A calling

Post composed to this, Pentatonix’s “Hallelujah.”

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord

My Force twin sister, Aono, held a birthday party for Turtle. As I related before, Turtle is involved in the a cappella scene at University of Waterloo. Last he and I mutually checked in with each other, his base group, the Musical InterDudes (YouTube link; Facebook page), are headed to the 2017 ICCA! SQUEE!

At the birthday party, four of us – Aono, Andrei, Turtle, and me – spent a good chunk of time just chilling, cracking jokes (mostly at my expense, but it’s in good fun 😉 ), and enjoying a variety of musical selections. With Turtle’s portable speaker, we four eargasmed to pieces very different from each other, but that’s the beauty of it. Symphonic metal, at least three unique renditions of Pineapple Apple Pen whatever – hey, that song is a mouthful, I still can’t get the chorus down, including a Death Note version too funny for able words – something about cake and dark necessities (you can tell I pay little attention to lyrics) that was accompanied by Turtle’s choreography, random pop, and a lot from the musical in America about Alexander Hamilton.

YouTube. Fun times. 🙂

The baffled king composing Hallelujah

But the one that struck me most was “Hallelujah” by Pentatonix (lyrics link). Turtle was in epic fan mode, and listening along, the rest of us all expressed wonder at the recording. I’ve heard many versions of this song over the years, each one have their special touch. That’s why I like listening to covers as well, because different artists put their own interpretation into the same lyrics. The message from this particular version was very different from my established interpretation.

Well, your faith was strong but you needed proof

Funny how things fall into place, but as Teacher said to Chikarel, “Concerning those two [Andrei and me], it’s safe to say nothing is simply random.”

In terms of that day, I’d been quietly raging for waiting in Kitchener, freezing and wondering where the hell my partner was. Aono asked us to arrive earlier to help her decorating, and it was cold. When my hands couldn’t stand the wind anymore, I left the terminal and tried figuring out how to get to Aono’s place on my own, despite being unfamiliar with this area.

She tied you to the kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips, she drew the Hallelujah

Crew tried reasoning with my wrath, I’m terrible at interpreting digital maps. I spent three hours wandering Waterloo trying to find a specific jewellery store on foot because I was too stubborn to ask anyone for directions. The store was past Uptown Waterloo, but I initially ended up at Conestoga Mall before I finally took out a compass app and it hit me that I was headed the opposite direction. At first I was crushed, then angry, but I turned my sulking feet and walked the entire way back. I was too proud to take the bus, firmly believing I had to punish myself for a simple navigational error.

Q4, when they found out, were exasperated with me. Why didn’t I text one of the boys, who were residents of Kitchener-Waterloo? And what the hell was I thinking, walking without a break that kind of distance, no food consumed that day, not even water on my person, during peak sunlight hours on a summer day? I had a bus pass, on top of all that.

Well baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor

After their rants and admonishment, they expressed their concern, then all three of them assigned themselves to various expressions of care.

Crew reminded me of that, but I pushed them away, indulging in my rage. Andrei arrived at the terminal shortly after I fled, and not seeing me in his immediate field of view, called me – I would’ve arrived by now, where was I? I snarled back about the cold, my impatience, and so on. I’m afraid to imagine what his expression was, but after a swift moment of silence, he asked me in landmark terms where I was. I still argued, saying I armed with Akumi’s two map apps. Yeah, considering that I’m not someone who pays attention to street signs, that fell flat. Grudgingly, I gave a landmark, and he said I was headed in the opposite direction.

I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch

Well, that was embarrassing. Instead of accepting that I was acting irrationally, I lashed back, refusing his request to return to the terminal. I said I’d figure it out myself and will let Aono know when I eventually found her place. Stubbornness, in this case, wasn’t helpful at all. To make a long drawn out fight (in my point of view at that moment, he was patient, I was ready for a smackdown) short in my retelling, I returned to the terminal and stamped out any offering of reconciliation and affection, including mittens for my hands. Boiling inside, I was silent except for issuing painful remarks about Mother leaving me waiting for hours in winter weather for her to come take me home from another high school day. I wasn’t allowed to bus my way back, because of safety concerns from a psychiatric perspective. I’d been nearly hit by cars and trucks for chasing after hallucinated beings, a suicide attempt on record, and dissociative behaviours that would easily compromise me if someone happened upon me and had malicious intentions.

Those horrible minutes of poor communication, Andrei learned again that I was casting past abusers as him, despite that he didn’t do or say things with an abusive mindset. It certainly didn’t help that a mutual friend of ours was similar regarding our bonds, in fact this throughout the time I formally entered into an established relationship with him, it’s been taken up by well-meaning individuals who haven’t learned to mind their interest.

And love is not a vict’ry march

But something is forgotten when people take on an activist role for me. Something that I realized today that I’m also guilty of, different context yes, but alike enough. Anyway, back to the issue being discussed. ^^;

Too quick are they to take my side, assuming that Andrei and I are constantly in a conflict-dualistic kind of relationship. We’re talking as in the entire picture is black and white. There may be room for greyscale, but only a handful can see colours, even fewer see the shading in the colours. It’s horrible, harmful and damaging. Failure of effective communication is on all parties, not the one who stands out most.

Take my suicide attempt in 2005, for example. Family say they never knew anything was wrong, why didn’t I say something? I said, I did reach out, I was crying for help, but they ignored me. Culturally, me saying, “I’m thinking about suicide,” is a huge no-no. Then again, to family’s view, how do they know the difference between “teenage rebellion,” my own idiosyncrasies, and actual potential for danger? It’s too easy to pick one side or the other, depending on your experiences.

This is the problem with activism for me. I begin with advocacy, then upon establishing alliances, I go into activism. A switch occurs. I identify with the population I’m supporting, and suddenly, I can no longer claim any true justice-based reasoning for my actions. My intentions were good, but over a process of integration that I permit on some awareness level, my actions are questionable.

I’ve been spending quite some time on a particular FB page. At first it was fun because I had a space to rant and express my views that other commentators shared in general. I was validated, supported, affirmed. I found a space to get proverbial shit off my chest. But then I got the red light from a conversation partner that was in stated agreement with me. He agreed with my perspective, but, he disagreed with how I communicated that perspective without specifically calling me out. And he spoke respectfully, which is how I managed to slow down and take a moment to process his appropriately worded warning.

That rattled me the entire way to Brampton for a doctor appointment, in the waiting room, then the entire way back. I checked my timeline, and was reminded that Andrei found Turtle’s link to “Hallelujah,” addressing it to Turtle and I, but I hadn’t taken time to listen to it again.

I could’ve talked all that stuff out with him, but it was nearing midnight, and sleep is a thing even for postsecondary students. Once he was satisfied with a report of my GP examining me for an upcoming eye surgery (round two, bloody hell), he and the Crew somehow synchronized a subtle effort to relax me enough into the first solid sleep I had in weeks. By midnight, I was asleep. Sure, I awakened just after 3am, but those three hours were the most restful sleep I had in a long time. My hearing is sensitive past average human level, so my roommate’s late night moments were enough to stir me. But I wasn’t aggravated like usual. I just had this huge longing to listen to “Hallelujah.”

I thought over the myriad discussions between me and my travelling companion for the appointment. Joe is awesome in many ways, and one of the things I like best about those long drives between the GTA and Waterloo is that we’ll chat away about anything, find ways to tie those talks into real life, and respect each other but still make objections based on care for the other. He’s somewhere past age 50, I’m still 29. Despite a huge age gap, we established a good relationship. Very different life circumstances and backgrounds, different lives, but our common humanity lets us shoot the breezes and relax despite shit happening.

“Has Andrei ever told you that you overanalyze?” Joe asked me with a grin and twinkling in his eyes. That question came up at least twice. I affirmed his question, and he, still finding the entire thing funny but also mindful of my health, then proposed all kinds of hilarious situations of how my partner and I could deal with my mind in computer mode. My favourite was the imagery of me running around in circles in a storm of my own making while Andrei reclined and sipped water, amused and watching me in my self-imposed chaos. Joe’s totally in that picture (he’d use “photobomb” to describe his random appearance, likely) probably with some other kind of drink. Pretty sure the gentleman’s mentioned a taste for wine. There’s no need for popcorn, they’re too entertained by the bunny rabbit and exchanging jokes about the sheer silliness of the whole image in the first place. In other words, he thinks they’ll be calling themselves out for sitting there as well as poking fun at my moment of madness. ;P

And now we return to Turtle’s party. After I was given space to work through my awful expressions of anger – but Andrei remained present, not abandoning me to withdrawal and dissociation to cope with the intensity – I broke down into crying and apologized. I stammered my explanation of how and why I associated him with Mother, and demanded to know why I didn’t receive any retribution. I wanted to be punished. His reply was very simple but weighted, “[sigh] I didn’t see a reason for holding on to anger at you.”

A shift happened there as that sunk in. It was reaffirmed by Joe during our return trip, “If you want to be fully independent, why be in a relationship? You’re two people, yes, but you’re mutually bonded with each other.”

So long I’ve been indoctrinated with the demand to be “fully independent.” Upon entering the realm of more-than-friendship with different people, I received all kinds of conflicting advice. We’ve heard a lot of this before, the double standards on both members in a relationship. No need to articulate those before I spiral into a rant. The reason this affects me so powerfully is the learned view that I’m a burden. Ultimately, it boils down to “eat or be eaten” and “prove your right to exist.”

Why can’t I be allowed to live? I recall screaming at my guardian angel, Cassiel. But Cass is the astrological standard of tough love, being the Archangel of Saturn, Lord of Time, Master of Dragons, Angel of Solitude and Tears, etc., etc. (Hey, he’s ancient, he’s got an impressive collection of titles, LOL.) Joe pointed out that I wasn’t assigned to Cassiel, that Really Scary but Loving Badass was assigned to me. Cassiel’s response at that moment was, “Why don’t you allow yourself to live?”

Seriously. I was expecting, despite being associated with this shadowed angel from birth, a high and mighty “how dare you be unreasonable like this, how many times have I intervened for your pathetic whiny ass the sheer amounts you nearly died” – hey, I totally got that kind of talk from plenty of other individuals – but no. Again, I was seeking to be punished. It’s a lot like an addiction, being punished. Terrible, yes, but self-validating and gives me a high for being confirmed.

I’m not a channeller. I can be, but that’s done with my permission or you get Cass glaring at the offender. No, I’d rather not have any awareness of what he’s thinking. Hehe. Family’s tried all kinds of ways to get rid of “negative Saturn influences” on me, that was an epic fail, so next they tried “appeasing Lord Saturn” and yeah, like Cass is to forget their previous ignorant ways that easily. Richard Webster says in Encyclopedia of Angels that Raphael can be called on to nudge along Cassiel, who apparently takes his time to do things. Ahahaha. Whoops. Oh, I pulled an adorable pun. 😀 Gustav Davidson’s Dictionary of Angels is my go-to resource for “who the heck is this angel or demon I’m currently dealing with” exploration.

Well, maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya

So yeah. After tension between Andrei and I cleared enough through mutual efforts, our relationship actually deepened. When my emotions aren’t flying off the charts, I can appreciate how rough life’s been for all of us since mid-July, including my former partner. (I struggle with saying ex, to me that means the legitimate value of that painful learning experience has no bearing on the amount of growth I’ve been able to accomplish this far.) I haven’t glimpsed at her public stuff for months, and I’m certainly not stable enough in myself to answer the last request of hers to talk to her. Maybe I’ll get there one day, maybe I won’t. Who knows.

The point is, I’m focusing on my life in this present. I could be called selfish, but right now, I don’t care enough to invest more of my energy into people who insist on deconstructing everything and my most important person that/whom I hold on to as my anchor to Earth. I sacrificed my self-care over these past few months too close to the edge. My GP of 25+ years asked me to manage my stress in the ways best for myself and eat more food. While he trusts my judgment for stress management, he won’t hesitate to support the collective decision by my multidisciplinary care team to enact involuntary hospitalization. As a person who has been inside psychiatric wards on and off for 12 years both with and without my consent, and currently enrolled in psychotherapy graduate studies, I agree with that mandate wholeheartedly. I certainly don’t like it, and especially after developing Stevens-Johnson, I freak out thinking about such a situation. But at this point in my developing personhood, I’m okay with that.

I’m a rabbit. I’m a clever survivor – but I know about living, too.

Mother left a message on my voicemail, one of my aunts died. Considering patterns and my dreaming – I rarely have precognitive dreams, that’s Kirari’s specialty – I already foresaw a friend’s loss of a male family member (I was still shocked that it actually happened despite me offering an exchange or payment – she’s been through a hell of her own making enough as it is), but I still had that awful feeling that something closer to home would hit. It didn’t end with my one spirit guide departing. Christmas season carries its death associations every year for me, I was hoping for something different since I distanced myself from family.

And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light

It’s why the grownups put so much emphasis on the younger children at Christmas. We who are old enough remember the yearly reports of death and/or intense trauma, but by investing into the kids’ joy, in a sense the adults are “paying” for failures to keep family bonds strong. In 2014, it was me fighting through my first SJS episode. I was released from hospital just before Christmas Day, even that took arguing and pleading from my parents to the staff.

I’m one of the few people who still own the photograph of Latoya during her last Canadian Christmas with us cousins. I no longer take on the blame issued to me for her suicide a short number of years later, and I stopped caring about how my involvement in keeping her alive for as long as she managed to live is largely unknown at this point. I hear the rhetorical nonsense of how in hindsight Latoya suffered, and I’m done rolling my eyes at these people. Yes, I have to bear the intimate eyewitness and advocate memories of her personal descent, but I can’t claim that it’s my burden alone. Okay, so I live with the actual viewing and stopping of attempts as they were happening, but her loss is felt by all of the family. I hated her mother for so long, ridiculed her for putting up her daughter’s photo and crying every time she passed by the ancient picture. I had threatened to go to court to fight her wish to bring her developmentally disabled grandson into Canada. So yeah, wasn’t feeling any sympathy for that woman.

But now? I can’t cling to that when my own logic is used against me. As numerous my grievances are towards family, being at this distance helps me remember their inherent humanity and the testing of my compassionate limits.

It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Joe let out a low whistle today. “You really had nothing of an innocent childhood.” I nodded, fighting back tears and the urge to scream. “But you know what? Being exposed to so much horror at so young, and repeating those experiences in many ways growing up, I have to say … I think you’re an incredibly strong woman.” I almost bit back, so many have said the same thing to me.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

It’s a calling.

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