Today, In Therapy

Hump day is my day to sit on a couch and talk about my feelings. This was my second official visit, and the first time I tried to go back to the office after and be productive. Despite shoveling two handfuls of Munchos Parti Mix in my craw, I still feel like I can’t get anything done until I write some things down. Rather than do it in my diary (I probably will hit that next) I thought I’d share here.

The key issue we’re working on is Trust. With a capital ‘T”. Today we launched into my last relationship, which some of you know was a gong show of the highest order.

What a remarkably strong feeling of ‘ick’ I’ve got going on now. I had to put myself in the early infancy of that relationship, and try to remember what my early needs were. Facing that reality made me feel ashamed of the person I was back then. I think I learned today that a desperate fear of being alone with a lot of pain kept me tied to a relationship that should have ended six months in. Instead I stayed, and invited in a Great Big Sea of Sorrow.

What did I need?

Someone to distract me from my own pain (which was fairly monumental at that time)

Someone to nurture, and love

Someone whose dreams I could get behind and whose vision I could rally.

Someone who would inspire me with their artistry

Recently, when examining my current, rather complex relationship, I began to worry that I was repeating a pattern of making very difficult and possibly negative choices for myself. At last week’s session, my therapist asked me to examine what my needs were. I thought of this today as I was comparing the set of needs I had with my last relationship to the set of needs I have now:

Someone to give me lots of support and love

Someone to be inspired by my artistry and rally my creativity

Someone who inspires me with their own passion and ambition

Someone who I can trust, who will be emotionally and physically available

Respect and encouragement for my need for quiet space and alone time

I know that I am more than capable of reciprocating all of this, but the difference seems to be that I’ve now got the strength to hold my head high and lead with my own list of requirements. I was also pleased to realize that all of my needs are being met, twice over! My last relationship fell apart as I began to really understand what it was I needed.

People cannot be used as band aids. We need to heal ourselves before any real progress can happen. I suppose today’s lesson is that whenever you feel the most terrified of your own head and heart, these are the moments that you should sit alone with both of those organs and make sure they’re o.k. before moving on.

I ignored my gut for four years because my head and my heart were broken.

Oh, and Munchos cause acid reflux.

I’m Not Going Anywhere

A genuine shrunken head

Some people still believe in this. They can look you in the eye and say it with complete conviction.

I used to be one of those people.

Now life and love have taught me that our best intentions can often be foiled by the complex machinations of the universe. That forever and ever are words best left to describe diamonds, or the hole in the ozone layer. We just don’t know when the jig is up, and any jig is subject to this rule.

But still…what a beautiful thing to hear: “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll never leave you.”

Even though I can’t believe in the phrase, I can believe in the intention. That was my revelation this week past. I can believe again, really believe in the possibility and the power of love.

Life has been a bit tricky of late. Big questions needing firm answers, big issues needing the whole team to tackle them. Big possibility at work, requiring big focus and big attention.

While my first instinct is to run for the hills, I did just the opposite and tried to roll up all of my sleeves and dig in. Huge, difficult conversations were had. Feelings and wants and needs laid out on the table. Commitments and promises were made, and now I sit and wait for the follow through. I wait to see how it all shakes out.

My therapist asked me a question last week that I was surprised I could not immediately answer. As I meditate on this, I think it’s becoming more clear. “What do you need?”

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

A quiet room of my own
Strong Partners
A king sized bed

Now, I ask you:

What do you want?

I Love Ya, Tomorrow.

Dear Readers,

I feel I must thank you for your gentle words of concern, but perhaps also remind you that this little universe here, this corner we call Schnooville, is a place to filter out the contents of my wee noggin.

Some days feel like the be all and end all. Then, we settle into an evening of quiet talking, snuggling on the couch and watching Deadwood after a ceremonial shot of Jack Daniels.

For those of you who have been following for a while, you’ll know that my domestic life is unique, and sometimes when you are living without a guide, things can feel big, and scary.

The best thing about hiccups is that when you relax and breathe, they eventually go away.

I am blessed to have so much love, and to have amazing people to give my love to. People who I trust implicitly, and who I know will be at my side as I figure out all the next steps of my life.

I think I can jump, and though I may snag a couple of branches on the way down, I’m fairly sure the landing will be good.

How I wish I could write more here. I guess you’ll just have to wait for the book.

Thursday is my favourite day of the week. Make yours a good one.

With Love,


Joga – Bjork

All of these accidents that happen
follow the dots
coincidence makes sense
only with you
you don’t have to speak
i feel
emotional landscapes
they puzzle me

then the riddle gets solved and you push me up to this:

…state of emergency…
…how beautiful to be!…
…state of emergency…
…is where i want to be…

all that no one sees
you see
what’s inside of me
every nerve that hurts you heal
deep inside of me
you don’t have to speak – i feel
emotional landscapes
they puzzle me

then the riddle gets solved and you push me up to this:

…state of emergency…
…how beautiful to be!…
…state of emergency…
…is where i want to be…

…state of emergency…

…state of emergency…

Nine Lives

I’m a lion, I’m a cat, and I’m a fire dragon. I credit these things for my ability to mostly bounce back from whatever life might toss in my direction. I’m good with things like hope, most of the time.

Today, I feel like I’m on the precipice again. Looking up, and looking way, way down. If I step off, I’m sure to plummet, but there’s always the possibility that somewhere down there, through the fog and haze, is a fluffy clearing where I will land softly and beautifully, and triumphant.

How does one gather the nerve to step off the ledge, over and over again? Even with a perfect record of brilliantly executed landings, or just a few minor bumps and scrapes, there is always the possibility that the next plunge might be your last. It’s possible that the fall will be so bad, there’s no bouncing back, and you’ll never again get the chance to consider pushing off with your toes.

I’m so tired. Deeply tired, down to my very core. I look into the mirror, into the eyes of a woman I know very well, and neither one of us can tell me how much strength is left there.

Ask my mom – if I am not good at something, I get overwhelmed with frustration and anger. I didn’t know this, but as a child, she’d have to intercept and cease activities so that I wouldn’t spiral into the pit of despair. All this time I’d thought she was just really impatient with me. Now, as an adult, if I can’t do something well I lose interest, shut down, or just get angry with myself. I’m eyeballing affairs of the heart right now with the same wary look I give to mathematical equations.

This time I’ve given it my all. I’ve emptied all my pockets and laid everything out on the table. I’ve opened up my heart wider than I even imagined it’s rusty hinges would allow. I’ve loved with every cell in my body.

The desire to jump off the cliff is not enough. Love is not enough. You need trust, and faith, and communication, and security. I need to know that if I’m going to jump, there’s a safe landing at the bottom. That there will always be a safe landing. My helmet and my knee pads are completely useless if there is not.

In fact, it’s probably smarter to just walk away from the ledge if you have no idea what’s at the bottom.

Will all these hands catch me?


Gina Puttanesca from our Halloween Show - photo by Ryan Visima

I’m tucked away in the bowels of the Lower Ossington Theatre watching beautiful adults gyrate on each other and I feel like myself again.

Sentences like this are what separates me from the rest of the pack, I think.

Tonight is our first rehearsal for Les Coquettes’ first Valentine’s Day show which we are calling “Love Story”. It’s our first appearance at Lower Ossington. It will be a new audience, and because it’s the holiday made for love, we want to put our best feet forward.

Allison Villa is an amazing choreographer. We’re working on her solo, which is the song “Be Italian” from the musical “Nine”. It’s perfect for her stage persona “Gina Puttanesca” and done as a group chair dance, using all of our handsome man props, it’s going to be HAWT. I’m very excited.

The producer who booked us here sadly missed Allison in action at our holiday show, so I can’t wait to unleash her on February 13th. In fact, this will be some of the finest work we’ve created.

I can’t believe what a talented, dedicated group we have. Plus they’re all so easy on the eyes.

My work makes me so happy.

Next on the schedule tonight – Ravel’s Bolero. We premiered this at Opera Nation last year for the Canadian Opera Company in 2008. The brilliant Kathryn Romanow created this. She’s our choreographer, and my business partner.

Such a colourful, beautiful distraction.

Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain

Despite this clear, sunny, temperate day I feel very small and very uncertain.

Yes, I look forward to starting rehearsals tonight for our Valentine’s day extravaganza. True I have lots of exciting professional stuff going on. Overall, I have lots to feel humble about.

Brain and gut are tapping me on the shoulder though. When I turn to address them, brain has her arms crossed and she’s shaking her head at me. Gut has his eyes down cast and is shuffling his feet. When he can’t look me in the eye, I get very uneasy indeed.

It’s the kind of day that merits coffee, and an extended sit-down with my journal. List making kinds of activities are on the horizon, starting with the “what I need” list.

Perhaps I’ve been a little idealistic. Some might even say delusional. I believe that all the choices I have made have been based on remarkable, compelling evidence in favour of these decisions.

Now, I will sift carefully through the zip-locked bags of Exhibit A’s and Exhibit B’s and re-examine the case. These periodic evaluations are essential, I think, especially when we’re talking about a possible life-sentence.

The best outcome, of course, is to realize that there is no trial, or investigation required. To realize that peace and prosperity prevail, and everything I’ve dreamed of is not only possible, but probable.

Perhaps tomorrow will feel just like that.

Love letter to a lady

"Music Pink and Blue II" by Georgia O'Keefe

Darling bright-eyed woman,

Have you made any resolutions yet at the start of this new year?

If you have not, may I suggest something to you?

I watch you every day. I see how much you give of yourself to everyone around you, tirelessly it seems, and I admire this so much.

I wonder though if there is enough to kindle the fire within you?

The resolution I would like to suggest, as someone who loves you from your soul to your toes, is to challenge yourself to set aside time at least once a week to do something entirely for you, and entirely for your own pleasure and amusement. Find a quiet cafe to read. Take a class. Try singing lessons. Learn to paint, or sculpt, or make pottery. Unlock the mysteries of that fancy camera you’ve been eying. Train for a marathon. The possibilities are endless, but this much I know:

All these people who you are so good at loving need you to take a step back and fall in love with yourself all over again. Because chances are, even if you think you feel pretty good, you’re probably not giving yourself the attention you need. The kind of attention that only you can give to you. It’s not so easy to do this. Not for any of us.

Maybe it’s because it’s hard to shift that focus inward, or maybe it’s because you spent too much time in there during periods when it was cloudy or messy or trying to make sense of the world, but it’s time now to re-discover who you are.

The people who love you will be cheering you on from the sidelines. Don’t worry about them. Your love is so great that they have emergency gas cans full, and they’re happy to see you take a little for yourself.

Happy New Year. Make it your best year yet, and I’ll be there to kiss you at midnight in 357 days.

Reading, Writing…

I have a couple more resolutions. I hope you will permit me this sounding board.

In 2010 I want to read more, and I want to write more, and I want to create a special place where both of those things can happen.

Right now, I’m tucked away on a vinyl couch in Starbucks, looking out on the snow falling at the corner of Church and Shuter. St. Michael’s looks particularly pretty today, and my solution to some serious restlessness was to change up my atmosphere. The music is a bit too loud, but at least it’s good. Ray LaMontagne. Perfect, actually. I love the snow, and I love winter, and I love feeling entirely alone in a room full of people. Strange, non?

The desire to write more has been here for awhile, but I’m always bogged down by the question of what to write. Snapshots of the inside of my head are interesting only for so long.

When I was in grade nine, my love of writing was kick-started by an awesome teacher named Mrs. Fabris (oohh, now Starbucks is playing Nick Drake. Purr…). One of the awesome exercises she did was make a huge pile of pictures she’d collected from old calendars, magazines, and books. We had to close our eyes and pick an image, or sometimes study them and select one, and then we had to write a short story about the picture. I’d like to start this again, somehow. It took all of the second-guessing out of the scenario. Perhaps random itunes suggestions would work too (Lucinda Williams. Seriously, I could stay here all day.) or random people who catch my eye on the streets.

Also, I’m sad to say that I barely read anymore. I miss this incredibly, but I have rarely had the time to dig my claws into a good book. I’d also like a good reading list, so please feel free to share any recommendations.

I miss my¬† TTC commute, which was at least thirty minutes of guaranteed reading time. Audrey Niffeneger has a new book. Perhaps I’ll ease into my reading plan with that.