All posts by Thirza Cuthand

Butch Boxing and Life

It’s Saturday night. I have started going to boxing classes. My second class is tomorrow at noon. I kind of strained my abs last Sunday, we have to do these intense ab work outs where you do sit ups with your ankles locked with someone and then practice jabs, hooks, uppercuts. OMG I realized I only use my abs to get out of bed. And the reason I know that is because my abs still are sore but I only feel the soreness when I am getting out of bed.

Anyway, it’s a nice workout after that. Like the jump rope stuff is a bit much for me, and the sit ups are fucking intense. But punching different things is pretty fun. I’ve never really done anything where I had to punch as hard as I could. It’s a really unused skill I have. Like, actually it’s not a skill of mine at all yet. BUT it will be! Last week Savoy showed me how to throw a punch, and it was really interesting and also feels pretty good. I’m doing recreational boxing, so there won’t be actual times when I am hitting someone in the head. Or getting hit. BUT I COULD! Savoy asked me if I had ever been in a bar fight. Nope. Not even the time I got beat up did I fight back. Like I was just such a pacifist. I think that has really changed over the years. I haven’t hit someone or anything, but I think in a dangerous situation I would probably go apeshit now. But yeah, I really just want to punch bags and things. And build some muscle mass.

I haven’t really been inspired to get involved in any fitness routines in a long time. Like I always worry about coming across as what one of my friends called “a fat hating fatty.” Like I am fat, it is what it is. I’ve talked about it here before. But I don’t want to talk about boxing while slamming being fat, cause that goes against my values. Like my body is just gonna be whatever it is in the end. But there are totally fit fat people out there. Like people might not believe that, but there are very athletic chubsters. Which is kind of cool because it throws people’s fat myths into the garbage.

Anyway yeah that’s tomorrow. Work has been going ok! I am doing alright I think, still in probationary period until the beginning of March and I have to learn how to do something different and new successfully to keep my job. But we’ll see. It would be nice to keep working. I’m waiting to hear about a large grant too. We’ll see.

I have a date next weekend! It’s like, oh man I shouldn’t make them feel weird by talking about it. But it’s like a low key just see how it goes hang out. I was kind of surprised to be approached. I’ve usually been in the position of chasing people, and to be honest that position is really demoralizing. Especially since nothing has really worked out in so long. I really shouldn’t talk about it much more tho cause I don’t want to make anyone I date or am interested in feel like I’m gonna put all their stuff on my blog. That would be shitty. It’s just been a really long time since anyone told me they liked me in that kind of way, like I actually can’t remember the last time. And who knows what the future will bring.

I haven’t knit all week but I think I’m gonna try and put an hour into it tonight so that I can be okay with my gibbled up hands tomorrow after boxing. I mean they are fine, but also they do get a little sore and stiff.

I’m hemorrhaging money right now. I have to pay up front for my eye exam on Wednesday and get reimbursed, I need to pay for my ASL class later that day, I’m digitizing videos too, and ALSO today Paypal told me my Adobe creative cloud fee comes out any moment. AND to make things worse, Little Mister is having bloody poops off and on. Like he did some last week, then was fine, then this morning had some again. So he needs to see the vet really really soon. He’s walking around like he is fine though! BUT he’s old and rickety. And he’s a sweetheart and I don’t want him to be sickly.

I guess life is pretty good. My friend I was so sad about two weeks ago is working to mend things with me, and offered a heartfelt apology, and we’re just gonna see how it goes but also maintain some more space between us. It’s hard. Interpersonal things are hard. And I do love her and when I think about the time we have known each other it’s kind of amazing we’ve only had one major incident like this.

But yah! Not gonna talk about that for a while, because I feel protective of our friendship right now especially because it’s hard.

There’s some film career stuff going on too, but right now it’s in the background waiting for funding to come through. So really I am doing not really anything in that regard at the moment, which is nice. But I hopefully am gonna be writing again soon.

I’ve been reading my tarot cards a lot lately. A new deck is coming to me in a month, the Numinous Tarot which is sort of a non-binary inclusive deck. I’m excited to see it! I backed it in a kickstarter a long time ago. Ha ha and of course the money came out at a terrible time recently, dammit, all this money! GONE!

So yeahhhhhhh things feel better today

Well, last week around this time I was in major distress. But I’m happy to say my feelings have changed and I feel pretty good. Not about that friendship, which definitely needs a time out still. BUT I feel better about life and things I am doing and stuff. I got paid today so I went and got some dog food, paid the internet bill, paid my Mom back cause I needed food money this last week, gonna get groceries but there’s some ice pellets coming down and I’m terrified of walking in slippy conditions. So yeah, it’s ok.

I found the diary entry I did from January 2nd, 1993, when I came out to my diary. The funny thing is I hadn’t clued in I was a lesbian until like 12:01 January 1st 1993, I mean it was coming and I was realizing and things were clicking into place slowly. But then I fell in love for the first time with a girl and also realized I never had those feelings for boys. I would have been 14. It was before the internet. I mean the internet was around but not at our house and definitely not in the way it is now. I hadn’t read that entry in a long time, I wasn’t sure what it would be like, like if I would be all upset or scared or whatever. But it was kind of a funny entry, like it was like revealing a secret to my diary so it was very momentous, and then a short paragraph about why I thought I was a lesbian and not bisexual (cause these boys who I don’t even remember now I just wanted to be friends with etc.) and then I launched into this very mushy romantic thing about feeling totally in love and I didn’t know if she was a lesbian so it was like oh no and I hoped she would notice me and wanting her to be my fiancée etc etc. Ha ha anyway, we never did get together for a whole bunch of reasons (like she was way older and going out with someone and hadn’t come out as bisexual yet etc etc) but yeah she did turn out to be bisexual so in some ways I wasn’t so far off the mark. And I did stay in love with her for like, two years, all really intense and sometimes really sad and sometimes really beautiful and we had a tender friendship and I never did tell her my feelings. But it was kind of sweet, to realize the thing that really tipped me over the edge with my coming out was falling madly in love for the first time.

It also kind of set the tone for the rest of my life, like I just fall in love a lot. And not to cheapen it or anything, I think I just feel things really strongly and when I really love someone it’s like, INTENSE and omg. And it’s only been that nothing has worked out yet that I have fallen so many times. And I do fall OUT of love too, like when it’s not happening and I kind of get fed up with waiting for someone to realize I am amazing or whatever lol. I don’t know tho, there was something really sweet to realize that when I came out to my diary it wasn’t all anguished, it was more so I could gush about how gorgeous and smart this girl was and how much I loved her. Like it made me feel less cynical about love, oddly enough. Even tho I’ve been disappointed so many times. I remember how new that feeling felt, and how overwhelming, and how I was amazed that I was someone who fell in love with girls (and women when I grew up obviously).

The other interesting thing is that I think being queer substantially improved my life. Like that probably sounds weird, but I was queer in a small Saskatchewan city, in the early 90’s, and gay stuff was everywhere at the time and visibility was really increasing. And it was a major reason I ended up making videos, like both being amazed by 90’s queer video art, and also getting access to video equipment to make my first few videos. And also I met a lot of older queer youth, like a lot of gay boys in university, and they would sneak me into the raver bar with them and we would drive around listening to Skinny Puppy and NIN and stuff. And I dunno, it sort of opened my world up, and before I came out I had felt very dark and depressed. I guess falling in love will do that.

Also I remember finding my community was tricky. At that time so much of queer culture was built around bars and needing to be drinking age. And I remember how I did find other homos was I went looking at AIDS Saskatoon for some pamphletes on having safe sex for lesbians, because OBVIOUSLY (and still to this day) we didn’t learn THAT in school. And so I went looking and found something for the Queer youth group that met once a week. It was called QYSS I think. I remember I went and met a couple of people and the guy kept calling the lesbian Mary and I thought that was her name ha ha ha! Anyway, yeah, it was a good group, I mean it was queer youth so it had a fair amount of drama which we are not allowed to talk about. But it was definitely a formative experience and I really think someday I should do a video or write about it. Now of course there’s like, the Internet. But Out Saskatoon still runs that group, with new names and I think the format has changed. And the age range is way lower.

Ha ha omg I remember Gay and Lesbian Health Services (the org that ran the youth group) also sold some queer stuff like funny shirts and mugs and cock and ball bondage things and shit like that. And I remember one time I was looking in their store and this guy picked up this small leather thing and said “What is this for?” and then suddenly started laughing and laughing. Ahh good times.

Anyway, yeah, love isn’t so bad. I mean it has lead me to some interesting places. And it was the catalyst for me finally coming out to myself. I think sometimes I hold myself back around it now tho, like I’ve just been burned so many times that I don’t let myself fall in love as easy as I used to. And it’s not that I don’t fall in love, so much as I keep trying to remain in denial about it because I feel bad or sheepish about it. Like I usually tell people I have a crush or feelings for them or whatever, because I really don’t want to say “HOLY SHIT I LOVE YOU!” when we haven’t kissed yet or established a relationship for long enough or whatever.

So it’s kind of cute to reflect on that 14 year old lesbian who was falling in love for the first time and deciding I wanted to MARRY this woman right off the bat and just how unrestrained my feelings were at that point in my life. In some ways it sounds kind of foolish now, and in other ways I kind of envy how sure I felt.

Painful Times

The last five days have been some of the most painful days I have been through in recent times. I had made a comment in an email to my best friend about thinking of having a fling with a certain woman I know who seems to be indicating some interest. And it kind of started a huge fight in my inbox for a few days, during which some really cruel things were said to me, and some very negative assumptions which have been made about me by this friend were underscored and highlighted and repeated over and over. And I had tried to get her to stop, and said she was hurting me, and she would like, say one apology in one sentence and then launch into the whole thing again. She kept threatening our friendship and it was pretty painful and she was super upsetting me to the point that I’ve basically cried on and off the last few days. I eventually had to ask that we take a break for a couple of months because she really was so relentless and so unwilling to mend things or admit she was really out of line or take accountability for the utter shitshow that became this email thread. And earlier, in the email I had sent her originally, I mentioned how long it has been since I kissed someone (spoiler: a fucking long time) and she took that fact and kind of used it against me in a really mean way kind of mocking me for it. And there were a lot of things wrong with what happened between us, but probably THAT was the major thing that felt like such a betrayal there is no going back. I have a lot of feelings over the dry spell I have been in, and it’s really difficult and there’s a lot of reasons why it’s been this way, but it’s obviously a very tender subject with me and the fact that my best friend would pick THAT fact to use to hurt me really crossed like, all the lines.

She asked if I would be willing to read any apologies after I asked for a break for two months, and I said I would because I was unsure of our friendship continuing. But that was three days ago or so now and nothing has come. And I have felt a mix of emotions, and if she reads this I am sure she would be insanely angry for me talking about it. But it’s been really difficult on me and I am trying to just feel my feelings and accept that I need to go through this grieving process for our friendship. Because really I don’t know how these things could be made right again, and the fact she hasn’t reached out with any apologies since is painful. And as I read over old diary entries I see how this long campaign has been waged in our friendship that has been dragging me down into paranoia and sadness and suspicion and just this really shitty headspace that I don’t even really feel is coming from the core of me. Like it’s kind of been projected on me, and I feel like I got deluded into going along with it, and it’s at the point where I don’t even know how I feel about certain people anymore. And it’s not like they are bad people, it’s just my view has been so skewed by this long campaign of trying to convince me I am a victim.

OH god it’s insane. Like when people say something is batshit crazy, this is the kind of thing they mean. It feels like there was so much gaslighting and some kind of ulterior motive and I’m really confused but also really ready to walk away. But I invested years and years of my life into this friendship, and often-almost always, felt love for her, and sometimes it felt like a more-than-friends kind of love, which I always knew wouldn’t go anywhere and we were just friends. But it’s hard for me to feel that emotion towards her when she was so emotionally abusive towards me. And maybe it’s good I am not feeling it as much. Like it’s not right, to love someone who hurts you.

So my heart is kind of broken. I want to behave honourably though, like I don’t want to hurt her back, even though I am so angry and upset. And so I haven’t lashed out the same way she did, which is good. But also, oh man. I just feel like this might be the end of our friendship. And as friendships go it was a long deep connection, like a decade and a half long friendship. And what makes me so sad is that in all that time, 99% of it was great and wonderful and I was so happy to have her in my life. But this whole email thread, and the months of build up to this point, they were some really really shitty times. And I felt like I was being isolated, and there was this intense hatred of people I was romantically interested in, and it felt like a lot of shit was being forced onto me so I would start thinking about life the same way she did.

And normally I am actually, even with the bipolar, a positive forward thinking person. Like I worked really hard on myself to get to this headspace, and to have good things in my life and know my worth and have confidence in my decision making abilities. And I am doing things in my life that feel positive, like things in my community, and with my art practice, and with my work life, and trying to nurture my still kind of new friendships and social groups here in Toronto. And it felt like, that was kind of changing, and like not so much those things but maybe my view of life and the world and all kinds of things, to see things as being quite a bit darker than they really are. And I felt like the narrative I was supposed to buy into was that I was broken and fucked up and needing to do all this work on myself before I could even have a romantic relationship. But I feel like this fight made me see that differently, and that it’s not true. Cause I did a shitload of work on myself when I got sober, like so much work, and I’ve been in therapy a long time, and I feel like I have a good base for myself. And people can’t force someone to “heal” especially not if that person doesn’t need it. Like I think I am fine the way I am.

It’s kind of a revelation, to realize I am okay as I am. I have healthy friendships with people (mostly!), I feel good about myself usually, I am open to falling in love, I do things that make me happy. I feel like my life is pretty good. Which is why it’s been weird to see this months long attempt to convert me into someone who feels constantly victimized and unhappy with almost EVERYONE in my life. And I really do know that not everyone is trustworthy, but I still want to be able to extend myself to new people and take a risk by letting them in either as a friend or something more.

I think the other thing that makes me sad is how she knew she was upsetting and hurting me and barely apologized and then KEPT GOING. It’s like being in a scene and calling your safeword and the person just keeps hurting you even when you’re way past the threshold and it’s not okay anymore. Even tho I could see this downward spiral we were in, it was still sort of surprising and shocking and sad when this whole thing happened. Like, I guess it was the logical conclusion. I mean not really, but when I look at the recent history of our friendship I can see why it happened, she got really dark, and started being less and less respectful of me and my choices. And she kept crossing boundaries and I didn’t call her out on it, like it was really getting pushed. And she started really hating me saying anything about crushes or the like, or things about my family. And I guess I like having friends I can talk about cuties with, and it just got really fucking dark and hateful and I didn’t know what to do about it. And it’s not even that I want to end the friendship, I just want to end THIS, this paranoia and anger and random hatred of people and fostering resentments and treating me like an idiotic child. Like I want the behaviour to end, but I don’t know how to do that, and I don’t know how to rebuild this when she hasn’t tried to make amends, and I can’t change someone’s behaviour or how they treat me. Like it is out of my hands, and that is sad.

And I know I could forgive her if she really wrote heartfelt apologies and promised to change the way she was treating me. But I feel so dismal about that even happening. Her convictions about the situation are so strong, and her ability to use so much of what she knew about me against me was so shocking and chilling. It really is a betrayal, and sad.

And I am trying to find myself again while we take this two month long break. I want to get to know myself again and really assess who I am and my relationships with people. Because I do think overall things are positive. But I want to know what I feel about life when this pall isn’t hanging over me anymore. And when my view of sweet gentle moments with people aren’t poisoned by someone or rewritten. And I want to be a hell of a lot less cynical than I have grown to be over the last few months.

A Very Good Christmas!

Hey! I spent Christmas without my family this year, for the first time. Last year Mom came for a couple weeks, but this year I was alone, sort of, not totally, but it was good! I made a lot of food, baked a lot of cookies, made a cherry cake, made a wifesaver, made candied yams, made a cherry pie. Ate a lot of cheese, I kind of had to hold back on the cheese tho cause it was making me super gassy. UGH! BUT it was a great Christmas, Mom sent me a nice present, with my favourite soaps and a nice shirt and some expensive chocolates that are also my favourites, and some rat root in case I get a sore throat. I sent her a fifty dollar bed bath and beyond card, but the bed bath and beyond store in Saskatoon is still not open, almost, but not quite. I hope she can use it online if she wants to spend it soon.

I spent later on Christmas day with some friends eating an amazing fucking turkey dinner, with moist turkey and amazing stuffing and everything was so delicious. And then we watched Batman Returns, the one with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. I had such a big crush on her in that movie, it was probably the costume. I had a big poster of her over my bed before I came out, I remember overhearing my Mom say “Yeah Thirza has a crush on Catwoman.” And I was like “OMG do I???” Ha ha but yeah, those early celeb crushes were fun.

It was an interesting Christmas because I wasn’t catering to my family or doing a LOT of emotional labour/domestic labour that I am used to with my family. My Grandparents aren’t around anymore, if they were I would probably have gone home somehow. But I often felt unappreciated at Christmas, even tho I was doing a shitload of work like baking, cooking, washing, cleaning, driving, like all the things. ALL THE THINGS! And you know, guy cousins would be over not doing much but playing video games. And that was always really frustrating to me, especially as a feminist. And even tho my gender is fluid, and I do feel pretty male at times, I can’t imagine ever feeling entitled to sit around while women cater to my needs. Yeahhhhh. And there are other more personal reasons why I didn’t really want to go home this year, which I am not gonna talk about here.

And the funny thing is I still did do a whole bunch of cooking, but I think because I was doing it for me and my friends and not because it was expected, it felt better. I felt better. It was just being done because I wanted to contribute, and not because I was expected.

ANYWAY! I also have to get a major job application together this next month, and it’s not just like, update my resume kind of thing, it’s for a tenure track job. I have had bad luck applying for sessional work at this place, but I’m gonna try anyway, because it would be sweet to do something I am totally qualified for and knowledgeable about. Not to mention it pays really fucking well. And it would kind of secure my future here. We just found out the co-op is likely going to remain eligible for rental supplements until 2025, which is a huge relief, but also I wouldn’t mind paying market rent if I could afford it. And I also wouldn’t mind being able to pay off my student loan, if I could afford it. I’m also on a low income support program for Hydro, and although that has been amazing, being off it would be fine, if I could afford it. I’ve just gotten really savvy about being poor and how to do it in this city, but like, not having to worry about that would be great.

I still have my job! Sometimes I have good days, sometimes I have bad days. But on my good days I can raise hundreds of dollars for people, so it feels good and I am happy about that. I’d like some more good days than bad days, it’s kind of random when they happen, and I don’t know what the variables are. One day I didn’t take my ADHD medication, and I was sleepy and feeling super shitty (also because I take my antideps at the same time and missed them also) and I think it translated into my voice and how I was coming across on the phones. I wasn’t as enthusiastic and friendly as I normally am. Anyway, that day was definitely a poor performance day, BUT I figured out how to avoid that again by putting my medication dosette on top of my bag I take everywhere with me, so in the morning I would have to touch it before leaving. Things like that are really helpful.

Having a small income is nice. It’s not super small, it covers my needs anyway, and then I get random fees and stuff on top of that that help me out. But yeah, it’s at least twice as much as welfare was, and it’s really helping me out. My next payday is this Friday, and I am gonna be able to pay rent and my phone bill and probably some other bills with it. And I should get another cheque soon for an arty thing I am doing.

So overall this Christmas was good. Life is pretty good. I’m making money again at a job for the first time in ages and that feels good, even on the bad days. I get to work on an application to teach, which is pretty awesome, even if I don’t get it it will be nice to have had the practice of writing these applications for academic jobs. My friend says that universities are going to be looking for more people with production experience, so that’s hopeful, since I am more of someone with production experience than academic writing experience. It would be nice to combine the two in a class tho, like teach production while looking at Indigenous and queer films. (And Indigenous queer films)

It would be nice to start spending Christmases with my own family in the future, but those people either haven’t met me yet (as in my partner) or possibly don’t exist yet (as in children). So for now, spending Christmas with friends is pretty good. It’s really changed how I view Christmas. I’ve had so many stressed out Christmases, and this was totally not stressful. It was still busy tho. But yeah, I liked it. I hope even when I do have my own family, it continues not being so stressed.

WEEKEND!

There’s one day left of my four day weekend! It’s been awesome.

Work went well last week, I know I can handle three full days. But more than that would definitely stress me out too much. Having four days off three days on is a good balance for me. Especially since I have some other work to do.

I was gonna apply for a Canada Council grant, but I can tell that is not happening this round. I just don’t have it in me, I’m really unsure of what to apply for, I don’t want to send in a half baked idea and then be committed to something major with lukewarm feelings about it.

I did WAY less crying this weekend, so that was nice. I’m also sort of avoiding thinking about what was making me cry tho, and I know the avoiding is not a great strategy and I gotta deal with it.

I am also realizing I do not trust very many people in my life. Like, maybe two? No, three. Out of my entire social sphere, that is not very many. I don’t completely distrust everyone else, I just notice there have been very specific patterns with friends and lovers in my life that involve intense intimacy (even platonic intimacy) for a limited period followed by completely being abandoned. And it’s happened enough times that I think there is something to be said for figuring out why I attract those kinds of people into my life. Like, I do have LONG TERM best friends, like my friend Laurel and I have been best friends for 37 years and still tell each other mostly everything. And my friend Robin and I have known each other for 15 years and it’s good and I don’t see us stopping. So there are people I can form long term friendships with and feel safe with and be really close to, even if we temporarily drift or aren’t in as much contact. Like I know they are only a phone call/text/email away and will be there for me. And my friend Riki is someone I have been close to for a shorter period, but I can tell she and I have that kind of long term friendship potential. Like it’s there, it’s just that we haven’t been as close as we are now for as many years as the other two. OH and my friend Lynn and I are still really close. Okay maybe a couple other people, but they are far away.

But yeah, there have been a number of people I’ve been super close to and then it just like, gets kind of cold and chilly and weird and they are off to the next thing and have new friends and not really any more time for me or my needs. Like it’s weird, that that is a recognizable pattern in my friendships. I kind of know why this is happening, I think learning how to deal with this ongoing pattern is something I need to figure out though. Like, I definitely need to let go way sooner. I think I hold on and try to make things work when really I should just accept that I’ve been discarded and move on.

And there are good things about knowing I have a small number of friends I know for sure I can rely on. Like at least I have that, and I know they aren’t gonna mess with me or abandon me. And I think what I like about them is that they can argue with me and we know it doesn’t mean the end of our friendship. And vice versa. And that’s comforting, in a weird way. I don’t mean like I always fight with my friends tho, I just mean if someone is doing something that might hurt themselves, the other can be like “Don’t do that thing again! Or do it but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Which is kind of useful in a friendship.

But anyway, it’s really not so bad if someone doesn’t want to be my friend. I would rather know sooner than later. I think what makes me laugh tho is that according to my facebook I have 800+ friends. But according to me, I would say maybe 5-6 people I actually call when I am sad. Which is still a good number. It could be worse. Maybe there are levels of friendship, and I just need to learn when someone is going to be a Level 10 friendship or maybe they are more of a Level 3 or 1 like further away from me and not as involved and knowing very little about me and my interests and what makes me happy and sad and upset. Like I would say most of my facebook friends are a Level 1. And then family is just in a whole other category.

But yeah, maybe my sadness comes from trying to fit a Level 1 or 2 into a Level 10 slot. Like they just don’t have that kind of commitment and interest. Which is fine, whatever. But like, I’m tired of fighting to get attention from these people when I could call up one of my best friends I’ve known for years and talk about my dogs and cuties and find out what is happening in their neighbourhood.

Oh god why do I write so late at night?

It’s 11 to midnight at this writing. I have work tomorrow at 12:30. I’m looking forward to it. Last week was training. This week is the beginning of the rest of my life there ha ha. But yeah, last week seemed to go well, I was on time every day, things seemed to work out. I signed up for 25.5 hours of work this week. Last week I had only two full days and four hours on the Thursday tho, and I REALLY liked it that way. But I want to do three full days this week to see how I do. I am gauging my ability to stick with these hours, because I COULD do less hours in one of my shifts, but I’d also like to make as much money as I can without overdoing it and burning out. Call centre work can be tough.

Anyway, things are good in that regard so far. We’ll see how this week goes. And Friday is my day off again. I’m gonna put my hours in for next week on Wednesday when I’ve had more of a chance to see what my schedule looks like next week and when I want to go do things. Like I think there’s a round dance for Idle No More on Thursday next week I want to go to. Or Tuesday. Or something. See! I gotta check my schedule. And plan accordingly.

I’m real sleepy. Night meds are kicking in.

I’m getting money this week! Payday is Friday. Today I got a cheque from a talk I did at Concordia. Friday I’ll also get some money for doing admin on a grant we got. So I got Mom’s Christmas present and it’s on it’s way to her. And another cute thing for her. And I ate tacos today. I got so much meat at Loblaws when my cheque from welfare came in last Monday. Like easily 60-70 dollars worth of meat. Anyway, yeah for meat! It’s the best! Ha ha except not really, I know, but eating it makes my body feel healthy because I have one of those bodies that needs meat.

I actually did a lot of crying this last weekend. Like, so much crying. I was kind of working through some things and making major realizations and I’m not gonna talk about it here because it involves other people and things that have happened to me, BUT I think I’m closer to being able to end some bad habits and patterns by recognizing this stuff. So for that reason I actually feel pretty hopeful about it.

AND I managed to finish my second draft of my script. It was overdue, I feel kinda shitty about that. BUT I think a few fundamental changes have made it stronger, and I can kind of see places that I can still improve if I do more research and think more on it. So that’s awesome. I sent in my copy to my people, and to a friend because it’s been weird telling her all about doing all this creative work and having her know nothing about the content of what I’m doing except it’s a supernatural horror film about a woman who sets fires. ALSO I ended up writing a few funny lines. Not enough to shift it to a comedy by any means, but maybe enough to make it seem more of a human story. Like just more well rounded.

Anyway, Christmas is coming. I got a tiny tree. Such a tiny tree. I like it, I got a couple more ornaments for it today. The dogs are super cute. Little Mister does this thing where he comes to check on me and stares while wagging his lil tail, to see if I want a cuddle, and of course when I see him doing that we always end up cuddling. It’s nice to see him get me out of myself. And it’s good caring for them, making sure their needs are met. Little Mister was coughing a lot last night. But then tonight, nothing. I don’t know, maybe he just had something in his throat. Dogs are weird.

Stuff about work, and some reasonable paranoia

This weekend has been pretty good. I have a deadline for this script this coming Friday, so mostly I did that, with breaks to do housework stuff. I cleaned the kitchen, which was really in desperate need. I cleaned out the fridge today. I washed the floor. But when I cleaned the kitchen some old piece of glass from when I broke my coffee pot must have been around, because I had a lil piece in my foot today that was driving me nuts. Anyway, things in here are way better, I did laundry too. Not sheets yet tho, I’m doing those tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my last push to make specific changes to the end of my script. Then Friday I’m running through the whole thing and trying to make some more general changes. A note I got is that people all sound the same in my script, which is true, they don’t have separate voices in my head when I have written their dialogue. And they need more individual personalities. So I am gonna go through it and try to punch that up. And check some more general notes and try to resolve those problems, then get it in! It’s so close! Then Christmas break, which is nice. Except I’ll be working. But not on the script!

I WILL have to work on another creative project tho, I need to rewrite a treatment to make it more specific for a project. I put it away a while ago and haven’t really seriously looked at it recently but I gotta do it. And I gotta rework the budget. I originally budgeted a huge amount for actors, but now I am realizing their time commitment is not so huge that I need to spend SO much. Like they are still gonna get paid decently. But I think I can make some room for other things like editing suite rental and equipment rental etc. So I’m gonna play with the numbers a little.

I’m gonna hear about a grant in January too, and if I get it I’ll have a project to work on this summer. But I really do think I’ll still work at my job if that is going well. I’m not really trusting the universe to catch me after grants dry up the way I used to. Like, it was nice to sort of live off my career this summer. But out of the ordinary. And I imagine my rent will remain mostly the same next year, maybe a small increase, but my income wasn’t huge this last year. And $10,000 was an award which isn’t considered income by CRA. So that’s nice.

It’s hard to work so much. At least I like doing the career stuff. It’s always fun. I remember one time I went back to see an old girlfriend who never goes online (not social media anyway) so she asked what I was doing and I told her I was working on videos and stuff and she was kind of disgusted and like “You still do THAT?!” OH MAN! I was like oh god whatever this is the way you are anyway why am I surprised? Anyway yes, I still do that, I have a goal in my head, I am heading TOWARDS something here. Like it’s all building up to new and bigger things. I just really like doing videos and films. Like I’m good at it and like it and people seem to sometimes like watching them. So why stop? It’s kind of funny she was so disgusted tho, like I got stuck in my growth or something and nothing ever changed and I’ve been making the same video about the same subject ever since. Ha ha which is not true, I’ve made videos about all kinds of things. So whatever.

Anyway, work starts in less than 48 hours! It’s exciting! I’m gonna iron some shirts tonight or tomorrow. I’m not gonna walk in there in a t-shirt that’s for sure. I already have knuckle tattoos, I don’t need to look any more alternative than I already do. AND my pink hair. Which I gotta redye tonight actually before I forget. I need a hair cut, but my hair stylist isn’t working on Mondays, so I was gonna go on Saturday.

Tomorrow I might also have to swing by the welfare office for my cheque. I hope they direct deposit it though, I don’t want to go to that area right now, even tho I’ll be there during broad daylight. Just a block away women have been going missing and been murdered and a bunch of men went missing over the recent years too. But especially in the last month, violence seems to be escalating in that area. And it seems to happen after hours, but I still feel creeped out. People are getting really scared. I’m sure I’d be fine if I went, but the less I need to go to that area, the safer I would feel.

I’ve lived in neighbourhoods before where women were going missing, and even tho I was not the demographic being targeted (in that case it was sex workers in the DTES) it still feels creepy as hell and unsafe. And I remember a few times men in cars assuming they could pay me for sex even tho I wasn’t doing any of the usual things women in that area did to indicate they were available. Like I’d just be walking home and they’d pull right in front of me blocking my way trying to get me in their cars. And it’s like fuck off! But also especially sketchy at that time because of all the missing women. Anyway, it feels different this time because there’s not really one specific thing tying these missing people together besides the neighbourhood. It was mostly gay/bi/queer men going missing, but now it seems to be also cis and trans women, queer and maybe also not? So I really don’t know what’s going on. It feels like someone is escalating their pattern and feels really comfortable in that neighbourhood, comfortable enough that they are sticking to that area. I don’t have a lot of ideas of how to avoid being attacked by a stranger. Like situations with people I know, I can kind of understand, I don’t have friends who are violent in that way, but to me it makes more sense if someone has a reason to go after someone. This seems all sort of meaningless and senseless.

There have been times in my hood (and probably a bit in the neighbourhood this is happening in) where I became aware that there were people around who could take deep offence to an unintended slight and attack someone over it. I still don’t really understand that though. I don’t understand violence as a general rule, even though sometimes I’ve felt wildly angry. But also the times I’ve felt wildly angry I’ve been able to walk away and cool down, or shake it off, before doing something supremely bad. Like just deal with it man! But some people don’t have any of that self control. And those are people I just want to be aware of so I can stay out of their way.

But this feels more premeditated than that, these disappearances. It feels like someone is seeking out people to harm. And it’s so fucking creepy.

Yeah, so I hope welfare direct deposits my (hopefully last!) cheque. But even then, next month I start a new ASL class, and have to go to Church and Wellesley all over again. I hope they catch whoever is doing this.

Manifesting!

Ha ha omg, so the things I wanted from my last post actually happened for me. I got that job I applied for! It’s a job I had a long time ago, back in Vancouver but they have an office here, and is like, such a day job kind of thing, not related so much to the art community, which is good really because I need a break from that. And I’m gonna work three days a week, and have time to keep doing my art stuff, and technically I could work more hours if I want I guess. So it’s exciting!

Also some other money is coming in from an art project, which I can talk more about at a later date. But that’s like, dribs and drabs, and mostly not for me, it’s for a production.

And then also I found out a grant I co-wrote with someone came through, so that feels pretty good. It’s not for me to make work tho it’s an organizational project grant. But I’m feeling happy that we got it, because sometimes I feel dubious about my grant writing skills. Even tho I get quite a lot of the grants I apply for, comparatively.

Also I had a meeting with Ontario Works this morning. I was gonna cancel, because I had got the job the day before or whatever. But they said it was part time and since it would be awhile before my first pay cheque they could probably help me out for now. And there’s this employment start up benefit they give people who are just starting jobs. Which I am gonna use to get a metropass. So they were all ready to help me out but then they needed me to have a bank account based in Toronto, and even tho mine is connected to my address here, the branch itself is in Saskatoon. Which hadn’t been a problem before, but was a problem now. And I had therapy this afternoon, which made me not able to get an appointment at the bank until after 4pm. But I moved my bank account and got my direct deposit form into Ontario Works, but it was late in the day by then, on a Friday, so I will probably have to go in on Monday and get a cheque. I’m hoping that I make enough money that they will kick me off Ontario Works soon though, because ughh it is such a drag. And then I had to update some things like my PayPal, so that money goes to my account and not to an account that doesn’t exist anymore.

I kind of feel bad that my bank account got closed, just because I used to be able to see my history, and now there’s nothing! I can’t see when I had money, or when stuff usually gets automatically withdrawn, etc. It’s just a deposit of 3.97 or whatever I had left in that account. And some money someone e-transferred to me to get me through the weekend. Kind of like having my existence erased, it’s so weird. At least it happened before I started work, because I have to go bring a direct deposit slip in with me for my paycheques.

Anyway, I’m glad I’m gonna have a regular income again, it’s such a relief. Someone sent me a job posting for a six month contract job, but I’m not really interested in giving up a regular ongoing job for something so short. I kind of want a job that has some longevity to it. And Toronto is notorious for contract work. Something like 50% of workers here are working contracts.

I remember when I was younger, I sometimes landed these cushy jobs with like, long range potential. Okay, only once did I have a job like that. Like it was the kind of job people do until they retire with a really nice pension. And for all kinds of reasons I was really leery of it, like that scene in the Simpsons where Mr. Burns puts up a sign in Homer’s work area saying “Don’t Forget, You’re Here Forever.” OMG! Ha ha ha omg. But then again I was way younger, like early 30’s, and in a city I didn’t want to stay in forever, and other complications were at work. But also that kind of commitment was really scary at the time. Now, it’s not so scary. I don’t think this job comes with a sign saying “Don’t Forget, You’re Here Forever” but I can see myself doing it for a nice long while.

I mean who knows tho. I haven’t had my first day yet. I remember how it was, but that was at an office in another city. Over ten years ago. Things will probably be very different. And I have fundamentally changed in a lot of ways since then. And I am also very aware that this is what I am going to do so I can pay my rent, bills, and groceries, and maybe have enough to go see concerts now and then. Like my motivations are pretty specific, and I’m doing it on more of a part time basis than when I originally did it. And it’s not gonna make me rich or anything, especially not working part time. But it will get me used to working again in a more traditional work environment, and have structure, and I can handle the pace of it, and I think it’s gonna be good for me to only do it three days a week. So I’ll have two days I can concentrate on my art practice, and the weekend for whatever. It’s good! And hopefully the dogs will forgive me for being gone three days out of seven.

I am hoping between this job and artist fees, I’ll make an okay living. I’m not gonna be rolling in dough or anything. But I should have enough I don’t have to worry so much, which is nice. And there’s still a serious long range job I want to apply for in the future, that I might actually have a good shot at. But even that if I did get it, doesn’t start for months and months.

So things are looking up. And I hope I will get that office Christmas party, those are my favourite. I just like sitting around with co-workers eating meats and cheeses and watching someone act silly. Ha ha I don’t even know if this company will do one of those.

I hope I like my new job. I hope they like me. I hope I do well.

And I hope I can maintain my artistic practice at the same time!

I Want My Office Christmas Party

First thing, I am super tired. I don’t think I even did anything particularly out of the ordinary today. It was a laundry day. I heated up leftovers for dinner. I washed dishes. I cut up a pineapple. Nothing too taxing. And yet I feel WIPED!

I applied for a job, for the first time in a REALLY long time. I’ve been living off random artist fees and hoping for grants and sometimes things come in, but nothing that would give me a long period of time to not worry about money anymore. Like even just a part time job three days a week would be fine for me now. I don’t want a serious full time all day all week job at this moment, maybe in the future. But searching for a job can be pretty demoralizing. And it’s social media hell, because I have a lot of my ridiculous content hidden on FB, BUT I still have things like this artist website, etc, and anyone can look me up and discover I am a weirdo. A nice gentle weirdo I hope, but like people are conservative. And some people would be turned off by the pink hair. Or my last name, which is a real last name like it’s not some fake artist name.

Anyway. Artists are weird. So I’m just hoping to find some kind of employment that appreciates that weirdness. And I am a good person I think, and I try my best.

It’s been a long time since I was in the workforce though, and I’ve always been doing work, but not with a real boss and keeping track of hours. And I am also going to start applying for academic jobs again, and that makes me nervous because I feel like even with my Masters I don’t look so great as people who did PhD’s, or that since I haven’t been a sessional yet that I don’t have enough experience, even tho I’ve lost track of the times I’ve given talks in classes across Canada and have mentored youth and adults in video making. And I’ve kept on top of the technology, and I think I’ve tried to keep on top of contemporary video making. Indigenous and Queer video for sure. Like I’m aware I have some specialized interests based on my identity and communities. I dunno, I have to come up with some really good application materials for jobs and I haven’t worked through all those things in a year or so. It’s weird trying to sell myself, for any job really.

And yet I am kind of used to doing that in grants. Like I know how to write clear project descriptions and stuff. And I really do wish I could just do those the rest of my life. But there just aren’t enough grants in Canada, and those grants don’t have enough money, and you might have a year or two or three of getting no grants. And then what do you do? I’ve always made videos, even when I had no money. Because it’s just the thing I do. And I know how to make work with no grants. I really just want to be guaranteed some living allowance while I make work. But that’s not a long term thing even if you do get the grant.

And worse still is that a lot of juries don’t like when someone includes a large amount of living allowance in their grant. Like they say they want us to work full time on our art, but then also don’t want us to work full time on our art because they think we can take three months off of a job and then just miraculously start work again with no gaps and no struggle. It’s messed up.

So fine, I have to get a job again. And I could really like work, like I have had jobs in the past that were pretty fun and productive and I liked my co-workers. It’s not totally out of the question that I would find a job, even possibly unrelated to my field, and be pretty content.

BUT ALSO mostly I just don’t want to go back to Ontario Works. The workers themselves aren’t terrible people, like I used to think welfare was so brutal and people there were mean, but in reality they are quite nice. BUT STILL they want you to report any extra income, and send them bank statements, and they don’t even give enough to live on, and it’s just not great. And I don’t like the feeling of being surveilled. It’s kinda gross. Like they don’t need to know I got money from my Mom, or that I need a transit pass and someone gave me money for one, etc etc. I don’t like ANYONE knowing that much about my finances. The tax people know enough. So I really want to avoid going back there.

Student Loans is breathing down my neck. They were supposed to give me a decision about repayment assistance today, and they haven’t yet. I guess I have to wait until Monday. If it’s denied, AGAIN, I have to pay $175, and also I need to come up with rent money this week. So I hope student loans gives me a break.

The funny thing is things AREN’T so bad for me financially, I am getting some money next month, I’m not doomed. But yeah, a job would be ace. Especially if it meant I could go to an Office Christmas Party. I love those. I miss those.

No One Makes Cards For These Occasions

So I met my 24 year old brother this last weekend when I was in Winnipeg. I have never met him before. I knew of him for a while, and we were fb friends for a few years before I finally had the chance to see him. I’m keeping his name out of my blog for his privacy, along with too many details of his life, because he has his own life and privacy concerns I am sure. ANYWAY, mostly I wanted to talk about what it was like meeting a sibling who can actually talk, for the first time in my life.

Because as you may know, we do have another sister, Sky, who I grew up with, who is severely intellectually disabled and non-verbal. She has about six words and some signs and knows how to get her needs across most of the time. But she’s not someone I can have a conversation with. We shared a room when I was really small. She was always across the table from me growing up. She probably shaped who I am in a lot of profound ways that I’ve never fully explored.

But my brother, he’s like, very much verbal, since he is not like Sky at all. He went to school. He has two jobs. He has some very striking similarities to me that were kind of amazing for me to realize.

Because Sky has things she likes and stuff, but this was the first time I could talk about shared interests and things about growing up and what kinds of values we shared and all kinds of stuff with a sibling. And we do some of the same things, like buy books and have trouble getting around to reading them, and knowing about some of the same ridiculous things on the internet like a certain series of stories on nosleep, and this post about one type of rock called malachite that is super toxic. We both used to fish but never would be able to hunt because it’s just not in our natures. We both used to be blonde when we were way younger. We both had pets all our lives. When we went for dinner we both ordered the same thing, which I thought was really cute. It’s like how when people go on a promising date and click, except this was not a date (OBVIOUSLY) but there was still that sense of things clicking like finding a part of yourself you never got to know before, and the comforting similarities in each other, and looking at someone who had some of the same facial features almost. Like different, but there’s overlap. It was a really amazing experience, and I was super anxious before we met, like what if we didn’t like each other, or what if it all went sideways. But instead we both got excited talking with each other in the same kinds of ways, and I think it went well.

There’s supposed to be another brother out there I think. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember something about another sibling. I don’t know his name or how to find him though. But even if I never find the other brother, there’s still this connection I have with another human being on this earth that is pretty amazing. I don’t know how people are with siblings they grew up with who they were always able to communicate with like regular people, how they feel about their sisters and brothers. Like what is that relationship like? I have an older sister I always knew, but she’s not someone I’ve ever been able to ask for advice from, or any of the other things sisters do with each other, like get taken to the exhibition, or annoy when Mom’s not looking, or any of that.

And that being said, I don’t know how close my brother and I will get. We did grow up in separate places, with separate mothers and families. We share a father. But Dad wasn’t around much for my life, and definitely not at all for my brother. So I dunno, I mean there are lots of things I could say about our father, but really I’m not so interested in talking about that as I am in trying to figure out where this little brother fits in my life.

I don’t think he and I are going to write emails back and forth or anything, although we might. But he might come through Toronto this coming summer and then we can see each other again. I’m alright with randomly seeing each other when we happen to be in the same city.

Like I don’t want to stress him out by overloading him with needy sister stuff. And we seem to be doing good anyway, apart. But still, there’s this relatively new connection with someone very very closely related to me, even more than my cousins, and it’s kind of blowing me away.

I’m glad we have so much in common. It’s really making me feel part of something. Like I said, I know my Dad, but he was always kind of distant. And this is a relative of mine descended from Dad also, and in some ways it makes me wonder how much of us comes from Dad. Like if Dad had been raised differently, or if he had let me know more about his nature and interests, I don’t know. It’s like seeing my family in a Venn diagram and looking at the overlapping parts. I don’t want to come across like Dad never let me into his life, because for sure I know some of his secrets and will carry them with me to the grave. But like, what was Dad like when he was way younger?

I feel protective of my Dad and how people might see this situation. BUT also I feel really protective of my brother. I don’t want certain people reaching out to him and messing up his life. I mean, I am sure he’ll be fine. But also I just know there’s so little discussion about siblings finding each other so late in life, and best practices for the rest of the family, and like what does he want out of all of this? Like how often does this happen? Who talks about these situations? There’s no cards to send that specify long lost sibling reunions. There’s very little guidance in trying to form new relationships with family so closely related and yet who you know so little about. The only image that keeps coming to mind is when Hank Hill goes to Japan and finds his long lost half brother. And that’s like, not very helpful ha ha!

I’m glad we had this experience though. It’s nice to know he’s out there, and that he seems happy and okay.