Okay, so here is what I am learning: I give too much. I expect too much. And I am horribly bad at friendships because of it.

Something tonight just 'clicked' for me while I was talking to a 'friend' of mine. This person does not know me incredibly well, and that is actually a good thing in this case. The 'click' I heard was the maximum number of people saying something until I finally believed it. I have had so many people tell me that I expect too much from friends and that is why I always feel lonely or like people are not really my friends. Family has said this, friends have said this, my ex has said this. And now I am thinking it must be true. I admit that the amount I talk to someone indicates the level of friendship I feel with them (with offline friends). (Online friends are different and will not even be mentioned here. Expectations are different. I can somehow feel close to an online friend I do not talk to every day, perhaps because conversations are longer and more honest via e-mail or IM. For whatever reason, I do not take issue with online friends unless I truly feel the friendship dwindling.) If I talk to someone once a week, that is a decent friendship to me. If I talk to them more than once a week, that is a close friend. If I talk to them every few months, that is an acquaintance. I have been told this is wrong and that I should not expect to talk within certain timeframes. Unfortunately, this is always how I have been and I will likely never be able to talk myself into thinking differently.

I had this friend tonight tell me, as I have had other people tell me, that you can remain close while not talking often. I have no idea how to do this and I do not really want that in my life. If that person has the ability to call me and hang out with me, why are they not taking advantage of that? I am told that I have to accept this as being the way things are. I feel like if someone cannot make time for me, they are not really a friend. I know people get busy, of course, and that is fine. But should you not be talking to these people regularly in order to remain 'close'? How are you close with someone you only talk to every few months? Imagine being in a relationship where you only talked and saw each other every few months? That would be hell and eventually, one or both people would tire of it. (I say this based on experiences with long-distance relationships. They never work.) I just do not know how to equate 'closeness' with 'talking every few months.' To me, that is not a good friendship. That is more like an acquaintanceship. Time, unfortunately, matters when you do not have consistency with people in your life. Time does not matter to everyone, but it matters to me.

The second part to that is... yes, the type of conversations are also indicative of how close I consider myself to that person. If we discuss superficial things like work and movies, they can be a friend but not a close friend. If we discuss personal issues, self-esteem, relationships and things of this nature, I would consider that person a close friend. Typically, I do not have those discussions with people who drift in and out of my life (I term these as "acquaintances"). I have never felt like someone I discussed those superficial things with has been a close friend, even if we talked about those superficial things every day. Close friends open up to each other about their feelings and are able to have friendly debates or intellectual discussions. Close friends are able to be vulnerable with each other and discuss personal flaws they would not discuss with just anyone. There is some sort of line, I feel, between an acquaintance and a close friend in that respect. I do not discuss personal relationship issues (if I am in one) with an acquaintance, for example.

So yes, the way I define a good friendship is two-fold: intervals of communication and topics of discussion. Obviously, included in topics of discussion would be having that person care enough to listen when I am having problem or offering me help when I need it. This would include me being able to be there for them in times of need as well. In other words, the person is around often enough to know when you are going through a rough time and need some extra support. I would call this a third point, but it should be a given. A close friend should be there for you, and you should be there for a close friend... any time possible.

I am told, time and time again, this is all wrong. I have been told by friends and exes that I should not expect anything from anyone. I love how I am called a cynic by so many people, and yet I seem to have the most optimistic (and I am told stupid) outlook on friendship. I believe you can have a friend for life. I believe that you can connect with someone so strongly that you are able to overcome every bumpy road and every challenge the friendship faces. I do. I also believe, even if not from experience, that a couple in love can get through anything together and survive a lifetime (or close to a lifetime) together. I believe that type of love exists. In fact, I thought I found it once and it was the most earth-shattering thing to admit it was obviously not it. I just believe in these things. And people keep telling me I am so foolish and that I expect too much. Why? I think I see other people have these friendships. I feel I have them for certain periods of time. I feel I have been really, really close to people for a long time... and then it usually ends terribly with them completely betraying me in some way. I am never the one to let go first, and maybe that says something about my determination... or something about my foolish optimism.

This is just making me more and more depressed, all of these people telling me that what I want and what I (believe I) need does not exist. I am starting to believe them though. Tonight, as I said, I felt like, 'Okay, this is the x person to tell me this. This is obviously reality and I am the one who is wrong.' But I mean, really? I just want someone I can share everything with, someone I am not afraid or embarrassed to talk to about anything. I want someone I can talk to on the phone or hang out with and have it be equally as meaningful. I do not want someone who is dependent on me, but I want someone who feels like they need me or at least really want me in their life. Is this so weird? I think I see it all the time. I feel like so many people have those friendships. In fact, I feel like the majority of people have someone like this in their life. Am I wrong? Am I watching too much Sex and the City? I joke about that, but in all honestly, that is sort of what I am looking for in a friendship. I want people I talk to every day or every other day... or at least weekly. Is that honestly bizarre? Is there something wrong with me for wanting that?

Everyone has told me that I need to change my outlook. Everyone has said I expect too much. Am I? I want to know the answer. I want to know if there are friends out there who talk every day and are very close and share everything with each other. I want to know if this is some fantasy I have made up in my head or if I actually did witness people having these types of friendships in life. You read about them, at the very least, these people who have been friends for years and years and still do a weekly brunch... or still maintain some sort of ritual that they do every year or every month. Friends who know each other's families. Friends who will offer you honest advice. Friends who will be there when you really need support. I feel like this does exist. But everyone keeps telling me to get my head out of the clouds.

Has this caused a strain on current friendships? Absolutely. Has it caused a strain in new friendships I have built this year? Yes. I have had friends scream at me for complaining. I do not consider myself 'needy.' I would never describe myself that way. But when I go without hearing from someone I consider myself close to for weeks, I will ask them what gives. If it is someone I have known for a long time, I can be a little abrasive about it, which I know is wrong. But yes, I have confronted friends I feel I do not speak to enough or ones where I feel the conversations are getting into 'neutral' territory. For example, I recently had a friend I was very close to for almost a year. All of a sudden, he stopped telling about anything personal going on with his life or expressing any feelings that could make him vulnerable in any way. All we talked about, suddenly, were superficial things like movies or video games. When something was wrong, it was like pulling teeth trying to get it out of him. There was this drastic change and I confronted him about it, angry and upset, asking if I had done something wrong. I cannot stand people that I am close to cutting me off or the contact suddenly dwindling for no apparent reason. Let's say for example a close friend has a baby. Would I be understanding if that person suddenly talked to me less? Yes. It is when there is no real reason for a drop in contact or personal conversations that I get upset. Back to the friend above, I had no idea how to handle it. At that point, I just kind of felt the friendship was over. Or at least, the close friendship was over and we had moved into acquaintanceship territory, so certain things were off limits. Again, I was left devastated. This always happens to me. Once in a while, I will get what I need out of a friendship... but then I lose it for either no real reason or a bad reason, like the friend betraying me.

I seem to spend a lot of time trying to define my friendships with people, and this is likely because I do not know what is okay and what is not when people do not draw me a line in the sand. If I only talk to someone once every few months, do they even care about something that happened to me a month ago? When I have a "close friend," I do not have to worry about that. We catch up all the time, so of course I am going to be telling that friend what happened. I will likely talk to that "close friend" the same day or a few days later. It only makes sense to tell them. Not only do a spend a lot of time defining my friendships, but I spend a lot of time trying to turn them into what I want. I do not do this in a selfish way, but I just assume certain things will happen when things are going well. Like, if I am having great conversations on the phone with someone, I assume we will likely hang out somewhere in person. And this is where all the disappointment comes in. No one can ever tell me flat out that they do not want 'that' type of friendship with me. I suppose people think I will get really upset, or perhaps they are lying and trying to spare my feelings. Once I start trying to turn the friendship into this, things start going terribly wrong. 'What's wrong with not talking for a few days?' they will ask. At that time, it seems like "nothing" would be a good answer. But in reality, it bothers me. Why not? Why can we not that often? Is there something wrong with that? Do I bore them? Do they not want that type of friendship with me? I start feeling insecure. And I start feeling disappointed that the friendship is not going where I thought it was going. In this way, it is sort of like a relationship/lover. You expect it to evolve and grow, and when it does not, it just sort of fizzles and you go your separate ways.

I do not try to turn every friendship into a "close friendship," of course. I only start having expectations when things have been consistent for a long time. I just kind of expect it to continue (if nothing else, like a baby, gets in the way). When friendships in high school did not survive graduation, I did not take it badly. That was something I expected. It is when I do not see a real reason for communication to seize or become more spread out that it starts bothering me. So I do realize that I suddenly expect people to start living up to expectations we have not blatantly discussed. I just feel that if a friendship going in a certain direction I remain positive about it, feeling confident that we will grow closer and continue communicating regularly. This, yes, might be wrong. But how the hell do you know when you are both on the same page? The only way is to ask, and if they lie to spare your feelings, you will continue having those expectations and not have them met. I am not trying to point a finger at the other people, but I really do not feel like people are honest with me when they should be (which is always). I am then left very confused and sometimes hurt. I suppose I see potential a lot of others do not.

I have no idea what any of this means. I could be some intensely needy freak and not even know. I feel like people are trying to suggest this even though I am perfectly happy with a lot of alone time. I just also, in addition to being alone a lot, want some close friends whom I can depend on and call over for dinner and go out with on a fairly regular basis. I want my phone to ring sometimes. I want to text someone and receive a reply that same day. I want someone to go to when I am really upset, someone who does not feel it is a burden to comfort me (which acquaintances usually do). I just want everything I am giving or willing to give. But if what they say is right, then I am giving far too much to everyone I know. How do you just stop giving? I suppose in one respect they are right: I cannot expect what I give if I give excessively. In most ways, I honestly do not expect everything I give back. I know I give a lot and it would be hard to keep up. Sometimes I just do things because I am a nice person, and I do not expect anything in return. But with close friends, I sort of want them to want to spend the same amount of time with me that I want to spend with them. I do not always want to feel like I care more than they do. But I always, always do. And this is another reason I feel like these people, who are telling me this is a stupid way to live, are right. If I am always left disappointed or feeling sort of empty, perhaps the fault is mine.

I almost hate myself for being as giving as I am. At some point, no matter how selfless you try to be, you want something back. You want someone to care. You want someone to really like spending time with you. You want someone else to initiate contact for once. I do not expect much from most people. But when I really, really connect with someone and open up to them--and they open up to me--is it so wrong to want that to continue? Am I only allowed this in small doses? I just... thought other people had these types of friendships. Maybe I am wrong.

The worst part is not admitting these people are right in that I expect too much and those friendships do not exist. The worst part is that after I admit that, I am not sure I can live with it. I am not sure I can live with mediocre friendships or just a ton of acquaintanceships for the rest of my life. I like friendships that last years and years, and even better if it is for life even though I realize that is rare. I am, in a way, dependent on these to be happy. If I do not have at least one person I talk to consistently, I feel angry, resentful, depressed and lonely. Like right now, for example. I feel like there is a constant void within me, and that void is due to a lack of meaningful friendships... friendships that stay even when the love of your life does not.

I am not sure I can settle for what people are offering me. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. In my eyes, I do not feel it makes me terrible. I just want something really meaningful. I want some of what I give back. If this does not exist, I am going to be really unhappy in life. Friendship is important to me. No matter how much I tell myself that I am fine alone, I am not fine being completely alone or only with people who drift in and out of my life whenever they want. Eventually, those drifters stop talking to me all together, and I suppose that is why I need to know if it is that sort of friendship or not. I need to know how much to invest.

Even tonight, when I was talking to my friend, I realized I am probably going to get really hurt again. We have been really close over the past few months and I really want it to continue, but he drew the line in the sand. First of all, he said that I will likely never hang out in his social circle. This hurt. A lot. He said I would probably not like most of his friends (because they are superficial party animals) and that he is not the type to bring new people into the circle anyway. He also said that at some point, the communication might die down and he is perfectly fine with that. Already, I know I am too invested in it because I am not okay with that like he is. And it hurts because I feel like I really have something good with him. We have such amazing conversations and debates. We can talk for three hours on the phone and not run out of anything to say. We see each other every week, for the time being, and it is always great fun. But he seems terrified to make any sort of commitment to this friendship, suggesting that we may drift but that is okay and we would still be friends even if we barely talked. (And I do not mean in a relationship sense because we both agreed we do not want to date each other. I realize this entire situation has a stigma attached to it because he is male and I am female, but I assure you, it is not like that.) Like, why? Why is it that someone cannot ever say to me, 'Hey. You are worth having around for a long time. I hope we stay friends.' What is so wrong with that? I am starting to think it is wrong to feel this way and that I should never expect anyone to tell me those things. I am starting to feel that asking someone for commitment to a friendship--not a lover--is wrong. Is it?

I know, I know I am going to get terribly hurt with this friend. I absolutely know, after that conversation, I am far more invested in it than I should be (or than he is, whatever way you want to look at it). I thought things were going really well. He has assured me time and time again that he really likes what we have and that he really enjoys spending time with me. But on the flip side, he also says there is a good chance this will not last. Why? Why? Why? How does he know? Has he already decided this? Why even say that if you are not sure? It confuses me. He did say he wants to remain friends, but he also said even if we drift, oh well. I just do not take the "oh well" approach when it comes to people I really enjoy. And I suppose that is a huge flaw. I have to approach everything more casually. But I am incapable of doing this. I want everything to be lasting and meaningful, fun and inspiring. I hate the superficial. I despise it when it comes to friendship. I despise social networks like Facebook (admittedly, I do have a Facebook account but I bitch about it on a weekly basis) where people just write about meaningless garbage and where "liking" a post means you read it or even cared what it said. Bullshit. It is all such bullshit. I want more than that.

The truth is, even though I now have to prepare myself to lose yet another friend, I am glad we had that conversation. It will not stop me from investing in the friendship or prevent me from being there for him in any way I can. But the conversation felt like the beginning of a new chapter in my life, the chapter where I either have to get help for these feelings of loneliness I experience when I do not have a close friendship in my life or the chapter where I somehow accept a variety of mediocre friendships in the place of one or a few very meaningful ones. I have to decide what I can live with. And right now, I think I am going to opt for getting help because I do not feel like I can live happily without close bonds, especially now that I have lost the love of my life. I feel like the word to describe what I am feeling is "suffering." I feel terribly, terribly depressed about this on a daily basis, and I have for a very long time.

If anyone was crazy enough to read all of this, I would be very interested to hear your critiques on what you think my problem is or how you view friendships. Feel free to be as critical as you like. I am open to hearing anything on this subject.

I cannot do this anymore. Seriously. I have had enough. Everything is so messed up right now and it keeps getting worse. I feel like every time I try to catch my balance, the volcano erupts again. What will it take to catch a break?

i. Things are really messed up with one of the two people I have left. Our friendship is falling apart and I have no idea why. I feel physically ill every time I talk to him because we are not really talking. My stomach is just in knots over this, and I am walking around feeling like I am going to throw up any moment, all day long. Something changed overnight and he is distancing himself from me more as each day goes by. I am always, always the one to initiate contact now; he used to initiate equally and then it just stopped. We are barely talking. The communication we do have consists of useless online exchanges. I am not sure if he is just trying to let me off easy (ending the friendship) or if maybe he is just going through something right now that I cannot help him with. I have tried. I have tried to fix it but nothing is working. If there is one person I cannot lose, it is him. I knew this would happen. It always does. And yet my lack of preparation suggests I will never learn, no matter how many times they leave.

ii. My father might have cancer. We are waiting for the biopsy, but the doctor was concerned enough to request one. He said he saw something that could be the beginnings of cancer. Colon cancer runs in our family with two previous male family members having died from it already.

iii. The job hunt is still miserable. I have next to no motivation left. I am depressed, I am angry and I have no idea how you continue to job hunt feeling that way. I wonder how much longer I can press on with it. I am clinging to the last bits of motivation I have to keep applying for things, but I feel impending doom and I still cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. What will this take? What will it take to find a job? I am going insane. Literally. I think there is something warped with my mind. I feel like my brain is fried. This situation has made me question so many things I was sure about before. I keep thinking, this is all setting me back. I am a few years away from 30 and I do not even have a job! How long is it going to take now to get into an actual career? Am I going to be 40 before that happens? When will I ever move out of here and into my own place? I need to start saving for retirement. I need to get this student debt paid off. All because of this job issue, I am so worried about my future. I am terrified. My life is just wasting away.

iv. I am not even going to start with my relationship. That would take all day.

v. I quit my exercise routine. Again, this depression has a domino effect. I am not motivated to work-out anymore despite my appearance being one of the main things causing my depression. I have gained weight since I have been unemployed, and that is obviously not good. I need to be taking the weight off, not putting it on. I feel inspired watching others get their routines together, but I am still lacking the motivation to start my own. I was doing so well with it for a while. I am so mad at myself. I wish I could wake up tomorrow and start over, sticking with it no matter what.

vi. Talking no longer helps. Nothing and no one can pull me out of this. It feels like drowning. I am still open to advice or recommendations though.

Sometimes, when one part of your life is a mess, the other parts do not seem to even matter. Happiness is never consistent. We always need sadness to counterbalance; we need the bad to truly appreciate the good. But in order to feel content, there has to be one or more parts of our lives going well at the same time. Unfortunately for me, this is not the case. And usually, when one part of my life goes to hell, so do the others. "When it rains, it pours." Right now, I feel I am in a very bad place. For months my depression has been slowly increasing and not just because of my job situation. The thoughts inside my head are anything but positive or empowering. I feel vulnerable. I feel like giving up. In the end, I usually find some way to pull myself out of these slumps so I try not to worry too much. But this time it feels a bit different. It feels a bit... worse.

Last week, I went for an interview. It was a really amazing job, even if only a contract. It was a great opportunity and involved business writing, something related to my future to finally put on my resumé. It was my last chance at employment before this coming Wednesday. It went really well, and I came out feeling good. Three days later, I was told I was very nice, very polite, very professional... but they decided to go with someone else who had more experience. Ah, "experience." What I love is that I actually have this now, and yet here we are back at square one with employers telling me I do not have enough. Even after three consecutive years of being at the bottom and gaining that much-needed experience (along with all of my summer jobs before that), I still do not have experience to these people. Interesting. My sadness quickly turned to anger, and I began questioning what the point of this even is anymore. If I cannot even get into an entry-level position, where am I going to end up? Is it even worth it to stick around and find out? How much longer do I have to do this? How much longer do I have to do things completely unrelated to my career before someone will let me into my industry to start gaining experience in my industry? How long? I cannot keep waiting and wasting my life.

I am sick of my non-existent social life. I go out several times a month, but I mean in terms of deep friendships. I am sick of people saying they do not have time for me. Up until now, I have had next to no time myself but I always found a way to offer it to the people who mean the most to me. Here is the worst part about every friend I have right now: they make me believe they want me around, but when it comes down to it, they just do not put in the effort. They say "I miss you," or "We need to talk more," or "Let's not go without talking this long again." And then nothing. Why dangle a piece of meat in front of a hungry dog? I hate to call these people terrible but maybe some of them are and I just need to realize it. These people somehow find a way to convince me they will try harder or they will be there for me, and then they are just not. They cancel at the last minute, they do not return my calls, they are conveniently busy when I am not. Or sometimes I get so excited about the prospect of a new friendship, and it disappears faster than it came. There is always some damn excuse. An excuse not to hang out, an excuse not to open up, and excuse not to start something. It is one thing or another, always. Do not even get me started on the number of people who promised they would never leave me and did. I realize saying you will never leave someone is crazy because you do not know how things will play out, but in a few instances, I actually believed them. I am not even putting all of my eggs in one basket; I have several people doing this to me, new and old. I am not even a needy person. I like my space, all the time. So it is not like I am making unfair demands from these people. But it seems most people cannot even deal with or want to provide someone else with the most basic needs of human friendship. Is it laziness? Arrogance? Pride? A power trip?

As much as I hate to admit this because it makes me appear weak and stupid, I have been really used in my lifetime. I have people to remind me of just how much all the time. Most of the time, it was not my fault. Sometimes it was. And the thing is, I will not change. I will not stop opening up to people, even strangers. I want to live my life open to everything, all people and all opportunities. I do not want to write off friendships simply because they did not work the first time. People do change, right? That is what everyone tells me. I do not want to overlook anything, even the smallest of things. The little things matter. I rescue lady bugs from my bathroom every morning and I feel good for the rest of the day knowing I have saved a life, even if it is a small, insignificant (except to me) life. I take a lot of emotional risks, and I honestly have no regrets even when I get hurt. I think sometimes I could handle things better or that I should not have done something, but I do not regret it. Ever. Everything has made me who I am. It all matters.

Despite my lack of regrets, it still feels like my entire life is made up of getting my hopes up and then being disappointed. Just this constant up-down, this bipolar way of living. The fact that I always get my hopes up proves I am obviously not overly jaded or negative. I always have faith before I am let down. I believe in that. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt; I never just write people off as bad or not good for me. But in the end, there is always that disappointment. This runs through all aspects of my life. Friends, family, career, self. Is this really what life is? Getting kicked down and getting back up again? Is that all there is? It feels like that is all there is. I cannot remember the last time I was sublimely happy, content, feeling great, loving being alive, wanting to get up in the morning. When will this happen for me? Does it happen for others? What are the hidden, subconscious obstacles we need to overcome to achieve this?

I just want to be happy. I just want to get my career off the ground. I just want a few really close friends. I just want one person to love me unconditionally. I just want some spec of a relationship with my father before it is too late like it was for one with my mother. Is this seriously too much to ask? I thought these were things everyone deserved. Why do I always feel so undeserving of these things? I feel initially that I deserve these things, but then I have to wonder why I have none of them.

... you ain't seen nothin' yet.

I got fired. Well, "let go." Apparently the company is financial dire straits, so I was let go. Just like that. So after five long and grueling months of job hunting and finally being hired, I was fired within a month and five days. Oh, I realize everyone gets laid off at some point... but a few days after being sexually assaulted and after only a month of my first post-university, full time job? Come on. In fact, people have been saying that to me: "Oh, come on!" The way you say it to someone who cannot seem to catch a break.

The irony is that I was happy there. I liked my boss, I loved the area, and I did not mind the work. I was just getting cozy. I was just getting used to having money. I was just starting to make a dent in my debt. Now, I was giving the old, "I'm sorry, but we're going to have to let you go" speech. She started out by telling me the company had its main product pulled by an investor. But then she indicated she had known about this for weeks and had already started job hunting herself. If we had not been so chummy, I would not have expected a warning. But we were chummy and we got along really well, so why the hell did she not warn me too? I would have started job hunting as a back-up plan; I would not have just up and quit. I needed the job! Desperately. So if offends me, on a personal level, that someone I trusted did not bother to warn me about what might be going down. They hired me at the exact same time she indicated she got wind of the company being in trouble! WHY? Why did they even hire me? They were barely getting by financially so it was time to hire a new person? Um, what? The whole thing just does not make any sense. I have no idea if she was lying. Maybe the president hated me and wanted me fired, who knows. All I do know is that I was told it had nothing to do with my performance and that my boss would write me a letter of reference indicating so. She kept assuring me it had nothing to do with me and that they just could not afford me, and that she too had been looking for another job. Lesson learned. Never trust anyone in the workplace.

The whole event was surreal. She asked me to take a break with her, and since she never takes breaks, I knew something was up. She took me into the glass conference room and I laughed, "Wow, am I being fired or something?" I am not even kidding. That is exactly what I said. It felt so formal, and my boss is sort of conversative but always smiling and laughing. She looked depressed when I made the comment and I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. She then began to tell me that the company was in trouble but it never really hit me until she said, "We have to let you go." This sensation of fear and anxiety just washed over me, and the room started spinning. I kept screaming inside my head, 'Say you're kidding. Say you're kidding.' I honestly thought she was kidding, because she tilted her head, knitted her eye brows and nodded when she said it. I do that when I am being sarcastic. But no. It was real. I was really fired. She told me not to work the rest of the day and I just sat there stunned for about five minutes, shaking my head. I gathered the things from my desk, cleaned out my Outlook, packed up my bag and left. I did not even say goodbye to anyone. My boss followed me to the elevator and gave me a hug. I felt my eyes sting but I did not cry. It was still sinking in. I just kept clenching my jaw and shrugging. "It's not your fault," I said. I smacked myself in the elevator, hoping to wake up.

I called Sean as soon as I got outside. I was so embarrassed to tell him. "I just got fired." As soon as I said it, the tears came. I was in the middle of Queen Street with tons of bustling bodies, but the tears rolled down and I turned out toward the cars to prevent people from seeing me. I did not want to go home on the subway. I was a mess. Sean said he would rent a car and come pick me up. I was relieved. He was upset. He understood even less than I did why this had happened. There were just no warning signs. It was just out of the blue. I was happy there. It took me five months to find that job. The last thing I wanted was to be let go. And why was this happening to me? I had just been through a very traumatic experience and this is what I get? Was losing my job supposed to make me feel better?

I am not entitled to serverance pay. I did not work there long enough. And the only reason I even qualify for employment insurance is because first-time applicants are allowed to put two years worth of jobs on their application, to reach the required amount of hours. If I did not work the summers at university that I did, and do all the temp work I did while job hunting, I would not even qualify for that! I am waiting on my Record of Employment forms from various jobs, so hopefully those will come through ASAP. I have already started the process of getting everything together to apply for EI. You do not even start getting money up to 28 days of submitting your claim, so I am screwed for a month. I have decided that there is no worse task in the world than job hunting. I got so depressed. I do not want to start this job hunting process again. I do not want to temp for five months again. I do not want to be scrambling every few days for enough money for bus tickets to get to my next interview. I do not want to do this again. I do not want to do this again.

Needless to say, I have been utterly upset and depressed. I still cannot believe it. I have only moved into the anger phase half way. I am still so upset and hurt. I have no idea how the hell I pulled myself together to do the video interview for the sexual assault the very next day...

The interview took an hour and a half. They asked for every single detail imaginable. For one of the previous sexual assaults, I had to do a video interview too. But I do not remember it being that horrible. He kept asking how far the guy was from me at every single point in time. He wanted feet, inches. He asked what his teeth looked like. His teeth?! Why would I have seen or looked at his teeth? The guy was groping my ass. I was not about to perform dental work. He kept drilling me and drilling me. It felt like a goddamn exam. It was exhausting. I had to sketch out my laundry room. I cannot draw. I drew boxes. I tried to be as honest as I could. But it made me feel so much better knowing everything was on video, everything that disgusting man did to me was caught on video. And I mean everything. When I went to see the super on Monday, he let Sean and I watch video footage for almost two hours. We saw the guy being driven up in a white or silver car at 7:57. He took his laundry out of the back seat and pulled out a key to get into the back door of the building. My super knows, for sure, that he is not a tenant. So this guy has a key to the building and he does not even live here. We saw him leave through the front lobby at 9:23. The laundry footage was clear as day... he was clearly touching me and I was clearly blocking his advances and pushing him away. The elevator footage was clear too. He was clearly harrassing me, pushing himself into me again, and there I was pushing him off me, turning my head away and telling him to get out of the elevator. Black male, 30-35, 180lbs, medium build, dark brown leather jacket with collar and zipper, brown dress shirt, navy blue rim hat, black hoodie, brown shoes, off-white or beige khaki pants, round, protruding forehead, large eyes, no facial hair except stubble, no tattoos, no jewelry, a silver cell phone, a black garbage bag of clothes. We got so much information from the video footage and I was extremely happy.

They said they would contact me if they found anything. They are going to match him against some databases, and I am pretty sure they are going to do the same with me, to see if I am similar to any other sexual assault victims. I am not going to get my hopes up but at least I did the right thing. There are some really clear face shots of him on the video though. Very clear and in colour. I hope they find him. I want him caught. Although I do not consider myself "lucky" (because what he did was disgusting enough), I do not it could have escalated, and I do know that it could escalate with someone else, someone scared to push him away because of what he might do. He needs to be taught a lesson.

Obviously, this has not been my week. When it rains, it pours. Yes, yes, "You have the worst luck out of anyone I know!" I have heard it too many times. I agree. I agree that I seem to have the worst luck in the universe. I am hard-working, dedicated, caring, compassionate... I consider myself a relatively good person. And yet it never seems to end for me. An old friend once told me that my life (not "me" but "my life") was too depressing and he could not handle it. And just over a year ago, my best friend in the world said she could not be around me anymore because I have a "bad background." What the hell? As if any of this is in my control! As if I sit here praying that bad things happen to me. I do not sit around hoping my life will fuck up. I may have bad things happen to me often but I am not a cynical person; I am, in fact, a very open-minded person who wants the best for everyone, human and animal, plant and mineral. I have no idea why people think bad things and cynicism go hand in hand. I spend most of my time hoping things go right for a change. But am I really shocked when these horrible things come in strings? Not really anymore. That seems to be the way of it. It always has been. I seem to catch a tiny break, and then everything falls apart again. Does it make me feel bad about myself? Sure. Do I think it is my fault? Not really. Do I wish I could be happier for longer periods of time? Of course.

This is just too much to deal with at once. All I can tell myself is that it could be worse, but that does not seem to help. Just thinking about sitting on my ass all day applying for jobs again makes me sick to my stomach. Scrambling to pay this or that. Asking for money instead of gifts for my birthday (I was fired exactly a month before my birthday). I am not looking forward to this. I feel like such an idiot. I have told so many people about this job. I was so excited. I told everyone at Sean's work about how happy I was to start on Monday (this was at the Christmas party), and now Sean's had to go in and tell them, a month later, that I was laid off. How embarrassing. How pathetic. Of course, my father did not say much. He did not even say anything when I walked in that night after telling him on the phone earlier about what happened. Even my grandma lacked emotion when I told her. My aunt said she was not surprised because she had a 'bad feeling' about the company. It was seriously almost like most people were expecting it. This has made me feel even worse.

All I wanted to do was keep a full time, permanent job for a while, save money to get out of debt, and save money to get the hell out of this abusive household and totally unsafe neighbourhood. WHY IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK? WHY? I have now been set back even more. I spent money I did not know I would not have, so I am now worried about that. And wow, a month of work added to my résumé. That should impress future employers! I realize I can explain why it was only a month but what the hell? I have not even gained enough experience to make the job hunt any easier.

This is such bullshit. My life is such bullshit right now. And yes, I will be upset as long as I want to, thanks. I am entitled to be upset, pissed off, hurt, angry and violated right now. I am unemployed, broke, in debt, and have just been recently sexually violated. Yup. Thanks. Thanks very much, Universe.

Man, I cannot catch a break. It is actually becoming funny, all this drama. When the hell am I going to be able to write a positive journal entry again?

Tonight my uncle showed up here drunk out of his mind. His alcoholism has been worse lately, I guess because the holidays are coming up. I never should have let him in but he said he was just coming in to pick up his bike. My father is not home; he is at his girlfriend's until Sunday night, as always. But I figured he would just get his bike and get out. But no, he decided to stay and use the phone to call his father, long-distance, and drudge up old childhood memories, asking his father why he never calls, asking him why he was 'abandoned.' Although I was in my room, I could hear him getting more violent and more drunk as the minutes passed. I tapped my fingers nervously wondering if I should call the police, but then I recalled what little help they would be. At first my uncle always appears sober, but within twenty minutes you know he has been drinkin. He gets progressively more drunk as the hours go by even long after he stops drinking. So they were arguing on the phone and I just wanted him out. I went out into the living room every so often and told him to leave, and he kept saying he was almost finished. When he got off the phone, I heard him stealing money from our laundry bottle. I went out and confronted him, and he got angry thinking I was dumb enough to believe that is not what he was doing, even though it was right in his hand (this is how stupid he is when he is drunk--he thinks he can 'fool' people). Then, of course, he starts calling me a bitch and says the whole family trashes me behind my back. He says he does not believe I am not the one who called the police on my father, that I am 'clever' about things like that, that I had orchestrated the whole thing, that I had continuously punched my father. He keeps screaming and coming closer to me, telling me no one in the family really loves me or believes anything I say. I try so hard to tell myself it is all bullshit and that it is just the booze talking, but of course, it takes a toll on me anyway. By this point, my heart is pounding and my mouth so dry that I cannot swallow. I can feel the panic attack coming on because these are the two main symptoms I get. My breathing is quick and erratic, and I am gasping for air. He continues yelling at me and telling me no one cares and that no one is on my side. He says he is finished sticking up for me (which he has never done, so I ignore the comment) and that I am on my own when it comes to my father. I keep telling him to get out. As he gets closer to me, coming down the hallway, I tell him I will call the police if he does not get out right that instant. He gets his bike but continues to sit in the doorway yelling, disturbing all the neighbours. I eventually push his bike out out the door, and I take him by the arm--praying he does not turn around and punch me--and push him out too. I had to physically throw him out of here because he just would not leave. After the door closed, he must have fallen down, being as drunk as he was. I heard him cry out and then he yelled, from behind the closed door, "I never want to see you again, you bitch!" I go into my room and finish having my panic attack in 'peace.' It is completely silent aside from my out-of-control breathing.

Ah, yes. This is how my family treats me. I honestly try not to take anything he says seriously, especially while he is drunk. But at the same time, I am sure we have all heard how honest people can be when they are drunk... so it really makes me wonder. He said even the aunt I thought was on my side trashed me, and I just cannot bring myself to even fathom that. He also said he heard from everyone that I trash him behind his back, which is funny because I never waste my time talking about him to anyone. I think the bottom line here is, regardless of what is true or what is not, that my family talks. I cannot trust anyone anymore. I am not talking about my problems with anyone in my family ever again. I am sick of people coming to me and saying, "So and so told me that you said..." I mean, I finished grade school years ago, thank you. I am so sick of everyone talking behind everyone's back. Is this seriously what all families like? Everyone gossiping and no one being able to keep a secret or private information? Can any of you trust any of your family members not to say anything? It has been proven to me time and time again that I cannot. I am so unbelievably sick of my family.

My relationship with my uncle was over years ago, and so I just do not understand why this keeps happening. From now on, I will not answer the phone or the door unless I am expecting Sean. I do not care if my uncle "just wants his bike." He can pick it up when my father is home. My father still proceeds to deal with him and let him in here when he is pissed out of his mind. That is his problem. If he wants to deal with him, fine, but I will not. I have enough problems in my life right now, and I do not need this all over again. I was so finished with this that year my uncle moved in here and turned my world upsidedown. It really is a wonder why I did not kill myself then. Everything in my life was a complete mess, and my father was right there choosing my alcoholic uncle, who was constantly insulting and verbally abusive me, even right in front of my father. It was then that I knew my father did not love me. To choose someone like that over your daughter, brother or not, is just insane. He continued to let my uncle live there despite what he was doing to me. I was in counselling and then when we went into family counselling, the counselor kept warning my father that my uncle needed to get out of there. But my uncle was allowed to keep our key and he kept coming back, even after he was finally kicked out about a year later. I felt like I was in constant danger. I begged my father to kick him out so many times. I literally begged him. But he kept telling me no, that it was not my decision, that I was not being hurt by the situation, that it was his brother. My uncle stole from us, he lied to us, he made up stories about cancer, he kept going into the hospital for alcohol poisoning, he brought other drunks home and woke us up in the middle of the night, he embarrassed me in front of my friends, he would threaten to commit suicide, he would tell me that I am worthless and going nowhere in life. The memories just came flooding back tonight because although we have had fights sicne that point in time, it has not usually been that bad.

My grandfather, who my uncle was talking to on the phone, called back here after my uncle left to make sure I was okay because he knew how drunk he was. It was pretty pathetic because I just burst out crying. I do not even know this man, and I have talked to him maybe five or six times in my life, and yet I just burst out crying saying I could not take it anymore. He must have thought I was a complete psycho. Oh, well. I felt extremely uncomfortable talking to my grandfather anyway because he is an alcoholic too. That is the reason he is no longer my grandfather; my grandmother divorced him about 40 years ago because he was a drunk, he beat her, he beat my uncle, and he was just an all-around big asshole. I was surprised he even cared to make sure I was okay.

A week ago I was thinking I could honestly just stick it out and keep living here for the next year. But now I am seriously questioning this. I still feel that my main goal should be to finish school, but I am falling behind. Tonight I was supposed to be working on a presentation and essay that are due Tuesday, but this happened and I cannot concentrate on anything. How am I supposed to finish school when I have all these other things coming at me, stressing me out and messing up my head? I am not a robot. No matter how hard I try, I will be affected by the things around me. I will fall down every time things like this happen. Just a few days ago my father was threatening to get rid of Salem, one of my cats. He kept saying he hated Salem, that it was his house and if he wanted him gone, he would be gone. I was so scared I would come home and not be able to find Salem. Who knows what he is capable of... I actually thought, for a second, I could come home to find my cat dead. I really did. As irrational as that sounds to anyone else, my father is capable of it. He has kicked Shadow across the floor, and he has grabbed Salem by the neck and shoved his face in his feces. He is capable of killing a cat. Anyway, just things like that seem to be affecting me to the point where I cannot function. To the point where I am sitting here alone, ranting in an online journal, crying and having a panic attack.

I just keep wondering how long it will be until I am in the hospital. How much more can I take? I seriously want to know. How much more can I go through right now? How much? What is going to happen when I finally snap? I ended up in the hospital last year for stress like this. There are so many people out there going through so many horrible things, worse than what I am going through... but to me, it feels like everything is tumbling down around me. I had no idea, ten years ago, that your family could ruin your life. I had no idea. Ten years ago, I thought my family was alright. I never really hated anyone, I never really distrusted anyone. And now everyone is a mess, and I do not want any of them in my life. I cannot trust any of them. No, my family is not the only problem right now, but they are certainly a huge part of it.

I feel weak again. Just when I was started to get back up on my feet again, I feel weak. I felt strong enough to keep living here, and now I do not. I want out again.

I tell you... once I move out, that is it. Fuck everyone. I will move to a goddamn different country if I need to. No family member will be invited to see my apartment, no one will be invited to dinner. They can all go fuck themselves. Each and every one of them, especially my father. If he thinks even for a second I will still remember he exists when I move out, he has another thing coming. He will be disowned. Goddamn him. Goddamn him for putting me through everything he has, and goddamn him for allowing my uncle to continuously do this to me, even when I was younger and could not stand up for myself. I know when he finds out about this, he will blame me, as he always does. I will not even bother telling him. I will let my uncle tell him, and my uncle will paint me as the bad guy, so he will blame me even if I do tell him what happened first. Like my father is in the mindset to listen to me, believe me, or care about anything that happens to me.

"But what remained intolerable, she thought, sitting upright... was that crass blindness and tyranny of his which had poisoned her childhood and raised bitter storms, so that even now she woke in the night trembling with rage and remembered some command of his; some insolence: 'Do this,' 'Do that,' his dominance: his 'Submit to me.'" --a daughter about her father, To the Lighthouse by Virgina Woolf

Feel free to ignore this boring, long-winded entry. It is really just me releasing a lot of feelings I have not written about lately.

As much as I have tried denying it, I am spiraling into a deep depression. Oh, how utterly cliché. I thought these feelings were long gone, looking back to my high school years. But there is a sense of familiarity surrounding me, one I have been trying to suppress. Every time I have started typing journal entries, I have refrained from putting these words down. I backspace. I type something less negative. Not only did I not want to believe my current state--because putting them down on paper always makes them more real for a writer (if you can still call much such)--but I did not want anyone else to know either. I am ashamed to be back here.

Most recently, I have lost my best friend of six years. Not only was it the most important friendship in my life, but it was the only close friendship I had left. I did not have much of a say in the matter. Apparently the friendship was slowly coming to an end over the past few months, unbeknownst to me. Apparently I am 'no fun to be around.' Too jaded and unworthy. I am out of words. I have tried. I have rationalized and suggested. No response. There are things that happened that lead me to believe it will not blow over this time. Friends are allowed to disagree. Why do so many people think you must sever all ties once an argument happens? No friendship is smooth sailing. You debate, you see it headed nowhere, so you just agree to disagree and move on. That should be the way of it. You need to focus on all the good and treasure that with all your might because it rarely comes around. You rarely ever connect so intimately with one person. What I think happened, though, is transference. I do not think the end of the friendship had anything to do with me but rather, it was sparked by something else unrelated and I just happened to get the short end of the stick. I feel sick over this. It consumes me even though I am so hurt by what she did, without any explanation. I should be obscenely angry and just think 'Good riddens, I obviously meant nothing to her,' but that is so far from reality. How someone can throw away such a long and intimate friendship over nothing, I have no idea. There were no warning signs, there was no time for preparation. I am confused but I am still offered no explanation. I have somehow managed to make someone else believe cutting me out of their life is the best thing. How? Unspeakable things were said to me, hurtful things that I do not know if I can forgive. But while I mull over that, there is still silence. And I hate silence when there should be words. I hate time because She never tells.

My family is, in one word, a disaster. Everyone is fighting, various people are not speaking to other people, gossiping is taking place behind everyone's backs. We have become the epitome of the dysfunctional family, something unfathomable even just five years ago. We are all very close. We used to have monthly family dinners. We used to celebrate every birthday, all of us together. Then my two aunts declared war on each other, loosely connected to childhood battles and a lack of forgiveness. I somehow got involved and was given the silent treatment by the both of them. Then it was just one not speaking to me, then it was the other. This troubles me greatly, having the only female figures in my life only sometimes speaking to me and others giving me the cold shoulder or just ignoring me all together. My poor grandmother, still recovering from breast cancer, has to see her two daughters fighting like this. Neither one will go to a family dinner if they know the other will be there. Then, after some negative incidents at the cottage this summer, one aunt decided to give my father the silent treatment. She never showed up to dinners if my father was there. And, as always, my alcoholic uncle is either causing pain or chaos. We were not on speaking terms over the summer thanks to a drunken night during which he tore me and my life to shreds, swearing and screaming at me in the car all the way home from a dinner. He was getting so crude and so out of line that even my father threatened to throw him out of the car. Unfortunately, that was nothing new for me. Despite the fact that my father is usually the one around him most, I always bore the brunt of my uncle's alcoholism and always receive the most abuse.

Basically, the whole family has not been together, in the same room, for almost a year. I feel horrible for my grandmother, and I cannot seem to just let everyone else battle it out while I sit by the sidelines. They are my family. It is my business. It is affecting me. No one knows what to do. My one aunt has gotten so bad that my grandmother has told her to just not come over anymore. She is overly negative, sensitive and uptight. She never has anything good to say about anyone or anything. I feel this is because she is completely unhappy with her life, but that is no excuse to abandon or insult your family. Everyone in the family needs therapy. That is what my grandmother said to me. I agree. We are all walking on egg shells now, and I hate this feeling. At any given time, someone is upset with someone else. Sure, this is how all families are, but it is tearing mine apart because it is more than just anger. There is deep-seeded resentment, and there are repetitive problems with the same people. Everyone has just had it, and right now, everyone has just given up. I ache thinking about how to fix it all.

My relationship is one of the biggest problems. Too much fighting, too much negativity. Get out, you say? No. It is one of those situations where things are a lot more complicated than just getting out. When two people have been through so much, it is never a matter of just getting out. When two people have worked so hard and have dedicated so much to each other, there is no easy way. We continue to work on things, but we continue to have problems. We both want to be together, but we are at a loss for what is going to solve at least some of the issues we have. Distance is a very big problem. We live too far and we only see each other once a week. If it goes any longer, the fighting gets worse. Now that he is working and in school part time, and now that I am back in school full time, our time on the phone is less and less. I have no idea what to do. I do not even have any more words to describe the confusion and heartache over it all. He is not there for me like he should be. I do not feel I can confide in him. I hate feeling this way. When I am feeling down, talking to him should make me feel better, not worse. I have no idea what I deserve anymore. I have no idea if I am asking too much or too little.

School, obviously, is always a problem for me. Between my SAD and the obscene amount of homework, I have very little time for myself or anything else. I feel like all I do is read, read, read. I am getting lazy. I do not want to be in school anymore. I worked hard in elementary, I worked hard in middle school, I worked hard in high school. I worked so hard even when working that hard was not required or respected, and now I am burned out. I have had enough. I feel I have earned my degrees, and I just want out. School used to be fun and interesting for me, but now it feels more like a prison. I dread going. I am exhausted coming home and can barely stay awake to do tomorrow's readings. I cannot drop any classes. I need to just do everything I can to finish up and graduate. I feel like I will have a nervous breakdown if I do not just get out of there.

Which brings me to my father... the ongoing negative in my life. Despite the fact that I still live here, I am pretty much independent from him. And yet, this issue bothers me more than most of the others in my life. Since he started dating his current girlfriend, I have barely seen him. He is never home. He stays away for days or weeks at a time. He rarely tells me where he is going, when he will be back, or leaves a number where I can reach him. When I do see him, it is nothing but fighting and nagging. I keep this house clean, I vacuum, I wash the dishes, I change the kitty litter, I water his hundreds of plants... but I miss some crumbs on the counter and he flies off the handle at me. I feel like I live here alone, and it is too much work. I would want a smaller place if I were living alone. I do not have the time. He is becoming more and more ignorant of both me and the whole family. When he has a woman in his life, that is all he has. He is neglecting his friends. They leave annoyed messages on the machine talking about other messages they left three weeks ago without a response. He keeps changing family dinner dates in order to go to her place instead, and stupidly, my family says okay to it all. He cut short one of my uncle's birthdays just so he had more time to spend with her; he turned it into a birthday brunch instead of our normal birthday dinners. He left early on Mother's Day, even though my grandmother was upset that one of her daughters went to her husband's mother's instead, to go to her place right after dinner. If we are watching a movie in the living room and she calls, he will pause the movie without asking and proceed to talk on the phone for hours. He says I have no right to the phone anymore; we cannot share it or create phone times, but rather, he gets first dibs and I just have to deal with it, even if that means not talking to Sean. He is quite willing to go out of his way for her, no matter what for, but not even do small favours for anyone else. He promises to do something and then says he forgot, so too bad. He uses up all of the food I have made for my lunches when she comes over for lunch; I get home, it is gone, and he just says, "Yeah, we ate it." He barges into the bathroom in the morning without knocking, telling me to get out because he has to get ready for work, as if me being ready for school is unimportant. Oh, sure, little things. Little things add up.

And she, his girlfriend, is completely blind. She has heard him snap at me on the phone and has probably noticed his ill temper, but she is blind and worships the ground he walks on. I feel sorry for her. "He seems like the type to hit women." I agree, and he has thrown things at me and he has wacked me in the back of the head with rolled up magazines. I want to call her up and tell her she is dating a monster, but I suppose she may eventually find out for herself. Things with my father have just gotten so much worse over the past year, even though I thought they were already at their worst in high school. So now not only do I never see him, but when I do, it is non-stop negativity. I cannot deal with this anymore. I would move out in 24 hours if I had the money. I really would. It must be getting pretty bad, too, because a few of my family members are becoming less ignorant about the issue and finally acknowledging that he treats me like complete and utter shit.

The ongoing issues with my SAD and self-esteem. I will not even bother rambling on about my SAD since I just wrote a long entry about it. As for my self-esteem, well, it has definitely declined over the past couple of years. There are things I am not even brave enough to share that have caused its decline. But all of the issues above, in addition, have caused wear and tear on my ability to love myself. I wish I could put myself in a protected bubble so it would not get worse than it already is, but alas, that is impossible. It is especially impossible for me who sees everyone else's problems as my own problems. I help everyone but myself, and I do not know why. Every time I go to work on myself, I take one look at the stack of problems and just push them aside. There are too many things to deal with, and I have no idea where to start. There are things I have tried that have not worked, so I get discouraged. My support network is non-existent, and this is yet another reason motivation is too hard to come by. Self-love may come from within, but it is still fostered by your friends and family. I need people who will, at least, be there for me when I need to rant or release some of these emotions. Looking at how long this entry is already, you can tell there has been a lot bottled up. I need more people in my life. There is no question about that.

Sadly, the one thing that used to keep me sane throughout all of this is something I am no longer capable of: writing. Not journal entries but creatively. Prose, poetry, stories. My writing, for two years, has been non-existent. I am completely lost because of it, and I have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life now because it was always writing. Writing was always my passion, the only thing I ever wanted to do. It was in my past, my present, my future. It was everything. It was my saving grace, my single 'talent,' my therapy. Lost, lost, lost. It is like someone has taken away my flashlight and I am left to find my way in complete darkness. I miss it. I think about it every day. I ache to have it back. I feel so useless without it. It almost acted as a protection from everything too. I could retreat to my room, take out a pen and feel safe again. Now I feel overly exposed, and not fully whole at all. It was so much a part of who I was that I honestly feel like pieces of me are missing or empty. It is a horrible, horrible feeling to have. What scares me most is thinking it may never come back to me. I can say over and over again that it will, but once again... time leaves me guessing and unsure.

In my life... when it rains, it pours. That is quite clear looking at the past ten years. How I am going to get through it all, I do not know. But right now, I feel so broken. I have things coming at me from all directions and I cannot control them all. There are things I have absolutely no control over, things that will continue to poke and probe me. I am obviously in a rut. I have no idea how to get out of it. Every time I feel some willpower to find solutions, something else happens and makes me question why I am even here to begin with. Over the past few months, especially, such hurtful things have been said to me, things that are making me question my personality, my character, my goodness. These things are inhumane but are they true? I no longer feel capable of thinking I am a good person. Too many people are leaving. Crying comes too easily now. I feel weakened. I am not a weak person but I feel like I am being worn down to a small twig. My branches are weighing down too heavily for me to hold up. At night, I lay awake for hours before falling asleep. I barely get any sleep at all these days. My mind races and the emotional exhaustion is what usually puts me to sleep. All of the negativity in my life keeps my mind off of school, so I take longer and longer to do what needs to be done. I just feel very trapped. I feel very unloved. Very, very unloved. (However, I do acknowledge those of you here who have always reminded me that I am never alone. You know how you are... J & M especially ♥.)

I am physically and emotionally exhausted.

It is never a good thing when I start listening to Jann Arden this often.

Despite the fact that they are my family, I have a hard time understanding why they just expect me to be there on Mother's Day. I have respect for the mothers in our family (there are only three, and one lives in Germany), but I have respect for my own too. If Mother's Day is about honouring your mother, the place I should be during this day is at my mother's grave. So I have informed my family that from now on, this will be my ritual. My father never took me when I was young not because it was too hard for him but because he just did not care. And I am obviously old enough now to go on my own, and that is just what I will do. The first time my father and I went together was last year, and that was twenty years after her death. He never talks about it, nor does the rest of my family. So if no one else is going to acknowledge her, not even my family or friends, I will. And I always have, privately, but going to her grave was put off by my father when I was younger. He always said, "Yeah, I guess," and then we would never go. So this will become my own Mother's Day ritual and it will continue every year, no matter what anyone says. If I want my own tradition, I can have one.

I got a bit of flack saying, "Well, why can't you go to her grave first and then come to the dinner later?" Well, you know what? I hate Mother's Day. That should be obvious. There have been numerous times where I have shown up for there dinners and broken down and had to go into a room until I stopped crying. For this reason, I think Mother's Day should be private for me. Not only do I hate breaking down in pubic, but there is no reason to ruin anyone else's day. I am aware it is a burden to other people that I suffer so internally with my mother's death. I am aware of that by now. So not having to deal with me is just best for everyone, and I have dealt with this alone for twenty years so I can do it for twenty more. For whatever reason, my father thinks I should be "over it." (He has used those very words.) As if my mother were just a nice ring I had lost in the gutter one rainy day. As if the severed bond between a mother and daughter could not possibly have any consequences, and frequent ones throughout my life. As if only knowing her for two years of my life has any bearing on how much I miss her, yearn to know her, or want her back.

Just FYI for him: when people die, you never "get over" it. You carry it with you for the rest of your life but you simply learn to deal with it in a more positive way. You do not sit there sulking for the rest of your life, but you move on and carry on as best you can. But the memories never leave you, if you have any. And you never just accept it and forget about it. Perhaps that is how he feels about death but that is certainly not how it works for normal human beings. The way he talks about her is also atrocious. He says nothing but negative things about her and it is my opinion that you should only remember the best of people. Remember what people truly stood for, and what good they did in this world, and not the mistakes they may have made. If that is idealistic, sorry. It is just my opinion the dead deserve respect and honour.

My point is, no one in my family seems to understand the degree that her death affects me. No one in my family, aside from my grandmother recently, has lost a father, let alone a mother. And to be honest, the only person who can truly understand a motherless daughter is another motherless daughter. It is not even the same for a fatherloss son. It is not better or worse, it is just very different. And I can imagine that it would be almost as hard for a son to lose his mother as it is for a daughter to lose hers. Just the word "mother" carries such deep and intimate values, ideas and beliefs. It means more than "caretaker." It means love, hope, understanding, acceptance, encouragement, strength, advice, conquer. These things are even more so if you did not really receive any of them from your father.

Every Mother's Day I go through the same deal. I am not going to lie and say there is no jealousy and anger. Of course there is. I am pissed off she was taken from me, and so young, and I pissed off when good mothers are thrown into my face. The billion Mother's Day commercials piss me off, the Mother's Day newsletter spotlights piss me off, The Food Network's Mother's Day special pisses me off, the Mother's Day specials at Hallmark piss me off. All holidays are over-commercialized and this is one year where I cannot just avoid it or pretend it does not exist. It is all very selfish, I know, to be angry at people who have wonderful mothers. I am not angry at them, really, just angry in general. The anger this time of year is intense, I admit. So is the sadness. I think about the fact that I never even got to know her before she was gone and the fact that I have zero memories of her. Her smell, her touch, her voice... nothing. She is only a picture to me. And pictures are all I have left since her psychotic family members broke into our house after the funeral, which my father never took me to for some unknown reason, and stole everything of hers before we got a chance to save anything. Idiots. See? More anger.

So, my family will just have to understand this new ritual of mine. I am not going to compromise because I spent years doing that. And I am not going to go to the dinner every year to feel like crap all night and making other people feel like crap. That is unproductive. I can sit and feel sorry for myself in the comfort of my own home. The pain I go through is not something I want put on display, and it is not something I want to feel around anyone else, really. While I do not expect people to huddle around me and ask if I am okay, I do expect them to acknowledge that she is dead and that I may want to remember her on Mother's Day instead of attending a dinner. I just found it all really disrespectful when I got flack from a couple of people or suggestions to cut my grave visit short so I could go to the dinner afterward.

Wow, writing this did not make me feel any better like it was supposed to.

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