The Score

take me for ice cream when you tell me my house is haunted

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Tell me that my grandfather died as we’re jumping in a bouncy castle and then take me for cotton candy.

Hold me tight as we slide down an indoor water slide, whisper in my ear that my dog has meningitis.

Make sure you strap my life jacket tight when you take me in a canoe to give me the news that we’ve lost everything and they’re coming to repo the RV.

Wait until the plan(e) has landed in Jamaica and we’ve unpacked and eaten, wait until I’m in your arms dancing with my head on your chest to tell me that my entire family died in a freak carbon monoxide leak.

While you’re still on your knees after proposing and I’m already shaky and crying, softly add the part about you being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

In the back of your father’s Benz at the drive in, sneaking beer like teenagers, hold me after we have sweaty uncomfortable sex. Tell me my finance died in a car crash.

During intermission at an international author’s conference, right after listening to the woman I’ve admired my whole life read from her latest novel, tell me I can’t have children.

Take me to a magical land that looks like what I imagine heaven to be and show me how to plant, tend to and weed my garden. As we watch it miraculously grow overnight with the glow of ten thousand fireflies in the air, and a sweeping loving arm gesture, let me know that the man I loved made a deal with the devil the night he was convinced I would never be free to love him. That he gave up. And that his heart turned to stone and then started to rot. Say out loud that the man I loved is no longer the man I knew because of things he’s done for the devil and that no miracle can ever bring him back.

Take me back to a Raptor’s game in February 2017 when you confessed you love me before i sat in your lap. Anchor me with your eyes as you say you get it, you’ve been there, and you’ll take care of me. And when, with a totally straight face, I ask if you’re like the other guys, you laugh and ask me ‘what do you think’ because you know me and you know I know you know me and you don’t let my insecurities or wounds into your heart.

Tell me you’ll take care of me as I cry in your window, don’t even flinch when this scares me and I run. Because you know me and you had a dream the night before that I would push you away and you let it happen because you meet me where I am.

Tell me you love me and be okay with the fact that I’m still trying to get over someone because he lied to me and the idea I have of who he is completely contradicts who he truly is.

Let me ask you to tell me a story to help me sleep even though we just met and you’re too nice for me back then. Find a way to tell me bedtime stories for those nights I can’t sleep even after we stop talking.

Sing me to sleep when you’re miles away.

Find a way to show me that I’m not alone when I feel like I’ll never know someone I love who loves me, even though you know you love me and you know I love you.

Ask me to pinky promise that I’ll travel the world with you before I remember anything, knowing what’s coming up.

Be the first man to tell my birth father you don’t need his money.

Cradle my primordial brain in your warm hands as Mother Mary heals my central nervous system.

Let my stupid temper roll off your shoulders when I push you away after you eat filet minion for the first time in years, even though I cooked it, because my twisted pathways set off alarms when there’s nothing to be alarmed about.

Do things you never thought you’d be able to do so I can be safe.

Tell me again that you love me. I love you.

rhino keeps the elephant away

with my whole heart

Dear God dear Jesus,

I have a tiny problem and I know I have to bring it to your attention and ask for help before I can know where to start.

So, unless I’ve completely misread every sign dream opening door closed door from You, my purpose is to love.

I’m pretty confident, tho, that I have not misread this. Love is a pretty common purpose, even if it’s to be used by You to show how something is not love and even if that person doesn’t ever choose love, others will because of the example You helped us understand.

So, love. I got it. I’m for it. I am willingly dedicating my entire life my whole self my relationships to serve the purpose of love. To love. To be loved.

That’s the tiny problem, tho.

Love isn’t a feeling in my heart. If feeling love was my purpose I could do it all by myself and never talk to anyone.

And bam, check feeling love off my life purpose list and that would be that. Done.

Love is an action. I need to and want to be courageous and dedicated enough to love people in my life through the mistakes I make and the bad days when it feels like an elephant has parked on my head and the fear that I will never get through another broken heart – not the way You have allowed my heart to be shattered.

And I do try my best to love my daughter and my friends and my neighbours and other people You put in my life. Even though I’m not perfect and I never will be.

So, bam. Check loving off my life purpose list and that’s that. Because I’m committed to doing that the rest of my life, I can confidently say that even tho it won’t be perfect, it will be done. That will be that.

These are things I can do. Regardless of what others do, no matter what, I can feel love and I can love.

What I can’t do no matter what is be loved. Because being loved depends on other people. All I can do is take risks if there is divinely sanctioned love coming at me, work on being willing to open my heart and allow love in. I can accept love. If it’s there. Now. Most of the time. With Your help.

But what if it’s not there?

You were with me in that movie theatre in 2010 when I wept during Love & Other Drugs. That was the beginning of the end of my common-law marriage. Because You know if I hadn’t watched that movie, I would have stayed in something wrong for the rest of my life.

I am Maggie. The character, not the actress who played her. Except I don’t have Parkinson’s. I have Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and I will have it for the rest of my fucking life.

I’m not easy to love. Not because I don’t try. Not because I don’t love. Not because I don’t want to be loved. I’m not easy to love because in my childhood, as my brain was developing, I experienced horrific things that people told me were love. I’m not easy to love because I am afraid to let new people into my life.

And I’ve tried. You know I have. But when I opened my heart, it was used like a baseball to hit a home run. I was treated like shit like other relationships I’ve had in my life, just in different ways. You heard me say never again and You knew I meant it.

But You were out to change my heart. So You sent me a person last year and You helped him work with my illness while allowing me dignity. You gave me a chance to love and feel loved. You gave me some really joyful memories of what love could look like. You gave me safety within an intimate relationship and I was able to be vulnerable. Even after everything. I worked really fucking hard to allow him to see me when I was needy.

It almost feels like as soon as that happened, the relationship was complete.

And You know how long it took me before i was able to feel safe trusting my own discernment in knowing who is trustworthy and who is not. You know what hell I experienced living in that loop of fear – wanting to trust but being terrified of my own ability to discern and having that fear push trustworthy people away because they took offence to my fear. You know my level of sensitivity, the fact that I can feel the true feelings of people I’m connected with even from five thousand miles and ten thousand miles away, the fact that the truth comes through to me no matter how good some people are at hiding, or even their intentions in hiding. You know I don’t miss anything anymore. Even when I want to. Even when I’m trying to miss things.

I went through all of that, God, not because I thought I could or because I truly believed I deserved it, but because You asked me to.

And what You sent me, God, was someone who loved me but was not in love with me.

So, is that it then? Can I check off being loved? He really did mean well. His heart was in it, the way you throw your heart into a project for a really good cause you believe in.

And I don’t want to be angry anymore that he wasted my time. Because I could have been doing something to find real love. I don’t want to blame him for me not being able to fulfil my life purpose of truly being loved. Because that’s just my inner child tugging on my inner teen’s leg asking with her big eyes to do something to keep her safe when all she wants is to be loved and make You happy.

The truth is, he didn’t do anything wrong. He was doing what he thought was right. The honourable thing.

And I’m grateful for the loving time we shared together. Thank You for bringing this love. I know what it is to be held in the mind of a loving man who was dedicated to me and who didn’t let anything interfere with his commitment. I know he fully believed it was what I needed. I know he believed it was enough.

Now I want to find true romantic love. But I don’t know if it’s a good idea to go out there after being hurt. Again.

If true romantic love is not Your will for me, please bring me a clear sign in the physical world and help me connect fully with Holy Spirit so I can clearly understand the sign.

And if that’s my fate for whatever reason, whether I understand it or not, You know I’ll do it. But that’s the problem with surrendering my will. Even if it’s something I want with all of my heart and mind, even if it makes sense to me and my life purpose to want that, if You say no then I’ll ask You for help dealing with my disappointment and grief and I’ll move on.

If it’s not Your will for me to be fully romantically loved by one who loves me and one I love, let me know. So I can stop wasting time getting wrapped up in any fantasy about a life I’ll never have. I can get a cat. And put more energy into whatever my real life purpose is, instead of waiting for me to experience it so I can share this love with others.

I can shut the door and move forward in writing about what it’s like to not have love or be loved or how it hurts when something masquerading as love comes into my life.

That’s as good as feeling loved and sharing that with a bunch of people through my art, right? It might not be my idea of happy, but it’s just as worthy and needed to write about what love isn’t as it would be to write about what love is, how it feels.

And no, I’m not going to spend my writing trying to imagine what it would be like to feel loved for real. That’s just a little to close to real life for me.

But, as always, I surrender to Your will Abba Father, all who is, all who ever was and all who will ever be. Please take this cup of suffering from me, but I want Thy will to be done, not mine.

Help me drink the suffering of not finding true romantic love if that’s Your will. It hurts. Mostly because despite everything, I always believed I would be loved some day. And this belief, though it has brought pain, has shaped my idea of what my life purpose is. It hurts to let go of all that.

buckets

not sure what else to do

For the first few weeks at U of T, I was getting used to being back in the city. Things were different from when I lived there as a kid, and the city on the lake where I was raised was really different than the new Toronto.

I enjoyed anonymity as I got used to the new energy. As odd as this sounds, going from a population of 30,000 to one of 2.7 million made it easier to breathe. Looking back, I can see it was because strangers in Toronto didn’t ask me for anything. Not energetically.

In the city on the lake, most people are wide open to support, and because I was raised to fulfill the needs of people within groups large and small, I was kind of like a well-stocked vending machine without knowing it.

As I walked by each person in the small town, I asked ‘how can I help you’ – energetically – and somehow found a way to give them a bit of what they needed in the moment. Kind of. I don’t really know how to explain it but I think I was hearing messages coming from their guardian angels, but I thought it was just people somehow showing what they needed. I know how limited a being can feel in that role, not having a body, so I would look people in the eye and smile or say hello or let me get that for you or I would get out of the way so they didn’t have to go around me. I think it was more complicated than that but that’s all I kind of know.

In Toronto nobody asked me for anything. I was just getting used to that when I met Aspen Matthew Love. He didn’t look like my type at all. He was attractive in a way that made most arrogant and he was outgoing and decisive and he was genuinely kind. All three in one person, the trifecta, wasn’t my type. Ask me why.

Anyway, after I met Aspen, I started dreaming about buckets. I saw a world where we all carried buckets with rocks in them and we could either relieve a person of some weight or give away weight. I was the girl who made room in her bucket for as many rocks as possible, and when that wasn’t enough, I carried two using a whip across my shoulders.

Aspen wanted me to give him one of my rocks. But I had already looked into his bucket and it was very full. What I didn’t know was that Aspen emptied his bucket when he got home at night. I didn’t do that. I didn’t think a person could do that, and by the time it occurred to me, I wondered if it would even be okay for me because most of the rocks I carried were from other people. I took the rocks with me everywhere I went.

So, I would only agree to give him a rock if he gave me a rock – but not just any rock, one that was heavier than the one I gave him. I admit, not only did I need to be useful, I also had a deeply rooted subconscious fear of becoming permanently indebted to any person to whom I gave more than I took.

And forget about allowing anything to be given to me without me also giving something to that person. Doing that in my past had changed my entire life because I believed that this man was sincere but it turned out he was receiving things in exchange I didn’t know about.

Things get (even more) jumbley and complicated here.

I started having dreams that Barry Bonds was yelling at a tree that had a bucket strapped to a tap. He yelled: WHY ARE YOU JUST STANDING THERE LETTING THEM TAKE YOUR SAP? DO SOMETHING! HAVE MORE RESPECT FOR YOURSELF. YOU’RE A SUBURBAN TREE NOT A BACKWOODS SUGAR BUSH TREE!

That was complicated because I wanted Barry Bonds to be proud of me and he obviously wasn’t but I thought I could do something to earn it. I didn’t know back then that you can’t earn someone being proud of you if you’re not doing anything to be embarrassed about. You can’t even really ask it of a person.

And suddenly I didn’t have a place to live and I had to go.

I said to myself, Aspen won’t care, he’ll be fine even if he does care because he’s ASPEN FUCKING LOVE. And I guess he didn’t care because he didn’t say, hey, why don’t you stay or something like that. But that’s not exactly fair. I didn’t say, hey I don’t want to go. Instead I said, hey, I have to leave I have no choice and I’m headed in this direction now, sorry. I kind of said that.

Then a lot of really awful shit happened. Like bam bam bam all one right after another. The veil was torn and even though I could have chosen to stay in the flume for the rest of my life, thank you very much, life wasn’t having any of that, oh no.

Losing my naiveté had a similar affect to what I think might happen to a person if the earth literally opened up beneath them and swallowed them whole, and that person somehow survived for almost three years and then climbed out into the populated world again.

I really struggled to trust people. Every people. I had dreams of a feral cat trying to escape the SPCA when an enforcement officer came at her with a cage. She jumped up to the ceiling and tried to hang on but the SPCA wasn’t having any of that, oh no. I was already bruised and weary when I met Aspen. In the years after I left, I was put through the wringer. As in, some days the best gratitude I could come up with was ‘at least I don’t live where it’s legal to physically torture females’. And I’m really good at seeing the bright side. But I did find God, so there’s that really amazing thing that happened. The brightest possible.

Slowly, with a ton of heavy emotional lifting and encouragement to try talking to safe people, I started to find my ground when it came to being able to trust again. God had a lot to do with that. He brought people into my life who knew exactly what I needed after what I’d been through and were in a place where they could help without getting sucked into the black hole that tried to keep me fenced in.

And then I tried to find Aspen again. And I did find Aspen again, It just wasn’t in the way I had expected to find him. But I was older and I was fatter and I was less hopeful and even less confident (if you can imagine that!) than I had been when we first met. I couldn’t tell him why I was different, so I think he assumed I didn’t really love him. And then for some miraculous reason he started to push me a little to get me to lean on him bit by bit.

Now the problem is that I’m starting to get used to this. For so many people that would mean boredom. But for me, it means I want more. But I can’t tell him that because I still have a weird fear that if I did just bust into his place and tell him that, he would turn cold and tell me I’m crazy and then we’d spend less and less time together because he’d be busier and busier, until it became him answering the phone ‘who is this?’ and me getting in line to go down the slide again so I could learn where I needed to improve my thinking and correct my vision after I was brave enough to unfreeze my heart again after another misread of a situation and a person.

I’m stuck in the flume here which means we’re both stuck in the flume and I’ve lost faith that anything that could really kick me back up and in will ever happen. And I can’t risk seeing the way I’ve been tricked. Not this afternoon. Maybe later when I’m a little, I don’t know, less caught up in everything I’m not.

I have had dreams recently of having a golden light radiating from my throat and being able to lighten rocks in others’ buckets without carrying the weight. I’ve seen us picking up brilliant gems from the ground, stones that don’t cost energy to hold, stones that give energy. I even had a dream where I tried to pick up a brilliant gem that was too big for me to carry alone. You came over to pick it up with me. We could only carry it together.

But if there’s even more stepping out of my comfort zone than I already have in the last year before I can get to that place, I don’t think I have it in me. Not after following some dreams has left me more broken than before. Not after some dreams have been written over by really mean people. Not after some of the ways I’ve been tricked. After all that, what I’ve been able to give so far is pretty much all I have to give. It’s kind of more than I had, but I would never say that. Saying that would be heaping a pile of clean laundry into your arms and saying, ‘see everything i’ve done? It might not look like much to you but it’s what i have. And if it’s not enough then there’s no point in trying anymore.’

It’s not that some things are best left unsaid. It’s that saying certain things are too painful. And that pain needs a gentle place to land.