Monday, 28 December 2015

Quiet Desparation

My ex says that we all live lives of quiet desperation. He's kinda depressing sometimes. :)

He was a psych major and he's right a lot of the time. Sometimes though, he's wrong. I've had the worst year I've had in awhile. And I've been mostly quiet about it. I don't write very often. My therapist thinks I can find a balance between telling the truth and not being a complete downer to everyone who reads me because I kinda like being that inspirational feel good story. It'll be alright. Doesn't matter what happens to you, it'll all work out. That's something I tell you and myself so we don't give up, don't feel alone. My ex is right about one thing. This year I caved and lost my voice.

I gave into self doubt, self pity and lost all my self esteem. I felt like Job from the bible where anytime one crisis was over, the next one showed up immediately. I've had health issues, work issues, family issues and then one of my best friends died. And then press repeat on all the things that came before that last part of the sentence.

I understand that I've reached millions of people by writing about my disappointment with the Jehovah's Witnesses. They are actually a big and powerful and rich corporation and they almost dealt me a death blow last February by tearing me away from my family, yet again. And they made me shut up. I was honestly too sad and sick and tired to talk about them anymore.

I understand desperation. I've been there. But I don't have to be quiet about it. Controlling, aggressive, manipulative organizations will always exist. My life would have been easier if I'd just faded away and kept my mouth shut. Is easier the better way though?

Tonight my phone charger broke and I went to the store to buy a new one, because who can live without your cell phone? A huge guy walked in and he was yelling about some guy on the street who walked too close to him and how he was going to crush someone's skull if anyone else did that. I just turned around and told him he was out of line and if he planned on doing that tonight I would have to call the police (which he didn't realize I couldn't exactly do because my phone was dead). The poor Chinese guy who chit chats with me whenever I go in there was trying to get me to shut up and leave, for my own safety. I did. And I looked over my shoulder the whole two blocks home.

I guess my point is, we might never win the fights against the giants. This whole year, I've been looking over my shoulder and feeling afraid. That's why I haven't been writing. Even my dad suggested I give up on this and let someone else do the fighting. My boss believes in me though. He was the one who said we could be a murmuration. A flock of birds who fly together in formation as one. Together, we can make a difference.

Again for the hundredth time I will stress it's not the individual JWs I oppose, it's the rich, controlling organization that brainwashes people, ruins people lives, tears families apart, drives individuals to depression, PTSD, suicide.

Y'all know who you are. And I'm not going to shut up. Wait for the book - it's coming. :)

Sullivan out.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Merry Little Christmas

Christmas. It's a strange time of year. It's the best of times, the worst of times. On one hand, some people go out of their way to be kinder than usual. I was at the farmers market on Christmas eve and there were two people ahead of me in line to buy flowers. A young, hipster-ish guy and an older lady. He was buying the most beautiful flowers and she made a comment about them. He took one rose out, handed it to the store clerk and asked him if he could wrap it up separately. Then he turned around and gave it to her and said Merry Christmas. He walked away and she started crying.

I don't know her story but all of us can have a bit of a hard time over the holidays. They might make you feel more single, more lonely. If you've lost people over the past year you miss them more. If you are far away from your family you feel more alone.

Other people completely miss the meaning of the season. I was at the post office the other day sending something down home to my family and a woman yelled at the guy who shut the door as they were closing because he wouldn't let her in - the line up was already way too long. She refused to leave, she just yelled and yelled.

It's a time of joy and gratitude, but it's also the time of year that people push you out of the way in the stores and you stress about how much money you're spending trying to show your friends and family how much they mean to you.

I went to midnight mass, like I do every year. (Although apparently that's at 8:30 pm these days.) I don't know why I go. I don't like religion and after this past year, I dislike it more than usual. I put on a pretty dress and tried to be open to it, but I just got up and left after the first half, went home and almost cried. I don't judge people who are believers or who find meaning in their church. I just know that religion has caused significant pain, suffering and loss in my life and for right now anyways, I just don't need the reminder.

It was Max's first Christmas here and just like his mom, he wouldn't leave his presents alone under the tree until morning, he kept pulling them out to play with.

Yesterday I went to Christmas dinner with my girlfriends family. I've met so many kind people these past few years who make sure I'm not alone over the holidays. The turkey dinner was fabulous and it was bittersweet to be surrounded by four generations of a real family. I felt honored to be included, I also felt acutely the absence of the people I've lost this year. The ones I'm not getting back this time.

At the end of the day, I feel very grateful for what I have. My own little eclectic "family" that I built for myself. The ups and downs of the past few days are normal for all of us. It was a very merry little Christmas with some bumps along the way for most of us. We all helped each other through it with lots of laughs and hugs and kisses and some cute little presents. And we'll do it all again in 2016. :)

Sullivan out.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

A Few Good Men

Y'all know that I love my girls. Thankfully, I decided to leave the JWs and I was able to save a couple of those life long friendships that I wouldn't have anymore if I hadn't been kicked out too. I have a few girls here in Toronto that are like sisters to me. I can count on them being there when I need them. My aunts and Grandma are amazing.

But this post is about the boys. In no particular order: my uncle, my dad, my boss, my therapist, my roomate and my ex-boyfriend.

When I was home this summer, I talked to my uncle about how I had a hard time finding real meaning in life without my religious beliefs. He told me he found meaning in helping his family. If that's the case, I've provided him with enough meaning to get through a long time out from here. He has been my rock in a storm. He's not all that touchy-feely but he gave me a lot of hugs and he's taken really good care of me.

My dad and I have had our ups and downs like any crazy, messed up family would. But we always love each other and find our way back to being us. I think I'm the most like him out of my siblings and even though I think he tried to kill me this past summer by taking me on a huge hike through woods and lakes and sand dunes on the hottest day of the year without any water - it's still one of my favorite days I had this past year.

My boss/mentor/friend has believed in me so many times this past year when I didn't believe in myself. It's been almost a year since the incident with my sister's wedding. I haven't been on my game. I started a new job and to be honest, I haven't been great at it. Which is strange for me, I'm used to being good at things.

I wish y'all had known me as a JW (I also wish you didn't, because I probably would have annoyingly tried to convert you) but I was on top of things. I was the perfect little elders wife in a Vietnamese congregation. I was too young to be married and too young to take care of so many other people. I burnt out. And then my sister kicked me out of her wedding. And then Donia died. My boss sees past the circumstances and thinks I'm smart and I have potential. Every time he tells me that, I believe it a little more.

My therapist is not conventional. That's why I like him. He probably knows me better than anyone else. He'll do our sessions by phone if I can't leave the house. The second time I became suicidal, he just gave me a hug and said he'd miss me and let me go home. He didn't call anyone (which I know is not what he's supposed to do). It made me feel like he trusted me to make the right choice this time and I was in charge of my own life. He's offered to take me to the hospital after I tried to check myself in and they didn't think I seemed "sad enough" to get help. He's treated me for free when I ran out of money even though he charges $200 an hour. He cut his rates in half this year when I went back.

My roomate and my ex-boyfriend: spoiler alert - they hate each other. They put up with each other though, because they both love me. Both of them have been there to pick me up at the hospital after all of the surgeries I've had this past year. They both make sure I eat, hold my hand when I'm sad, sent me care packages when I was out east in the summer. They walk my dog.

It's true that men sometimes have a harder time getting in touch with and dealing with feelings. My struggle with depression and anxiety hasn't been easy. I've been diagnosed with PTSD and Religious Trauma Syndrome. These guys have all stepped out of their comfort zones to try to understand and be supportive.

Everyone knows I'm terrible at dating. Guys like me but they never stick around. I'm not sure I really need a life partner though. It's nice to be with someone. Maybe though, I'm too complicated to rely on just one guy. With the crew I have behind me now, I've managed to weather the worst of storms. I feel strong and motivated and happy. And I have a dog. :)

So I want to say thank you to all the awesome men in my life. And to their women who share them with me. I have Max for the next 10-12 years and he couldn't leave me if he wanted to. :)

Happy Holidays from us.

Sullivan out.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Perfectly Imperfect

I know I don't write very much anymore. I haven't had a stellar year. It's been six years since the big disaster and I keep thinking, every year, this one will be better. But they never are.

Right now, my skin is raw and itchy, I'm not processing Donia's death very well. My dog is throwing up, apparently some psycho is putting poison treats in the dog parks around here. My psychic isn't picking up the phone :)

The day Donia died, I went on a date. He was perfect.  But none of us are perfect. It was smoke and mirrors, just an illusion. One we like to believe in and sometimes we need to. I kissed him goodbye and got on the streetcar and kissed her goodbye the same night. I needed to believe in something right then and for that time, it was him.

Life in the real world is very different from cult life. Out here, everything is real. Every choice you make, everyone you let into your life - it matters. What doesn't matter is being perfect. I haven't been through this a lot. But when someone you love dies, the pain is not durable, the healing will take some time. And the new people will have to earn their place.

I don't expect much from the Universe, just bring me good people. As long as they are as perfectly imperfect as me. :)

Sullivan out.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Rainy Days and Mondays

We have been friends in sunshine and in rain.

My dad says you can count the number of true friends you have in life on one hand. He's probably right, he usually is.

I have had the the most lucky opportunity to be friends with someone who I consider a confidant, a sister, my family. We were never supposed to be friends. She was raised 7th Day Adventist, I was a Jehovah's Witness. There's a whole lot of crazy right there.

The best thing about real friendship and real love is that somehow, those things don't matter. She used to think I judged her lifestyle, but I didn't. Then I got kicked out of the jdubs and we were on a level playing field for the first time. Two perfectly imperfect girls.

She is your perfect friend. Kind, caring, compassionate, smart, sexy, beautiful. We've been through a lot together over the past 20 years. She was so funny. We've had so many laughs and good times. We'd go on business trips and just stay in the same hotel room even though we each had our own because we didn't like to be apart.

She loved food. The second time around with cancer my brother decided he'd bring us dinner at the hospital and he actually brought real china and silverware from home. He broke his arm as soon as he left the hospital that night but it's still a good memory. :)

Last night I just felt like I needed to go to the hospital. I've been dealing with depression and recovering, so my therapist only lets me go to the hospital twice a week. I came home and didn't sleep well. I woke up this morning and she was gone.

What can I say? We've seen each other through everything - losing friends, family, lovers. She was at my wedding and there for me for the divorce. Selfishly, I feel a piece of me dying with her because there is no one else here in Toronto who knew my past life. My friends, my family, my husband. Despite the fact that you're not allowed to be friends with non-JWs - they all LOVED her.

Donia is a beautiful soul - inside and out. She used to sing me Rainy days and Mondays when we were having a bad day.

Round three of cancer won. And she had to go. Wherever she's going to now, I'll get there eventually. Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for awhile. 

Rest in peace my darling, beautiful, wonderful friend. I'll miss you every day. I love you more than I can express on some silly blog. Xo

Sullivan out.

Friday, 13 November 2015

What do you mean?

Alright, I'm a not so closet Justin Bieber fan. But the kid is right. Y'all can be really difficult to figure out. I love you, I don't. I want you in my life, I don't. I'll always be there for you, I won't.

My love for people is unconditional. To a fault. To the point where I have severely damaged myself giving out too many second chances. Third chances. More than that.

I'm so imperfect, I can't even start to write a list of all the areas I could improve on. But I know one thing for sure. I know how to love. And sometimes that is what destroys you.

I've been extremely lucky to find some really amazing people who will accept me, love me, take chances on me despite everything that's happened. You know who you are.

This back and forth though? I really can't take it anymore. I'm done. That's why I block people from my phone and email. How many times can you get burned by the same people and just smile when they give you some little treat to go on? I'm not a dog.  I have a dog. I give him treats but he also gets to sleep next to me in the bed. I love him even when he makes mistakes.

You JWs though? Leave me alone. I've heard from two more in the past week. And they mean well. I love them. But stop. It's been SIX years. The shun/unshun, love/unlove - it's gotta stop. Delete my phone number. My email address. Stop trying to save my soul. I'm going to hell in every religion. The good part? I don't believe in hell. Hell is here. Heaven is here. I'm sorry you can't see the wreckage you leave behind every time you pretend to care about me but you're really just trying to convert me back. Or maybe it's something else. I know I'm good at making people feel loved. And even in the lovely on the outside, psycho on the inside organization they have set up for you, you don't find the kind of connection with most of them that you had with me. That's because I wasn't faking it. Or doing it out of obligation. I really did love you. I'm sorry if you miss me. That was your choice to get rid of me though.

I'm proud to be an APOSTATE. You had the past six years of me trying to build a bridge where we could meet somewhere in the middle. Not anymore. The bridge is burned. I'm sorry that y'all are having to listen to all the reports of sex abuse cover up, all the recent scandals with the organization. The court cases, the constant pressure they are putting on you to donate more money to help them deal with this.

Staying there though, is your choice. It's been a long path from where we all began. I'm so far off the beaten track though you should stop trying. I'm not the one lost, you are. I wish nothing but the best for all of you. Please though, stop fucking with my brain. Stop calling me. Stop texting me. Stop emailing me. Or I'll have to start turning you in for talking to an apostate. The worst crime any JW could ever commit. Don't be guilty of it.

Sullivan out.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Live Free or Die Hard

I've become way too familiar with the hospital. One of my best friends is dying so I spend more than the usual amount of time in palliative care. If I had been normal, maybe this would be easier. Maybe it wouldn't. Having lost so many people though, this is hard.

This is not and never will be about me. It's about her. She was my rock. Yah, Jehovah's Witnesses aren't allowed to be friends with outsiders, but I broke the rules once. We ended up with a 20 year friendship that can never be replaced.

She is beautiful. Even while she's dying. She is funny. She's your perfect girl. Your perfect friend.

I have two voices in my head. First, my mother. My uncle Ken was dying around the same age as my friend and I had to put his cat down. My mother asked me why I would stay and watch it instead of just leaving. It was because I knew I'd get home and he would ask me how it went. And because the kitty deserved to have someone holding her hand while it happened.

The other, stronger voice is my dad. I told him the other day that my mother would not approve of me being there for my friend because it makes me sad. I deal with depression and I know we need to choose our battles. Dad just said: "You're not like her, You're like me."And I'm genuinely happy about that.

I received an email today from the past life. A friend who I really love. The message: Come back to Jehovah. Honestly, if I never hear that name again it will be too soon. I can't do that.

In honour of my wonderful friend, I choose to live life free and honestly. None of us know how much time we have left. So let's live free and die hard. :)

Off to the hospital, have a great night.

Sullivan out.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Welcome to the Jungle!

I know, I know. I don't write anymore. I have a bunch of stuff saved up in my head to write about though, so don't worry, I'm coming back. It's just been a bit of a trek to get here.

I'm going to start with something easy, that I started writing months ago. I'd like to introduce to you to my cousin Ellen. She's new-ish to Toronto (I said I've been writing this for months).

Ellen works in marketing and communications, just like me. She's currently doing her Masters and has an undergrad in Business. She's worked for some big companies like RBC. She decided to come to the city to have a change of scenery and look for new opportunities.

I remember moving to Toronto from out east, it's a big change. People are different here. Not bad different, just different. When I go home every summer, I feel angry that people are moving so slowly through traffic. And then I have to remind myself that I'm just going to the grocery store, I'm on vacation so stop thinking about honking at everyone. I have to remind myself to smile at people on the street because in Toronto we don't do that.

Back to Ellen. She's not only gorgeous and smart but she volunteers, she's a dog enthusiast and a foodie. We both share a love of white wine and the Spice Girls. If you know of any opportunities coming up that would suit a raising star, let me know.

Ellen - welcome to the jungle! :)

Sullivan out.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Giving Thanks

Re-post. Yes. I re-post this every Thanksgiving. I think it's one of my better blogs.  It's easy to give in to self pity and judge other people. I got in trouble this week for giving a blanket to a homeless man on my street. My neighbours didn't think it was good for the building. All I saw was a man who was lost and cold.

This thanksgiving, I'll eat turkey. I will be surrounded by people who love me. Let's not forget about the other half. Being thankful for what we have should automatically make us want to share what little or large we have with the less fortunate.

I'm still committed to the life I lead outside of the JW community. It hasn't been easy. But it's been worth it. There are so many people and so many life events that I am so grateful for. I give thanks every day. :)

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving. Being lucky enough to live in Canada and have a job, for most of the people I know, this particular long weekend means turkey dinners, drinking wine, washing dishes, spending time with family and friends. I'm actually trying to fit in three separate Thanksgiving dinners this weekend if you can believe that. Two years ago I would have laughed at the idea that life could come so full circle.

There are so many things we have to be grateful for, not just this weekend, but every day. Family, friends, health, home, money, the list goes on and on. We are very lucky.

But this year the thing I am most grateful for is Freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom of speech. Things that people have fought for over the centuries, but I never really understood how absolutely necessary these things are to true happiness until recently.

I ran into a friend from a past life yesterday. She still lives the way I used to, being told how to think, what to say, who to be friends with, who she can talk to, who she can date, who she can love. She's not a very happy person.

But, because of how she's conditioned to think, she looked at me with a mixture of pity and condescencion. When she asked how I was, I thought for a second about all the things I wanted to say.

I wanted to tell her that with the barriers that kept me at arms length from my family removed, I have a closer relationship with them that I ever would have. I wanted to tell her that now that I no longer have to go through life secretly judging and trying to change people, people like me so much better. I wanted to tell her I finally have true, loyal friends who I know would never walk away from me just because someone else told them they had to. I wanted to tell her that I don't have to live in fear of that ever happening to me again.

I thought briefly about the fact that I don't have to be eternally single like her, because I can date whoever I want, instead of being forced to choose a romantic partner from a tiny pool of people who are "acceptable" to the group.

Thoughts ran through my head about how much I love my job, my apartment, my friends, my complete freedom to choose to live the life I want to live, not the life someone else is dictating for me. And how much more interesting it is to be able to bring anyone into your life that you want, just based on who they are as a person and not their religious views or lifestyle choices.

I wanted to tell her how strong I felt having been able to make those changes to my life and move on. But she never would have believed me anyway. So I just smiled and said "I'm great". And I am.

With a worried look that showed clearly she thought I was hiding my internal pain and suffering under a brave external smile, and a hug, we walked away from each other.

This Thanksgiving, I feel like the war I've been fighting the past couple of years is finally over. There are still a few battle wounds that will take a little longer to heal, but thank the universe, I am free. :)

Sunday, 6 September 2015

She Will Be Loved

"Look for the girl with the broken smile, ask her if she wants to stay awhile. And she will be loved." - Maroon 5

One of my girlfriends wanted to see a specific picture from my past life. She wanted to know what my ex-husbands new wife/my ex-friend looks like. I have about 20 photo albums. In my past life I was the one who took all the pictures. The rest of the group probably wishes they had asked for copies. Or maybe they don't since they just want to forget I exist.

My apartment is a mess because I dragged all the boxes out of my closet and there are photo albums I never look at all over the place.

Some people think I should burn them. But I was flipping through them looking for a picture of her (I know I have one) and I realized something. I wasn't crying this time.

All four of my therapists have told me that I got stuck in the sad stage of grief and I had to go through the angry stage to move on to acceptance. I messed up the order because anger is supposed to come before depression. I've had my moments but I don't really stay angry. I came back to Toronto and I was ANGRY. You know how the JWs have those rolling bookcarts on the streets now? They are everywhere in my neighbourhood. I used to hide when I saw one. But after my three month time-out down east, I came back and started yelling at them on the street. I probably seemed crazy. I just don't want them ruining anyone else's life. Plus they don't even have a license to be on the street so I'm pretty sure this kind of harassment is illegal.

My girlfriend's family is in town and so we went out for dinner last night with them and her dad. She has a sister. At one point she said "Did you know my dad calls you daughter #3 when he talks about you?" I looked at him and asked if it was true. He said yes. I guess not all Irish guys are bad for me.

And he's dad #3 to me. My favorite ex's parents and kid adopted me four years ago. His dad signs all his messages to me as "D" because he knows I have a dad and doesn't want to get in his way. He wants me to know though that he's always there for me.

I'm somewhat of a religious mutt. Technically, on paper, I'm a Jehovah's Witness. My therapist said I'm a very bad one and my friends laugh about it, but that's just the way it is. When I was looking through those pictures, I knew I will never burn them. I'll put them back in the boxes. It was such a big part of my life - the first half. Lots of smiles and hugs and beautiful people who I still love. I've said it over and over, it's not the people I blame, it's those billionaires in Brooklyn who control everyone's thoughts, cover up child abuse and tear families and friends apart with their cultish rules.

I relate to the Buddhist philosophies. Those are the books I read now. I wear a Celtic cross around my neck and go to Catholic mass on Christmas Eve every year. I've started praying again. I don't know who I'm praying to, but I'm starting to feel at peace with the chaos of this life. And I'm smiling. :)

I guess I just want to encourage you that if you're in an unhappy situation - abuse, cult, bad marriage, a cheater who lies to you...whatever it can leave. I won't lie. It's years of blood, sweat and tears. It won't be easy. The Jehovah's Witnesses like to quote a passage from the bible that says if you leave your life behind and join them you will find "mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers" to replace the ones you've lost to go be in their crazy environment.

I have that again - here on the outside - although it's taken time. Out east, my family who took care of me when I needed it have proved they would do anything for me. In Toronto, I've got moms, dads, lots of brothers and sisters again and the best ex-boyfriends a girl could ask for.

I am very loved. The sadness and anger will come back sometimes in waves, I know that. But the big steps are over and the nightmares are less frequent. I'm starting to feel strong again and the JWs are not going to like that because I will keep writing. :)

Sullivan out.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Fighting Irish

I have a problem. I can't stop dating Irish guys. I wish there was a program like AA or NA where it was "Irish Anonymous". You would think I would have learned my lesson by now. Even Irish #1 told me to stay away from them.

I got to Irish #3. We dated last summer. He treated me very badly. He was probably bored so he called me on Saturday night. I was home alone crying because one of the best friends I've ever had is dying. He said: Let me come over, I'll just cuddle you and make you feel better.

And he did. He was so sorry for his previous behaviour. He said he was coming back every day until he earned my trust back. To be there for me through this difficult time. I am an Irish addict so I believed him.

The next day? He had to go to work. Unfortunately if you want to be an asshole in the life we are living in right now, you should delete the person you are lying to on FaceBook. Instead of letting them scroll through their feed and see pictures of you on the beach, when you're supposed to be at work, with some trashy looking blonde.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The Irish in me never lets me lose the fight. For that I'm grateful.

For the ex-boyfriends who have been such good friends to me since I've been back in Toronto - I'm grateful. For my dad and stepmom, I'm grateful. For my girlfriends who have been so loyal to me, I'm grateful.

One of my exs used to call me a "mother fucking piece of shit". It was and still is his favorite expression. It was all in fun. My girlfriend and I both adopted it. We're both Irish and it seems us Irish have some problems being normal. But...I don't need a guy. Especially a lying, cheating one. That mother fucking piece of shit. 

Irish #3? Please don't ever call me again. The rest of us? We'll keep up the fight. We're good people even when we're bad. :)

Sullivan out.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Streetwalker Barbie

My dad says you can count the number of real friends you have in your life on one hand.

I used to have hundreds of them. But that life wasn't real. A real friend loves you no matter what. Through your ups and downs and theirs. Even if you make life choices they don't agree with. Even if you fight, you always make up.

One of the greatest friendships I've had was not supposed to happen. The JWs don't let you be friends with outsiders. I guess I've always been a little tiny bit of a rebel because for 20 years I've loved her. She is the only one I broke the rules for.

We've had so many good and bad times together. Her screen saver on her computer used to say "happiness is the remission of pain". Then I had my first real heartbreak. She would sing me "Rainy days and Mondays". She has a beautiful voice.

We have a unique friendship. For 8 years our offices were next to each other and we would just talk through the walls. The girl across the hall would laugh at us. She called me Streetwalker Barbie and I called her a Trashy Black Ho. Neither of us took offence.

We went on business trips and even though we each had our own hotel room, we just stayed together. When I got disfellowshipped, and it was my birthday, the guy I loved ditched me that night. Donia took me out for dinner and a movie.

She is so much of a better person than me, but that has never mattered. She's always loved me anyways. She's going through a difficult time right now. I still don't know if I believe in God. But I've been praying on my knees this week.  If you have a better connection with Him, can you pray too?

I love you, you Trashy Black Ho. You always stay strong so I don't need to tell you to do that. You're my hero. Always selfless, caring, loving. No matter what happens now, our friendship will last forever. In this life, the next and the next. :)

Streetwalker Barbie out.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Dance

We were young, we were reckless, we'll take this way too far. It will leave you breathless or with a nasty scar. - TS

Y'all know that I would write something today. 

I can't go through August 9th without pulling out the wedding album and having a cry. He's moved on. He's having a baby this month. 

He was the best friend I've ever had. None of my family really ever approved. Just before we walked down the aisle my dad said: "We don't have to do this, we have a car. We can just leave." But I was walking down that aisle and marrying the man I loved. 

Sex and the city says it takes half the time you were with someone to get over them. I'm almost there. In the meantime, I wish nothing but happiness for him. I hope his baby girl is healthy and happy. I wish things had turned out differently and she would be mine. 

We never had a song. After we broke up we found it. 

"I'm glad I didn't know
The way it would all would end, the way it all would go. 
Our lives are better left to chance. 
I would have missed the pain, but I would have missed the dance."

Sullivan out. 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Fall or fly?

Not the greatest weekend. Yesterday I finally got the closure I was needing from the love of my life. Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. It will be a difficult couple of days. And I'm allowing myself that. I can be sad. I can be not okay. Come Monday though, everything starts all over again new. 

I'm free - from the JWs, from my past. Freedom is worth the cost we pay to buy it. I'm on the precipice. I can fall or fly. I'm choosing fly. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Do I wanna know?

It's been awhile. I'm finally starting to find my voice again. You know what's worse than losing your family? Losing them twice. Unfortunately I am not allowed to be who I am and keep the family too. 

I actually thought I could fight this battle against the Jehovah's Witnesses and win. I can't. But that doesn't mean I won't stop fighting. I'm happy they are going down in this child abuse scandal. Not happy that anything bad ever happened to any children, just happy other people are finding their voice, speaking out and telling the truth. We've all been silent for too long. 

I'm extremely lucky that most of the family doesn't buy into that ideal and they support me. It's a little bit crazy that two people can influence your entire perception of life. Make you want to give up. 

I lost the opportunity to be with the love of my life so I could try to get back to them. I guess I loved my mother and sister more than him. In all fairness, he hasn't come back in 5 years so I guess it's time to move on. From all of them. 

At the end of the day, those people who won't love us? For each of them, there are so many others who will. It's easy to fixate on the rejection. Moving on doesn't mean we won't always love them. I'm stubborn that way and I'm sure a lot of us are. But I have people in my life who will always be there, always support me and always care. That's more than anyone could wish for. 

My therapist asked me if I regretted my decision to try to get reinstated with the JWs, losing my love in the process. Looking back, I would say yes. But if I hadn't tried to do that, it may have been some dark cloud that hung out over my head for the rest of my life. Wondering what could have been. 

Do I want to know the outcome of any big decisions I make in life? Yes and no. Part of the journey is making mistakes, bouncing back and choosing your own adventure. So far, despite the setbacks I'd say life is pretty exciting. 

I'm writing again so stay tuned for tomorrow's post about my fabulous cousin who just moved to TO. 

Sullivan out. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Have you written anything lately?

I haven't written. I haven't had much to say. I've realized over the past few months that we're all the same. We are all just dealing with the cards life handed us. 

It takes a long time to really get to know someone. I've had the lucky fortune of staying with my family down east for awhile and getting to know them better. There was shit to shovel and bad weather and that one day I stuck most of my body into a green bin infested by maggots to try to find my aunt's earrings. But it was mostly good. :)

My dad took me out for a 15 K hike on one of the hottest days we've seen this summer - with no water. I started to think he was trying to kill me but we had one of the best conversations I've ever had. 

I dated a nice boy for awhile. I think anyone you decide to meet at the "Pirate Ship" is special. 

The time with my family was probably the most time I'll ever spend with them. When I took my dog in, I thought about dropping him off at the humane society. I didn't sign up for him, and he wasn't the one I would have picked out for myself. I know what it's like though, to be rejected, abandoned and alone. I wouldn't wish that on anyone so I kept him. And gratefully, there are people out there who will do that for me. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

I want you to want me

This is the blog that won't be written. I've tried for days, but it doesn't want to come out. I've been home for almost six weeks now. Six weeks of family and chores and bad weather. 

You know what's worse than six weeks? Six years. 

It's my fucking anniversary of being disfellowshipped from the JWs. Anniversaries are hard. Especially when your girlfriend calls you and says your ex-husband who would never have a baby with you is expecting a little girl in August.

I'm happy for him. It might be the time off work or the four therapists I currently am seeing, but I'm done. Six years is long enough to try to get your family back. Six years is long enough to mourn what you've lost. Six years of panic attacks and depression. Six years of wishing things were different. It's time to move on. 

Family ties hold strong and they are hard to break. I've had so many people hating on me for trying to hold on to the past. You'll be happy to know I'm over that and looking forward to whatever comes next. On my own. As soon as I leave Nova Scotia. Which may or may not be anytime soon. 

In the meantime, I'm working on being happy and it's working. Do I wish things were different? Of course I do. Do I miss my sister, my ex-husband and the love of my life? (Three separate people.) YES. Do I know how to move forward without them? Yes. 

Do I wish they had loved me as much as I loved them? Yes. I wish they had wanted me in their lives as much as I wanted to be there. But sometimes you have to take a detour and it doesn't mean you won't still reach your destination. It's just a little more time. You'll get there and so will I. 

Sullivan out.   

Tuesday, 26 May 2015 goes to shit :)

I'm talking literally in this instance. Seriously, this blog is about poop

If you've been following the story you know I've some recent set-backs in life/family/relationships. In dealing with my depression and anxiety. I was on a good track for a couple of years. And then I got derailed. 

So I'm home at present, living with my family. I don't have that in Toronto so I had to come here. We have four dogs, three horses, two donkeys and a cat. There is a lot of shit happening. 

I've been trying to help out the best I can to show them how much I appreciate what they are all doing to help ME and to stay busy. Normal stuff: laundry, dishes, some meals here and there. We do however, have all these animals and a huge property. So I do chores. Yesterday I cleaned the horse stalls (shovelling shit). A couple of days before that my task was to walk around the property and pick up all the dog poop and put it in a wheelbarrow (more like collecting shit). Max is still a puppy and he gets too excited sometimes and twice now he pooped all over my bedroom and bathroom (that's just cleaning shit).

This morning it was my turn. My aunt and uncle do 5K power walks down the beach at 5 am. I barely slept but I told my uncle I would go with him so I set my alarm and got up. (They think I don't get enough exercise to exorcise my demons.) We put out the garbage to get picked up and I said "I think it's going to rain". My uncle said he thought we'd be back in plenty of time before it got bad. So off we went with our dogs.

We were almost at the end of the beach when I had to go to the bathroom. He took Max and said they'd all meet me on the way back - he was close to the turnaround point of the walk. There are a couple of restrooms on the length of the beach and it's still early in the season so he said if the first one was locked, try the second one. I ran. The first one was basically an outhouse but it had toilet paper so it would have to do. It was dark (no electricity) and stinky but sometimes your only option might be your best option! 

I came out and waited for him to get back. It started raining. After about 15 minutes I thought maybe they'd gone to the second restroom. So I went there. It rained some more. (Not warm rain.) Another 15 minutes or so go by and I realized something...I had been abandoned in a dark, cold outhouse in the rain on the beach. I can't make this shit up :)

I started walking home and eventually he picked me up when he realized I wasn't at home or in the barn doing chores. I think my life would make a great sitcom! :)

We pull into the driveway and of course, the crows have picked apart two of the garbage bags. The ones with the kitty litter in them. So I sucked it up and cleaned it up. So there you have it: life can be a whole bunch of different kinds of shit. my father says, cleaning it up is good honest work. And at the end of the day, we all come home, put on our comfty clothes, make some good food, have a glass of wine and don't worry about any of that again until tomorrow. :)

Sullivan out. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Proof of Love

One of my favorite quotes is "There is no such thing as love, only proof of love.

It's not the easiest thing to do. It's actually pretty hard. Every day we make decisions. I think most of them are pretty selfish. Lately though, I feel so loved. My family, my friends, I couldn't ask for a better team behind me. They prove it to me every day that they are worthy of me loving them back.  

There are a lot of people who have said they loved me. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. Maybe loving me was too difficult to do. I'm messed up, I get it. I know now, there are people I can't let myself love anymore. Because they are toxic.  

There's also a lot of people who aren't mean, they are just messed up like me. Those people, have proved their love. I trust them. And, I'll prove my love right back. 

Sullivan out. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Country Roads

"Country roads take me home, to the place where I belong." - John Denver

I've been home for a couple of weeks now. I have two drawers of clothes, my yoga mat and my dog. It feels strange to be an adult and living in my uncle's house. My friends are great. They all just keep calling me and asking when I'm coming back. Right now I can't tell.

I read a book before I left on the struggle of women living in Afghanistan. I never have, never will, face that kind of battle. I only have first world problems. But - and the but here is big - y'all know I'm an advocate for mental health issues. So I've been seeing two therapists. I meditate in the mornings and I always run through my gratitude list.

I have the best half of my family on my side. They are completely "Team Margaux". I couldn't ask for better back-up.

I have the best boss. Enough said.

I have the best friends. Although it's possible they miss Max more than me.

I am very lucky and I never forget that. Being in the country is good for me. My family keeps me busy with chores - gardening and watering plants and barn work. I haven't ventured far from home since I arrived here. Some days are better than others.

Driving the country roads has been fun. It feels like home and that helps right now. I'll go to my other home soon though. As soon as it feels safe.

Sullivan out.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mother's Day

I know a lot of people feel this is just a Hallmark holiday, but I like any excuse show love and make people feel special, whether or not Hallmark makes a few bucks on my account. 

Looking over the FaceBook feed and Instagram today, with the eclectic group of people I'm now connected too, there are two distinct groups who are posting. The first group are the lucky ones, who have great relationships with their moms, who are posting happy pictures of them together, either now or from when they were kids. Sidepoint: It's amazing how many girls look exactly like their mother did at their age. I am not one of them

The second group, the not so lucky ones. There are many reasons people have either lost their mothers or lost touch with them. The ones I know though, it's always the same story. It's my story. 

Many of them are extremely sad today, feeling the effects of knowing the people around them are off to brunches and lunches and dinners with happy cards telling their mom how she's one of the most important people in their life. And our mothers are probably also one of the most important people in our lives - how can she not be? She's our mother. But she shuns us. Based entirely on the one decision we ever made to completely disappoint her - we left her cult. 

To the first group, I've gotta say, I'm nothing but happy for you. You have something very special - although we all know that no family is ever perfect. To the second group I would just say, if you need to feel a little sad today, that's okay. There will always be situations in life that will make us miss them. Big life changes, accomplishments, marriages, babies, there are so many situations where you imagined your mother would be by your side. I get it and I can sympathize.

Despite the fact that my mother is out of my life for good this time, I don't feel sorry for myself. It's sad, yes. I am grateful though for all the effort she put into raising us as a single mom. Would I have chosen to be raised in a cult and then shunned/unshunned continually for the past 6 years? No. But she did the best she could while we were growing up. She used to sew us dresses, made sure we had good values and we always had a cozy home. 

Today, on Mother's Day, I really don't feel a void. She stopped being my mother six years ago. And there's a good chance it happened much, much earlier than that. Over the past few years and especially lately, others have stepped in. Aunts, stepmom, Grandma, and even oddly enough one of my ex's mom  - they have shared the role that is currently vacant in my life. 

I'm sure a lot of you can relate to this - that the word family doesn't always mean what we think it does. Through my extended and adopted network of "moms" I've found the one thing I always wanted and could never get from my own mother - unconditional love. 

If you haven't already done so, find the "family" that loves you for you. While that won't always heal the wounds of a Mother's Day without your birth mother,  it goes a long way to helping you feel grateful for what you do have, feel loved and feel not quite so alone. 

Remember, the Universe is our Mother and she is always looking out for us. She wants you to be happy and accepts you the way you are. As you think about that, pour a glass of wine or eat some ice cream. Run a bath or read a good book. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. Tomorrow is a new day. 

Happy Mother's Day to all those wonderful, supportive moms out there. You deserve to be celebrated. 

Sullivan out. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Happiness Is...

So this week is Mental Health Week in Canada. I've been struggling with what to say. It seems that this week everyone is talking about Mental Health. Writers, actors, comedians, news anchors...the list goes on. We had an event at my workplace where a panel of brave people got up in front of a crowd and told their stories about dealing with anxiety and depression. 

And everyone gets on the bandwagon. I guess the most important thing I'd like to say is I feel it's so critical to keep the momentum going. Keep the conversation alive. Keep up the the caring and support that you've all been showing during this week. There's still a huge stigma that needs to be ended. 

Even if you're not one of the one in four people that will experience this personally during your lifetime, we all know that "happiness" can be a trap. We may feel that we all deserve to be happy all the time. And we probably do. But that's just not realistic in the world we live in. Whether you do presently or have suffered from depression in the past yourself, none of us are always happy. 

Mental health issues though go deeper than the occasional let down, disappointment or bad day. It's the same as any physical health challenges that someone may face. There might be good days and bad days. You might go into "remission" and be fine for weeks or months or years. And then it comes back. It might be something a person fights every single day. 

Some people do well with therapy. Medication may work for someone else. Perhaps a combination of both is useful for others. There's no "one" solution we can push on someone to "fix" them. Like a physical ailment or limitation, this may be a health issue that a person must care for on an ongoing basis for the rest of their life. 

It doesn't mean we can't be good friends, great co-workers, supportive family members. Never assume it's because we aren't trying either. Some of the bravest, funniest people I've met who've shared their stories are working extremely hard to find calmness and contentment in their lives. 

One of the biggest contributing factors to living with a mental health condition and finding your "happiness" is having a supportive network. So if you know someone living with this, just remember that. If you are living with mental health issues, accept the support. :)

I have been more than blessed, especially recently, with a network of family, work and friends who have made the past little while so much easier and happier for me. 

If you want to read a writer who is not only brutally honest about her battle but hilariously funny try Jenny Lawson: latest book is entitled: Furiously Happy: A funny book about horrible things. She can make you happy even if you're crying.

And it never hurts to hug a puppy. :)

Sullivan out. 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Hi it's Margaux. I'm shoe shopping.

Please leave a message. This probably doesn't make any sense unless you've ever called me. Since I never pick up my phone it would make total sense if you have.

The funny thing is, I'm actually going shoe shopping tonight. After spending all day in a dog carrier buying fiasco, I'm mustering up the courage to hit the mall for a pair of shoes for my very dear friends wedding tomorrow.

Then Max and I are going on a little adventure. We're taking a mental health break and going home. Sometimes the nights are too lonely and the roads are too long. And you just need your family more than anything else. I'm so lucky that I have some amazing people who will just take you in with your big ass dog. But where I'm going to...what's one more big ass dog? There are already a bunch of them there.

I hope I'll be back to Toronto soon. If I'm not able to do that, please leave a message. :)

Sullivan out.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


My therapist says I can't move on until I have closure. Which I can't get because no one will talk to me. So we'll do it this way,

Travis: I love you. I think you are handsome and smart and stupid. Stupid because you didn't stick with me. We could have made it work. I will never get married again. Fuck religion. We are all each other ever needed. But then you married Nicole and it was over.

Erin: I love you. Again, fuck religion. When Armageddon never comes, you will miss me. I miss you every day.

Linda: I love you. Fuck religion. Enough said.

Adam: You are the love of my life. I don't always sleep alone but that doesn't mean I'm not lonely.

I could go on and on, but the reality is, all those other people, the lifelong girlfriends, my bridesmaids, I don't really miss them. I don't feel a need to say goodbye. There are four people I've lost and I miss. Four people who can make you want to end your life. FOUR.

It's crazy isn't it? Because there are so many other people to make you feel happy, to feel full. They will love you for real. They will be there in your times of need. They are worthy of your tears, your laughter. They are the family you wish you had.

Sullivan out.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

How to Save a Life

It's actually pretty simple: 

1) Show up
2) Don't be an asshole

With Mental Health Week coming up I think there are a few things we all should know. 

- Half of the people dealing with mental health issues will never tell anyone about it. 
- One in four people in Canada will go through this at some point in their lives. 
- Depression is a real disease. Those of you who think you can just "be happy" are wrong.

From my experience, it's complicated. I've tried everything from therapy (I have two therapists) to meditation, to mindfulness training, to medication, to psychics. I've read a million books, dabbled in Buddhism, bought a mala that's supposed to be healing, done yoga more times than I can count. 

It's a lot of work on top of real life and real work. Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong. Sometimes I blame my upbringing. Sometimes I try to forgive myself for being not as strong as I want to be. 

Those of us who are suffering and trying to get better though, try to understand us. Just because I've been struggling lately has absolutely no link to self-pity or feeling ungrateful. Each and every turn my life takes, there's someone there who shows up. Friends, ex-boyfriends, family. I love and appreciate those people more than I can express in words. 

I have an aunt and uncle who would be the most perfectly imperfect set of parents. And I think that's the beauty in unconditional love. Now that we're all adults we know what each of us have been through. And I feel accepted and loved and I know I look up to them for getting through what they've been through. We do the best with what we have, but without the proofs of love, how we would know that we're actually loved? Love is an action. 

If someone you loved had cancer, you'd show up at the hospital, you'd bring them flowers. You might not understand depression and anxiety, but you can try. :)

And that's how you save people's lives. Suicide is the second most common cause of death amoung young people in Canada. Stop the stigma. Start talking. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Ugly Truth

I've been reading another M. Scott Peck book. His most famous book starts with a simple truth: "Life is difficult."

I haven't written anything in awhile. It's spring here in Toronto and I've been trying and trying to come up with some story of tulips and sunshine to help everyone who reads me have a happier day.

I received another message thanking me for putting myself out there, for having the courage to tell the truth, share my story. Apparently, it's been an inspiration to some people. It hasn't come without a cost though. My ex-boyfriend always gave me the same advice about this blog: You could just tell the truth. 

And it's not that I don't. I'm pretty honest. But everything is sugar coated, it all has that twist at the end where I say everything is going to be okay. I don't just do it for the people who read it, I do it for me. So that I can believe that too.

The honest truth is that this morning I got up, took a shower, put on a dress and couldn't leave my apartment. I just sat in a chair and cried. I've never not shown up for work, not called in to let them know where I was. A colleague and very good friend actually showed up. He made me call my therapist and sat on the floor with me while I cried. He offered to take me to the hospital.

I chose a path, years ago now. Was it the right one? I don't know. I've been fighting a losing battle. One I will never win. For me though, the path of least resistance is just not an option at this point.

I have one friend who understands me and supports me through everything. I have a couple of people in my family I can call when I need help. Other than that, I'm alone. Would it have been better to stay married, continue to be part of a cult, have hundreds of friends that aren't really your friends unless you obey? No. It wouldn't. But that doesn't make life on the outside any easier.

I've realized that as much as I try to be an advocate, I'm actually ashamed of who I am. I'm pretty sure anyone who deals with depression feels the same way. We wish we could be better. We wish it would go away. I want to be the old Margaux, the one who took care of everyone else and did it with a smile. But I'm not anymore. And this blog will end like that.

Sullivan out.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Double your joy, divide your pain

I've seen different variations of this quote about Friendship. Basically though, that's what true friendship does. It doubles our joys in life, cuts the griefs in half. I'm not a huge fan of FaceBook but until everyone realizes Instagram is so much better - it's okay. They have a new feature where they send you pictures of where you were on this day "x" many years ago. Yesterday I got this one:

I wish I was there today! That was in the Bahamas. I was with a very good friend of mine. We had a fabulous vacation - one of the best I think I've ever had. The people were great, the food was great, the scenery and towns were amazing and I was with my best friend. 

Funny story: we actually met on a dating website. Hey, how else is a newly divorced ex-Jehovah Witness going to meet eligible men? When he wanted to meet me I was terrified. You grow up hearing over and over how all those men out there in "the world" are dangerous, they're only after one thing, they won't respect you and on and on. 

I wouldn't go on a real date but I decided I would meet him in a crowded food court between our offices. I actually stood there, watching him wait while peeking around a corner for about ten minutes trying to decide what to do. He was tall and handsome - no doubt about it. But I wasn't sure if I could go through with it. I did and we dated for awhile. The first time he came over to visit me at my apartment I hid a great big knife in case he tried to attack me. (I was brainwashed people! So brainwashed!)

Eventually we realized we were better off as friends and by that time he really was my best friend. He had introduced me to his daughter and his parents and eventually they became my really good friends too. His parents even let me and one of my subsequent boyfriends stay overnight on their yacht after a day of sailing because that poor guy was deathly allergic to my cat. His dad signs all his messages to me as "D" (for dad). His mom knits me scarves.

He and I have seen each other through a lot, losing friends, losing lovers, changing jobs and situations in life. Having someone there to hold your hand or give you a hug really does cut the grief in half. When I went through my recent bout of depression he just called and said "I'm on my way over". 

Then there's the doubling the joy part. Going sailing, dancing, skating, to karaoke, playing laser tag with his daughter, BBQ'ing with his parents...we go to shows and concerts and buskerfest (one of the best days I had last summer actually). I honestly don't really know where I'd be without my "family" of these people to keep me grounded. And because there are four of them, the joy is much more than double what I bargained for. Can you guess where I'm going for Easter dinner on Sunday? Home. :)

Sullivan out. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

The River

My dog likes salad. Shocking but true. I accidentally dropped mine on the way to the table because he was running under my feet. He ate it all. Lettuce, tomatoes, olives, goat cheese, avocado, red peppers, balsamic vinaigrette. Max is obviously very health conscious and clumsy. Just like me. :) 

I saw Ross today as per every Friday. Fridays are my fragile days. The rest of the week and up until 3 pm? Bring it on. after that though, I'm not so well. 

Ross: How's the 4 am thing going?

Me: The usual. 

I have nightmares and I wake up with a panic attack every day at 4 am. Maybe you wouldn't call them nightmares. It's just these old memories of people who are no longer around and they come back. They seem real and they haunt me. I wake up in a panic. 

Today Ross had an idea. He was like, you want to cut your family off? Do a visualization. Put them on a raft. Say goodbye if you like, but they're floating away. So I came home and I took his advice. I lit some candles and thought about it. 

It's funny because I told my brother if I died before him I'd like to be set out to sea on a raft. Have some bagpipes playing (I'm mostly Irish but I'm also Scottish.) And then it would be really cool if someone could send a flaming arrow and burn me up. 

So I put them out on a river. First Linda. She didn't have that annoying disappointed look on her face that I've seen a million times. She is smiling. Then Erin. She's not so happy but she goes. Then a really big raft with all the people who show up in my dreams and still haunt my life - all my ex-best friends. They're on the party boat. But they don't seem happy either. They pretend they are happy because that's what Jehovah's Witnesses do. Otherwise, how could we convince you to join us?

Lastly but most importantly, is my ex-husband.  He doesn't like being social so as usual, he's in the corner, strumming a guitar. He's always fine on his own so no need to worry about him. Yet, he is the only one I cry for. 

I don't send Vivian out on a raft. I can't do that, she's my baby. 

Will this finally make the nightmares stop? I doubt it. But if I can sleep past 4 am, that's a win in my books. 

Sullivan out.  

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Dreamer

"The ship is safest when it's in port, but that's not what ships were built for." ~ Paulo Coelho

Life's messy. A lot of the time, it makes absolutely no sense at all.  Lately, I don't really know what to think. Why does this stuff happen? Yesterday was my uncle Ken's birthday and we all still miss him. A heart that has truly loved never forgets. I had a good friend over the other night and I was showing him pictures of my past life. 

Me: I was pretty wasn't I? I look happy. 

Him: You're still pretty and happy now. Just in a different way.

And it's true. It's been a long hard battle the past 5 years, sometimes I've looked in the mirror and I had no idea who I was. Yesterday, I started to feel more like myself than I have in a long time. Or maybe more un-like myself which would be a better thing. :)

The past month and a half have been rough. I cried so much I broke blood vessels in my eyes. But they're almost healed now and I think I'm getting there too. I love my new job. I hate change but it's challenging and new and sometimes we need to leave the port and set sail again to find something good. It doesn't mean we won't weather some storms. But the storms come and go whether we ever decide to put ourselves out there or not. 

Walking home from work yesterday, the sun was shining, I was smiling and I was surprised to realize for the first time in 6 or 7 weeks, the smile was real. It's a lot of effort to pretend to be happy and unless you've dealt with depression you may not understand just how much effort it takes. It's exhausting. 

Sometimes when the waters get rough, you think it may have been better to stay in the port. Where it felt safe. I needed to remind myself over the past weeks that it was just as much - no more - effort to pretend I was happy in an unhappy marriage. In a religion that required so much work but I didn't believe in anymore. In relationships that took and took and took and didn't give much back in return.

I think this most recent storm is over. I feel happy again. All I really need is a few good friends, a few people in my family who are always there for me. I have that. I have family and friends who have always been there for me in every way I could have possibly needed them and they always will be. Now that I'm feeling better, I'll do everything I can to repay the favor. 

I still haven't completely lost the dreamer I once was. When times get tough, I always have yoga and red lipstick and now I have a big ass dog and a sword. That's enough to fake it until it gets real again. 

Here's your Wednesday morning song: I'm just a dreamer but I'm hanging on, though I am nothing big to offer. I watch the birds how they dive in then gone. It's like nothing in the world's ever still...

Happy birthday Ken. I'm sorry I'm a day late, I couldn't find the right words last night. 

Sullivan out. 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Through the Looking-Glass

Alright. It's been a month. I'm ready to talk about the wedding. 

From the pictures I've seen, my sister looked beautiful. When she came over to drop off my invitation, I said "Are you sure?" I know how I'm perceived by the Jehovah's Witnesses. Apostasy is the worst sin you could ever commit. Speaking out against the organization is not only grounds for disfellowshipping, it's everlasting death. Spoiler alert: we're all heading for everlasting death. So let's make the most of the life we have now. :)

She responded: "Of course. You're my sister and you're not disfellowshipped. Of course I want you there."

Erin and I have a lot of history. Our family has been pretty messed up from the start. My father has his own issues, then my mother decided to join a cult. He remarried and oddly enough, the only person I have a relationship with now is Helena. They aren't mom and dad anymore though, they are just John and Linda. 

Any time things hit a rough patch, Erin would come live with me. Once we had nowhere to put her but the storage closet. We accidentally closed the door with the Cat in there and she peed all over the bed. Good times. :)

I've been trying to cover this up the best way I could, but I'm on a network at my job that works on health and mental health issues. I was writing an article for them this week on Purple Day which is next week to raise awareness for Epilepsy. 

I started to feel ashamed. I spend all this energy trying to be an advocate. To break down stigmas, raise awareness, help people dealing with difficult situations to feel less alone. And here I am, at home feeling terrible about the fact that for the second time in five years, I'm depressed. 

The first time, when I was disfellowshipped, I thought there was a coming back from it. I got myself reinstated with the JWs, I tried to find a way back to my family. Was I angry with them for shunning me? Oh yeah. Did I trust them? Not at all. Until Erin and I were wedding dress shopping. Facetiming with Linda while she tried on different outfits to wear. Until it seemed that my position back in the family was secure. Then I made the worst mistake. 

I'm a hopeless romantic, and I decided to trust again. Something I haven't done in five, no almost 6 now, years. I bought a really pretty dress. I took Erin to my therapist with me and listened to her talk through all her fears about the wedding and how she thought every single member of our immediate family would get drunk and embarrass her. 

Yet, I was the only one uninvited at the last minute. Apparently I make the JWs nervous. This time is worse than the first time. You can only understand it if you've been through it. I tried to check myself into the hospital so I wouldn't hurt myself this time. They wouldn't take me, after about 7 hours they sent me home with a pamphlet on feeling sad and some 1-800 numbers to call. 

Why is it worse than the first time? Because I know now that this time has to be the last time. I've suffered some pretty severe repercussions of this most recent spiral into depression. Breaking up with your family is the worst break-up ever. 

I thought again about going back to them. I watched a video on their website from one of their leaders. He seems absolutely insane so no, I've walked through the looking glass, fell down the rabbit hole and there's no going back. 

I wish there was a switch you could flick because out here, I have mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers who truly love me unconditionally. I have a great job, a lovely apartment, wonderful friends. Anything a girl could ask for. But your family always has that hold over you, the one you wish didn't exist. 

The good thing about getting through depression once, is that you know the "depression lies" slogan is true. If we could tell the truth, there's really only a few people who have rejected me. Compared to a ton of people who care and make my life better every single day. I know I wax poetic on here but seriously - I am very grateful and as soon as I get over my most recent break-up, I'll be just fine. The other side of the looking glass is strange but it's where I'm supposed to be. 

Sullivan out. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Reality Bites

I have good news. I have a new job. I miss the old job already, but mostly just the people. My old boss Stuart always said "Onward and upward!". He had so many lines and buzzwords we actually played Stuart Buzzword Bingo the night we said goodbye to him. I still have his playing board on the wall because apparently I'm a hoarder and don't know how to say good-bye to anyone. 

This new job was a long time coming, but worth the wait. It's a big learning curve and I'm trying to keep up. It is a much better fit for me and I'm excited. After five years it was time to move on. 

But y'all know I hate change. There's all those people out there who think change is fun, it's exciting. I don't know if it was because I was raised JW that I don't know the best way to process even the best of changes. They made me scared. 

My brother invited me over about a month ago and we watched Reality Bites. If you didn't grow up in the 90s and want to know how that went, just rent the movie. It's pretty accurate. Even the scene where they go to the gas station and buy treats with her dad's gas card. I did that back in the day. I was driving a black Bronco and going to the movies with Scott, my rugby star non-JW boyfriend. We went in and bought all the treats we wanted for the movies on daddy's gas card. I guess I've never been 100% straight laced. :)

That seems like 100 years ago. I honestly never thought I'd get older than 23, that life would continue as it does. It seems ridiculous looking back, but I thought Armageddon was coming and I would live forever in a Paradise on earth. I actually believed that. Now I know the truth. The truth is, we go to work. Some of us are lucky enough to enjoy it. Some of us are lucky enough to be surrounded with the best people you could hope for. I'm one of those people and I'm very grateful. 

Then we come home, eat something, watch some tv. Maybe grab a drink with a friend. If we're very, very lucky, we might fall in love, have someone to count the days with. If it happens, we could have a kid. That would be lovely. It doesn't change the fact though, that I'm not ready to confront the reality that we're all going to die. My therapist can't help me, my friends can't help me. 

When I was in the hospital for surgery on the weekend, I asked the anesthesiologist if there was a chance I might die from the drugs. She just said vaguely that there's a chance of anything in life. It was very comforting. :)

They kept saying: "You're alone. Why are you alone?"

I should have told them it's because they won't let big ass dogs into the OR. Or because most of the people I love most don't live live within driving distance to the OR. 

It hasn't been a stellar week. I am happy about the new job though and grateful for the people who have got me this far. Reality Bites. 

Sullivan out.