So, now at New Years Eve, Christmas is over once again.
I used to like Christmas. I used to eagerly await the decorations, the lights, the stockings, the presents and fervently wish for snow where the green Christmas is the norm. But now it seems that Christmas just another day, perhaps another family gathering at the most.
I have memories of decorating the Christmas tree a few weeks before Christmas – hauling that increasingly ancient fake tree with permanent tinsel, putting it together and than decorating haphazardly with blinking and non-blinking lights, actual decorations and ugly childhood decorations. I have even fonder memories of sitting in my grandparents’ living room staring at the Christmas tree aglow, mesmerized. (Although I had a phase when I didn’t like any blinking lights and my dad managed to get the star to stop blinking for me).
But it’s all over now.
We don’t personally have a tree or anything even though I wanted one for years.
None of my grandmothers’ places (one for 24th and 25th) had holiday decor of any kind. On Christmas day, I also got to listen to my cousin’s list of grievance (well, just one grievance,, really, repeatedly)
The magic has gone. That’s for sure. I no longer hear the bells ring. I no longer am fascinated by the lights.
It’s just another day.
It wouldn’t surprise me if I just became another day – my family ties are not the strongest and the likelihood of me gaining a close friend ore something is low. For my mom’s side of the family at least, it’s like they might as well not exist.
I still want a damn Christmas Tree. I want to put purple lights on it and decorate it with my horsy ornaments and such.
I did it.
Last week I just tried taking one of the seemingly huge metaphorical steps. And sort of crashed through it.
But my coping skills are relatively low and I struggled to keep myself sane during that time. I spent the last last half of the previous week fretting about a possibility (the phone possibility), the first half of that week freaking out and the last half of that week in some sort of weird zone.
After that , it was like my brain melted and I couldn’t deal with anymore anxiety. At all. Plans for Saturday fell apart when I flatly refused to go beyond my comfort zone because I couldn’t deal with it anymore even if it was taking the bus for a bunch of extra unknown stops.
I didn’t think I was ready. For many, it was no secret that I was not ready. And surprise, I wasn’t ready!
Frames Film Project also ended. However, through the 10 week program, it wasn’t until the 9th week (editing weekend) that I started to feel part of the group. I’ve heard that they did a 8 month intake once and everyone found it too long but I think I would have done better in that. I will be returning in some way though….
Okay, I’m still not quite there when it comes to group work. So many years alone has made it incredibly difficult to connect.
I’m on the ground, lying by the staircase I just completely fell over. Again. I don’t know what to do anymore. Interviews are too overwhelming. Phones are overwhelming. Groups are overwhelming until I know anyone (which may not be for a while). But most of all, I cannot seem to move a single step.
When I think to things that once seemed impossible but became impossible was integrating into regular classes in grade 9.
I have been in social development programs all through elementary school. I had some integrated classes in elementary school (usually a once or few times per week thing) but I don’t recall any of them were wildly successful. The worst one was when I was supposed to be a mentor for a younger class. That didn’t go that well and I’m not sure why they thought it would.
For high school, I was in Pacific Storm Social Development at Sir Charles Tupper Secondary. When I was in grade 8, we had two integrated elective blocks – one was a rotation of fine arts (drawing, graphics, drama) and the other was a rotation of other things (Applied Skills…I just remember it had woodworking and home ec). It was not that easy for me but I eventually got the hang of it. Some courses were modified quite heavily for me to accommodate me (I’m looking at you, Drama).
I was 13 years old. I didn’t know it at the time but my social world was going to become more and more insular. By the time I was 13, I didn’t think I’ll ever go into regualar classes. I doubted I would go to university.
At last half of grade 9, I was nearly fully integrated. In grade 10, I had one block with Pacific Storm even though the program was grade 8-9 (though it said grades 8-10 for YEARS). In grade 11, I had one skills block that I seemed to use for napping….but wound up running back to a Pacific Storm staff member in times of “crisis”. In grade 12, I wound up going back to Pacific Storm to “peer tutor” (kids didn’t like me much, go figure) although I can’t say I did a very good job (I don’t know why people keep thinking I’ll be a good tutor!)…in reality, it was more like “catching up with folks”. I was offered a skills block in grade 12 but opted for spare. Although in grades 11-12 I was technically with the resource centre for support, I never strayed that far away from Pacific Storm (but they didn’t do a good job of kicking me out either 😛 ).
Long after I graduated (thankfully), Pacific Storm has since moved to Britannia. I am very glad that happened much after or I would have been so screwed with my “not part of the program, part of the program” status in grade 10-12.
As for the hoopla with special needs in regular classrooms? I don’t know. I think I would have enjoyed the academic challenge (except for math) if I was integrated earlier. But I also think that the social development programs kept me relatively safe from bullies and let me form friendships. I am not sure if I would have formed a friendship if I wasn’t in that setting. ALL of the friends I ever had (and may ever have at this rate lol) were peers from my social development classes. Actually, come to think if it, I might have very well have gotten kicked out of a regular classroom for such poor social interaction skills, especially when it got way worse around grade 2 or 3. I don’t know what happened. People have asked me that before. At any rate, it was like my world fell in.
When I was around 12-13 , I did not imagine that I go to regular classes or will attend university. That seemed nearly impossible. I knew nothing more other than social development programs.
But I did. I now have a BA in English. But I was reasonably good at academics and my accommodations allowed me to stay in my comfort zone for the most part.
Now, I am struggling to see myself getting a job and living independently. But this is harder.
This is so much harder. And it does seem impossible a lot of the time.
I can’t handle phones. Or introductions. Or interviews. Or anything else it seems.
I don’t have the independence or social skills that one expects from someone my age. Sometimes it seems like I don’t want to do it when I do but I’m just really overwhelmed.
I long for the days of school hallways…so structured, so comforting….
Photo edited by me but not taken by me. Me & Sparkles. June 2014.
This is what keeps me at going, I guess. Or at least attempting to move forward.
Even though there’s no certainty. Even though I’m not sure if my dreams can come true. Even if there is no promise at the end. Even though it may never happen.
But the possibility of my dreams….to even go halfway….it would be enough.
My outlandish dream is to own a horse. Of course I’m not even sure that is remotely possible myself. My more realistic and shorter term goal is having my dreams go about halfway-ish and be able to maybe half lease (or to ride at least 2-3 days or more per week).
Still the glimmer of it, the possibility is enough for me to try to keep moving forward even when it sometimes seems impossible. (And many times it has. There are just so many barriers it seems.)
I feel like I’m very slowly attempting to take the first small steps towards what could be my dreams. But I didn’t realize how hard it is. Or how much that even how much it logically may make sense that emotionally, the process of progress is overwhelming.
From here on, the text has kind of gone out of control and slightly off topic…
Horses are expensive (I’m often struggling to ride weekly as it is) so short of winning the lottery (that I don’t play) or some other highly unlikely (preferably legal) lucrative scenario, employment is integral to my dreams.
It’s easy to admit that I don’t have social skills as I’ve always felt like I have the social skills of a pet rock with legs (for fleeing of course) anyway. But it’s quite another to seriously actually work on it….instead of just talking about working on it (which is way easier). I know I don’t have really have the social skills for most things right now. Working with people I don’t know well is incredibly awkward. Greetings are an unnatural chore. Introductions are next to impossible. I still have an aversion to phones and so on…and that’s with the simple things. To say nothing of any of the more complicated intricacies of things like power or dealing with conflict (besides angrily walking away and/or ignoring) and so on that I feel like I have little understanding of.
I am trying to push forward but I’m also finding myself planting my feet and stopping at anything that seems scary. (I’m not quite spinning around and bolting but….)
I also don’t really feel really prepared for anything. Currently, I don’t feel like I have the skills for employment, espeically the social skills part. I’m not completely sure about any sort of major group work either in any setting. Transitions to the unknown are hard, especially when I don’t feel ready. But I’m not sure if I’ll ever truly feel ready, I’m not sure if is the sort of test that I never feel ready until after I did it and then it’s okay (even though it may not have felt that way at the time).
I have been stumbling around in this void, this in-between for slightly over a year now. Previously, I was in university. School was relatively safe and predictable. Since I was so socially isolated throughout most of my school years (grade and post secondary) I never really worked with others in person.
The possibilities are of course exciting but the uncertainty is terrifying. Yet possibilities and uncertainty are seemingly irrevocably entangled. I’m almost 25 now (in early Nov) and for some reason, it feels that time is ticking. I don’t know if it actually is but it feels that way.
I am eager but terrified to move forward. The contradicting desires are confusing me, pulling me in multiple directions. I’m not sure if I’m flying or falling or neither since I never managed to leave the freaking ground in the first place (I might be crawling).
Yet, the possibility of horses in my future keeps me wanting to go forward. Somehow. Even though I’m not always entirely sure if I can and even if I’m not even sure if horses would even be there. (My other goal is to move out but I don’t find it quite as inspiring as horses most of the time).
Ok, I know this kind of drifted off into a slightly off-topic rant after the first photo and turned out way longer than originally intended. Oops.
I pretty much spent this entire week at home over-thinking (plus a bit of writing). I’m a good complainer, can get fixated on things (usually the things I shouldn’t be fixating on), tend to write more when I’m confused and mix that with the fact that I’m kind of in a weird phase right now. If I don’t make sense it’s because nothing much is making sense to me either as a whole (separately things make sense).
Me bareback on Czar, Sept 2012. Czar being an awesome couch. 🙂
PS: I know I’m wearing the same thing in both photos haha.
I want progress, but I am also terrified of it! I want things to change, but I don’t want to change.
I discovered that this past week, resulting in somewhat of a mid-week crisis. I don’t know. It’s all just very confusing and conflicting still.
In general I am not a huge fan of change. Yet, I’m tired of continuously going nowhere. Things are finally starting to happen for me – as I wanted. But I did not expect how overwhelming it could be – when I’ve barely started. But even talk of Telephone Dragons and Teamwork Dragons are enough to rattle me…..yet alone someone going “we’re going to extend your comfort zone”. Uh oh. That usually means it’ll be broken first. I like my comfort zone intact, thank you very much.
Ok, so I did more or less stay in my safe zone for a long while. Did I really do anything? Not really. That was the problem with the last employment program attempt – we were kind of just doing….nothing really. I don’t know. If they did something, they sure didn’t tell me.
I don’t have a good history of programs since I left university. I was really not so happy the first time that the person for the provincial employment program gave up on me due to inadequate social skills. There were so many things wrong with that situation that it’s a wonder we lasted a little over a month. I would change support agencies soon after anyway.
Looking back, at someone’s original plan a little over a year ago – there was no way that was happening without having some sort of massive meltdown. Dumping me in the deep end doesn’t work. I just seem to get more unwilling, more fearful of it – espeically when it doesn’t even go right!
I know it’s not the same now. I’m with people that now understand me and mostly know me (well, one just started so…). I have more support. It’s one thing to push – but there needs to be a way to deal with the aftermath (also known as when I basically flip out more or less…).
But I still want things to progress and not progress at the same time. I would like the progress without the side-effects, without the growing pains, without the unease and without the anxiety.
If I can’t have my job on a platter, can I have progress on a platter?
Apparently that’s not going to happen.
But I still wish to fly. But I don’t want to fall. I want progress but….I don’t know. I don’t know anything at all.
Ok, I will admit it. I cannot let things go. Things that annoy me that is or just conflict in general.
It just sit there and irks me until….it stops I guess. I seem to just hang onto mistakes and am seemingly unable to let the damn thing go. It’s hard to let things go and if the other person doesn’t let it go, then it will just linger there. Awkwardly.
It gets stuck in my head. I cannot seem to forget it. I’m likely if I can think about anything else.
I am also terrible at arguments. I seem to lose them all and just be incredibly peeved after.
It’s like my head is a giant catch-all or something.
I’m still feeling awkward about the giant explosion I had with my then-employment agency two months ago!
How do you forget? It’s like unseeing something. Or unreading something. Or unthinking something. It’s rather hard!
About a week ago, ok two weeks ago… (Sept 7) I saw my grandpa for the last time. He was dying. We all knew that. But we didn’t know that he’d be gone the next afternoon.
It was at 9pm in the dark halls. He was heavily drugged, sedated. Although he could almost open his eyes, his eyes were rolling back. Hovering between the lands of the dead and the living.
He had been sick since February but it was only the last month that things quickly went downhill. But he had already came to terms of it. In a way, it seemed he had sort of willed death to come. As if he had submitted to the dying of the light. Not rage. Acceptance.
When given time to, most people when faced with death will accept it.
I’m scared of death. I will admit it. What is it like not living?
But like many artists I’m intrigued.
At the End
peering into life
ready for the other side
just another door
when all the images fade
the sounds quieten
all the feeling numbs
unscented and tasteless
I don’t know. I wasn’t that close to him although I did knew him fairly well. He was like the jester. I guess he’s the first person that I’ve actually knew to have died.
But it was quick. 7 months. It takes less time to have a baby.
PS: Honestly, I’m kind of afraid of his possible ghost. He’s was the guy that got kids to touch that bug zapper (which looks like a racket). Of course he’ll go boo!!