Morning writing session with Firefly Writing
Morning writing session with Firefly
I keep it because it’s pleasing to the eye aesthetically, neons sitting vibrant in their shapes, lying parallel, vertical, and horizontal, showing the range in artist skill and precision. This painting extra large and in your face when it’s observed on the wall, in your face in it’s organization, and contrived in it’s up-kept way. She gave me this painting as a house warming gift. I had just moved into my first apartment, my own space to make home. I was excited, warm, and open to inviting her in to my world again. It had been years since i’d last seen her in the flesh, though much like her art, aesthetically she always seemed together. I knew that inside there was hole carved out and hollow, untouched by love. She always had something to talk about, what she lacked in her emotional capacity she made up in her fashion sense. Her hair freshly done in her statement dyed vibrant copper, Givenchy perfume, and carefully curated outfit. She cared about these things more than caring about inside. I imagine the years she cared about her looks and it seeping in to block any inner growth. What a shell to distract the hollow inside.
The body never lies and my body shot off warning signals when she first stepped foot in my space, “She hasn’t changed and you know it” my body spoke. I welcomed her into my space, offering tea, history proving that serving alcohol was out of the question. I wondered if she wished instead for wine during this tense and strange moment. I then began wondering if she even felt the reality of this moment, maybe the weirdness didn’t even touch the strong spiral surrounding her. A spiral of superficial, judgmental, and manipulative proportions. A spiral that wouldn’t dare let anyone come close, its edges met with projection, defensiveness and a distorted reality causing itself and those around it pain.
Sometimes I would forget why I was mad or feeling sore towards her, I would forget the pain she’s caused to a lot of people I love. Maybe it’s simply because time has passed by, a lot of time without having a Mom. A lot of time that I had to figure life out without a Mom, because she just couldn’t do it. Time has come and gone so much so that I forget it’s not okay. Unaware early on of the validity in choosing to place a boundary in front of my mom. Sometimes I would believe she has grown, maybe it was because I had and have. I should never assume. I felt like an adult, moving out, the change that comes with it felt exciting and welcoming her into my life with another chance felt promising in that moment. I was hesitant as this is a push and pull I’m all too familiar with whenever I welcome her back, she often takes hundred of miles when I would faintly offer one.
I was nervous, she always had a way to overpower my kindness, to grab hold and make me forget who I had become without her. A master at small talk, even better at talking about herself. She gave me her art work, I knew this would be my gift before she even came over because painting was her passion and perhaps her saviour. Her work was beautiful, but giving this to me felt more like a statement then a gift. A daily reminder that I have a Mom and she’s not in my life. The conversation started bubbling into a gossip session from her, she started talking to me like she was my friend and we were out at a bar together pounding back Gin and Tonics.
The heat rose in my body while she brought up how she bumped into and spoke about me to an ex boyfriend, my wounds were still a bit raw with residual pain. Wounded because he was very much like her and I knew that I could no longer be around either of them. “That must have been one hell of a run in since they hate each other” I thought to myself. They didn’t like each other and both wanted to shelter me from the other. She would take me out to fancy dinners and try and set me up with waiters that she flirted with. Anytime him and I were to fight, he would tell me “oh you’re just like your mom.”Amongst other damaging words and omitting information, he would tell me no one would love me as much as him, or that no one would want to look at my skin when I broke out. I was caving inwards, imploding with rage and sadness. I felt betrayed, disgusted, and fearful of what was to come. At the time she was still in my life, so I shared with my Mom the hurtful things that cut deep. I shared the things that weren’t to her detriment, because of course she wouldn’t listen if I had told her everything. I needed both of these people out of my life in order to move on. I had come to this conclusion and that was when I went through the break up and when she was phased out of my life as well.
Years later she was in my apartment and along side the painting, bringing this old bag of pain felt really hurtful. She was braggy and gossip filled, happily dumping information onto me that I really didn’t believe nor did I want to hear. My heart sank with disappointment in that moment, solidifying that it wasn’t safe in her hands. I wasn’t shocked that she lacked this awareness in digging up old wounds, I was angry at myself for thinking maybe she would know better now.
This had been the cat and mouse game for the last decade, chasing a dream like thing such as a stable Mom. This game drew to an abrupt close in that moment. When she left I was angry and felt definitive in removing her from my life as I shoved the painting under my bed and away from my moving life. The painting stayed under my bed for quite some time and it probably would have continued to do so. I keep the painting and I was able to hang it up once I began forgiving myself. The process of forgiving myself was just as important, if not more important than forgiving her. The forgiveness process is much like a painting: it’s almost never a finished product when we are reminded of the past, though with each layer it becomes different, better, and improved. I forget sometimes that the painting has anything to do with her because in a way it signifies a mirror for how I forget who she is. With its aesthetically pleasing colour layers it’s become more to do with the layers of forgiveness. I keep it up now because I forgive her.
Morning writing session with Firefly
I rise after, tracing her side of the bed and both normally and un-alarmingly feel a pillow instead of her body. She used to not be able to sleep, maybe a few hours a night she’d tell me. I thought that was crazy, I wouldn’t be able to function along with most people in the world on only a few hours sleep. “Don’t you feel tired?”, I’d ask her curiously. “Nope not really”, she’d say. I thought she was so peculiar, though this was only the beginning of getting to know one another. I noticed shortly after we began living together that her sleeping had adapted to a more normal human pace, what a relief I thought. I remember one night I couldn’t sleep at all while lying right next to her.
She told me that her student visa was denied, I didn’t comprehend what that meant for her future as I was naive to understanding the reprocutions. She explained to me that reapplying would mean taking another chance at being denied and spending another big chunk of money that she didn’t have, for the last process was expensive. “But why did they deny you, you had all the proper documents?” I was upset and overwhelmed and panicked with this new information and frustrated with myself that I didn’t know more about the visa process. In a quiet and monotone voice she says, “They say that they don’t understand why I would enrol in a program that I have no background or experience in.” “That’s absolute bull-shit! So what are you not allowed to try something new? You can’t have other interests in a new career? How could they possibly deny you for that reason”I said hysterically, not mirroring her sole calmness. Our conversation grew silent and drifted as we tried to sleep off the sadness and flood of emotions. We couldn’t sleep of-course, she tells me that she’s thinking it would maybe just be easier for her to go back to Brasil. At that point I lost it, this just didn’t sit well with me.
I rocked back in forth in the bed, tears dripping everywhere while my mind was stirring. “Your dream is to live here, this isn’t fair. I can’t lose you to a place you don’t want to be in! It’s not right Thais, you can’t give up.” So simple for me to say, of course she felt the same but it was her life and not mine. I didn’t know what it felt like to leave everything behind to come for a better life and then so quickly be denied on a ridiculous basis. How defeated she must have felt, perhaps taking it as a sign that she shouldn’t resist this apparent fate. Selfishly, I refused to accept being separated from her. I looked at her and said,“I’m not letting you go back knowing how much you want to stay and knowing that I love you. I will help you figure this out and I’m going to find a way.”
My Mom won a contest when I was still young, and I remember the look on her face when she told me; smiling, and proud, she had always wanted to be a singer. Mom was at a premiere for a Whitney Houston movie in Winnipeg, when the audience was asked to sing their favourite Whitney song. Mom stood up and sang, and she won a gift card. I enjoyed singing too, all my sisters did, my brother-not so much, but we all loved music and it was a huge part of our growing up. I have my parents to thank for the good music we were raised on. The nostalgia and memories flood in anytime I hear Barbara Streisand, ABBA, or when the Rolling Stones play. When I hear the good music, I feel a mixture of melancholy goosebumps and comfort. It reminds me of the pleasant times, but ultimately I also remember the false, contrived, and sometimes painful times.
When the Spice Girls and Backstreet boys hit the scene my siblings and I were all over it, as was my Mom. We would put on song and dance shows every single night after dinner, sometimes during dinner if we played our cards right. It would often turn into obscene stripping and screaming around the house while our parents patiently covered their ears. My Mom almost always joined in with the singing, not the stripping and screaming. We had fun, but I could tell Mom seemed to take the singing part with significant seriousness, while my sisters and I were playing around. She would be serious in her demands for our performances,“Everyone, I’ll be Sporty Spice, she has the most singing parts” She’d say. We didn’t dare even think to take her part. I only got to be Sporty Spice if it was Halloween, but when we were performing with Mom I was Baby Spice.
Maybe she was trying to live out something that perhaps she felt was far gone and impossible with a husband, and four kids. Was she attempting to get a singing career off the ground or try out for Canadian Idol, in our living room? Through this internal struggle, my Mom pushed us, some more than others to pursue acting, dancing, and singing. Wanting so badly to uphold something your Mom never got to do, felt confusing for us kids. “I’m not sure if I like these singing lessons, but Mom thinks I should so I guess I’ll keep at it”I would often think to myself.
I think because I took on an independent and self sufficient role early on, my Mom didn’t really feel she needed to push me or pay as much attention. Though in hindsight, I craved a motherly touch, to be cared for, and have her interest taken in me. I couldn’t ask for these things and they were not easily given. When I’d go visit my school friends houses, I’d see their Mom hold and kiss them and I’d think to myself “that’s so weird!”I especially thought it was weird when friends parents would hug or kiss, that was not what my parents did, I thought my friends parents were strange for doing so.
I do remember a very brief ballet stint, I took a class in an elderly ladies house with some school friends. The teacher had a walking cane and a bag of brown liquid attached to her that the girls told me was her poo. “Poo? In a bag?”, I exclaimed in the dressing room while we suited up in our leotards. The teacher would instruct us in class through talking. I thought it was weird, someone teaching a ballet class that couldn’t show us the moves and because of this, I could not get with it. My age showing its ignorance to this now aged ballerina’s health conditions that clearly caught up with her, steering her career to teaching. The lady made it quite clear to my Mom after a few classes that I had no future. In a surprising fashion, my Mom let me down gently, when normally I would be guilted into finishing something I didn’t care for.
Perhaps her pace was changed because she had been told a few times that she couldn’t do something or that she was not good enough. I was too young and innocent to comprehend that my future in ballet was extinct. I thought out loud, “I’ll just do something else instead.”Who needs a future in dance anyway. Does it bring you much? It looks like it leads you to a bitter age, with failed health, a poo bag, and an over critical view of children. A naive but logical understanding being young and innocent that left no room for sorrow or failure to creep in and consume me. My eleven year old self was mainly glad that I didn’t have to get up early for class or look at that weird bag of poop ever again. It wasn’t until years later that this logical understanding of things became a struggle to maintain.
Morning writing session with Firefly
The quiet after an argument on the outside is cutting and jarring, each of them in a different room and pulling away in to themselves. Internally unsettling, uncomfortable, unbearable, and once again seemingly unfixable. The mind races after each time it happens, while the other person seems so calm in their footing, perhaps they’re right in their ways once again.
She always starts off here, worried that she’s ruined another day again with a misguided request, a simple but rude tone, or maybe a failure to fully listen. Will she ever learn, change, is there actually something wrong with her? She wants to be hugged, she wants them to hug her, but the repelling energy creeps up into her tear ducts. She’s so angry with herself and then with them, is she just that difficult, is she just that selfish, she sits cross legged in an all too familiar shame spiral. It seems that she’s always failing to understand or is incapable of seeing the full picture. She plummets deeper into the shame, triggering every childhood memory of being scorned and ignored. She turns inwards and chooses to listen to every voice and succumb to their tricky banter and overwhelming and all encompassing power. Then all of a sudden she remembers that she doesn’t need to listen to them, she exhales deeply within this thought.
She breathes as she closes her eyes, this will pass, this is temporary. She then wonders why they have to be so different in their coping and reaction style, then again if they were like her, they’d both be crying all day and all night. She waits and she’ll continue waiting, she will talk, and she will listen and share. They will remind her that they love her when they hear she’s in pain, with the gentle reminder that these arguments will happen, and it’s not the end of the world when they do. This days chapter is closed and they both move on with their day.
The only thing left over as they move into their day is the little girl that surfaced from inside of her, gripping her mind with memories. That little girl needed help only just a moment ago and she wondered if she’d be able to help the little girl the next time it happens. Where does the little girl go? She forgets about the little girl until those times of vulnerability and anxiety return. The little girl pops back in, always on time. She will need to sit with the little girl for longer next time and tell the little girl how much she is loved and how one day she won’t always feel like this. The little girl will learn that she won’t always feel the need to fight because she will grow strong through being tested time and time again. The little girl won’t feel the need to push love away or succumb to what she only believes to be true about herself. The little girl’s stories and experiences will one day make her believe she is enough. She remains hopeful, in longing, and waiting for the little girl so she can stretch out her arms inviting and squeezing love into the little girl, that she so deserves. These panic spirals being only a memory attached to her and as it sinks in that it’s no longer her reality.
A raw and unbearable pain still cannot match the unconditional love that she left with me (and mummy 2). A forever thank you for your patience and a forever thank you for your love. Our souls will meet again. I love you Nala, Nalinia, Gorda, Bafo.
•Grief: the moment in time where you cry every hour on the hour and then skip a day of meals, order 6 tacos for you and your wife and eat 5/6 of them, and then take a city bike to meditate by the water. How are we not taught in school to expect those EXACT things.
Morning writing session with Firefly
Today I want to write about all things we absorb when we are young. Our minds act like sponges, the strong kind you pay the extra bit for because the absorbency is incomparable. Our minds acting like magnets, attracting the positive and negative at a high frequency and reverberating to any and everyone around us. Zero fluidity in what we leave behind, my sponge was thick with grime. When your mind is a sponge you don’t know what to reject or deem “not for me.”Adulthood comes and the sponge tears and then absorbs back together, rebuilding itself. I wonder if my Mom was ever a sponge looking for guidance before she disappeared from her duties as a Mom. I wonder if she feared listening to everyone would lead her down rabbit hole, her sponge crumbling in the distance. I wonder if she was ever offered or asked for help. I wonder if she had, would things be different. I wonder if she too felt like a sponge as a kid, absorbing and filling up like a big balloon on a long string. I wonder about her often lately, how strange it would be to be her. I would do everything I could to be back in decent standing with my family. Maybe it’s too far away for her to come back to. Her sponge is no where to be seen even. I wonder about her character, her past, how that must leave such a hole in her sponge. I questioned her choice to ultimately live without us in her life, does she welcome it at this point? I will always be left curious but never hopeful of her return
It was nearing prom season in my last year of high school, I had made some friends but had yet to meet someone I’d want to date. I’d go visit my Mom at her new place every so often, she told me that I really should be thinking about getting a date for prom. Even when I told her that most of my friend group didn’t have dates, her advice stood firm that going sans date wasn’t fun, I’d regret it, and they’d all be sorry, trust me! So I went and hunted down a boyfriend, through one of my good school friends. Was I attracted to him? Not in the least. Did I now get to tell my Mom I had a prom date? Sure did. He was quite patient with me, given that I was vastly and deeply emotionally constipated especially at that time. I liked the company and he was kind enough, along with agreeing to be my prom date. It was nice having a friend to sleep next to, key word “friend.”I don’t think he caught on to the red flags that I clearly brought to the table, the main one being that I held my breath when we made out. There was just so much saliva and I could not understand why, but I had nothing to compare it to so for a while I assumed that this is just what all kissing must be like. I think something I believed to be a major drawback was how he ate popcorn, it ruined all of our relationship potential in my mind.
I had recently gotten into a University in Quebec, which excited me to not only distance myself from my family situation, but also from my boyfriend that still doesn’t think he’s bad at kissing. This idea took a plummeting fall when my parents told me I wasn’t able to go, because between all of us we couldn’t afford it. I was crushed, this would have been my perfect escape from saliva central to freedom at last. I was so angry that I both couldn’t go AND I still had a boyfriend. I met up with N and told him that I was no longer moving to Montreal, he was ecstatic that i’d be staying, “I’m so sorry you can’t go anymore, but at least that means we can stay together!” I had officially reached my nice girl limit, I could not watch one more episode of him shovelling popcorn into his face, or bare one more sloppy and wet kiss that he persisted was my fault for not enjoying. “Oh N, I’m not moving to Montreal and one hundred percent staying here, but I don’t want to be with you.”I think it was the first time I was so blunt and honest in the moment with someone. I knew I was picky and certain things bothered me that weren’t his fault so at first I felt so guilty. This didn’t last long when I found out from his friends that he took a photo of my clothed crotch close up and posted it on a nerdy forum for all his friends to see. Yes, that was wrong, but still not as wrong as him thinking we’d be staying together.
The next day I sent him a message addressing that I’d be by to pick up my things which included, my OC DVD box set, and a scarf i’d left. He told me he would MAYBE be home so I suggested he leave my things in his mailbox if that’s the case, to which he said “I don’t have a mailbox”, to which I thought, everyone has a fucking mailbox N. I walked over to his place, heart racing and awaiting the uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but notice his mailbox right away, clear as day. I heard N’s music blaring from the basement (he always did love that song “lollipop” by Lil Wayne). His Mom (who i’m pretty sure hated me because I took away from their breastfeeding time) answered the door. She welcomed me in to the front foyer while I listened to the faint trail of “lick lick lick lick lick it like a lollipop” from the basement.
His Mom came handed me the DVD’s and told me she’d grab the scarf from the closet. She had never been so pleasant with me, perhaps she was overjoyed that this would be the last time I would be coming around her house. She came back shortly with a scarf that one hundred percent wasn’t mine. “Ooops, sorry but that actually isn’t my scarf!” She smiled and took the scarf she had just passed to me, walking back to the closet when N yelled up at that moment, “MOM IS SHE GONE YET?”Never had I ever felt so much closure in my decision to break up with him. I tried not to laugh, bracing myself because it was almost over. His Mom, walking more quickly from the closet gave me another scarf that wasn’t mine. I laughed this time saying “Sorry, still not mine.”Now I could see she was getting annoyed, like it was somehow my fault that she had so many scarves. She came back and tossed me a silk Hermes scarf that once again wasn’t mine. This time I exclaimed loudly, “Thanks! BYE N.”And I walked out the door tossing the scarf in his mailbox along the way and laughed all the way home.
Morning writing session with Firefly
These are my days, my wife rising earlier then me as she’s a light sleeper- our busy cat and cheeky dog pressing for treats early in the AM. I rise after, tracing her side of the bed with my hand and un-alarmingly feel a pillow instead of her body. I rise slowly, though these days the sun has a lot to do with the inability to press snooze with it’s light power lifting me out of bed. I yawn as I raise our duvet mid- air and shake out last nights sleep. I slip on my Havaiana sandals (a gift from her sister in Brasil), and head down the stairs. Always peaking out the doors to our deck to peep at the Toronto skyline, smiling and feeling grateful that I have the privilege to take in this sight every day. As I wander down in a sleep motion, I find my wife in her usual position on the couch with our cat Nenem sprawled out on her chest. Her one paw always stretched out long caressing my wife’s cheek, this is the only way my wife can sleep past 5am. I however always sleep through this cat and Mom game, my wife always in disbelief that i can sleep through the meows for treats so early.
Lua our dog is predictably happy to see me, either following me down from the bed or waiting for me next to my wife, lying in the sun on the carpet. Tail thumping like a bass and grin so wide, like it’s been years since she’s seen me. This greeting never fails to melt my heart while i kiss her forehead and massage her belly before i start the coffee. My wife is still resting as I boil the kettle for the french press, brush my teeth, and check if there’s any laundry in the dryer to be folded from the night before. The coffee steeps as i putter. I try to tip toe over to the couch and set my wife’s mug down. She informs me just how insanely loud I am, I realize she’s right because she’s always right. Nenem hops off my wife and bounces up to her cat tree in the centre of our three window opening facing out to the street. Sometimes she’ll hop down and trace the floor, teasing and enticing Lua with a closed claw pop to the face. Lua whines irritatedly because Nenem will always be faster, it’s time for Lua’s walk soon. We sit on the couch and catch up on our emails and notifications. Lately I’ve been having weird dreams, so i’ll share with her the latest while my wife sips her coffee with half a sugar, hanging on to my story with sleepy eyes.
I sink into my cosy position knowing that I need to take Lua for her walk or she’ll start eating the plants again. “Walky time Lua?” She always thinks whenever I talk to her that it must mean she gets some more food, so she trots to the kitchen, bum swaying side to side, her trademark. “Lua you already had your breakfast my love” I say to her bending down. I put on my glasses, otherwise I feel blind an susceptible to the skunks that have been roaming our neighbourhood. I pop my ear buds in, incorporating a soundtrack to our walk makes me want to walk with Lua for longer. I slip on her pastel collar, harness, clip on her leash, and sneakily stuff her treats in my pocket. We say, “Bye Mommy, see you in a bit” and head out into the morning sun.
Morning writing session with Firefly Studios
These days I’m being carried by my trust in the universe, the unknown, and choosing to take this time to invest in myself. Investing in myself by feeding my soul, if we even have one… Maybe i’ll think about that too since I have the time. I’m getting to know what is going on more inside without the outer distractions to move me. Having the endless time to work with my feelings in the comfort of my sacred space, surrounded by dog and cat hair, french press coffee, and zero bullshit. You know, the bullshit that you never had to put up with in the first place but you thought you did? Instead I am carried by a universe who also needs time, to be fed generously just as well. The days sometimes feel interchangeable, does it really matter what day of the week it is? Re-centering, recalibrating, and releasing what has served it’s sentence. These days I am carried by love and trust in a shaky and trembling moment for the world outside. Our world that seems to change by the hour, some showing resistance and ignorance while others embrace and come together creatively through distance. I’m carried by the latter and i’m carried by the truth in my ability to choose. I’m privileged to feel safe and I am blessed to have emotional support and the tools to work through daily anxieties. I’m carried by humour and I’m humbled by my family. Succumbing to fear is out of the question, while educating my mind and being creative is the antidote. I’m carried by my wife and I hope she feels carried by me. Like a kid who’s fallen asleep on the couch, parents up late watching the evening news, nothing feels better then being gently picked up by love and placed into a bed of safety. It’s funny how suddenly something can be taken from you, how awful it feels at first, unfair and freaky. Down the line and quite increasingly we can adjust to this new reality and almost forget how things were before. Things will always change and we will adapt.