Canada & “Free” Healthcare

Lets talk healthcare.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I completely understand that there are places in the world where they have no access to healthcare of any kind.  I know that some people in America will be in debt until the end of time, due to healthcare.  I am fully aware that were I to live in another country, I would be paralyzed by now, or have died from the flu or a common cold years ago.  I get it.  I really do.  So calm your tits.

However, from someone who is “working class”, “functionally disabled”, and possibly “mentally ill”, let me tell you what a fucking sham our healthcare system is.

Let’s start with my ‘functional’.  I work approximately 40 hours a week.  I have a dog that does not require long walks, she has arthritis and cannot handle temperature extremes so two 20-30 minute walks a day seem to be a good balance for her.  I live alone, making all of the chores mine to do.  These include: Cooking, cleaning the house, washing dishes, all of the shopping, dog care, laundry and other various tasks throughout the year.

Most days by the time I come home and walk the dog, I am sore and exhausted.  I have no energy and my back just wont continue.  I know that I can wash and dry my laundry, but cannot fold it in the same day.  I can vacuum my floors and clean my bathroom, but will have to save mopping for another day.  Dishes need to be kept to a minimum, something about the position over the sink is painful to be in for a long period of time, and if I’m already sore, forget it.  The dishes get saved for another time.

I can’t sit for too long, or lay down for too long, or stand for too long.  There is not comfortable position.  It just doesn’t exist.  I wake up in the morning so stiff it feels like I was beaten with a bat from the base of my skull to my ankles (the part that isn’t just numb, anyhow).  My hands tingle like chilblains all the time, and there are portions of my body from my hips down that feel like they were shot full of Novocain.  Then there are the days where my skin is so sensitive it feels like I got terribly sunburnt the day before and even my clothing hurts, or I have so much back pain it hurts to take a breath, to move, to be alive.

Moving on:

Let’s talk medications.  I have doctors whose every solution is a pill; a new pill, more of a pill, snorting a pill, whatever (okay, that last one is an exaggeration.. but really).  Pills I cannot afford.  Expensive pills.  $200/month in bloody pills.  Every four months or so, the pills stop working as well, the pain all comes back and what happens?  Up your dose, so you blow through these pills even faster, thus making my life even more expensive.  I have no coverage.  Thank you though, government of Canada for covering medications for children and people living off the system (I understand that some of these people actually NEED to be on the system, but I bet the percentage of people just sitting on their ass enjoying all of their free fucking pills is astonishing.)

Moving on.  Physiotherapy.  Honest to (insert deity here), I would be far from functional without it.  It is not covered under OHIP until I am wheelchair bound.  What?  Oh ya, that’s right.  I go to physio (at $65/session) to keep myself working, to remain a contributing member of society, and the government will only cover me when I get to the point where I am wheelchair bound.  Makes sense right?  Why help someone maintain functionality, so they may continue working and paying taxes and making a contribution to society?  Let’s cover them when they are not able to work and are living on government funding?

Mental health.  Life happens.  To some people it happens in loving families, babies, love and laughter.  To others it’s broken dreams, loneliness, tears and a loss of hope.  I have found a therapist.  I love her.  She is truly amazing.  She is also $90 a session.  Needless to say, I do not see her any longer (although I’m sure I need to).  I can give you a glimpse of my OHIP covered therapy experience.  Sitting in tears in an office affiliated with my GP, after telling a perfect stranger my feelings (which you hold back on, because they expect you to trust a woman you have never laid eyes on before with the very core of your little damaged, broken heart) and she says “but you don’t really feel that way”.  Pardon?  I don’t?  Um, ok.  You’re right I guess.  Because that would be messy, and I don’t want to create a mess for anyone.  I guess I lied; all the while I can feel that damaged little piece shrinking even smaller and curling up even further into the darkness to keep itself far from anyone who could ever see it, hurt it, touch it.   Or, after staring at the many massive bottles of pills in your house, through tears that have been falling for so long they hurt now, and you cannot breathe.  You call a number you have been given for a psychiatrist and leave a message asking how to get an appointment, how it’s paid for, asking for a call back “it’s really important”.  You make that call three times, on two different days and leave three messages.  And they never call you back.  “Free healthcare”.

“What does your occupational therapist say?”, “Have you gone to the pain clinic?”, “What about getting onto a drug study with the company?”, “What about Trillium Healthcare?”.  These are some of the dozens of questions I have been asked, to which my response is: “What is that?  I didn’t know it existed”.  But why?  Why did none of the doctors, therapists, or specialists that I see even mention these things?  Because our free healthcare services are so over stretched and under funded that they are tired, there mind is already on the next patient, they assume that someone else will offer help?  There are so many resources that I have never heard of, that I need, that could be so helpful for me, but how do I chase down something that I didn’t even know was out there?  I tell people all the time to advocate for themselves, because in this system the patient needs to be the one who takes their health in their own hands.  We need to request the referrals, we need to seek out the programs and resources, we need to write up the letters and just present them for a signature.  Is that worth it being free?  Is this system really working for the masses?  Or is it only viable for the few who have the time or the money to force it to work for them?

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The Black Dog *trigger warning*

It’s not a popular subject.  Its the elephant in the room, the back dog in the shadows, the looming presence of something unwelcome that you just can’t quite put your finger on.  It’s depression.  It’s permanent.  And if you are easily “offended” (or not in a good place right now) you should stop now.

This is where I get stuck.  Where do I even start?  Either you understand or you don’t.  You can either relate, or you can’t.  You either know what it feels like to think that your best and only option is to end your life, or you think, “just snap out of it, choose to be happy” (fuck those ‘inspiring’ memes, by the way).

I didn’t choose this.  I didn’t want to have thoughts of my dog sitting alone in an apartment, unfed and in her own mess, be the only reason I didn’t swallow every pill in the cabinet.  I didn’t want to think about taking her with me.

I didn’t grow up thinking, I want to be a worthless burden to my family.  I want to be the invisible person my entire life.  The one people don’t want to be around, forget to invite; the 37 year old single girl in a world of families who can’t afford to do anything, including pick up her laundry list of medications most of the time.  I didn’t dream of waking up every day in pain, of having days that my own body fights my every intended move, to feel beaten and exhausted by 3 pm, but still have two hours of work to plow through.  These were not my aspirations, ever.

And yet here I am.

Here I am fighting to survive in a world where I wake up and go to work, just to come home and go to bed by 9pm out of boredom and loneliness.  Where everyday feels like a sick version of groundhog day, reliving the same thing, day in, day out, for what?  Just to do it all over again.  Here I am drowning in 215 facebook friends and when in reality there is less than a handful of people who have any idea who I am or what is going on.

Don’t get me wrong,  I am forever grateful for those handful of people.  For coffee dates, breakfast meetings, video chats and encouraging words from the most surprising sources, telling me that I’m really not as awful and I have been lead to believe.  So grateful for boardgames and laughs so hard you snort and cry.  I, very literally, would not be here without them.

Depression is a vicious beast.  Its an abuser.  It hides the marks behind a smile and some jokes all day until you are alone.  It makes it’s victim ashamed to talk about what is really going on at home.  It carries a stigma with it, and it always seems “silly” that this is how I feel when other people have it, or have had it, so much worse than me.  It’s “no big deal”.

My message to people on the outside.  To the internet trolls, to the great advice giving friends:  Stop.  Shut your mouth.  You have no idea.  Honestly, I’m happy for you.  I am so happy for you that you have never experienced the feeling of hopelessness that comes when you pray to not wake up, and you do any how.  Like the powers that be are forcing your hand to just do it yourself.  I so happy for you that you have never felt that your loved ones would be better off without you here, not just that they would be happier, but that it would be a relief and that they would be able to thrive without you in their lives, dragging everyone and everything down like you always do.  I am jealous that you have never experienced the envy that comes when you hear of a suicide.  Envy that the person had the courage to end the suffering,  envy that it gets to be over for them, envy of their peace.

I know this might seem like a downer of a post.  I hope that none of this hits home, that it’s all foreign to you;  That you have never walked around feeling so hopeless and worthless that you are just hollow and numb.  I hope that you cannot relate.  That you have never been so surrounded by people and so alone, that you have never stayed home because your anxiety of being around people is fed by the knowledge that the group having fun is only going to make you feel like an outsider, and it’s actually less lonely just to be at home alone.

Depression is an illness.  I cannot just snap out of it.  I did not choose to wake up like this, trust me when I say that I would have chosen happy, had I been given the choice.  I don’t want to down under the weight of my own life, but here I am, clinging to a board in the middle of the perfect storm, when everyone around you seems to be at the swim up bar on a pool float working on their tan.

Please don’t tell me how I can get better if I wanted to.  You would never say that to someone with cancer, or any other physical disease.  Please don’t tell me that all I need to do is call a therapist, you have no idea how daunting that call is.  How much I worry that I cannot afford to get help, how I have called for help and cannot get a call back from anyone covered in the health care system (which is even better, when you are so worthless that the therapists won’t even call you back).  Try to refrain from telling me how immature I’m being, just because you don’t understand.  You can choose happy all you want to.  I will choose to try to survive.

 

Stop Fighting

When I was a kid I had this huge family.  I mean HUGE.  Both of my parents have four siblings, they all have spouses and children, some of those children have children.

We had big Holidays and family picnics, we got a million Christmas cards, and birthday cards and there was so much laughter.  SO much laughter.

Then the loud laughter turned into silent fighting.  The holiday dinners came less frequently, then they became just me, my parents, and my brother.

Then life happened, I got depressed, I became single, I became invisible.

I can go to a family dinner and not say a word, and no one notices.  I have a dog who, somewhere along the way, became aggressive with other dogs, now she is the “problem child”.  She ruins my mothers clean floors, she gets hair on the furniture and now other dogs can’t come out to the house with her, which is such a shame because that other dog is just so sweet.

For so long I have wanted that family back.  I have missed the laughter and the gatherings.  The skating, the dinners, the sleep overs even the little spats.  At least we were together.  I wanted to have my own family.  To start new, to become part of another family who had all of these big holidays and to expand my little circle into something big and loud and wild again.  All that happened was my circle became even smaller.

Life moves in directions out of your control.  It removes all the things from your life that it wants to, whether you want them or not.  Sometimes those things get replaced.  Sometimes you just need to deal with what you have.

The last year has been a game changer for me.  The last few months or weeks even.

Being alone is the hand that I was dealt.  And I don’t mean without a man.  I mean alone.  I also have come to realize that I don’t need anyone else.  I can do most things alone anyhow, I will no longer cancel plans or avoid going to shows or concerts just because I can’t get anyone to go with me, that’s bullshit.  To miss out on things just because somehow you’ve dealt yourself a bullshit hand.  Stop fighting for things that aren’t meant to be.  You should never have to work this hard for someone, for anyone.

I will take every knife from my back and I will cut my own way with them.  I suggest you do the same.

 

The Hands Keep Moving

It’s a thief, it drags, it flies by, it heals wounds.  Time.  It passes day by day, minute by minute, second by second.  We all watch it, we all see it differently, but it happens to all of us.

In the last little while I have gained the inside track on this fickle friend that is time.   I thought I had it figured out.  It fooled me again.

Some days I feel like I have it all under control.  Other days, I realize that it was all a lie and time is a cruel creature.  What I do know, is that you cannot wait.  Time will move on without you, and you will miss what ever it was that you were waiting for.  It will never be the “right time”, you will never have everything lined up perfectly;  what will  happen is, you will miss your opportunity,  Time will take it away from you.

Spend time with your friends and family, go on the vacation, buy the new shoes.  Call the girl, kiss the boy, tell that crush how much you like them (no, I will not take my own advice on this one).  Don’t wait until the “timing” is right, it never will be.  Get the new job, go to school, demand better from yourself.

I am the worlds best procrastinator.  I put off every project, assignment, every everything until the last possible second.  I am here to tell you stop.  If something walks into your life and you think it could be good.  Take it.  Don’t wait and think, “if the timing had been right, it would have worked.”  Life is work.  If it is right it will work, work won’t be scary.  That massive exam really IS the light at the end of the tunnel.  That girl really will work with you while your life is in shambles if she is worth it.  If he likes you, he will call/text/show up (so they say, or at least he should).  Don’t wait by the phone, call yourself.  Don’t wait for the last moment to study.  Be prepared.  Don’t wait until your family member is gone to tell them how much they mean to you.  It will be too late.  Time will have stolen them, your time will be up.

Don’t sit back and let time pass you by.  Maybe there’s a good reason Captain Hook is afraid of that ticking, and it’s not just the croc.

 

Lost and Found

It happens to the best of us.  We move around in our lives, minding our own business, thinking that we are taking the least destructive path for everyone involved; and suddenly it happens, you take a moment to look up and realise you are lost.  Somewhere along the way, you veered off course, and now you have no idea where the hell you are, or how you got there, and god forbid you think about going back.  Don’t ever try to go “back”.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been lost.  Heck, I’m lost now.  Maybe I always will be.  Maybe all this time I wanted to be Wendy, and I’m really a lost boy.  Either way, I’m still waiting on Peter to arrive to show me the way.

I recently had a flip.  I lost some things, found some others.  Maybe that’s what is supposed to happen.  Maybe you need to break a little of this to gain a little of that.  Who knows for sure.

I had this moment of sheer and utter loneliness.  More terrible appointments, the worst testing yet, more stagnant information.  Get “dumped” (it really wasn’t much to begin with).  Get forgotten.  All before noon.  That’s when it hit me, I’m lonely again.  Sometimes I want it, someone to be there, someone to wake up with, have morning coffee with (just don’t speak to me), someone who is forced to go to these stupid appointments, who is forced to care about how after painful tests I’m supposed to be relieved that everything tests “normal”, but still doesn’t feel normal.  Someone who sees the messy hair, no makeup, house cleaning, PJs all day and still thinks “God, I’m so lucky to have her”.  Makes me tea and pours me a bath on a day that is just crap, and understands that sometimes it was crap for no real reason and not talking about it is just as good as talking about it.

Last night I sat across the table from a friend I have had since birth.  Literally, since birth.  I am the Godmother to her first born.  I haven’t seen or spoken to her in a decade, and because my overly mature, incredible, stubborn, 13 year old Godchild wanted to meet me, I have regained a family.

Suddenly, things look different.  Suddenly the fork in the road has a road sign and although it neither direction is where I was originally headed, it’s okay.  So I head left (I tend to veer left).  I want to rebuild relationships, I want to be there for a kid who stole a huge chunk of my heart the moment she was born.  I get two more amazing kids to be the crazy aunt to, and I am so incredibly lucky.

This is what I know.  Sometimes as adults we say things that we feel like we can’t come back from.  As kids we don’t do this, our ego doesn’t get in the way, one persons hurt is never more important than the others.  But as adults it happens, all the time.  I am telling you you can.  You can go back.  You can apologize, make amends, fess up to being an asshole, not being able to see past the end of your own nose, and move on.

No fight is one persons fault.  We both said things we didn’t really mean.  We both could have called, could have written, could have contacted the other person.  We were both too stubborn and egotistical and hurt and afraid to make that move.  We were both stupid.

You can’t take the words back, you can’t get back the time.  You can’t go back to how it was.  But you don’t want to.  How it was was obviously not as strong as you originally thought.  A scar has formed, the path is bumpy, there is a mark that will be remembered.  But scar tissue is stronger than the rest of your skin, and bonds that are able to be formed over it are harder to break a second time.

 

The Single Life

Let’s put this out there once and for all.  I am FINE.  I don’t mean ‘damn that gurrl is fine’ fine (although, we all know I am);  I mean, fine.  Happy.  I like my life.

I got lost for a little while, but, while my adventures in online dating were frightening and sitcom worthy at the same time; they opened my eyes to who I am and what I want.

I have vowed to reconnect with my friends.  The things I miss about ‘relationships’ are having someone to do shit with.  Patio drinks, movies, hikes, going out.. etc.  All things that a good friend is more than happy to do with you.  It just takes a little scheduling and I have learned, you cannot wait for someone to ask you, just make a call and have some fun.

Things I have learned from ‘dating’ at 37:  I do not like to have to wear pants.  As much as I love to have people just ‘pop over’, be prepared that it’s possible that I am walking around without pants on.  Why?  Because I can.  I don’t have to shower, clean, cook or stick to the plans that I made for the day.  If Netflix calls me and I decide that, no, I no longer want to be productive for an entire weekend, or leave my house.  I don’t have to.  No one knows but me, and there is no one contributing to my mess but myself.

I don’t like ‘sleep overs’.  Get out of my bed.  I sleep diagonally across a queen sized bed, and at sometimes it still isn’t big enough for me.  I have made a pillow fortress, I sleep with 5 of them.  Yep… 5 pillows.  Because I can.  And I don’t want to share them.  I can wake up when I want.  I am not disturbing anyone but Tallulah when I get up and put on 90s grunge and make coffee.  Or I can lay in bed until noon, and not hinder anyone else’s productivity.

I cook what I want, when I want.  If I don’t go grocery shopping (because I despise it) and I live on oatmeal and popcorn for weeks.  No one complains, and I don’t feel guilty for starving another person out of sheer laziness.

I also recently discovered that I dislike a disruption in my morning routine.  Maybe it’s a sign that I have been single for too long, or that I am actually just one of those people who is better on their own.  But I’m going to tell you a story.

I started dating a guy.  He was alright.  Seemed pretty cool.  Then he stayed over.

My morning before work goes like this:  Coffee is on a timer.  I get up, pour a cup, drink some, then take the dog for a walk.  On my walk I listen to music.  Typically it’s 90s Alt. rock or old school metal/punk.  Yes, that’s my morning music.  It works for me.  I come back, top up my coffee, sit down and flip through social media and have something to eat.  After this, top off my coffee again (don’t judge me) I shower, dress and leave for work.  It’s seamless.  I can arrange for a disruption if I know it’s coming.  Other than that.  No room for error.

Enter sleepover.  He wants to cuddle all night…. not the cuddling that leads to anything either… just cuddling.  So I don’t sleep very well, as I can’t get comfortable and he breathes loudly and by around 1 am I seriously debate just kicking him out or smothering him.  But I try to be nice, and I don’t.  I then discover he is a ‘morning person’ and takes joy in irritating people who are not morning people.  If you are one of these people, you’re a dick, and just stop.  He comes on my walk, wants to talk, “this is quality time that we get to spend together”.  At this point I have no finished a whole cup of coffee, AND cannot listen to my music.  Just no.  I top off my coffee, and he takes to pouting because “Facebook is obviously more important”.  Then it happens.  Just as I am about to shower (which has a two song minimum for me to be on time).  He decides that he wants to shower (and not the good shower together kind either… just needs to get ready for work.  WHAT?  You had all this time,  this time when he was trying to force me into being a morning person, and he wasted it irritating me.  UGH.  Yep, fine, have a shower.  Post shower, he puts on more scented lotions than I even knew existed and jammed down my throat how he takes such good care of himself.  I don’t care.  Go home.  Stop calling me.

This is when I realized.  I’m fairly set in my ways.  If you aren’t bringing middle of the night sex to the table, don’t stay over, and for gods sake don’t try to make me a morning person.  After 5-7 “I miss you soooo much” selfie text messages, after knowing each other for a week.  And a terrible sleep over experience, I came to realize that there is only one thing that my friends cannot provide that I actually miss.  Yes, you know what I am talking about, but I’m sure I may know some people who are willing to help me out.

Needless to say, I deleted all of my online dating information, and am wary of anyone who says “I know this great guy”.

Nope, I’m still kickin’

Hey.   Yes, I disappeared.  No, I’m not gone forever.  Here I am.  Back again.

Let’s discuss taking care of yourself.  Fighting for yourself.  Speaking for yourself.

Over the past little while, I have come to meet a few (a lot) of new people.  I have definitely learned some things about myself through those people and those experiences.  Who I am, who I want to be, how I think you should behave by the time you are in your 30s, etc.

Let’s start with dealing with your own issues.  By the time you reach 30, you should be fairly self sufficient.  I don’t mean that you shouldn’t look to other people for help, support and guidance;  I mean that you should pull up your big girl panties and deal with your own shit.

If someone is treating you unkindly, speak to them directly, like an adult.  Don’t run to the teacher in the school yard and tattle on everyone.  Maybe they have things going on that your are unaware of, or couldn’t possibly understand.  Maybe, just maybe if you speak to that person, explain to them how their actions make you feel, the issue can be solved easily.

If you are diagnosed with a chronic illness.  Fight for yourself.  Fight for your life.  Fight to get yourself to where you want to be.  Understand you options, understand your own body and your limitations.  Accept them and work with them.  I know too many people who live with adversity.  How have lost organs, lost mobility, lost limbs, live in pain or live with the threat of permanent disability hanging over their head.  These people fight every day.  They fight to make the best of their lives, to better themselves, to have the best life possible and they don’t let all of their “can’ts” run their lives.  So when I meet someone who has been born with an “abnormality”, who doesn’t understand their treatment, who just lays down and lets their illness run their life, it makes me want to shake them.  To wake them up.  How can you just lay down to die and not fight for yourself?

If you want a better life, make it.  Maybe you won’t get exactly where you want to be.  Maybe that girl at work will still be short tempered, maybe she doesn’t mean it how you think, maybe that’s just how she comes across.  Maybe you won’t have perfect vision, won’t be able to run a 10 km marathon, maybe you will live dependant on needles for adrenaline, for insulin, pain meds or otherwise.  But maybe you can run a 2 km marathon, or hike a tough trail instead.  Maybe you need those meds to survive, but you are surviving.  You are living, you are spending time with people who love you dearly (and trust me, those people are there).  Maybe you will live with depression, pain, anxiety, or a really shitty pancreas.   But there are options.  Is it so bad to take some pills every day if it means being happier?  Spending more time with your children?

Fight for yourselves people.  You are the only one who can open your mouths and tell someone that something is wrong.  No one can help you if you don’t ask for it.

It’s not just about the Hip, it’s about being Canadian

Ok, it’s been a while.  But I’m coming back.  And it’s all new.

Just when you thought I wouldn’t.  I’m going to.  Today is about the Hip.

For those of you who have lived under a rock since the 90’s, the Hip refers to The Tragically Hip, a band born and bred in Kingston, who have, in our eyes, made it big… at least in Canada.

Truth be told, I’m not a huge Hip fan.  I mean they have a handful of songs that I thoroughly enjoy and some that bring back some great memories, but I’m not a die-hard-Oatway kind of fan.  When I went away to college and people heard I was from Kingston, their first response was “Oh my god, like the Tragically Hip” and I cringed every time.

Wether or not you like his voice, Gord Downie is a poet.  His lyrics are beautiful.  They are inspiring, open to interpretation, and leave a mark on you.  Rob Baker is an incredible guitarist. Paul, Gord, Johnny and Davis all bring a unique presence to the stage/album/band that cannot be duplicated.

I have worked in downtown Kingston, I have met a couple of these guys just out and about, dropping off photos, having a deli breakfast.  They are good people.  Genuine nice guys.  If you didn’t recognize them, you would never know they are “famous”.  They have 14 studio albums, two live albums, 1 EP, 54 singles.  Heck, nine of these alums have gone #1 in Canada and included in their list of Canadian music awards are 14 Juno awards.  Yes, I had to Google that.

Heres what today is to me.  It’s sad.  It’s always sad to know that something is coming to an end.  In this case, not just the end of a Canadian music empire.  But a mans life.  A father, a son, a husband, brother and friend.  A man, who like it or not, is loved by thousands of people.  Who’s music has both inspired and healed the hearts of its fans for decades.

I remember Sarah and I sitting in her bedroom, listening to Road Apples singing Long Time Running and Fiddlers Green at the tops of our lungs.  The Doc in the living room trying to watch his shows (or sleep) probably cursing us.  Bonfires/Field parties with Oatway, Leeman and “the boys” all HUGE Hip fans,  the guitars come out and so do the songs… bonding moments of my youth.  Solidifying that I am so glad I got to grow up with those guys.  In the country, where we just hung out, under age drank, and sang together.

Cancer is a terrible disease.  It has stolen so many people I love, before I was ready to let them go.  Sometimes they get to be themselves when they go, sometimes it makes them into people who at 19 inspired everyone around them to love and be happy and kind.  Sometimes, it steals their brains, takes over their bodies and twists them into people no one can recognize anymore.  Fuck you Cancer.  We will find a way to beat you, with the help of people like Gord, who chose to take their public life, shine light on the dark parts and raise huge amounts of money for care and research.  Not to save themselves, but to save those who come after them.

Tonight I will be watching the “final” concert, playing in their hometown.  With some of those same people who made me have a small soft spot for the band in the first place.  In a cul-de-sac, projected onto a bed sheet.  To me, this is the perfect way.  How much more Canadian could it get?

Tonight is not just celebrating the Hip, it’s about being Canadian.  It’s about Canadian music, how maybe we don’t always make it big around the world, but that’s ok.  It’s about how we connect, how we live, and how we love.  It’s about long-standing friends, and outdoor music, and being together.  It’s about music that isn’t electronic and lyrics that mean something different to everyone, and songs that find a place in your playlist regardless if you are a “fan” or not.

This makes me sad, that it’s ending, sad for the fans, sad for Gords family.  But so very proud.  Proud that I’m from the same hometown as these guys.  That I live in a country that people know for their innate goodness.  Make fun of me for being polite.  That’s ok by me.  Where I come from we have an overall sense of community, kindness, and inclusion.  Where the majority of a country is going to shut down, turn on their tvs, and gather together to celebrate a group of guys who got to make a living doing what they love, and touching the hearts of a nation with their music.

Hey Hip, tonight is not good-bye, it’s see you later, it’s thank you.  We can only repay you with our love and admiration.

“It’s been a long time running
It’s been a long time coming
It’s been a long, long, long time running
It’s well worth the wait…”

 

Communication without connection

Am I becoming a curmudgeon?  Is this a sign that I am getting ‘old’?  Let’s talk for a moment about ‘social’ media and today’s communication.

Want to completely miscommunicate an idea or feeling?  Want to dot your ‘Ts’ and cross your ‘Is’?  Then, by all means, text.  Text everyone.  Text every idea and every conversation that should be had in person.  I feel more and more lately that I want to text less and either actually pick up the phone or see someone in person.  Sit with me, talk, cry, laugh, for gods sake be angry and scream and yell, but do it to my face.

Don’t get me wrong.  Text is great, for a quick conversation.  For something that takes very little feed back.  “Want to hang out?”, “I’m doing X on Y day.. want to come?”, “Saw this ** the other day.. lol.. thought of you”…. Great!  A quick little text that tells me that you thought of me is amazing.  Possibly makes me whole day.  Continue on for my issue:

My brain works in a million directions at all times.  I’m everywhere and nowhere all at once.  I could text you to hang out or make plans and also text someone else about something or .. gasp.. be on the phone having a chat… which is going to take my tiny brain into another direction completely.  By the time you get to answering me, I could have had other thoughts relevant to you that I need to get out.. so I send them too… And there is no tone, inflection, anything that tells you how that thought is coming out. You just see it as all one conversation.. then you get mad.

No one says no in a text.  They just avoid that message all together.  You cannot avoid something when you are on the phone or in someones face.  It’s ok to tell people no, it’s ok to break plans, but commit to telling the other person what is going on.

This brings me to my next ‘issue’ Facebook.  Again, as a concept I love it.  I get to see what my friends and family are doing from not just across the country, but around the world.  It connects me with the people that I care about who I can’t just jump in the car and have tea with.  For that it’s great.

It has also removed me from everyone else.  I currently have 175 ‘friends’ on Facebook.  I can assure you this is the most people I have ever left on the account.  It was a bit of an experiment.

At one time I removed people that were not either related to me or directly involved in my life.  And I mean ‘directly’ in the most loose of it’s forms.  If you even ‘liked’ or commented on any of my Facebook photos or posts, you were left on as a ‘friend’.  The removal was taken personally.  But how?  I wonder how long it even took for people to notice they had been removed.  Why do we see Facebook as the be all end all of friendship?

I can tell you that with the most people on my Facebook account ever, at this moment in my life I have never been lonelier.  Just this morning I wondered if I moved out of the city and didn’t post it on Facebook or change my phone # how long would it take for people to notice I wasn’t in the city anymore?

This isn’t a woe is me post.  This is me trying to get you to look at how you interact with the people who matter to you.  Do they know they matter?  Do you know what is going on with them?  Are you basing these answers on what you have seen on Facebook?

 

Happy (?) Holidays

I went AWOL.  I know;  But here I am again, on my little soapbox, spewing out everything I’ve been holding inside, wondering if anyone reads this, hoping the answer is no.

Its Christmas time.  12 days away, in fact.  My tree is up, decorations are out, but that’s as far as it has gone this year.  Haven’t watched my holiday movies, no Christmas tunes playing, no lights outside even.  Not a present wrapped and most of them not even purchased.

Why is this year different?  I’m not sure.  Maybe it’s the fact that I worked 200 hours last month (Okay, 196.4 hours).  Maybe it’s because I work in the mall and Christmas has been shoved down my throat since early November.  Maybe it’s because I have a lot going on, maybe it’s because this year I find myself lonelier than I have been before.   Maybe it’s the lack of snow or even cold weather.  Whatever it is, it’s missing.  That Christmas magic that I have always seemed to be able to find.

I’ll tell you what I know.  I have always known that sometimes just hearing someones voice can make a world of difference, and I got a phone call the other night that completely confirmed that for me.  I know that sometimes hearing a sweet southern drawl answer with a “Hey Love”; Or my cousins quirky, smirky “I know, right” is all I need to pull the pieces of my heart back together, even just for a little bit.

I know that there are a few people that I would give anything to wrap my arms around for the longest most awkward hug ever, but I need it.  I ache for it.

I know that I used to have big family holidays.  We used to pack up the car and travel to two different places and have dinner with huge amounts of loud, laughing family.  Now it’s just me, my parents and my brother.  I know that I am always welcome with my family, but the truth is that I would have to choose extended family over parents and I can’t do that.

I know that with a recent unexpected health issue, with the health issues of friends and family, the search for Christmas magic has fallen to the way side and it’s harder to find it when you are trying to do everything alone.

Maybe I’ll still find it.  Maybe I’ll get some Christmas cards in the mailbox instead of bills, and I’ll feel that much more connected to the people I love and miss terribly at this time of year.  Other than that, if anyone has any suggestions on how I can possibly find that magic feeling again, please feel free to pass that along.