Friday, January 2, 2015



"I have hope." first words written in 2014. I watched everything incredibly closely. spent a lot of time running the whole world through my mind. used secrets instead of restriction, learned about safe places versus bulldozers. my safe place told me about a truth I hadn't caught on to. January burned in the passenger seat on the car ride home. my beloved sister told me she was pregnant. and then the earth slipped out of orbit, Josh was killed and everything went black and heavy and silent. three days later I unraveled completely.


it was 11 days until the funeral. until we had some sort of permission to begin healing. the ones I love the most lost their colours and I know, my haze lifted for such a time as this. I grew lighter, prayed to God that I could love everyone enough to keep them here with me. in the middle of a party I got a phone call that my mom was in the hospital. on the drive home from visiting her I saw the northern lights, heaven bleeding into earth. I made new friends. I learned Joy is a tool for survival. "I'm not taking the photos I'm supposed to be taking."


I started taking a photography course, got to spend Monday evenings learning about my favourite thing on earth with people just as excited as me. we started looking at apartments in osborne village. I wanted to throw out everything I owned and be free. I learned about my own empathy. my dearest friends surprised me with a trip to minneapolis for my birthday to see live music and I thought, my life is so bewilderingly beautiful. the tide was high, it got higher every time and my chest began to burn and I was afraid of what it might mean.


I realized just how little I believed in my own self. we started watching Sherlock and it changed a lot of things. my photo class continued to be radically inspiring. I learned love grows thicker when you're standing still. Sarah got a new heart and I started frequenting the hospital.we found a house. I learnt to swallow pills. my sister was a new kind of cornerstone. work started piling up. I packed up everything I owned into cardboard boxes, sat in an empty bedroom and made a quiet choice to allow myself to feel completely. we moved downtown and settled in like it's where we always should've been. someone told me I should be proud of myself. I emptied my closets of everything that had imprisoned me.


I sang my dear friends down the aisle on their wedding day with a new kind of bravery. this month always wakes me up to taking photos again. there was that thing about stepping over your own walls because you know it's safe on the other side. May is my chest slashed to ribbons. you know? when you lean closer for comfort and the blade sticks further in. remembered that I exist simply to withstand, the ripping of the thread, the tearing at the seams. May left as I was re-calibrating.


I lost my appetite but I sat myself down to eat anyway. I photographed a wedding for the first time in years. I realized I might be lonely. "...almost like learning to protect yourself from evil, then from your own two hands, then from everything and no one gets to come in."  I talked myself through a lot of things. spent a lot of time in my little bedroom. began to seek my answer for the hope that is in me. still kept myself silent, not brave enough for any sort of transparency. "It is much easier to be admired than loved." 


we broke the silence. my family came to the city, existed in my world for once. haltingly, I told my story to six people who love me. I grew weary of editing photos that were not my own, of spending so much time behind closed doors. finally, I found a name for the blood under my fingernails, for the stranger in my mirror and I wrote a poem about it that I never showed to anybody. one of my dearest friends moved far away. this month finally started to look like summer. the fringe festival is my favourite time of the year. crowds of people, the pulse of the city. everything lit up at night. I spent a lot of time out on the fire escape.


we left the city, just like we needed. to be together somewhere unfamiliar. I was learning to be gentle with myself, to treat my body with kindness. and still I spread myself too thin, lied without saying anything. I took a week of holidays for no reason. I got to take my sister's maternity photos. I read books that changed the way I think, showed me how much time I'd wasted. it became difficult to be silent, certain topics starting burning white hot in my chest. I started running in the mornings but it wasn't safe for me. I tried to keep to myself. "...this is wanting to touch your smile and always hitting your mask at the last second." softly, finally, I said no. August was a lot of weddings, a lot of dancing at night, sharpening my claws and growing stronger. I tried to make my kindness useful.


September 5th, 2:30am I got the call. heard her crying before my sister even spoke. my precious niece was born and my heart grew immediately. I went to stay with them for a week, spent every day holding this tiny, wonderful little girl and I was so full of love. my sister, my hero, taught me so much without knowing it. the evenings were spent with my dearest, oldest friends. the knife of realizing, yet again, life goes on regardless of which one I am in. I tried to be better but there were many distractions. prayed to God to keep my loved one's feet on the ground. I got sick and work became heavier. the west end was beautiful in fall, raw and improper. I cooked a meal for myself. God told me I was wrong; I am never alone. I did not even see September as it passed.


I thought I had grown strong, but it was just a lack of opportunity. things got rushed, and scattered. I started caring about politics, abruptly and loudly. started to realize just how much this neighbourhood matters to me. I visited a museum that stood for and explained the things that have always been burning in my chest. Matt got very sick and I started frequenting the hospital again. I asked for prayer from my loved ones for the first time and it changed things.  last minute, we drove to nashville for a the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen. God found me, wayward. told me what I was made for. it shook me up, I need to leave to see clearly. Love asked questions. I was pulled in 3 different directions, filling space but not fitting. my sister told me something she did not think I could understand but I did. I got to see Mayday Parade. God called me on the telephone. we hosted halloween at our house.


"I am drying up." I only saw the list of things I needed to change. I bought a car. my body grew deficient again and things went dark but I mostly caught it in time. I started a 30 days of grateful project and only photographed what mattered. I was too quiet, looked in the wrong places for light. November was a lull. I wrote abruptly, said very little. the string of resignations began at work and I stayed too late, too often. a three-year prayer was answered. I had little impact, a black hole, where does the good go? I think I kept my hands too full, didn't give anything. I felt used, like a prop, a laughtrack even if it's for good people. like a child, I tried to say no to everything.


 at church, they talked about people's track record vs. trying to judge someone's heart and a lot of things settled into focus. not everyone is so steadfast. I stopped dreading going to work. grew closer with the few coworkers I have left. my manager planted an idea in me that could change everything. I felt peace, that which I did not know I was missing. the doctors gave up hope for Matt and my heart shattered at the sight of him. I had been burning down for a long long time, and finally the sickness hit. my family took care of me entirely, I felt like a small child again. december 26th was the only day of the whole month that felt like christmas. against all odds, Matt got better. I came home to my beloved family, the ones you choose.

in 2015 I want to learn to wear my heart on my sleeve. to speak clearly. to draw lines. to love well.

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