6 Years

It’s been six years since my dad died.

I always think about my dad a lot, but even more so lately. I wonder what he would think of my life now. Would he be proud of me? Would he be disappointed?

He has two beautiful granddaughters that he never got to meet. I bought and sold a home. I ran a successful business and now I have a completely different career that I love. I have a couple more tattoos and half a dozen more piercings. I hope that he would be proud of these things. Maybe not the tattoos.

Conversely, I remained in a marriage that was not happy. It wasn’t happy when my dad was alive, and it got worse in the years after he died. I know my dad supported me in any decision that I made, but I know that he wanted better for me than what my relationship had become. I know that he hoped that I would leave my marriage, even though he never came right out and said it (to me, anyway). I have left it, though. I took five extra years but I did it. I hope that he would be proud of me for that.

My dad and my (now ex) husband got along great at first. My dad gave us money for our wedding; he paid for our wedding bands; and he arranged and paid for the cottage we stayed in for our honeymoon. My dad and stepmom bought a brand new house and had the builders create an amazing basement apartment so that we could move to Guelph to be closer to him. My dad was my first client for my business. He bent over backwards for us.

My ex was completely ungrateful for all of this. When we moved to Guelph he treated it as a vacation and lay on the couch for months doing nothing. Part of our agreement was that we split the household chores for the common areas. Instead, my ex would leave pop cans around and leave messes in the kitchen for others to clean up. And by others, I mean me. He got mad at me for small things and he didn’t care if my dad, my stepmother, or my little brother saw it.

As a former daddy’s girl, my dad always saw me as 12 years old. It didn’t matter that I was grown and married, he saw his 12 year old girl being treated poorly. Tension ensued. A lot of stuff happened that I don’t want to get into, but it ended in my dad asking my ex to leave.

I was completely torn, but I remained loyal to my husband. We found a house to rent and we moved out. This is when my husband completely shut down and things got really, really bad for us. We had our ups and downs after that, but it was never “good” again. My ex’s favourite thing to say about my father was that he wished he would get cancer and die.

We moved out in December of 2010. My dad died (of cancer) in May of 2012.

In the last six-ish months of my dad’s life we got closer again, but it was never like it was before. We never had the same relationship. I was never daddy’s little girl again. Our relationship was forever altered and I never got the chance to fully repair it.

Three days before my dad died he called me. In the six years that have passed since his death, I have never told anyone about the conversation we had.

My dad and my stepmom didn’t know that the cancer was going to win. They remained hopeful and even as my dad got sicker and sicker; skinnier and skinnier; weaker and weaker, they chalked it up to a bad chemo round.

Three days before he died, they saw his oncologist who told them that the cancer was terminal and that my dad had three months to live.

My dad called me from the oncologist’s office. I could barely hear him over the phone. The chemo had made him really weak and his voice was barely audible even in person. I could tell he had been crying, which made it so much harder to hear him.

He told me that he was going to die. He told me that he had three months left to live. And he told me…and I have kept this to myself for six long years…he said, “I’m really going to miss you, Breezy.” That’s what broke me. I lost it. I got off the phone with him and just melted down. I had missed out on a year and a half of my dad’s life and it turns out that it was the last year and a half he had.

My husband was on nights that week. I went upstairs and crawled into bed with him. I curled myself around him. He woke up and saw that I was sobbing. He asked me what was wrong. I couldn’t answer. After a few attempts, I told him that my dad was dying and that he only had a few months left.

My husband. Rolled his eyes. Rolled over. And went back to sleep.

When my dad died I was a mess for about a month. I imploded. I drank constantly. I acted recklessly and sought out bad situations. I have one night where I can’t remember anything that I did, and I’m pretty sure I want to leave it that way. I’ve never felt that dark before.

And my husband? Did nothing. Didn’t hug me. Didn’t kiss me. Didn’t even go to the funeral. I had three friends come up to stay with me for the weekend of the funeral (including HIS best friend), because they cared more about me than my husband. They were there for me. They let me cry on their shoulders. They slept in my bed with me. They helped me fill out insurance forms and made sure I could walk up the steps in the funeral home.

Not the person with whom I promised to spend my entire life. To take care of no matter what. That person was nowhere to be found. That person insisted that I not talk about my father. That I not have pictures or mementos of him in our home.

The last six years have been hard. This past year in particular started out really, really hard…but I’ve really found myself. I’m happy. I like where I am and who I’ve become. And I really hope that wherever my dad is, even if it’s just in my head, he’s proud of me.

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Late night revelation

I take Zoloft.  I’ve been on medication for ten years, but have just started Zoloft recently.  I’m still on an increasing dose, although where I am now seems pretty good most days.  I’m trying to determine if I like where I am right now or if I should continue the increase.

Some days I feel like the medication is not working very well.  It’s so difficult to describe, but I feel un-medicated.  I am used to having a medication that masks all of my emotions, rendering me robotic.   I switched medications because I wanted to try having a wider range of emotions: I was getting tired of having only numb and number.  Although I am coping better since starting this medication, I don’t have that overly medicated zombie-esque façade to which I become accustomed.  Quite often it would go through my mind that perhaps this medication was not working.

Today, I forgot to take my pill.  I have an alarm set on my phone that goes off at 8:00am during the week and 9:00am on weekends to remind me to take my pill.  Every morning I try to remember to take the pill before my alarm goes off; it’s some kind of game I play against myself.  Last night I was up late and today I had to start working an event at noon, so instead of setting myself an extra alarm to wake me, I decided to just use the pill reminder alarm.  I forgot to take my pill and there was no second alarm to remind me.

Halfway through my event today I realized that I had forgotten to take my medication.  I was working so I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it until tonight.  I made a mental note in my head and reminded myself that these pills didn’t seem to be doing much so it likely didn’t matter that I’d forgotten today’s dosage.  My day went on and I took the pill when I got home.

On an unrelated note, I’ve spent the day stressing over a personal situation.  I like someone, I think they like me back, I don’t know how much…I’m pretty much a teenager.  I’ve gone full “girl crazy” as I obsess over it.

And then I feel stupid for overthinking the situation.  I always do this: I overanalyze everything.  I tell myself over and over again that I need to stop stressing myself out.  At the same time, however, I tell myself that I’m probably right: he probably doesn’t like me.

I think, you are so stupid.  Why do I keep doing this? Why do I let myself get hurt? Why do I overthink and overanalyze and why do I care? Why can’t I just shut off and let no one in? Why did I think it was okay to let someone in?

I should just kill myself.

That’s when I stopped.  I completely froze.  I was walking from my bedroom to the living room and I stopped dead in my tracks.  A whoosh of breath took the word “whoa” out of my lungs and into the silent room.

I started talking to my brain as if it were two separate people: an intimidated nerd against the unapologetic bully.  I couldn’t let this bully speak to me like that.  I gave myself a pep talk.  It’s not okay to say those things.  I need to have respect for myself.  I am worthy of respect.  Why on Earth was I saying these things?

Ah.  Right.  The medication.

The medication IS working.  See what happens when I don’t take the medication? I become even more self-deprecating; suicidal, even.  Although maybe with the medication I am still somewhat crazy as evidenced by the fact that there seem to be two people in my brain.  Three, really, if you take into account this third party referee.

But it is really nice to see that the medication is working.  It is not masking my symptoms by creating a new mask.  It is allowing me to feel…I have a new range of emotions.  Some of them suck, but they’re there.  The medication allows me those emotions, but keeps away the really dark thoughts and feelings.  It’s like a dreamcatcher: it catches the bad thoughts and washes them away with the light.

So, I’m going to take some deep breaths.  I’m going to try to not freak out.  I am worth it.  Maybe you see that I’m worth it.  I hope that you see, but maybe you don’t.  And that would hurt, because I do feel.  I am human.  But I will heal and I will be okay.  You can bend me and you can bruise me but you can’t break me.

I can’t tell you the future.  You can’t tell me.  But I have today.  I know how I felt with you.  And if by some chance you don’t feel the same way, that’s okay.  I’m okay…or at least, I will be.

How not to get drunk and have a threesome 

*I wrote this a few weeks ago as an apology for a thing I did. I didn’t publish it here because I was embarrassed. But I’m also honest. And sometimes I do dumb things. And then I write about them.

Last week I turned 30.

This has been a big year for me.  29 kicked my ass.  In February my daughter turned one and still needed pillows surrounding her when she sat independently.  She was nowhere near crawling and I still hadn’t heard her tiny voice say “Mama.”  I chauffeured her to appointments all over Guelph and McMaster and I tried to come to terms with the fact that she might never “catch up.”

May marked five years since my dad died.  August would have been his 60th birthday.  I was always a Daddy’s Girl.  My dad was a superhero to me growing up: he could do no wrong.  The last couple years of his life were tough for us.  A huge wedge was driven between us and we never quite got back to where we were.  It will always be my biggest regret in life that we couldn’t make it “right” before he died.  As much as the skin around it heals, the scar is always there.

I also moved out on my own for the first time at 29.  I have my kids about 60% of the time, which means that half of the nights I spend here alone.  That has been really hard for me.  As much as I crack jokes about Gordon downstairs, he really has been a lifeline.  I will wake up at 2am to my floors vibrating with his snores beneath me, but damned if it isn’t reassuring.  I can’t be truly alone with Gordon ten feet below me.

I’ve also made some poor choices this year.  I’ve done things of which I am not proud.  I have allowed myself to be treated like a “piece of meat.”  I’ve spent a long time hiding emotions behind humour and I guess I’m reaping the rewards of a less than healthy defense mechanism.

I threw my own 30th birthday party because yeah, 29 fucking sucked.  Goodbye and good riddance.  Let’s begin anew.  But before that happens, let’s throw one big bash and throw inhibitions out the window.

Well, that wasn’t my intent…but it’s definitely what happened.

I did a stupid thing and I hurt someone.  This someone…this is where words start to fall apart and I picture funny cartoons in my head instead of facing the truth.  This someone…I don’t know what this someone is.  This someone is someone who seems kind and genuine, much unlike the people I have met recently.  Someone who is actually interested in ME and not just parts of me.  Someone I think I could actually spend time with and maybe even build something with.  (Oooo, Lego! No, Bri! Back on track.)

But I did a thing and quite possibly ruined the something with the someone.  I’m not sure.  He seems at least willing to try to get past it, so that’s something.  Right now I’m feeling like complete shit and like I don’t deserve it, but let’s put aside the self-deprecation for a moment (I know, unnatural).

I’m really not sure how to play this.  I can quite confidently say that this is a situation in which I have never before found myself.  I’m even rambling on paper.  All I know is that I like this someone and I would like another chance at not fucking it up.  If he would give me another chance.  I hope he does.  Even if it’s just another 35 minutes in a coffee shop.  Hell, I’ll drink water too.

Yes, Someone: I would sit in my favourite coffee shop and drink water for you.

So this is my essay…for a writer, it’s kind of shit.  I’m well aware.  But my gift is my song and this one’s for you.  (Plagiarism is sexy, right?)