Wednesday, March 7, 2012

this isn't about design or how to make something

I am never 100% sure if I should or I shouldn't on this blog, (do you ever feel that way?)
I have experienced moments and thought,
"man, I am SO going to blog about this"
and then, I start to type and I delete and that's the end of that.
What usually happens after that is that I don't blog for a while, even a long while.
These past couple of years have not been easy, no, they have been the hardest years of my life, and, they have also been the very best years of my life. I have felt things that I have never felt before, hurt bigger than ever, loved bigger than ever, I guess maybe they go hand in hand.

I sometimes just wish I could get things super clear and focused in terms of my blog, you know, blog about my design life, things that are pretty. But, that's not what life has been like, is life ever really like that?
For some bloggers it looks that way, but I would bet it's not. Because the thing is, we are all human, and even if we love pretty things and get excited about a new product, or some new thing we can't get enough of, we go through stuff and we bring it to our work.
I mean, come on, we are artists, we are people, we feel shit!

This morning I placed a call for my daughter's daddy. I called a place here in Montreal called Criphase, for men who were victims of abuse as children. He has been struggling, REALLY struggling for a long long time, thinking that he can just get over it,  or stop thinking about it. I can't tell you how terrifically painful it has been to watch him suffer, to see his life falling apart slowly but steadily because he simply doesn't know where to put his pain. I see the patterns in his life, his professional relationships, his friendships, they all look the same, he loses, he puts himself in danger, he goes out of his way for the people who never acknowledge him or thank him or care. He seems compelled to run from what is good and safe towards what is risky and mean and dangerous. Then he doesn't like it, and it hurts and it feels bad (as it should) and he beats himself up again for having chosen the same choice, again.
He left 2 years ago to take care of things, because he wanted to do better to "clean stuff up"...
I have learned that all I can really do, is support, care, listen and keep myself and our child safe from pain and disappointment. It really is true, you can't help someone who isn't ready to be helped. May I just say, this has not been the easiest of lessons for me to grasp.
A few days ago he brought up Criphase, he said,
"yeah, I should really give them a call and see what it's about".
I pulled the best poker face I could muster and said- "really? you think?"... We laughed.

But, then he just squirmed and looked all uncomfortable.
I thought about something my Mom once told me about people getting stuck. That we all have places where we get stuck, but sometimes with just a little help over those spots, we can do it, we can move on and get the job done, but, without the help, we quit, and we might always quit at these same spots over and over again. This is what I was thinking about, LOUD in my head... like rapid fire stuck/stuck/stuck/stuck...
I asked him if there was anything I could do to help, could this be his stuck place?
him: "Um, yes, if you want?"
me: "ok, well, REALLY? ... do you want me to call and get some information... maybe?"
him: "yes"
in my head: (HOLY COW. OK! ok, be cool, BE COOL)
I woke up Monday morning and after getting the little one to her play school I dialed the number.
got voicemail. left a message.
Yesterday morning, I woke up and saw that they had called.
I called back and got to the person who had left the message.
The first thing she said to me was:

"Thank you for calling for your daughter's dad, for having the courage to call for him".

Apparently that's all I needed to start sobbing like a baby, like REALLY sobbing.
WTF? I was not abused, I had a great childhood, I was the one who had to be strong, the one holding down the fort, the one making sure our daughter was far away from the pain, felt good, felt safe.
So much for that girl.
As soon as I could breath again, I apologized for the sudden HUGE emotional breakdown and then, worse maybe, I sort of started to laugh, a reaction to my own shock at my own reaction?... Heck, I don't know, all I know is that it apparently had to come out, and I realized, quite quickly during this breakdown that I was probably in pretty darn good hands, so, what the fuck, I let it out.
The words just seemed to flow out of me like some crazy free associative meltdown.
"I didn't expect to start crying like this, it's just, I have seen him in so much pain for such a long time and it hurts so much to see someone you love hurt so much and not be able to do anything to help, and I see the patterns and the people and the pain and it's the same thing over and over again and I just wish, hope, that he can get some help, and, he has NO money, like NO MONEY and I'm trying so hard to be strong and to help and I am... so tired"
I started that weird sort of laugh again...and at that point she started to laugh too and we laughed.
We laughed. And, I felt better, relieved, surprised, and maybe even a little excited by the hope that maybe he was ready, ready to get some help, a step towards, maybe. just maybe. For himself, for his kids, for us.


  1. Oh, sweets. What a difficult situation. I'm sorry that you are going through it. He's infinitely lucky to have you in his corner. Every day is a new day, and every day even the tiniest progress can be made. I'm crossing my fingers and sending loads of positive thoughts that it will. Maybe it's time we had that coffee?

    1. you're amazing deedee. he's lucky to have you. tess is blessed with both of sounds like things are moving. even the smallest of steps means you're getting out of being stuck. lots of love.

  2. Brave, beautiful and powerful. Putting yourself out there for your people and being vulnerable in the process. This is the definition of true strength.

  3. I was just thinking about our conversations awhile back and thought I'd come over to see what you were up to. This post really struck me on many personal levels and just wanted to offer support and encouragement. You are certainly not alone. We hide behind our pretty things and happy faces, but there is something so freeing when we are open and honest. I'm familiar with that runaway crying followed by the surprising laugh thing. Releasing all that we keep stuffed down for so long has such mixed emotions when we finally let it out. A big hug and prayers to you and that precious little one.