Falling over the giant step

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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.

Not Impossible (Schoolgirl Days)

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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 ūüėõ ).

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….

The Paradox of Progress

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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.

Another Year, Another Summer

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And so, summer is here.

It used to be a time of celebration. ¬†No school. Fun field trips (I never took holidays…and evidently I may never will on a regular basis). As a teenager, hanging around the barn a little more often (I was never quite the barn rat – well, maybe I was for a few weeks before I got “laid off” lol). I was always more of a winter person though. I’m not sure why exactly but I never liked the heat all that much.

But now summer seems to mark the ending of another academic year. The academic year that never was.

What’s worse than a has-been? A never-been.

I’ve never been this. I’ve never been that. Each day is another exercise is nothingness. I feel like I’m in a never ending limbo. Suspended in a sea of mediocrity. Floating listlessly.

I wish for the sunny youth of summer. The innocence as bright as the sun’s strong rays. When the truth and the critic didn’t feel one and the same.

But now, summer just seems to mark another year, another year of nothing. So much so that anything else almost seems overwhelming, stuck  into the endless cycle of nothingness. Yet meanwhile, they children run, play and scream in joy. I stay inside, watching the time go by wordlessly.

Maybe I’ve always been like that. As a kid, I was always the dork that spent the summer reading in the reading room or swinging on the swing for hours. One summer I even taught myself how to “see” the images in the Magic Eye books¬†– more or less (I found some worked better than others…though I’m not sure if I can still see them).

Maybe you’re not growing if what you’re doing doesn’t scare you. But fear is a powerful thing. It’s way easier to simply stay in the shadows rather then attempt to chase the golden light with all sort of barriers in the way.

And every summer it says the same, as if the summer was somehow another year new. Another school year. Another new year of learning. Of growing? But what does it mean when you feel that you barely learnt anything? What does it mean when you’re not sure if you grew that much, still stuck in your ways?

What does it mean when everything feels impossible and you’re not sure how you’re going to move forward? Maybe it’s just normal growing pains – the growing pains of transitions, of really growing up but it all feels like I’m flying towards the sun at full speed.

Beyond the blinds

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It is languid in the last remaining whiffs of summer, free from the annual ritual of buying books and preparing for another semester of study. But I’m not languid. I feel stuck. stuck behind these binding blinds and stuck behind all the walls that hold me in.

Already I had someone from an employment centre give up on me because I have the social skills of a rock.

This wasn’t the plan. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. I was supposed to learn things, then get a job and then at least ride a horse with a bit more talent for low level dressage a few times per week . I would like to own a horse one day but I don’t think it’s going to happen while living in city.

I now want to be closer to horses, to feel their firm neck against me while I cry. Or just rake out the manure and shavings, at least you don’t really need to interact with people until someone starts fighting for the wheelbarrow. ¬†But I’m in the city and my current situation doesn’t allow for me to work at the barn (lack of transportation, I don’t live close by, the barn is kind of obsessed with cleanliness and I don’t like blowers and my trainer no longer boards horses).

We are not getting younger. I’ll be 24 soon. “My” horse Czar is 26 and though is still sound, is getting arthritic. We are not getting younger. But I don’t seem to be moving anywhere either.

I feared that this will happen, that September will roll around and I’ll have nothing to do.
It did.

I feel like I’m going nowhere, stuck behind the blinds. The world outside is frightful, unknown. I don’t know where I’m going anymore. And I feel stuck, wedged in between the binds that hold me in.

Going nowhere. ¬†Everything feels hopeless at the moment. And I’m not ready.

Harbinger, Tell Me

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every day
breeds a new day
closer to the void
to the storm

Harbinger,
what did you bring?

everyone says to me
“everything will be alright”
how would you know?
how would I know?
that it’ll all sweep away?

Harbinger,
what do you say?

Dreamer? Or Realist?

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As a child, I always thought myself to be the dreamer. Never living in this world, not really. Always imagining, creating stories. You think of a lot of things when you spend time alone. For the most part that’s what I did, although I had a few¬†friends.

It’s been a long time since I was a child. It’s been a long time since I had close friends. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to look through the world with an idealistic lens.

But now I think myself more as a realist. A cynical realist. A fearful realist. One that is afraid to soar too close to the sun, in fear of getting burnt again.

The Failure of the Fear of Failure

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I know it’s almost counter-productive but I just can’t seem to shake it.

But I think I have probably figured out my overriding fear. It’s the fear of failure. The idea that if you don’t try, you can’t be hurt by the¬†disappointment¬†of failing it (probably again). If your fears are no longer making sense and defying logic as mine were (as it was¬†occurring¬†randomly AFTER I should have been scared), then this is probably the¬†culprit.

But I know now that it wasn’t the fear per se I was scared of. I was scared of FAILING jumping again. I didn’t want to fail it again. I couldn’t cope with failing it again. I imagined failing it again. So it was easier just to back away. I thought I’ll be able to focus something that I was good at but it didn’t really work that that way. Oh well. Besides, I’m pretty comfortable on the flat now (canter included) and of course flat work is always important no matter what you do.

I’m a pessimist too and I think it makes me more likely to fall into this great mess. I’m a pessimist with the same logic – if I believe it won’t work out as well as I thought, I’ll be more likely to be happy by defying my expectations and if it doesn’t, then I wouldn’t have failed myself. It makes sense right? Sort of.

In¬†practice, it doesn’t work as great as you’ll think. So now instead protecting myself from failure, it often feels that I’ve failed in order to avoid failure.

I probably have other examples but that’s the most¬†significant¬†example that I can think of.

I don’t like to fail. I HATE failing. ¬†I really hate failing.

Oh and I only failed one test – some evil¬†philosophy unit¬†test…and really wished a black hole would come and eat me up then. (I passed the course though)

I know you have to fail in order to succeed but still…..arrgghh! Why does it have to be failure?