This is Family

National Siblings Day: the older you get, the more certain things mean to you

 

It is a rarity for me to pay attention to things like National “days.” You know, “National Donut Day” or “National Hug Day” or whatever. But today, it was “National Siblings Day” trending on Twitter that caught my eye.

I am the middle child between an older brother and a younger sister. This “Day” likely captured my attention because this year, we all officially became adults. My sister turned 18 a few months ago. It was a real trip, coming to grips with the bizarre reality that my baby sister is now an adult, complete with a job, a cell phone, a driver’s license, car and a mere month away from a high school diploma. Mind blowing, really. To me, she is still an innocent little five-year old and my brother is a typical 16 year old teenage boy, leaving me lingering somewhere between not quite grown up but not so young either, though I turn 25 next month, striking close to a quarter life crisis of sorts. As of her turning 18, all three of us “kids” became grown-ups (though some days far from growing up.).

The real trip was something that happened to my brother a few months back. On a night when I had too much drink and went to bed early, passing out drunk and peaceful, he was the victim of a horrific hit and run in which he was run over by a truck.

I never woke up so fast with a hangover when my alarm went off at six and I found messages and missed phone calls from my mother at two or three in the morning. The only time she ever calls that time of night is for an emergency. I remember sitting straight up in bed, breathless, when she said “Your brother got ran over last night.” I couldn’t bring myself to say the word “dead” when I asked “Is he…is he…did he….survive?”

He did survive, though it left his pelvic bone broken in five places, alone with a fractured leg and ankles. He was unable to walk and at one terrifying point the doctor told him he might never walk again. The doctor also said he was lucky to be alive.

That first week was a dark one. Difficult to believe a person would do this to someone. I knew the first time going into the hospital to visit would be devastating. My brother is one of those people who I always thought was invincible. He can do anything, from fixing vehicles to building stuff to fighting people. Back when my ex was stalking me and followed me home one day, my brother tracked him down and punched him a couple times. He stands up for his family and even throughout our childhood dealing with Mom’s ex, my brother always stood up for his little sisters and our mother. He’s the man of the family.

I’ve only ever seen him cry once or twice in my lifetime. That day, with the nurse and my mother holding him down to give him a needle of some sort, he was crying and it nearly tore my heart out. I remember standing there trying not to cry at how suddenly vulnerable someone can be. It’s only the moment it takes to step on the gas pedal and go. I remember being terrified of the cast on his leg, thinking just how much was going to change if he really was wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. It was a disturbing thought that made me sick to my stomach.

But it only took him maybe a month before he was back on his feet, able to stand. What truly convinced me that my big brother is indeed invincible was the first time seeing him upon being discharged from the hospital after five weeks and was walking.

What can seem like a smaller bump in the road to others changed my entire perception on what matters most in life. There are some things you have that you can never get back when lost; family members, close friends, and in some cases, mobility or senses. There are times when it seems like the walls are collapsing into pieces and there is no way to salvage them. There are times in your life when you just let go of old grudges and things that used to get under your skin like a poisonous thorn.

 

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Rebuilding is something this family has done a lot of in the last decade since the house burned down in 2004. While my brother and I have not always gotten along and we have had some nasty fights throughout the years, family is something I have come to cherish more than anything. I almost lost my mother back in 2011 and this year, I almost lost my brother. The doctors were shocked he lived through the ordeal to begin with, let alone seeing him walk so soon. While he is by no means perfect (and nobody is) I have been re-inspired into believing that he can do anything.

So, on this “National Siblings Day” I celebrate not only how proud I am of my sister for her accomplishments and for her graduating, I also celebrate family and what it has come to mean to me. Family is not picture perfect. Family is not always blood, but when it is, it’s a powerful force to reckon with.

One of my favourite lyrics from a LeAnn Rimes song says it all:

“We’re best of friends and worst enemies
We’re all to blame
We’re all the same
This is my family.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4xZMq1l_OQ

 

 

Resurrecting Talk: Victims’ Bill of Rights in Canada

Within the last year or so, there has been talk about a Victims’ Bill of Rights to be put through Parliament in Canada. I recall touching on this a while back. Now it has returned to the news.

“As we have stated countless times, we are committed to introducing a comprehensive package of legislative reforms never before seen in our country’s history,” says Justice Minister Peter McKay in a letter the Canadian Press has gotten its journalistic hands on. He continues by adding: “Victims of crime deserve to be treated with courtesy, compassion, inclusion and respect.”

There has been discussion about this Bill, though nothing concrete has been set yet. McKay stated last fall in an interview that victims should be involved in the justice process “from the time of the offence to the final disposition of the sentence.”  This Bill will supposedly give victims a voice in the system instead of being treated like a witness.

Ombudsman Sue O’ Sullivan was quoted by CBC: “We have an opportunity with the upcoming bill of rights to rebalance the system for victims of crime in Canada.”

And she is right. Such reforms, if done correctly, could go a long ways in properly prosecuting criminals. Especially if there is a focus put on domestic violence and child abuse victims. To give them a voice would change so much in a justice system where currently a pothead will go to jail for longer than a child molester.

The likes of the John Howard society have claimed this Bill is a return to “medieval” justice. But what is so wrong with a justice system that actually focusses on victims? We have seen time and time again under our current system that victims often do not get justice served. When the likes of Graham James only gets measly two year sentences for the amount of damage and terror he inflicted, and yet someone who only smokes pot will go to jail for seven years, where is the justice? While drugs are certainly an issue that needs to be addressed, it’s not the only issue our justice system should be focussing on.

As many of you know, in the last year I went through a rather hostile break up with a guy who essentially stalked me after he made the decision to leave me. I got the cops involved as I wasn’t sure what his intentions were. After watching what my mother went through, I wasn’t willing to take my chances on how it might turn out.

But I learned something from the experience. I was reminded of how much it helps to know what a woman on her own can do to protect herself from even potentially threatening situations. Know your rights. Know the laws. Educate yourselves, ladies, because while you might never find yourself in my mother’s shoes, you could very well find yourselves in mine. And if you aren’t aware of how you can fight back to someone who wants to play games, then what will you do?

I had a no-contact order put on my ex. It means if he comes near me, my workplace or my home and I feel threatened, I could call the cops and he would get arrested and charged. I didn’t stay anywhere on my own because I had my suspicions. But I got angry. I’d had enough of the games and the immaturity. 

I am posting the link to the Government of Canada website under their Family Violence law section. I advise everyone, really, to read up on this and know the laws. They are there to use. They are there for you. Educating yourself is so important so that if something is to happen, you know what you can do. And remember, even if it is just a no-contact order or a restraining order, it records any time he does something and it proves later on that he has a history of certain behaviour towards you. It was how my mother eventually got out of her terrible situation and it is how I avoided something that might have escalated. It might seems small and pointless now, but down the road if a case gets taken to court, it is there as evidence to back you up. You’ve got to have your own back because there are times no one else can or will. Stand your ground. Be fearless.

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/fv-vf/laws-lois.html

“We should be celebrated every day. We can be the most powerful army, if we support each other. If we believe in ourselves respect all the others….” ~Cristina Scabbia, Lacuna Coil

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Another road astray led me home

“This one’s for you and me
Living out our dreams
We’re all right where we should be
With my arms out wide
I’ve opened my eyes
And now all I want to see
Is a sky full of lighters…”
Bruno Mars

Life can often take us away from the road where we are following our dreams. Sometimes the road we are on is the road we think we should be on, where we think we are following our dreams. Sometimes that road simply leads us astray.

Sometimes you find yourself lost out there, looking around for something familiar but anything familiar you knew has been left behind in a suitcase in that ditch of wildflowers. Nothing feels quite the same. The core of who you are is hollow. Mornings feel like a cold cup of coffee in a Canadian winter and nights feel like a lost hockey game that can’t be saved. That feeling of restless emptiness can last for months, sometimes years.

In the past year, I found myself standing in that ditch beside that old suitcase, with its beat up leather and faded stickers from glory days gone by. That suitcase was what my life had been for the last few years; photos of a love gone cold, a childhood shattered by bare alcoholic hands, that little girl who spent her years screaming in the depths of my soul. But my life as I knew it was changing. My relationship ended. He walked out the door like it never even mattered to him and I guess after everything I ever did for him, it never really did. I lost a friend or two over the ordeal. I had to let them go; backstabbers and gossips during a break up do nothing but fuel the fires of anger and hostility that are already raging. I had to look at my life again and wonder I was really going, where this road to anywhere would take me.

My goal has always been a simple one. I want to be a full-time writer. But for being so simple, it is astounding how years have passed by that I didn’t even see; how everything changed yet stayed the same, and how, the night he left, I found myself right back to where I started: alone, wondering who my friends really were, and asking why people are so damn cruel. I remember when he said I’ll never get anywhere, sent in a cowardly text message because I guess he wasn’t man enough to say it to my face.

I had to take account of what I had built on since my little gypsy life had left the highway. It was a house with its unfinished renovations, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get everything done living on a near-minimum wage job. It was a crowd of fur babies I called my family; three cats and two dogs who stood by me when people I considered close friends decided believing gossip was more important than friendship. It was the friends I did have left, the loyal ones who knew who I was all along and supported me when I needed it. It was my family, as always, my mother and siblings, there when I needed anything.

From there I kept going forward. From there, that suitcase got set on fire and left behind, only the flames leaving embers to remind me anything had existed there at all. And by the time you read this, I’ll be onto the next road, with a new suitcase of notebooks and pens and story ideas, ready to step back into the writing world. The way that relationship and its ending drained me also left me drained of inspiration. I’ve touched my book a few times here and there, just to end up frustrated with where it was going and walking away. But the coffee doesn’t get left cold any more and I can’t walk away from writing the way I thought I might this time.

So instead of posting another poem tonight in a feeble attempt to just keep the blog barely updated, here is a real update. Nothing can ever stop me from writing. Not the man who destroyed my childhood and certainly not a man who is unable to hold a job because he is lazy and likes to break up with me over text messaging. It is time to get back to what I love and chase the dream again. So, my blog has a makeover and I am diving back into “Edge of Glory” with the help of the new man in my life who will be helping me with the songs. Let’s face it, song writing and novel writing come from two totally different worlds. I know how to tackle this book now. So back to it.

“By the time you hear this
I will have already spiralled up
I would never do nothing to let you cowards fuck my world up
If I was you I would duck or get struck by lightening
Fighters keep fighting, hold your lighters up,
Point them skyward…” ~ Eminem

Photo by Lavinia Thompson

Photo by Lavinia Thompson

 

New Poem ~ Let Them Die

Nostalgia lingers
in the way
roses retain beauty;
stemming tall
in a vintage vase
or torn apart
across the floor
in desperate rage.

Crumpled petals,
crinkled sheets of poetry,
for love only makes you suffer
in the end,
holds secrets against you,
dangles them in your face
just to leave you alone.
Slamming doors;
echoing screams,
heartaches and lace,
I can no longer fight.

Cigarette smoke
over floral remnants,
ripped apart.
Numbness, it’s a cage.
Love, it’s a rage,
keeps roses breathing
or shreds them alive.
I would rather
let them die.

Withered beauty;
watched it decay to black.
Shadow in the distance;
that’s the last I remember
of you leaving, knowing
I couldn’t destroy you
from afar
though I wanted to
and I tried.
Trashed the letters,
burned the pictures.
You refused to fight
and I wish I could hurt you now.
You sold me out, salvaged only yourself.

Shattered vase;
roses and water in moonlight,
darker shade of romance.
It doesn’t live here anymore,
I swore it never would again.
The bottle is empty tonight,
leather and lace,
whiskey and cigarettes.
I’ll go down to the bar
to remind you what you did,
to let the world know too
though I still go home alone.

Nostalgia lingers
in the way
roses retain beauty
stemming tall
or torn apart
in desperate rage.
Morning hangover,
coffee the only constant anymore.
I don’t ever want to hear
you still love me.
Heart of darkness
yearns only to destroy you.
Love, it’s a rage
keeps roses breathing
or shreds them alive.
I would rather
let them die.

 

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Ghosts

You can kill the ghost
of a no good man;
leave remnants to wither
into nothing
but it never
set me free…
no it never…

Let me be.
This town is full of
old goodbyes, abandoned promises
on street corners.
Stood weeping by
main street traffic lights
and you just walked out my door
like it never mattered at all.
It never did matter to you…
no you never…

think of me.
when you’re long gone.
Lonely highway,
vacant words,
empty rooms.
December is as cold
as July’s goodbye.
Just burn
the whole damn thing down.
I am through
letting one more ghost
haunt this town
because never did you think
your leaving would set me free…
no never did you think…

I’d kill the ghost
of a no good man
and now you want back
what we had
but the locks are changed,
the key
in someone else’s hands;
a flawed heart
once in pieces,
scraped up into a box
but it’s perfect in his eyes
and I’m never
going back again,
leaving remnants to wither
into nothing
never did it matter to you
and never did you think
you’d set me free.

New Poem ~ Soft Poet’s Weeps

Just a poem I wrote last year… enjoy :)

I saw the wildflowers
and I felt the beat;
wild summer heat,
standing still
atop a hill
wondering
where is the will?

To leave.
Always thought
we’d do better.
Little love letter
promised it all.
I took the fall;
rhythm and rhyme.
If I could go
back in time
I would…

Maybe say no
when you told me so,
that you loved me.
Clarity of dusk
whispers I must
make up my mind,
maybe leave you behind.
It scares me…

How smoothly this seeps
like a soft poet’s weeps.
I wish I knew
what to do.
They tell me don’t settle;
I could find better.
Chill of night,
another fight
to keep saying I love you.
Don’t know what else to do.
I could…

I could leave
if I still believe
in gypsy’s flight,
strange delight.
I wish I knew then
what I do now
and I wish I knew
how to say it to you.

 

A Little Colder

It’s a little colder without me now
isn’t it?
Now that snow has fallen
delicate,
you say you were stupid to leave me;
I agree.

You feel left out in the cold now
don’t you?
You took me for granted, left me
to sleep alone.
You say you miss me desperately;
just leave.

Sensing the chill of a frigid goodbye now
aren’t you?
You thought a slamming door would break me;
not so.
Took another shot of rum,
let you go.

Never thought I’d find a better man now
did you?
Winter’s storm only feels cruel
to you.
I’m not the one sleeping alone
in the night.

It’s far too late for you to come back now;
you fucked up,
destroyed what we had with nothing,
but I survive.
You’re just a boy, couldn’t be a real man.
I don’t need you.

It’s a lot colder without me now
isn’t it?
Now that snow blankets the city
heavily,
you say you were stupid to leave but
you set me free.

 

 

Photo by Lavinia Thompson

Photo by Lavinia Thompson