Saturday, 28 February 2015

Big Love

6 years and one day ago, I told Big I loved him. I gave up my entire life for him. I believed him when he said he'd get divorced. I believed him when he said we'd get married and have beautiful strawberry blonde children. 

When I knew I couldn't trust him, I deleted his phone number and wrote it on a sticky note behind the piece of art he gave me. Of course, it was a bird. Y'all know I've been having a hard time lately, but birds always make me feel better. :)

I caved and decided to message him today. I turned the piece around and the note was gone. Where did it go? Seriously. How can it just be gone? I guess the same way he could be gone. No explanation. 

I had lunch with a dear friend yesterday and she said she hoped I would stop being sad and get to the point where I felt angry. And now I do. I feel angry that I was raised in a cult. I feel angry that I was manipulated by a man I actually loved. I feel angry that things didn't work out the way I had hoped they would. 

And I feel grateful that things didn't work out the way I hoped they would. That would have been the biggest tragedy :)

Sullivan out. 

Friday, 27 February 2015

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

It's my birthday. February 27th. It makes sense that I was born into the absolutely worst month of the entire year. Everyone hates February, especially the end of February. 

We're so close to spring and so tired of the winter. 

Usually, I plan something and all my friends know to say happy 27th on the cards. This year I didn't. I don't think I'll turn 27 this year. 

Here's what I've learned. Life doesn't always work out the way you thought it would. Sometimes, your husband will divorce you and get remarried in a year. Sometimes, you grow up in a cult and your family will shun/unshun you until you have to look at a life that doesn't include them. Sometimes the best friends you make will be people who are as perfectly imperfect as you are. 

Y'all know I'm a new beginnings junkie. I might cry today. But I'm also going to be extremely happy. Because I have a puppy. Because I know feelings come and go. Because I am sure that this year will be better than last year. 

Sullivan out. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Love in a Hopeless Place

"I saw you screaming but no one can hear. You almost feel ashamed that someone could be that important, that without them you feel like nothing. No one will ever understand how much it hurts. You feel hopeless, like nothing can save you. And when it's over and it's gone you almost wish you could have all that bad stuff back, so that you could have the good." - Rihanna

My ex-boyfriend, Steve, probably was one of the only guys on here to have a real name. No "Vienna", " The American", "Irish". He was just Steve. He had a lot of opinions on everything. He told me that I could do better with this blog. He said: "you could just tell the truth". 

The truth I want to tell myself is always to put the positive spin on everything. It actually helps with someone who suffers from depression. Writing it down, saying everything is actually okay, makes you feel better. 

This week though, things haven't been better and I'll tell the truth. I tried to check myself into the hospital yesterday because I feel like I'm right back where I was a few years ago. That sucks, right? All that progress, all that healing, all that work. You will never win though with the Jehovah's Witnesses. They will come out of the shadows and sucker punch you when you are least expecting it. Your mom and sister will never choose you over them. And you will go through the same little hell you were in years ago anytime they cut you off again. 

Do I know I have an army of other people behind me? Yes. Does it make their actions hurt less? No. 

Spencer came to the hospital with me. 

The doctors: Does she sleep?

Spencer: No, she doesn't. 

They decided not to keep me and sent me home with a paper on feeling sad and some 1-800 numbers to call if I needed help. 

At least this time though I tried to do something. Last time I took three bottles of pills and went to bed, hoping not to wake up. 

I think the hardest part about this time is for the last five years, I held out hope that I could leave the Witnesses and still get my family back. I worked at it, I was honest with them - about this blog, about the article I did for that magazine. And everything seemed to be fine. 

Now I know I can't go back. I can't risk my career, my friendships, my life, for people who will never love me for who I am. I am NOT a Jehovah's Witness. 

Sullivan out. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Running to Stand Still

"My dear, here we must run as fast as we can just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that." - Alice in Wonderland

A few months ago, I was faced with a difficult decision. My little brother was getting married and my sister, for various reasons, couldn't go. I hated the thought of her alone here in Toronto while we all ate, drank, danced and posted pictures of it. (Not that she's really alone, she had a fiancee and all the JWs, but I felt she needed her family.) I stayed here and spent the day with her. 

As it turned out, three months later she put me in that exact situation. I was formally uninvited to the wedding two weeks prior. Apparently I make JWs uncomfortable. I asked her to leave, ripped up the wedding invite on my fridge and wondered what to do with the very expensive dress I bought for the occasion. 

I've always had two sisters though, Kyla is just not blood related. But some friendships run deeper than blood. I called her, crying, and just like that she booked a train ticket to come to Toronto and spend the weekend with me. 

I had the vacation time booked at work, so my aunts and uncles asked me to come home. I spent a week with them, shoveling snow, reading books, sitting next to fireplaces and feeling loved. I have three birthday presents already and my birthday isn't even until Friday. 

On Friday I travelled back here with my uncle and my grandma who were going to the wedding. We had dinner together and then Kyla showed up. We hadn't seen each other in way too long. The thing about real friendship though is that it doesn't matter how much time has gone by. Any time you do spend together - it's like time has stood still and you're right back where you were the last time you saw each other. A little bit older, a few things to fill each other in on, but basically you just pick up exactly where you left off. 

I had a surprisingly super fun weekend. Had a few meals with Rob and Grandma and they came over to meet my puppy. Kyla and I went to the market and bought some really great food to make delicious breakfast, lunch and supper on Saturday. (Yes Grandma, I ate three meals on Saturday!) We went to the aquarium for the afternoon, we got all dressed up and went down to the bar in the evening. Where we had a few drinks and got hit on. (Mostly just Kyla got hit on but I like to think it was because I loaned her the sexier dress.)

Kyla with a few drinks in her is fun Kyla times ten. She actually punched a guy who tried to put his hand on her leg because she's married to the love of her life and gawd, guys you should be checking for that wedding ring before you pull something like that. Good times. :) Anytime I started to feel sad on Saturday, she'd pull out yet another pre-planned wrapped present to cheer me up. My friend Brett seemed to have me on speed dial all weekend, calling over and over just to say he loved me. My little brother showed up early yesterday morning before his flight and it was so, so, so good to see him again. 

Today, the wedding is over and life is just back to usual. Waking up at 5:30 am to do yoga and take the dog out before work. 

It's the same place I was at a couple of weeks ago before this all happened. Sometimes it does feel like you have to run so fast to just stay in the same place and not go backwards. But other days, when you have the energy and good karma to run twice as fast, you can actually get somewhere. And with all this wonderful "family" behind'll happen. 

Sullivan out. 


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Gift of Imperfection

My "Big Love" made a lot of promises to me after my life blew up. He used to say we'd get a house on the beach - at one point he was looking at private islands for sale because hell, we didn't need anyone else but us. We'd buy those kitchen counters that were actually just cutting boards because we loved to cook together. He said we would adopt a puppy who was "as perfectly imperfect as we were". Had I known I couldn't trust him I probably would have made different choices. Or would I have? Probably not, I was too in love. Would those different choices have been the right ones either? There's no way of knowing. 

The mistakes I've made along the way have been my mistakes. It was actually pretty liberating to finally be allowed to make mistakes, for the first time in my life having no one to tell me what to do. It was scary, exhausting, stressful. Most of the time I went with my gut. 

As a Jehovah's Witness there are no choices, no freedom, no independent thought. The constant stress of striving to achieve perfection will wear you down, eventually. My good friend and previous mentor, Stuart always said "Perfection is the enemy of the good". Good was never good enough for me in the past, but it is now. 

I think that's why I fell in love with Big, so hard, so fast. In my JW life I always had to be better, work harder, sacrifice more. With him, I was perfectly imperfect and felt completely loved regardless of that. I'd never felt that before - it was the greatest feeling in the world. 

As you know, I got sucker punched by a bout of depression two weeks ago due to yet another family shunning drama episode. If you've ever dealt with depression you know how quickly and strongly it can walk in your door and beat you down again, even if you've been doing great. But now I have a really good bounce back time. I have the tools, the support and the love to as Taylor Swift would say "Shake it off". (Y'all know I love Taylor) :)

Family can be both a blessing and a curse. We know too much about each other, we expect too much from each other, sometimes we try too hard to control each other. 

Some of my family though has always supported my vision of where I wanted to go now, even when I didn't know where that was. They have unselfishly been there for me through thick and thin. Celebrated my accomplishments, held my hand when I cried. Without my aunts, uncles and Grandma down here in Nova Scotia, would I have weathered all these storms over the past five years? 

Maybe. But I wouldn't have come out of each of them feeling stronger, more sure of the decisions I've made, more determined to be more like them. Most importantly, they love imperfect Margaux and do everything they can - not to fix me - not to make me into who they want me to be. But to guide me. To listen to me. To distract me with cute animals, delicious meals and lovely wine. 

Someone asked me on my last blog "where is home?". Home is here with them. Home is in Toronto. Without this home to come to though, the other home wouldn't feel quite so important.

Don't get me wrong, they're not perfect either. NONE OF US ARE!! Imperfection, I truly believe is a gift. It gives us targets, something to aim for, a feeling of accomplishment when we hit them. Kindness, compassion and being committed to always do your best, to help those in need where you can, to show people dignity and respect no matter how far they may have fallen and what mistakes they have made? That is unconditional love. That's the target. 

Within (I want to say minutes but it was probably days) I was coming home - all arrangements made for me by my favorite uncle. And it was the right thing for me. To just say yes, I'll come, pack a suitcase and get the hell out of my most recent personal nightmare. Come home and light some fires, dig out some snowstorms, spend time with the people I need the most right now. 

The thing about nightmares is...we wake up. Then we see the world and the people in it for all the beauty they add to the Universe. I feel very, very grateful, very, very happy. I'm ready to go home (the other home) on Friday and slip back into the extremely happy, successful place I was in not so long ago.  

Thank you a million times to these people who have always been loyal, always been loving and always had my back. It still feels like home to me here and it always will. 

PS - Big: I finally have that perfectly, imperfect puppy. You would have liked him. :)

Sullivan out. 

*Grandma and me*

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Be my Valentine...?

Yesterday I got in a taxi, then on a plane, and then another plane. Had lunch with my uncle in Halifax and then onto a bus. My aunt picked me up at the gas station and 12 and half hours later I was home. 

I woke up to this:

I've never been much for sleeping in and this is the perfect place to watch the sun come up. My aunt was very well prepared for V-Day. She had flowers for Grandma, cards and presents. I even got one - she gave me this - a pretty crystal I can hang in the window and when the sun hits it - rainbows will be everywhere in the apartment. I think I lucked out. :)

I know that this is just a silly, commercial holiday that really shouldn't matter. But to a lot of girls it does. I have friends who say it makes them feel more single if they don't have someone to spend it with. I have friends whose boyfriends completely forget to do anything sweet for them at all. If you go on Instagram or FaceBook though you can see from the pictures there are tons of girls whose boyfriends/husbands/significant others are really well prepared for this made-up holiday. 

Having grown up "holiday free" I don't buy in to spending tons of money to follow the crowd. But I also think that any occasion that reminds us to show love and affection to the people in our lives - even in little ways - is not a bad thing. And hey, who doesn't like flowers or chocolates? Those people cannot be trusted!

I'll share the worst story I heard today. My girlfriend has recently reconnected with an ex. A BIG ex. He asked for a place to stay for a little bit. She hummed and wondered what the right thing to do would be. She went the way a lot of us do (I've been there) and said sure, she could give him a month. We're women, we're compassionate. And we've all been in situations where someone went out of their way to help us out. 

She found out today, on Valentines Day, the day that once upon a time ago they had planned their wedding for - that he's actually married now and never told her. Ouch

I think the best thing to do today is to make a date with your BFF and not let society dictate your happiness, whether or not you received those red roses. My plan, were I in Toronto now was to hit up a wine show at an art gallery with Lindsay. Y'all know I don't date anymore, but a few of the huge dogs here have tried to make out with me. There is love in the air! There's a lovely bouquet of flowers on the table, I think I'll just take a pic and post it on Instagram. My hot, rich, sensitive, doctor/lawyer/CEO boyfriend must have bought them for me right? He's so sweet. :)

I did have a date with two different men today. They were okay but both of them turned out to sorta be an ass. I don't see a long term future for us.  

I say it all the time, the most important person you should love is you. If you're staying in tonight, find something special for you - and just for you. Pick up some flowers. Buy a nice bottle of wine. Give yourself a facial and listen to the music you love (because there's no boy there to tell you to turn off your Taylor Swift cd! Yay!) If you're still a little sad read this: You Complete Me...?  All you fabulous women deserve it! And if you're a little lonely, you can borrow one of the donkeys. :)

Sullivan out. 

PS - There is one man I desperately miss and wish I was having cuddle time with tonight. Max!!

Since he was abandoned on New Years Day, I've distributed flyers and had quite a bit of interest from people in the community who want to adopt him. It's not too late (yet - but soon it will be! 5 days to go!) to contribute to our crowdfunding campaign to cover some of his vet bills. 

Even $10 helps. One of my friends got his tip money from work and gave us $10 in loonies. It was much appreciated. Click here to support us!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Suck it up, Buttercup

January 28th was Bell "Let's Talk" day. I meant to write a blog about it but if you follow me regularly, you'll know I haven't been writing much these days. The statistics are...well..sad to be honest. Over 3 million Canadians are suffering from depression at this moment. One in five will experience it at some point in their lives. And I think the numbers are probably skewed because there is so much of a stigma attached to admitting you have a problem. 

Y'all know I went through it - to an extreme extent - myself. The last couple of years? My old friend hasn't really bothered me. The anxiety never went away. He's an asshole. The depression though, was gone. I never cried. I didn't feel sad any more than any "normal" person does. And there wasn't anything some Ben & Jerry's and a chat with a friend couldn't cure.

Last Saturday though, it came back. The pacing around the apartment at 4 am. The panic attacks. The constant crying. The events that triggered it - I should have seen it coming. But I didn't. I was in such a great place. I was getting up really early every morning. Taking the dog out. Doing yoga and practicing meditation. I felt between my job, my friends and having my JW family back in my life and me as part of theirs, I finally had everything I could have hoped for since I decided to walk away from that old life 5 years ago. 

That religion though is exactly like the song Hotel California. "You can check out any time you like but you can never leave." And unless you are very, very lucky, you cannot walk between the two worlds and think you can have both. I have been subject to a lot of criticism, a lot of hate on this blog for trying to do that. I understand why so many ex-jws are hurt. I understand why some of the people who are disfellowshipped would be upset with me for publicly not completely disassociating myself with that group. 

My girlfriend wasn't invited to her sister's 10 year anniversary party. My invitation was rescinded to my sister's wedding. Honestly? I didn't really want to go anyway. The thought of walking into a Kingdom Hall makes me need an Ativan. I did spend months though getting myself strong enough to do it - for her. Thus all the yoga, all the meditation, all the positive thinking. 

All families are a little bit crazy. Like it or not though, we are hardwired to love them. And I do. This hurts. It hurts like my heart was ripped out and chopped up in front of me. But I'm not angry. I'm sad. And I can't tell you how many people have caught me crying at my desk at work this week. 

You know what I've learned? That even when it gets this bad, I'll never try to hurt myself again. Because now, I know for a fact that it goes away. That soon, I'll feel better. Depression lies to us but if we know it's lying it takes away some of its power over us. My best friend is getting married in May, so I will have somewhere else to wear that really pretty dress I bought.

My friends, colleagues and non-JW family have rallied up and supported me this week. I have the kindest people in my life that I could wish for. My girlfriend immediately booked a ticket to Toronto so I won't be alone that weekend. Another friend begged me to come spend it with his family in Montreal. My family back home bought me a plane ticket since I've already booked that week off work. My roomate took down all the family pictures while I was at work until I feel like I can look at them again. 

So I'll suck it up. There's little things that help. I've been wearing the necklace my brother bought me - a cross with a switchblade in it. I've had two sessions with my therapist instead of one. This was not a stellar week. Next week? Will be better. :)

Sullivan out.