all just potluck.

A family member: negativity oozes out of every pore. She remarks all the time about the boy she can't wait to have, but then ends every sentence with how unmatchable she would be due to being weird/unattractive/naive.

Another family member: is waiting for boys to stop breaking her heart, pouring out her pain and emotion every time another one hurts her.

A third: swearing off men...again, because of how much pain it causes when a relationship falls through.




And it hurts. It hurts like the devil.

And it makes us all feel like shit.

It shouldn't. But it does.



I have a desperate, crushing fear of being alone.



[I would like to stop for a second and say that even though all of my examples were female, my rant applies to both genders and whichever gender they choose to pursue. Being in love, and then finding out it's not meant to be, SUCKS.]


I had boyfriend after boyfriend in highschool because I was looking for Mr. Right. Mr. Right didn't go to my highschool apparently... but there was no possible way for me to know that. It turns out, Mr. Right wasn't a lot of people, and that means that I got hurt a lot. And that a lot of Mr. Potentials got hurt too.


"You should just be single for a while and figure yourself out."


In highschool, after breaking up with another boyfriend, I began to believe this sentiment. After all, I was one half of every failed relationship that I had been in right? Therefore, I was the common factor in every failure. So it must have been me.

SHUT UP.

If you ever ever ever think about saying this to someone, don't. I don't even care if you truly believe it. It is a hurtful statement that we are programmed to say as an automatic response to another relationship failing. Instead of being comforting, which is what our programs have this listed under, it is a destructive sentence. In saying this, or accepting this as a personal truth, you are taking the blame off of the circumstance, off of the situation, off of poor compatability, off of Mrs. Wrong, and putting it on your friend/self.

Figure yourself out? Ridiculous. Every person on the face of planet needs to figure themselves out. We all grow and develope each and every day of our lives. Perhaps this failed relationship will lead you to discover something about yourself, or about other people, but that is not a requirement of ending a relationship. This isn't a community service punishment doled out to those incapable of maintaining a healthy and stable relationship. This is ridiculous, and this is what we force onto ourselves.


*anger*


Try to be loving and understanding instead. This person who was just halved is hurting. They had love and now it is gone. GIVE THEM LOVE AGAIN. Everyone deserves to be loved, and one day everyone will find it. It won't come from a parent, a sibling, or a best friend because that is not the type of love that is desired, but in the meantime you can assure this person (or yourself) that it will happen.



You are capable of finding love.


You deserve someone who will love you for who you are because, let's be honest, you're a really freaking awesome person.


You deserve someone who won't compromise themselves or ask you to compromise yourself to be with you.


You will find someone who will grow with you and celebrate in your successes, as you will find true happiness in theirs.


You are not defined as a 'half', but when your true love finds you, the two of you will multiply each other's greatness exponentially.



*phew* This tangent is wearing me out.

I know it must seem easy for me to rant and ramble about this since I'm not currently single, and if I was single I don't know if I would be able to write this. I believe so wholly that this is truth, that if I was placed back in the situation in which I believed myself to be undesirable, worthless and permanently alone I don't know if I could conquer my fears and depression to be able to face these truths head on.

Instead, I write for the me of the past. I write for a potentially angry and humiliated me of the future. I write for my children, your children, my friends, and strangers. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. IT IS NOT STUPID TO HAVE THOUGHT LESS OF YOURSELF BECAUSE OF HOW YOU WERE TREATED BASED ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP STATUS. YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL, DESIRABLE PERSON WHO WILL FIND HAPPINESS.


Why?


Because I said so.

 
And because it's what I truly believe.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

One Square At A Time

I can't wait to move out of the Cess-Pool-City.

I hate living here with nearly every fiber of my body. I live in a terrible neighbourhood in which my (lame) running joke with everyone who leaves my house is: "Don't get mugged on your way out."


O_o


Ha....ha......ha.

I'm moving before Shake'n'Bake goes to school because...well because I hate this area, and I don't want my precious little angel to learn the F-bomb at 4 years from a classmate. I also (on a lesser degree) don't want her to have to switch schools later on. This means that in the next year and a half I will be moving again, even though it is something I have expressed that I don't want to do. Some things are more important.

So I have been passively looking at houses and rentals in areas that I would be interested in living in/near for the next 15-20 years. It's a pretty big commitment.

The worst part is when I find something that is amazing. That's when the anxiety sets in. All sorts of doubts about leaving the familiar and taking a pretty big step forward. But I'm so darn impatient! I'm 200% ready to leave this rotting town; 200% ready to live in a long-term home; ready to pick the town; make the commitment; settle down and live. I want to get out now but I also don't want to rush into it and make a mistake.


*************************

The last course of my year one semester has demolished me. The worst part (thanks, universe) was the timing of it all. This Pathology course was the most exciting and interesting course of my entire first year! I finished the first half of the course just soaring, wrote my midterm (aced it!) and then we had our "March Break". The entire "March Break" concept is more than stupid for my program because year one ends on April 5th. We have our "March Break" and then return to 'class' for two weeks before year two begins on April 6th.


O_o


I'd rather work through the break and have the time off between years...

Anyways! I began my readings again towards the end of March Break to find out that the rest of the course is devoted to Skin Pathologies [pathology = disease state] which was neat for about two minutes, then the text started outlining the communicability of said diseases (some of which are debilitating and life changing) and how a lot of the time they present little to no symptoms. I would have no idea if I was contracting these diseases, and even more deadly, if I was BRINGING THEM HOME TO MY FAMILY, until it was too late. Diseases like Herpes, which not only does not have a cure, it attacks the immune system and increases the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS.


O_O


There was even a special subtype of Herpes that mainly affected my potential profession.



Well, after I calmed my panic attack and dried my tears I came to a horrific and depressing conclusion:


There was no way I could finish my schooling for this profession.


This sucks the biggest, hairiest sack of balls I have ever seen. Flashing before my eyes was every conversation I had ever had in which I expressed my pride at waiting to go to College, because then I had decided what I wanted to do and I wouldn't drop out halfway through. I thought of my Dad. The money I had borrowed from him for this year of school. How, the last time I had seen him, I had asked for the next chunk of tuition since the payment was coming up. All of the biology books I had purchased, that had only been used once (one of them has never been used). The year I invested into this, and the equiptment that I bought. Images of my future career, perhaps even small business, flashed...then dissolved...and I felt like an ass.

Boyfriend was amazing and helped talk me through it, after all, it was better for me to realize these truths late into first year, than after fourth; and I wouldn't have been able to attend school in person anyways this year due to the birth of Splat. We talked about other school paths for me and I've made a new decision. I will actually graduate a year earlier than before since I can do it all full time now!

Of course, this all leads to a new application process, transcript getting, daycare, transportation, a new OSAP application, and a bigger head ache for now.

I had just finished paying for all the parts of my previous OSAP application...I'm hoping that it can carry foward to my new one... if not the application itself, then perhaps all of the supporting documents.

My current college is out-of-province, so the transcript needs to be snail-mailed from them - instead of emailed/faxed like usual.... so now I'm relying on a less-than-reliable-institute for timeliness for my current applications. Argh.


********************


I was sitting on the couch last night, crocheting Splat's blanket (it's a Christmas gift, Shake'n'Bake recieved hers for the Christmas that just passed). I've been close to being finished for a while...the blanket is comprised of over 100 individual squares that are then stitched together, and I've been contemplating starting to stitch together the ones that I already have finished. I'm so excited to get the blanket done, but I knew that at some point I would run out of squares for the last colour if I didn't finish them first. It was a bummer. And then it hit me.

One square at a time.

I need to take joy in the little successes along the way to the bigger one.

One square at a time.

If I keep putting in the work, then I will find the perfect house instead of rushing into it.

One square at a time.

I've requested that my transcript be sent as soon as I complete my final exam, they've agreed.

One square at a time.

And the blanket/house/career will be built on a strong foundation and finished in a complete and competent way.





I finished all of the squares late last night... guess who's started to stitch the blanket together!

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fear of the Unknown

It has quite suddenly become a very real possibility that I will be attending classes in person soon.

This has led to some awesome amounts of insomnia. On top of my already existing funk/depression-remnants.

Going to school in person is scary to me because I don't know if I can do it. Logically, I should be able to succeed at it; maintain interest in my classes; complete my homework; etc., but because it is unknown, because it is something that I have never done before... I'm scared out of my mind.

I am afraid that I will fail at being a College Student. Perhaps my marks will drop, or I won't be able to keep up with the demanding schedule of school + family, I just don't know. I don't want my children to suffer for it. One of the biggest transitions I had as a child was when my mother went back to school and stopped caring about us. I have no desire to follow in these ghostly footprints, but it is a fear that resonates deep within me.

What is it like to attend class in person? I haven't been to an actual class since highschool...and back then I couldn't have cared less about my marks or the material. I'm surprised I remembered which classes to go to most days. And now what? And now I have to care. I have to show up for class and try to learn. I have to absorb and memorize information. I have to succeed in school. I have to do all of these things because I need to be a good adult, rolemodel, and mother...for my family and for me.

I am afraid to let someone down. Anyone who I care about. Down. It's such a gripping fear.

Where is the sign that is supposed to let me know I've made the right decisions? Chosen the right career? I don't care if there isn't one, there should be!

Two years ago I decided to go to school for something because I needed a stable career with a stable source of income to support my little girl. 'Girl' became 'girls' and I find myself changing. At which point does a decision become the 'best' one to make... are they all a little bit selfish?


O_o


I don't know if I follow my last paragraph...it's late...lack of sleep.



I just hate wondering. I hate not knowing. When this is all over, I'll be able to look back and think: "Well, that was easy."/"What an awful, awful choice."/"I love College, I'm going to learn more!"/"I'm glad that's over, I'm taking my degree and running."

And then I'll know.

And no matter what, it will be better than now.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Christmas Cards

After deciding (and posting) my Merry Ultimatum for this year, I recieved 18 letters.


That's about 5 times as much as I recieved the previous Christmas.





If you look closely, you can see the homemade holly on each corner of the mirror, and the garland wrapping the staircase pole in the reflection. Our decoration were a little more impressive on the large scale.

So for Christmas 2011, the people who sent a card to me in 2010 will get one. Then I will have extras. Anyone who wishes to make up their 2010-faux-pas by sending me a card for 2011 will get one in return.

Victoire.



P.S. I hate school and taxes...seperately...more to come.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Butting In and Out

I am a non-smoker.

I am a smoker.


I am a non-smoker.

I am a smoker.



I am a casual smoker.

I am an occasional smoker.

I am a social smoker.

I am a smoker.

I am a non-smoker.


Are you confused yet? I know I am.



I started smoking when I was...17? I'm pretty sure it was 17... stupid memory. Oh, and here's a story for you, the story of how I started smoking.



Disclaimer: I am WELL aware of how stupid this all is. Please don't feel the need to tell me. I have yet to hear a good reason why someone would start smoking.



When I was 15 I had a crush on an older boy. He had tattoos and piercings; his own apartment; and he flirted with me. He was soooooo cool. I sat in his lap all the time, he held my hand when we walked together, and when his friends all lit up their cigarellas, he would share his with me. Cigarellas are small, flavoured cigars, some have plastic filters, some have paper filters. Smoke, flavour, no nicotine - but all the habit.

For the next couple of years I would smoke these cigarellas whenever I felt the urge to. Mainly for social outings, occassionally I would take the screen off my bedroom window and smoke them on the roof. (My poor parents...sorry Dad!)

When I moved out of my parents' house, I moved into a party house in which we would drink like fish; smoke pot; and of course, the cigarette-smokers would smoke their cigarettes. The cigarellas became a routine again, making an appearance most nights out of the week. I reasoned with myself that they weren't cigarettes so they weren't addictive. There was no nicotine and I could stop smoking them whenever I wanted.

I started my Carpentry Apprenticeship and most of my new friends smoked. In an effort to be actively social with my classmates I bought more and more packs of cigarellas (expensive little buggers) and went outside with everyone during smoke break. I recall Dad finding my Zippo lighter one day, and the only words I could form were: 'It's not for cigarettes'. When the work became stressful (or whichever emotion or excuse someone wanted to voice) we would all pine for smoke break and rush outside in a frenzied mob of togetherness. This burning desire for the friendly break associated with smoking is what finally did me in.

My class went to a big school about an hour outside of our normal one, to use a bigger wood shop with more tools. I brought what was left of my pack of cigarellas (as I would on any other day) and we all left our cars back at the school and took a bus. Being too cool for a coat (or perhaps the weather didn't call for one...I can't remember) I had only my hoodie and my toolbox. When the shop heated up I removed said hoodie and tossed it on top of my toolbox, cigarellas in the hoodie pocket.

Tool after tool refused to work properly for me, my project was taking longer and looking poorer than I wanted. I craved the break, and as such, craved the smoke that was associated with it. Amidst F-bombs and other curse words, flying pieces of frustrated projects, and the clanging of tools being tossed on the ground; you could only hear the murmuring of the impending smoke break. When the time finally came, everyone swarmed towards the doors in a big angry mass. I made a beeline for my hoodie, snatched my pack out, and practically ran to catch up with the others.

Some guys had already lit up, others were passing or fumbling with lighters, but there was a palpable relief in the air. Oh God, I was looking forward to this one. And then I opened my pack.

My best guess is that my hoodie fell off my toolbox...and somebody stepped on it...and then picked it up and put it back on my toolbox.

Dust. They were all dust.

I stared at my dust for a solid fifteen seconds, then put my hand out and said:


"Somebody give me a cigarette. Now."


I smoked six cigarettes that day, and I never smoked less until the first time I quit.





At this point I have probably started smoking and successfully quit five or six times.

I am currently smoke free, but does this mean I will never smoke again? I don't know. I honestly don't know. Smoking is like a small parasite that implants itself in your brain. My parasite attaches itself to feelings of intense stress (mainly the relief of said stress) and fitting in socially.

One thing I do know is that if I ever do start smoking again, I will quit again. And I truly believe that I will quit every time I start. After all, I only need the quitting to stick one time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sex and Love

The dys·func·tion of the past believed that Sex and Love were just about the same thing.

Sex was supposed to be something that two people did when they were in love, or as a way to express their love, etc.

As it turned out, in an effort to find/create/achieve love she would use sex.

I would use sex.

No one had ever told me differently.

As far as I was concerned: couples argued as a normal part of their relationships, differed in opinions, made snarky comments to each other; but as long as the sex was still good and plentiful then the relationship was still succeeding.

Problems in the bedroom obviously meant there were massive problems in the relationship, and if that one aspect could be saved everything else would fall into place.

Makes sense, right?

Turns out, no.

The dys·func·tion of the present would love to be able to tell the dys·func·tion of the past that sex is not required for there to be love.

Does that mean that I am preaching celibacy? No. I believe that if you are ready to have sex with somebody than the time is appropriate. I am stating that it would have been nice if someone had told me that sex is not that important, especially not to the longevity or success of a relationship.

People in today's society have flings, they have one night stands, and they have friends with benefits. Why do all of these sexual contracts exist if sex is the only way to form and sustain a healthy, lasting relationship?

The answer is simple: these sexual contracts exist as a means to have sex and that is all. Sex does not equal Love.

Sex < Love

Love > Sex

Love is greater than Sex, and as such a relationship does not need sex to have love.


"dys·func·tion, does that mean that if two people have sex that they aren't in love?"


No.

What that means is that if two people are in love that they should recognize that sex is not a pivotal point of their relationship, nor is it necessary for their relationship to exist.

For example, Boyfriend has the ability to say to me at any time "dys·func·tion, I don't want to have sex anymore," and after we had a discussion as to why (since at this point it would be a change in our existing relationship), I would concede to his wishes and we would not have sex anymore.

When I was younger, my mother bought me a promise ring. This ring was silver with a heart on it. I wore it on my wedding finger as a symbol of the promise that I made to abstain from sex until marriage.

I was 16 years old when she laughed at me for still wearing it. "I don't actually think you're going to wait until marriage." She had snickered. It hurt so bad I took off the ring and never wore it again.

Do I reasonably think that I would have waited until marriage to have sex? No, probably not. But I think that I may have waited longer, or had a different opinion of sex, if she someone had taken the time to tell me that SEX DOES NOT EQUAL LOVE. That I could not extend the life of a relationship by having sex with someone; that I could not salvage a relationship by compromising my body; that I should not have to do any of these things for someone who truly loves me.


I write because I ramble because I rant because it pops into my head.


When my girls enter highschool (or before if need be O_O) we will make a decision about a form of birth control. If they choose to never have sex until they are married (or ever) then they will have regular periods (a perk of birth control) and less acne. Better to be safe than sorry.

And when I talk to my girls about sex, it will not be a taboo thing that is not spoken about; it will be an open discussion that is grounds for questions, concerns, and discussion. And most of all, my girls will be told that the best time to have sex is when they are ready. Not their friends, not their partner, but them and them alone.

Who knows, maybe in twenty-some-odd-years they will turn to their parnter and say "Man, I really wish my mom had said ____________ to me. It would have helped me to make better decisions."



We'll see.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Depression Lurks In The Shadows

Like a ghost, or a beast, my depression waits until I am not prepared and then it strikes.

The number of times I have slept through the night since Splat was born: one. One time.  I am sleep deprived.

Shake'n'Bake got the flu at her dad's house a week or so ago. She then gave it to Splat. Vomitting, diarrhea, each symptom outlasting and outdoing the last. Shake'n'Bake then got a massive ear infection, and a chest cold - that she also passed on to Splat.

And me.

I have been sick for the past three weeks now. A draining, lifeless sick that has consumed my entire being. I wanted to post something. I knew that I should post something, even a simple "Sick. More later," but nothing would come. I would check my dashboard, and just stare.

"New Post" seemed "Too Ridiculous" to even try, so I didn't.

I am sleep deprived and sick, and my depression attacked when I was weak.

Luckily for me, my depression is sick too.

This general lack of energy has caused my depression to become more of a heavy fog. Cycling through my days in a blind rut, I have been watching breakfasts become lunches, a.m. roll into p.m., and Mondays become Tuesdays become Fridays become...is it Monday yet?

I have barely lifted a finger for housework. Laundry was a necessity (it almost killed me) and yesterday the groceries had to be purchased so we would not starve, but I'm running on empty. Boyfriend had his reading week from school and he got to wash dishes the entire time.


O_o


Wooooooo.

I want to post. I want to post humorous or insightful things that everyone will enjoy. I want to brighten someone's day; share my creativity; or brag about the awesomeness of my family in general, and for the past while I haven't been able to sit at my computer to do any of it.

Just blah.



I can't wait for the weather to warm up. As it does, the girls and I will be able to go out for walks again, and I will be able to overcome this cabin fever I've been having.

We've enrolled Shake'n'Bake in a gymnastics class for wee ones, and I am hoping that getting out more will benefit all of us.

This past year has been the best for my depression that it has even been, but it lurks. It lurks and it waits for winter to come and confine me, and the flu to come and weaken me, and the babies to come and deprive me of sleep... then it strikes.




...nasty bugger.
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