Night Lights.

The static-like blurs on the wall of my bedroom seem to cloud my vision like snow.
It’s like looking out on Christmas Eve trying to stay awake waiting at the window.

The light from the crack at the door peers in like the lamps on the streets.
The blurs make my room seem fluffy – almost like snow falling gently to my sheets.

I turn to my reading lamp and click on the light like a remote to a car.
Only then, did I realize these memories are from a time much too far.

I look over to the stack of books I’ve yet to have read.
I think about all the words that I’ve yet to have said.

Glance to my calendar with one day left before the month is changed.
Realize that within a year, not much in my life has been rearranged.

It’s like I’ve lost a year of progress and improvements.
But really, I’ve gained a lifetime of unimaginable lessons and achievements.

All of this from some little fuzzy lights, that supposedly distort my vision.
It seems to have done the opposite, giving me clarify and direction.

Anniversary.

It’s been exactly a year since I was hit with the biggest news in my life. It would be the last morning I would wake up in my own room for a couple of months. When I would go back I would see the whiteboard of my daily to-dos still say the date of my optometry appointment – seemingly dried so much that it was almost staining the board.

I can’t believe how long this year has felt. It has felt like honestly a lifetime. A lifetime of suffering, a lifetime of changes, a lifetime of amazing moments good and bad alike. I’ve changed so much. I’ve grown so much. And yet, I am still the same me I have always been.

It’s odd how pain works. It can make you irritable. It can make you sad. It can make you wish it was all over, or it can make you dream of a better place. I’ve been through all the range of emotions, but recently, the pain keeping me from blissful dreams has led me to beautiful creations. It occurred to me tonight that it has been almost exactly a year since I published my “first” post on the 30th . It would be exactly a year since it all went down.

I was reminded it would be soon when WordPress sent me a message congratulating me on opening the account a year ago, and that reminded me that I started this blog a couple days before things went south. And I’m not talking about geese migration…

Honestly, I’m kind of happy that it’s been a year since I was hospitalized. It means that I’ve survived a year after the biggest scare of my life. I should have really kept track of all my other milestones (e.g. first shower again, first words, first movements, first steps…). But would I really want to remember? I’m not sure.

It seems all those haunting memories a year ago somehow always keep me up at night, but I have forgotten the specifics of my progress. But I haven’t forgotten all of it.

The first night at the hospital I got a TV, I recall watching “Just for Laughs: Gags” and laughing like a maniac. I just wanted to laugh (but also the drugs I was on made me extra loopy I would think). I remember getting bags of chips from the vending machine and limiting myself to a handful of chips a day. Even getting Hickory Sticks so I could pick them one by one to make it seem like it was lasting longer. I can recall walking laps around the hospital before my surgery to get my exercise – not knowing that it would be my last steps for a long while. I recall my nurses being amazing people and one in particular that I loved. She would bring me down to the MRI room wheeling me down the platform with a partner. It was like a safer rollercoaster ride. People like her made it bearable. I remember my PT + OT in the hospital. I was ecstatic to see my PTs as they called the rehab gym just a “gym” and that made me feel like I was working out at the L’amoureaux CRC gym again. The OT sessions were important but so frustrating. I had to do these exercises that felt impossible. Squeezing a sponge? Sorcery. Holding chopsticks? Impossible. Opening and closing my palm? Intense workout.

It truly amazes me how much I’ve improved. I would like to believe that is courtesy of my undying efforts to get here, but it isn’t just me, it takes a bunch of people! And the most miraculous thing is that these people that make the biggest impact on you don’t just do it for you, they do it for many others. Every life that they touch – no matter for how brief a time – are changed for the better. That to me, is something pretty miraculous.

I must also take this time to realize and understand that such anniversaries of tragedies haunt people. It doesn’t just hurt the person that it initially affected, but it once again hurts those that love and care about that sufferer – which only makes it MORE vital that we take these anniversaries of events to be there for one another. It’s a time we must stand together and offer love and open arms.

I am guilty of this as well. I always wanted to be the “woe is me, feel bad for me” person – often leading me to brush off other people’s personal obstacles.

Looking through my old books, I picked out the ones that were the most memorable. There were many books, some dystopian, some more realistic. They were books that outlined the journeys of others. The fictional stories about people going through real-life problems like drug-addiction, self-harm, mental disorders, etc. were the ones I remember most. I guess that was where my interest in psychology and helping people started. As I read the novels, I could hear them calling out to me. I wanted so much to help them – which is why I got so good at asking for help. Well, I try. This might be the “insight” that all my therapists say I have. The reason I am so insightful is because I’ve read stories about others. I’ve analyzed their issues, and I’m only beginning to analyze mine.

 

I guess, this is it.

Happy anniversary to me. It’s been one year since the most traumatic day of your life.

How has it been? – Hard

How do you feel? – OK

Are you sure? – I think so.

Okay.

Alright.

Keep on keeping on.

Crashes.

The crashing of the pins as a player throws a strike…

The crashing of the speakers as a rapper drops the mic…

The crashing of the thunder as the lightning hits the sky…

The crashing of the cars as the passengers are gone with no goodbye…

 

These moments are all piercing and followed by silence.

They are moments that move or change those around us.

These instances of monumental contrast are hypnotic.

Mesmerizing because they’re so dramatic.

Dramatic in the way that they seem to bring people up,

Or in the way that they tear people down.

It’s just the way life works,

And there is no way around.

 

 

Desires.

Took a streetcar named desire in search for something,

And that something I ended up with was the feeling of nothing.

The feeling of wanting more and never finding enough,

But that’s the type of feeling that helps get you tough.

It didn’t take long before I let those desires invade,

I let them control me, and I let myself fade.

The wrath of heartbreak made me insane;

It didn’t help that I was faced with the inhumane.

Things started unraveling and it all just went wrong,

Maybe what I was looking for was something else all along.

 

 

Throwing Out.

Today, I cleared out some of the stuff that I haven’t touched in a while and have expired. Other than the usual drinks, snacks, and chocolates, this purge included a barely used (maybe a quarter or less than half) container of protein powder. And I know it may seem ridiculous that I have protein powder, but at the time, I went to the gym a couple times a week and was hoping that protein powder, because of the way it filled me, would help me gain muscle and lose weight. I think it worked because it curbed my appetite, but I didn’t use it long enough for me to really see the outcome as I stopped going to the gym after my grandpa was in the hospital, before I even realized how serious it was.

I am pretty sure I wrote about this already (either on my blog or in my unpublished ones), but the gym and working out in general is something I used to love doing. Now, it has a negative underlying meaning to me and it has become painful/difficult to do for me physically. But I still want to go back, because I miss the feeling it once gave me – not to mention, I’m getting a bit…uh…yeah.

It’s just another reminder of how it’s been over a year since all of this had happened and I still cannot believe it’s happened at all. Things really are very different, and I’m really different. I guess the protein powder is representative of a lot of things. A reminder of that moment in time where it was the point of intersection between things going really well and then going to complete shit. A reminder of the lifestyle of fitness that I once lived coming to an abrupt and stressful end, and it’s a reminder of the peak of my high school career coming crashing down like a roller coaster free-fall or the climax and downfall in a novel.

Having to accept it’s all just gone now is still something that seems impossible. How does something seeming so permanent just go away?

How can he just be gone?

How can what I know of myself just completely change?

I guess that all got thrown out when I was throwing it all up.

It may just be time to let it go. To let myself live again. Because, I really can’t hold it back anymore, and it’s about time that I tell myself I do not have to. It’s now 1 AM, and it’s my third night writing blogs with the lights out. I think it’s healthier for me than going to bed sad. At least all the stuff that go through my head go somewhere rather than into my broken mind that just seems to forget it the next morning. It has a place.

 

Heartaches and headaches keep me awake and thinking,

at least now I have a place to do something.

As my backlit keyboard lights up my face,

the fear of waking up my parents makes my heart race.

But mother, it’s not my fault I cannot sleep,

please blame life for making my heart weep.

I know, it’s no excuse, but it will just have to do,

as my neck also hurts and my damn back hurts too.

I twist and turned for hours upon hours,

and I had even built some great pillow towers!

None of this worked to help get me to sleep,

I guess I will just have to try once more and not make a peep.

Goodnight.

 

 

Art.

Today, I went downtown with a friend. We planned a full day of food, adventure, shopping, and just plain having fun.Included in that was an art gallery called “The Powerplant” on the harbourfront. As nice as that one should have been, it was my least favorite mostly because it was a little too abstract and a little too confusing even for me. I didn’t get the emotions that the art was meant to induce, but I instead was hit with waves of confusion and overall discomfort. I guess that’s what “good” art is supposed to do. I am still not sure.

We also visited the poetry section of an Indigo bookstore. In there, I looked through the poems and read some of them. I was impressed by how excited I was reading and understanding them and even chuckled at a few jokes.
Then I looked at the price tags, and disappointedly had to leave them be with the intent of “hmm, maybe next time”.

Another place I ended up discovering and loving is a gallery in the Distillery District  that we found by accident. I was wary at first as it looked very hidden and much like they didn’t want anyone in there. However, when we went in and didn’t get kicked out, I looked at the paintings and sculptures and tried to draw conclusions about what the artist must have meant and why they did what they did. The creation, the adjusting, the naming, ans where they were displayed each played a part into how the art looked. Some were haunting faces on a black broken wall, some were lifelike with 3D components that seemed to jump out at you from the canvass, and some very cleverly used colours to show contrasts between the nearby paintings. Together, they left me with an odd feeling that intrigued me.

My favourite piece of art ended up being the one that we found even more by accident. It didn’t have a price tag of a couple thousand dollars+ on it, nor did it have a home in a nice frame or hung on wall inside a nice building – it was graffiti along an alleyway in the Kensington market. Colourful and creative, the mural seemed to scream life and happiness. It was there to be looked at and taken in slowly. The longer you looked, the more you seemed to find.

Art is constantly in the people and events around us. It’s found when you have the ability to appreciate the beauty in the little things and have a keen eye to be able to search out the things that make you and other people excited. It should provoke some sort of emotion that enriches someone’s life.
And you, you are a piece of art as well. Everyone has the ability to cultivate happiness.Take some time today (and everyday) to do something to make someone else feel special. Trust me, if done correctly, you will feel extra special yourself too.

Adventures.

It’s hard to have fun when you’re in pain. I would know.

Last year, around this time, I went to the beach. It would be my second time going with friends and if it was anything like the first, I would have the time of my life – the smiles remain forever through the evidence shown on my wall of photos and a framed image of my friends and I smiling along the shore. Pure bliss. But last year, I didn’t have any of that because as much as I tried to have fun, I was suffering from what felt like something crushing my head from the inside out. I brushed it off and tried to enjoy my day.

This year, despite also being in persistent pain (although less intense) I decided that I am going to try my best to make what’s left of my summer productive and memorable. My only solace coming from caffeine and ibuprofen, Together, they are the dynamic duo, my elixir for a good day – or at least a good couple of hours.

This whole year has been an adventure, and it’s brought out some of the best and the worst in people around me and myself. I’ve been introduced to a whole new side of my parents that I was starting to be afraid was never there or almost lost. I’ve come to appreciate some people and memories that I was starting to let escape me. And I’ve come to appreciate how things really aren’t given and sometimes working hard isn’t enough. It takes luck and working more than twice as hard as everyone else for some people. Even then, you aren’t guaranteed to succeed. No matter what, the journey brings you somewhere and you never fail to learn – about yourself, about the world, about something.

What I’m really trying to get at here is it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, it matters what’s on your mind while doing it. Surround yourself with people that matter to you, places you want to visit, and dive into adventures you could never imagine because it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, it matters that you’re out doing.

I really appreciate Advil’s slogan: “Advil and Go”. It’s also kinda been my personal catchphrase. It’s how I’ve been surviving, and reminds me of the fact that I  continue to refuse to let a headache ruin my day – my month, my year, or I guess my life.