Monday, March 01, 2010

Every Feeling You Feel Is ...

This isn't the post I was planning to write. I've been downright negligent the past few months - partially due to a relentless shoulder issue that makes typing sort of agony, and partially due to a weighty case of the blogging blahs. Between the two blogs I have probably a dozen posts started, but haven't has the chutzpah to get 'em done. So I was actually planning to get back on the pony by riding a podcast through the gate, but my account was being a little douche, so it's on the back burner for a bit. 

I took the new podcast for the old headphone test this morning. I just gave my notice at my apartment, and thought I should squeeze in a few more park / waterfront ambles while it still takes zero effort to get there. It was one of those almost garishly beautiful Victoria days that sort of makes me feel bad for 90% of the country and their stereotypically Canadian weather. And since 90% of the country was glued to their TVs watching Canada go for gold, I didn't have much company, which was quite nice. After thirtysomething years it still makes me smile to see peacocks in the park.  I didn't see 'Ol Whitey, the albino peacock, which actually concerned me a little. Small aside - I saw the most amazing albino Asian man in Chinatown yesterday. I mean really. How often do you see that? I was like walking into the Benetton ad I covered my Grade 9 science book with. 

But I digress. 

Most of the benches along the waterfront were occupied by elderly couples soaking up the sun like contented old grey-muzzled dogs. Sorta cute. There's a bench on Dallas Road that's sort of special to my Mom and sisters. It's where we scattered my stepdad's ashes a few months ago. I haven't been up that way since, so I thought I'd take five and spend a little time with him, as it wasn't currently occupied by a grey-hair. As I approached it I realized it was covered with graffiti. Mailing labels. I think Avery 5160 (that's the admin nerd in me talking). Some messily coloured blue, most semi peeled off. My first reaction was 'oh, nice, of all the benches to fuck with ...'. And then I started reading them. And I know it was probably just some bored kids feeling sort of Post Secret, but, honestly, it sort of took the wind out of me. 

Here's the thing. Though I'd known my stepdad since probably my early teens he didn't come into my life in a permanent way until I was semi-adult, away at university, actually. And it was a little rocky at the start, and such things tend to be. He was a pretty lovely man, and loved my mom, so of course things sorted themselves out, but I lived in Vancouver for years, and even when I moved back to Victoria I wasn't around much, and didn't really realize how much I'd missed in not having a closer relationship with him until he was gone. I knew it as he was dying, and I was blistered by it a year later when we scattered the ashes. My Mom, stepsister and two sisters all had such personal words to say, and all I really had was 'I loved him, I know he loved me, but I didn't really know him. And that makes me so incredibly sad'.

I mean, how do you apologize to someone who's dead for not taking the time to know them better in life?

The only thing I can think is you do it by not making that mistake again. By nutting up and taking chances. By not holding people at arms length and counting on having the time to pull them closer. By not hardening yourself to all the awkward, inconvenient, maybe embarrassing thoughts and feelings that make us so achingly human. By using your voice to remind people of these things.

Mike, I hear you, loud and clear.

I am still finding my voice, but I promise you, it will be strong.

xo ~ m

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