Monday, 11 December 2017

The ever present puppeteer

Lets face it, it's here to stay, you just can't live without it, well almost. I bank with it, I shop with it, I connect with other human beings with it. I see my grandchildren with it, my son out west, my extended family with it. I look up phone numbers, tell people where I am going to meet them, get my news and books from it. I express my every mood, get inspiration, feel joy, anger, awe, laughter, resentment, pride, fascination and grief with and from it. I hear my music with it, watch all my favorite shows and movies, I got a degree through it, I found and lost romantic relationships because of it.

And herein lies the fucking problem. Is it real? This is a question I have been asking myself lately. Is my life truly real anymore when it is managed and controlled and highlighted and reflected through the fucking internet? When I come home and I greet my sweet pax and he wants a hug and I give him one and I feed him and I talk to him....this is real. Me interacting with my dog.  But then. I realize I am alone, no other humans live here with me and I am alone. So I seek to escape that. I think I do that out of habit now.  See I never had to live alone, I went from my parents home to my husbands. Our home always filled with people, always. Now I am alone. And it is uncomfortable and foreign. So I seek to escape it. I reach for a computer, (I have three devices that connect me to the internet) and sometimes all three are open. I might be messengering someone on my phone, looking up sites on the laptop, opening up my music playlists on my tablet, reading mail from one, answering it on another. dings and rings going off making me feel like I am wanted and not alone, like I am alive in the world and connected to it. It's a blip of a rush to look and see oh maybe here is something to investigate, then the let down and sense of acknowledging the truth when you see that once again it's an add or a company wanting your money. It's a person you don't know liking something else from someone you may or may not know. It's sitting there waiting for you as the ever present go to, the repetitive phone check, to see who else wants me instead of who is sitting in front of me. It's the ultimate ego builder this false sense that you are loved and wanted. HAH! But I keep looking, I keep hoping, for what I don't know, I keep the connection open just in case. It is bizarre, it is sad, it is not good, it is wrong, I no longer want it. It is bad for me, like the alcohol is for the alcoholic, yet so hard to let go. But I must, it is time.

I have lately noticed that I am happiest when I am not online, when I am not plugged in, when I am reading a book or dancing to music or baking or talking face to face or even over the phone with a human being-  fuck doing anything except being online.  When I am not partaking in this massive fake false sense of connection, this false ego-building- this artificial lie I have believed.

I have forgotten how to talk to people now because of this. I have become shy and unable to partake in small talk to strangers, yet I can spill my guts and deepest thoughts in a blog online because it's anonymous--- or that is the lie I told myself. Of course it is not, and it has ramifications, some I have not even considered or thought of yet.  So does online dating, just as treacherous and dangerous as looking for mr goodbar.  My youngest was right, online dating is doomed to failure, you don't have the looking across the room and catching the eye connection, the slow build to get to know a person face to face, voice to voice, heart to heart. Instead your guts get spilled through the wires way too fucking soon, on the dirty road - and man those ropes of intestines covered in shit laid bare there on the dirty road is some nasty. Doomed. And you can't put them back in, those spilled guts.
I have learned hard lessons there. Shitty hard lessons, but hey knowledge is power. Go from there.

And then there is the whole photography thing, in the day people did it  printed it put it on walls in galleries and others saw and bought it. Not today. You take a picture and post it on your page or in instagram- for what? To see how many like you get? To be sad about how many you don't get? What am I doing that for? Do people really like my post, my picture? Really? Or is the thumb automatically drawn to the like button from habit or a sense of obligation before scrolling, do they even see it, would they come to a gallery to view it, would they buy it? Even for cheap? Most likely no. And why do I want that anyway, my pictures need to be for me not for a false like. They are not, until they are I need to stop. Stop fooling myself because it just makes all this falseness so easy to keep hiding behind a screen and make myself try feel good or needed or admired or wanted. It's not working only I can make myself feel good. Full stop. I have become one of the ones who just don't know the difference anymore- from what is a real human connection and what isn't. Like some of the young ones out there who didn't know the world before the internet. they don't know the effort it took to make a connection, to keep it, to build that friendship, that love you worked for, that realness. I want that back.

So I have decided I am going offline. Off the crack fb the fuck pof and other dating sites. I will post a picture through onecrowphotography on instagram if I think it has purpose for an audience. I will continue to write here if I think I have something meaningful to say. Maybe when I go offline and find myself - find who I am without it- I might find that I have nothing to say, I might find I have something to say. We will see. Right now I don't. I have nothing to show, nothing to say. I have to talk to myself now for awhile. I want to be my own puppeteer now.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

December 6th, 2017

It is the 100th anniversary of the Halifax explosion, the biggest explosion world wide until the atomic bomb was dropped in Japan. A day of horrific tragedy for thousands of Haligonians. Our own 911, pre-911. I remember my grandparents telling me the stories of the day, how they had escaped the disaster, the death all around them. I can't even imagine how awful it must have been with the lack of social services we enjoy today, with the devastating snow storm the next morning freezing all those out in the streets having just lost their homes. I can only hear the stories from those who told them, and see a glimpse from the book I am presently reading, Barometer Rising, from the play I attended about the ghosts who spoke their horror. One hundred years and the day is remembered, through stories, photos, remembrance celebrations, people gathering to pray for the lost souls, for their distant relatives they possibly never met.

Our city has risen out of those ashes. As I walked to work yesterday I thought about how the streets would have looked then, about what would have been there then and what was built since. The change that happened since the horror. I thought about how our city is currently thriving, saw the new buildings sit on the harbour shores that were blasted bare 100 years ago, viewed the new tankers roll into the "stream" between the twin cities, walked side by side with the people moving about who don't even know the history or have any connection with those who do.  Life has continued, improved and just happened since that 100 year old explosion.

I have my own personal explosion in my life dated December 6th. It is a day I remember as well. A day where my own ships collided in the night leaving a wiped out devastated family in its wake. A day when at its last minutes my son died in his crib of SIDS. I share other's remembrances of this date, the loss this day entails. Mine is only 34 years ago, theirs 100. I continue my life like my city does. I too have new growth, new people, new landscapes in my personal life since this tragic date. This is life, this is how it happens, it just goes on. Us with our own personal tragedies and remembrances moving through it and surviving despite it.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

December review

In December  I like to look back over the year that was. I usually write each January a list of things I hope to accomplish for the year, I reopened that list and took a peek to see how I did. I accomplished 5 of my 12 things on this year's list, and it's not over yet so I have time to do more.

This year has been a year of growth for sure. First and foremost it was a year where I survived as a widow, without Terry. I didn't throw myself off the bridge from grief and loneliness like I wanted to sometimes. But I didn't, instead I chose to survive. This is my biggest accomplishment this year. Being without him. Surviving without him to share the good and bad I experienced this year.

This year my son graduated with honors in his undergrad degree in chemistry A first for my children, hopefully not the last. The celebration at my cottage was one for the books and it was the first happiest thing about this year bar none.

I set off to PEI by myself to a week long photography workshop, I met new friends and I learned about my craft, I met some of my photography idols and I was graced with a mentor in the process. It was a true growth experience in many unexpected ways. The learning continues, even in the fact that I once again lost my desire to photograph afterward, this too has been a lesson for me. One that is okay now that I stopped fighting it and finding the meaning as to why. Sometimes there is no reason, no meaning it just is what it is and that is okay for now. If that alone was the lesson it's one I needed to learn. Because in the past I had to always find the meaning, like in some way that legitimizes whatever it is I am going through, but I learned sometimes there is just no reason. Full stop! My mentor helped me to see this. And that every picture does not have to cause that feeling of excitement when you see it on the viewfinder, that sometimes when you are farther along in your craft you don't experience this as much, it takes a lot more to get that. See the light, see the light on it, see the light within it.  Lesson learned.  I am looking for the light within it.

The last of my children left home this year, and I have an empty nest for the first time since 1983. It was not as bad as I thought it would be, yes I miss them, but I know this is the natural progression of things and the way it should and even needs to be. It was a transition I always thought I would go through with my love, that we would revel in the new found freedom of each other alone again like in the days when we were newly in love. But I transitioned alone, there might be many more transitions alone I will need to learn how to deal with. If this was the litmus test, I passed.

I built a cottage for myself, well let's be honest, I had it built for me. I made great strides in my serenity acre by the sea. It's a place that brings me mega amounts of peace and comfort and oneness with nature and the god of my understanding. All those feelings I felt with yoga and meditation (two things I have not been able to get back to this year) but that is okay too. I will get there. I have a huge deck on serenity acres over looking the ocean, a perfect place to meditate and do yoga, when the time is right. And that is okay too. Another lesson learned. I don't have to attain all my goals, I just have to keep striving toward them.

I gave up therapy this year, a full year not seeing one and I am just fine thank you very much. I have friends who are the best therapists in the world and they are free. I know what to do, I no longer need to tell a therapist I need to do it, I just need to do it. Like...forgive a little bit each day those old feelings that haunt me, like.. put the guilt in the back forty- plow it under - it serves no purpose anymore. If it surfaces deal. It will always surface despite my best efforts, but I can look it in the eye with a new understanding today. With a dose of self love. Like.. feel the grief when it surfaces, cry if you want to, let go of what is heavy if you need to it's okay to let it go, holding it just pulls me under. Like.. remember whenever you want to- it won't kill you to remember, it will hurt a little less each time. The day will come when the remembering is happy and doesn't hurt, even if it's not now, with this many years in- this many years from seeing and hearing him, one day it will come.

I took a foray into relationships with men this year. Although none worked out, that wasn't the point. Fuck that is freeing to know. I did learn a few very valuable lessons in this process, one being, that I can transfer the generosity I learned from my relationship with my husband to others. That I have many pearls to offer, that I can remain myself and be authentic- truly authentic in a relationship with others. The fact that those men chose to want it too much, abuse it, and not want it all doesn't matter. That is their lesson. What a lesson that was for me- that sometimes the lesson isn't mine it's someone else's. I can, despite it all, remain authentic and generous and myself. Another man may want it and recognize it someday, if not, I do. Lesson learned.

I need to clean my fridge again, it brings me back to last year around this time when I did that (and in between since then ha ha!) and I started writing about my journey in this blog. I cleaned out the old  with all the memories attached to the old bottles and condiments that Terry had bought and cooked with and how that felt then. How new and sad that was then, how it is so different now, how this journey just keeps on going and changing. Now all the stuff in my fridge is new- the connections I have with them are my own not his. I bought everything in there. Life this year has been like that, new stuff without him with no connection to him, just new memories and things and events. Soon the last gifts he gave me will be gone, the slippers he gave me on his last Christmas are wearing out, the hot rollers will give up the ghost soon too. But those are just things, things I grasped onto crying and attaching bittersweet memories to like a drowning women, fearful that if I didn't have them I would lose him again somehow. I don't feel that way anymore. I have memories that will never fade, I have lessons he taught me that I have internalized forever. This is hopeful, this doesn't end up wearing out or breaking.  I know this to be true, just like I know this grief won't break me. Just like I know new lessons await in the new year.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

In this life, I lived it

In the life I have - I lived it.
I have made many mistakes, I know my weaknesses
my tumultuous blunders that played on the psyche
Yet in this life, I have lived it.

In this life someone touched my heart
It has affected me
in how I lived through the years
its mark embedded as a good sanskar resulting in
a life I live fully without regret

When faced with logic or emotion
I chose emotion each and every time
not one known to toe the line, I bucked reason
So at times I lived my life in pain and remorse

It is a hard road to live passionately
you are disappointed constantly
you except too much, won't settle for too little
in living this life I live fully and completely

I have tried to squelch it, this passion
the creativity, the longing, the need
it won't go, it hides in the waiting and wanting
for me to live it  live it passionately this life now

I have laid this heart bare, in a gooey mess
only to be drop kicked in life's other philosophies
these heart felt feelings gouged insanely deep
even in this life I have yet to live- it waits for me

These new heartaches, I embrace you 
because to not feel is to not live
I choose true heartfelt anything over ennui
I live life, I live this beautiful life I have

So take your heart and ardent zeal with you
your truth and soul felt intentions deserving proclamation
shine forth with all the precious offering you can bestow
especially as I live this life yet lived.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Montreal Cacophony

Elegant city stretched out before me
full to its November brim with
shiek condo's garnering city views
wait staff and chef's hopping in the kitchens
metrosexual men in their tight grey suits wearing
Italian shoes, man buns and trimmed beards
oysters with raspberry and coriander
parisienne omelettes, chocolate croissants
foie gras, filet mignon, veal shank, charcuteries
wine, old fashioned's, drambuie, whiskey sours
boulangerie's, boucherie's, p√Ętisserie's, markets
Fluevogs to covet and obtain in old Montreal
Daniel's google maps app leads to treasures
museums and Leonard Cohen to revel in
hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
sexual sexy city, sex shops, strip shows
St. Catherine's street, love protests and coppers
live jazz in festive surroundings, chandeliers and mirrors
snotty waitresses in silver mini dresses rush through
concrete jungle, construction zones, subway perfection
Jean Talon Market, LeExpress, Schwartz's, Biddles
Uber cars arrive wafting perfume with drivers named  
marijuana in the street, the vibe underground
and antique chairs covered in gold lamé
this the beautiful cacophony that is Montreal

Thursday, 9 November 2017

A momentary loss of sensation

It's been awhile since I have been in my happy place. For the record I have not sat and meditated as a regular practice since his death, in the past I did this 30 minutes a day. So as a result ??? maybe, maybe not??? some days it feels like I lost myself and can't seem to find my way back to her. I used to be slightly retrospective and in tune rather than flitting around lost and exasperated. I know where I need to be, where I need to go to be the women I am. Sometimes like today I just can't seem to go there for some reason. I feel like I am off my moorings. Like a twelve year old feels. Stupid and silly and lost and dumb. And forgetful, I am so forgetful, what is that about? It's about lack of intention. What is my intention as I move forward in this life journey? I have no answer, I am stumped. My mind in one direction my feelings in another. I have no desire for work, it sucks the life out of me. This is not good, this is shameful actually but I can't even get the energy up to change it. And I fucking hate it, for the record I fucking hate this feeling of being lost, this feeling of not being in my happy place. It's time to go to that field with the tall wheat, the grass blowing in the wind, golden sun shining down on me, in my meditative state. My grandmother close by, my son and Terry in the field guiding me with their wisdom on life's questions, of which I have many.

Iurie and Daniel took this picture of me in my happy place, we had discovered it was my actual happy place on this photo trip to Tuscany when I overheard them saying this is where the opening scene of the gladiator was shot. Well that is the scene I picture when I go to my happy place. Imagine me not knowing I was actually there, and I did not believe him. He said, wait there, stand there I want to do something, then he took this shot. He proved to me I was in the place. I remember feeling such wonder, such fucking wonder! I sat down and I took this photo of the sun setting in the grass to replicate my scene in my head. I knew what to do then, I knew how to feel and what to do. It was simple, just create it.

But I got away from that, I left my meditation, I turned from healing and left yoga, left that beautiful feeling when you work your body for good when you breath and breath your way to the answer.  I have no answers now, I have lost my creativity and do not know how to get it back, this scares me because it means I am lost to myself. I am this close to giving up photography, my efforts and results sadden and stifle me further. I stopped walking in nature, feeling the woods and what it means to my soul, the tears I shed in the confines of the protective forest, how it held me. I don't have that anymore.

Just sit down Sussey. Sit in your field and breath. Feel where you need to go what you need to do, how to gain your self back. It's all there for the taking you just have to want it. It is there just for you, no one else, yours to have for you.

Sunday, 5 November 2017


I love that creative flow that you get into, when you have an idea and you think on it and nurture it from inception to birth. I had an idea about this badly photographed picture above, this picture that has very special meaning to me, despite it's not coming out the way I wanted it to. This picture is the scene off my balcony of my cottage serenity acre. See previous post titled the same for the inception of this idea. I love this scene as well because it was taken the fall after Terry died, on a trip with Pam and Patrick to Cape Breton to photograph the fall foliage. On this trip was where I saw and felt him in everything. Where every sunrise and sunset was glorious in their display night and day just for me and me alone and offered, I believed, by him in the heavens. I saw the milky way later this night, I gasped at the red underlit clouds (muted here but glorious in my memory). I remembered his ashes strewn below my feet on this beach, this rock he often sat on or laid beside sunning himself. It has a lot of meaning this scene.

So I asked our stained glass artist in resident at the cottage, my cousin's wife Debbie to commission a window with her interpretation of this scene so I could have it forever captured. So it could become a physical part of serenity acre. I was more than pleasantly surprised at her end product. Her interpretation was special and the meaning she attached to it surprised and delighted me. Not only because it was splendid but because it was not what I had suspected. It was a "window" into a side of her I didn't know. She had interpreted all the rocks on this piece, not just the one with Terry's ashes in it but all the others (they represent all my children and grandchildren, even myself) and she left room for some to have our own memories attached to. I can really dig that, if you get my drift. So that along with the beauty of her interpretation really awed me. I delighted in the fact that an idea can go from inception to creation, I delighted even more that it was others who helped the process. Just as in what happens in life. When we allow others to come in and work on our little slices of life.

I have this beautiful work of art on my living room wall right now, it hangs there for me to gaze upon it all winter and spring until I bring it to the cottage and give it it's permanent home in the wall. Now this picture below does not do it justice, there is no light behind it yet, and it was taken with my iphone. When at serenity acre the light will bounce from the three facing windows onto it and make the colors come alive, they will look different depending on the time of day, and on where the sun shines through. It will be brilliant in its colors, in its creative hard work Debbie put into it, in its memory of mine, in its meaning. It will last as long as the cottage for all to see and revel in. Some down the line might not know its significance, they might guess it's the scene outside the cottage (as my granddaughter Molly did when she saw it) but not understand why it was created.  But I know. The creator of the piece knows, and together we know how and why this gem was born.