Saturday, 29 April 2017

Blackbird

I had a lovely afternoon. It's not even May and my friend and I took the afternoon to eat oysters and mussels on a patio. It got really cold and they offered us blankets, which we were grateful for.

This person has had a different experience than me. I don't judge. We all have our own path. Whatever. He told me that maybe I should stop speaking out. Maybe that would change the outcome I've come to accept with my JW family. He's never been shunned, he doesn't even understand what it's like. How awful it is.

I appreciate that he will still risk being seen in public with me. I'm pretty famous for being completely dangerous in the JW community. He said you could still change that. I can't. The damage has been done.

I made a choice and I stand by it. I wouldn't go back and change anything. Even if it meant I got to have that completely fake superficial relationship with my mom and sister. I told him CBC wanted to interview me. I didn't end up doing it. He was like, good for you. For every ex-JW who thinks that, there are two that think I failed them.

If someone else would like to take my place as an apostate who talks openly about the cruelty and hatred of this organization that promotes love, be my guest. I will step down. It's exhausting to be honest and there's no reward in it for me.

The only reason I started writing again is because I'm happy now. I didn't write for a long time. And y'all were like, where did you go? I didn't go anywhere. I never left your side. I just took some time to take care of me. I needed to at the time.

I guess there is a second reason. Jay got me a writing desk as a subtle hint that I was denying my true self by just shutting up. I took off my blackbird necklace ages ago. The one my girlfriend got me for Christmas that time. But then my little brother bought me one that was a feather. He was like, you know, because of your whole bird thing. That's what I wear every day.

This is who I am and it doesn't hurt me anymore to do it. But if y'all want me to shut up, I can do that too. A lot of people think I should: my family, my non-JW family, my mentor, some of my friends. If that's only because you're worried about me, you shouldn't be. If that's because you're worried about them? You should be. Russia has just banned Jehovah's Witnesses for being an "extremist group". Good on them. The right thing to do is not always the easiest thing.

I'm still the Blackbird.

Sullivan out.






Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Say Something

"Say something. I'm giving up on you."

Well here we are. This past year, after almost dying, leaving my job, dating and breaking up with someone I have loved for years, being unemployed for months, I'm once again a functioning member of society. Not someone who hangs out in yoga pants all day alone with her dog doing little projects for whoever needs to hire someone who can write for them or do their taxes. 

I applied for A LOT of jobs. I interviewed for a lot of jobs. With the reasons I had that told me I needed a change, I was picky. It got crazy by the end. I had 13 interviews in two weeks. They were all pretty aggressive in wanting me to make a decision. I had to decide what the hell I was doing with my life. I'm 40 now after all. Halfway through my life, if I'm lucky. 

I can't say enough good things about my almost 7 years at KPMG. I worked with great people. I had mentors who helped me grow. I made a couple of life long friends. When I left, I said from the beginning I wanted to work non-profit. It seems like you can take the girl out of the JWs but you can't take the JW out of the girl. I'd rather help people than make lots of money. I am doing my MBA so hopefully I'll have some great options in the future. 

Still, it was hard to decide. Some companies seemed so much more exciting. My best friend was here when I was in the middle of all that craziness (cause he's always here when I need him) and he was like, "Margaux, you know what you want to do. Do it." I pretty much played Russian roulette with my professional life and I think I dodged a couple of bullets. 

It was the right decision. I'm 9 days straight in and I'm sure of that. I'm exhausted, but sure. There is one drawback to my almost perfect new job. The company next to us - there's a JW who works there. We used to be friends. I'm non-profit now. All the offices on my floor share a bathroom. So I run into her. She shuns me. I gotta say, I don't know if I'll ever get used to it. 

They make a big show out of it. Look straight at you - look appalled - look away with their head down. Walk faster past you. As happy and grounded as I feel, it still shakes me. It's still makes me feel bad about myself. It still makes it harder for me to walk tall and be proud of my decisions in life. Even though I am. 

What do they think is going to happen if they look at me? That I'll suck them over to Satan's side by making eye contact? Maybe I'll just have to go to the bathroom at Starbucks across the street now. Or find a way to deal with it. 

We were friends for years, but I can't for the life of me remember her name. It got me thinking. It will be 8 years in June since I was disfellowshipped. I'm starting to forget a lot of things. I'm forgetting my JW family. I see my mom and sister in pictures in my head. Not in video. It's snapshots, not a movie. Worst part? They will never say something. They just disappear, shun. It's okay, Jehovah told them to do it.

I'm at about 20% of my life that's post Jehovah Witness. It's going to take me longer to fix myself. But my therapist thinks I've come a long way. :)

I still wish they could say something though. Like, maybe...goodbye? Something that would give me the closure I still crave. Now that I work in an organization that deals with palliative care, I understand how important the "goodbye" is to the family members and close friends. 

It's important to me. I didn't get that opportunity. My mother has said a lot. Mostly about how I'm a sinner, how I'm going to die at Armageddon and how much I've hurt her by deciding to live a life different from the one she choose for all of us. But it's never the goodbye, the closure. 

So, I officially give up. She called Grandma when I was there at Christmas. I answered the phone. She knew I almost died and she couldn't even say "Are you okay now?". My mother. Couldn't ask if I was okay. She couldn't hang up on me fast enough. To be fair, Jehovah probably wouldn't like that. Jehovah doesn't seem like a very loving or accepting God to me. I'll go with no God and put my faith in the Universe to work things out. The Universe makes me nervous, but she always comes through in the end. 

This is me, phase 2. It's not the end. I've been gifted with a new beginning. I promise to make the most of it. 

Sullivan out. 



Sunday, 16 April 2017

Life is not forever. Love is.

I stole that quote from my friend. They wrote it on her grave.

I'm finally going back to work on Monday. I love to make lists. So I had a lot of things to cross off before I went back. I'd never been to see Donia since she died. I couldn't do it. It just makes the whole thing more real. I've never deleted her number from my phone. But for all my avoiding it, I knew it was something I had to do.

My best friend took me this week. (For the rest of you, who think you're my best friend, I'm sorry. Jay is.) He keeps promising me he'll never die and since he's Asian, he might be right. But I don't trust it. There were a lot of Asians in that cemetery.

If you go to Mount Pleasant Cemetery, (sidepoint the only cemetery I would agree to be buried in if I didn't have an elaborate plan to be buried at sea), it's complicated. They give you a map that makes no sense and you just have to search and search until you find what you're looking for.

I found her. I cried. I brought flowers, but that seemed kind of silly in the moment. In some ways, it makes me happy that I just want to get thrown into the sea when I go so no one will ever have to bring flowers to my grave and cry. On the other hand, say there was someone who wanted to come see me and talk to me. There would be nowhere for them to go.

I got to do that. To talk to her, to tell her I missed her. To cry. She was generous, even when she left us. She was the best person I've ever known. Jay walked Max around the grounds and came back to get me.

Life is short. One of my special friends is grieving the loss of someone that was important to her. I don't have any advice. I can't do anything but listen. I can tell you this: these silly wars we have, the walls we build and the fences we put up, they don't help us, they just hurt us.

Lindsay, put down the guns. It's not worth the lost time.

Dalyse, no one will ever replace John. If something were to happen to Jay, you'd have to come over and scrape me off the floor. I wouldn't want to live in a world without him. So I know how you feel. I didn't want to live in a world without Donia either. But unlike the fairytale I actually believed in for most of my life, we don't live forever. But love does. Donia was right about that. You can be gone, but the love lives on.

Sullivan out.








Wednesday, 5 April 2017

How it Ends

Tell me when it kicks in. 

One of my very dear friends lost her best friend last week. I keep thinking we're too young to be losing friends, but apparently that's not the case. Reality kicks in slowly, as the days go by.

I lost one of the best friends I ever had a couple of years ago, way too soon. It's still hard for me, when I want to call her up and tell her something, and then I remember I just can't anymore. Hasn't stopped me from not even deleting her phone number. I keep thinking one of these days, she'll just be back. Maybe that's why I haven't visited her grave yet.

John Bautista was a good guy. He made you feel important, even if he barely knew you. Generous to a fault. He was always around to give you a ride somewhere you needed to go or grab you some un-obtainable concert tickets. That's how Dalyse and I saw Stevie Wonder. And Blue Rodeo. He was gonna get us Ed Sheeran tickets but unfortunately we lost him first. The concert doesn't even seem to matter anymore.

To my friend, he was the best friend. We used to laugh about how we both had a Filipino "husband". Someone who was always there for us. Who supported us. Who loved us no matter what. And they do that despite the fact that romantically, it was never really an option.

We actually talked about all going to the Philippines together next year. They both had a lot of connections there. A week later, that option was off the table because he was gone.

As much as I try to be there for her, I can't imagine what it's like to lose someone so important to you. Growing up for her and I, has been, in our own ways, difficult. I don't think either of us have ever had someone who just loved us so unconditionally and was there, any time of day, night or anywhere in between. Always a phone call away. Always ready with a hug when we need it. Always had our backs.

She's handling it much better than I would. If something happened to Jay...I can't even imagine the pain. I choose to believe he will outlive me and I will never have to deal with that. Dalyse didn't get that chance.

In John's memory, we will cherish our lives. Live it to the fullest. And sleep when we die. :)

Rest in peace, our friend. And Dalyse, I'm here for you. Always. It's not going to go away. There's no replacing him. But it gets better. Not good, but better.

Love, me

Sullivan out.