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.