A: Wednesday was my mom’s last day. We butted head a little. She was here to stay with my while B went to work and it was definitely a spotlight on our relationship. I was afraid of boring her. I felt all this pressure I tried hard not to feel, and I’m honestly not sure how she felt. We play backgammon until my arm got sore (3 games, heh) and it was really nice. We are really close, but being together in times of trauma was a totally different feeling. Sometimes it’s hard to communicate with the ones that are closest to you… I’m sure you know the feeling.
In any case, B really helps with all of this. He’s a great communicator, especially to my mom. At least, I think so. I wonder if she thinks so as well…
B: A’s Mom brought a ton of groceries. Honestly, having a bunch of pre-made food and supplements around is super helpful. The brain is mostly fat and recovery requires a nutrient dense diet. I made sure A kept eating, knowing that loss of appetite can be a by-product of a concussion.
I made sure A was drinking a smoothie filled with protein, chia and flax, hemp seed oil, and E3 Live every morning. Along with Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, and Vitamin C and D. Later she would take Iron (zinc and Iron shouldn’t be taken together). Traditionally A resists taking care of herself, but this time she was being really good.
Apparently this day went a bit better than the day before and I was thankful for that. We all had dinner together with some of the massive quantity of food A’s Mom brought.
I felt much more relaxed this day. The next day would be A’s first day alone. Her arms were still fractured and that meant she really should not be lifting or moving anything. I was worried about that…
Day 1 of recovery – Research and Meeting the Dad
Date #351 – Sunday, July 20, 2014
A: I think it’s safe to say that I was in complete denial of my accident on day 2. We ordered pizza and read my concussion book. I had mini anxiety attacks over taking the wrong medication and B helped me do nearly everything. I felt guilty and dumb and helpless and frustrated and overwhelmed all day. I have no memory of how B must have felt. Pizza didn’t even help, although I tried to make it seem like it did. I don’t ever want to feel this way again.
B: Concussions are scary. What do you do? Thankfully St. Michael’s Hospital has a great guide they gave us. Reading it really helped. I had a brain tumor many years ago and the effects of a concussion can be quite similar. I learned a lot about myself reading this book.
One of the scariest and most real things to accept is that after a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) a person’s personality can change. The other thing to accept is that the healing process can also be hard on the injured’s support network.
I tried to be as helpful to A as possible, knowing the first few days of recovery are the most important. Her arms were almost fully out of commission, she couldn’t read or look at screens, and eating was really hard.
Slowly I sifted through her emails, only reading her the essential ones and responding to the amazing and caring people in A’s life. I read about what supplements A should take and I moved things and bathed her and tried to smile a lot.
Oh yeah! The day before I spoke with A’s Dad for the first time and today I met him for the first time. It all felt inconsequential in the larger picture. I thought it was nice how her Dad was willing to come visit A. I honestly didn’t expect him to even suggest that.
Brown Girls Yoga
Date #349 – Wednesday, July 16, 2014
A: I was really bothered by this experience:
I recently got back into going to yoga (I go 2-5 times a week for months then stop… Bad!) and I rushed to Kula to catch a class. Yoga keeps me sane and I really needed it today. Because I was rushed, I looked at Tuesday’s schedule instead of Wednesday’s and, when I got there, the only class available was Brown Girls Yoga or hot yoga. Having asthma and anxiety, I can’t take hot yoga. “Can I take that class?” I asked, pointing at Brown Girls Yoga. The woman at reception just looked at me, pausing, then said, “No.” I said, “Because I’m not a brown girl?” I felt really angry. I wanted to say, “I have brown girlfriends.” I hated that I wanted to say that. To identify my friends only by their skin colour, just so I could be included. I was so angry at myself for messing up, for relying so much on needed to be there/to do yoga, and for not being able to take a class at a studio that is so inclusive.
I never thought about Brown Girls Yoga before. It didn’t bother me because I chose my schedule around that class. I get that it’s important to offer a safe space for those that feel excluded, but it was the strangest feeling to feel so extremely excluded myself, knowing that this feeling is exactly what the class was created for. Does that make sense? Yes, I am white, but, in my world, I don’t care what colour my skin is, or yours. I care that I am and you are nice and respected and supported and loved. I care that I and you feel safe and welcome and listened to. I care that we work together to create a great world, and a fun world. If it was queer yoga, I wouldn’t be turned away, I thought. If it was yoga for those with anxiety, or mental health squabbles, I would be able to go. I couldn’t help but think this class was for all the things that you can physically see. Well I felt excluded, and caught off guard. I left and passed a “brown girl” walking with her yoga mat and I felt so jealous. It was awful! I pretty much cried at B’s place, but he was really good at talking to me and making me feel okay about how I felt. I am happy that, of all places, I had his to go to.
B: Let me start by stating the obvious. A and I are white. We are not brown or of Indian descent and will never fully know the plight of brown women. For that matter, I will never fully know the prejudices, hate and other mean things women endure daily. I won’t know this about many groups.
What I do know is that your skin colour does not limit your ability for empathy and understanding. Regardless of skin colour or sex or gender or pretty much anything else we have the ability to sympathize, try to understand, and lend a hand.
Whoever programmed this class and made the “brown girls only” rule missed a great opportunity here. They missed an opportunity for a non-brown woman to walk into a class where she was the opportunity and for her to learn from her fellow human beings. The others in that class missed out on the opportunity to be shown that people of other races are willing to ask, “what unique challenges do you face as a brown woman in Toronto?”
I assume that this class was created in the best of intentions. It was created as a way to make more people feel welcome. I believe that the “brown girls only” rule was a simple mistake in short-sightedness.
When I hear of this kind of segregation I think, “that is not what Ghandi died for.” That may be extreme and I may be missing something. Things may be so bad for brown women in Toronto that they feel they can’t do yoga with people of other races.
If that is the case it is horrible.
I think we need to create safe spaces that acknowledge the imperfections in the world. I also think it is important to do this looking for more creative ways to create these spaces that are focused on inclusiveness.
We can’t try to create more segregated spaces while also trying to promote tolerance. It doesn’t work that way.
After A told me about this experience I told her about how historically black colleges have been accepting people of other races while teaching a black-focused curriculum, and how women’s-only colleges are facing a similar dilemma with transgender applicants.
We spoke about segregation and how in an attempt to create less of those negative actions, Kula somehow did the opposite.
People make mistakes and I am going to chalk it up to that. I hope A returns and I hope she gets to enjoy yoga with many people of all sorts.
Back from the cottage
Date #346 – Sunday, July 13, 2014
A: I don’t have any photos from the night so here’s one I took as I was waiting for people to get in the cars and go. I spent the weekend at a friend’s cottage… without B. Last year, it was the opposite. When I got back we hung out and… Hm… Can’t remember what we did. It was probably relaxing. 😛
B: A was away at the cottage all weekend. We talked a few times when she was there. I could tell she was relaxing away and that we would catch up more when she got back.
I was watching her cats so I was at her place when she got back. It was nice to be there to greet her.
She’s Black He’s Jewish Oh Vey!
Date #343 – Tuesday, July 8, 2014
NOTE: B talks about sexually specific issues in this post.
A: B and I went to see She’s Black He’s Jewish They’re Married Oy Vey! at the Fringe Fest this year and it was… interesting. It was about married couple – she’s black, he’s jewish – and their performance was about successful marriage and how, if two people stemming from arguably the most repressed histories can come together and be incredibly happy in life and love, then you can too. In that regard it was funny. I enjoy sexually humorous and adventurous content, especially in public, but I am so passionate about not fitting into a box that I get a little turned off when shows are simply about heteronormative love. I think we live in a day and age where we no longer have to fit into boxes and follows formulas and there’s a freedom in that. I know a lot of people don’t see this or understand it or have had the opportunity to learn about this sort of approach to life and that heteronormative art/shows/stories take away from the possibility of people learning that there’s more to life and love than that.
I was happy to be there with B. I hope that we can spend the rest of our lives going to shows and seeing art and experiencing people in this way.
B: OH MY GOSH this play was hilarious! I laughed so hard!!
I think a play featuring people making fun of themselves, talking crudely about their own sex-lives, and ultimately offering up some great relationship advice is the perfect date. I’m so happy that we went.
I understand A’s observations about things being slightly heteronormative, but I also think these two were trying to say “this is our story and here’s what we learned that may help you too.” There were a few times where they made broad statements that painted all couples as woman + man.
There was one point where I felt somewhat uncomfortable that I haven’t talked to A about…It was when the two went on about the lesson “never let him cum first.” It was a lesson based off the idea that when a man ejaculates he doesn’t want to do anything else. Taken further and more broadly, this could be meant as “always put your partner’s needs in front of your’s”…or not.
Anyways, I know this feeling well. It’s quite often true. I don’t know what it is or why, but when I ejaculate I do loose most of my sexual interest. It has nothing to do with A and I am happy to kiss her and cuddle, I just don’t really want to do anything sexual after.
I love making A happy in all ways. Sexually, I know she often pays a lot of attention to me (with no pressure or suggestion from me at all). So when this came up in the play I felt like I was blushing a lot and thinking “Oh no! I cum first all the time. We’ve never talked about this!”
Looks like we need to have a conversation…
Movies & Tough Walk
Date #312 – Wednesday, June 11, 2014
B: Sometimes I don’t want to admit my limits. Today was one of those days. I just finished an intense physical-therapy session (I was hit by a car) and really wanted to just lie beside A. I know she wanted to see me too. I also had her DVD screeners for the Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF) and so I knew if I made it to her place we would get to watch foreign cinema together.
I was so lethargic that, when I set out to walk to her place, I was moving at 1/4 my standard pace. I called A and I could tell she had no idea how to handle my complaining. I also was barely making sound, so I’m not even sure she knew what I was going through. I was in-pain and maybe should have stayed home. Or not. I’m not sure. I just know that I need to make a decision and stick with it and not complain.
A: After talking to B I got on my bike and biked in the direction he’d be walking. When I found him hobbling (okay, he doesn’t like that word, sorry) along slowly with his purple keep cup I could tell it was one of those days for him. I think the best thing you can do when someone’s experiencing these sorts of feelings is to listen to them and be there for them. So that’s what I tried.
Healing practices, OITND, + National Doughnut Day
Date #304 – Friday, June 6, 2014
A: It wasn’t until we were back at my apartment and well into Orange is the New Black that I realized it was Lua’s 8th birthday AND also National Doughnut Day. Because of all this we promptly left on a search for doughnuts. Unfortunately my neighbourhood is hurting for two things: an abundance of coffee shops and bakeries. There’s basically nothing and, no, we do not count Starbucks, Country Style, Tim’s, blah blah. We don’t count those. But today we had to.
And I know I want to blame B for being a horrendous influence by saying over and over that “I never used to eat ANY doughnuts before I met Brian” (which is TRUE)…. but it’s more likely this thing called self-control. That. I don’t have that. Any advice on how to get some would be great.
B: I could blame my on-again-off-again doughnut obsession on my Dad, but like A said, it’s about self-control. I was feeling sad for myself and my accident so of course I used National Doughnut Day to indulge!
If we were in my neighbourhood (Little Italy) I could visit an array of local bakeries, but we weren’t and we were only able to find Country Style. We started watching Orange is the New Black and I have to say the first few episodes were disappointing, unfocused, and drawn out. Multiple times I noticed how shots went on to long and many scenes were simply people standing around talking. Luckily, the doughnuts were pretty good.
Whitby, work, and healing
Date #303 – Thursday, June 5, 2014
A: We spent the day in Whitby. B’s mom came in the night before to be there for B and we went home with her. It was good to have someone else there. It deinitely let me worry a little less about what could happen with B. You never know about the outcome of an accident until you know… You know? I don’t know. I distracted myself with freelance projects while B took baths and sat on heat packs. That’s what we did. All day.
B: A, my Mom and my older Sister all convinced me to go back to Whitby after the accident. On the way back (the night before) we picked up pizza from Panago and a bunch of other snacks that were unhealthy. Sometimes, when the adrenaline is running high from stress, you just want to keep eating high-glucose foods. It was fun to spend a night with A and my Mom. We watched Nashville on Netflix and I took a long epsom salt bath followed by an ice-cold shower. I also drank a lot of Vega’s Recovery Accelerator.
The next day was I took another one of these hot baths + cold showers. I woke up feeling better than I expected. I was moving slow and had little mobility, but I wasn’t in constant pain and that was good. We visited the doctor and A did a lot of work. I’m happy she was able to be productive, I was worried about that. I hate how these kinds of things can derail routine.
He’s “okay” – a car ran a red and smack!
An awful date #302 – Wednesday, June 4, 2014
A: Worst. Date. Ever.
We were biking back to my apartment after our Ecojot meeting and, literally on my block, a woman driving a car wasn’t paying attention and ran a red, hitting Brian. I screamed seconds before because I saw the car which likely prompted the woman to break but she still made contact with an unsuspecting Brian who was in front of me. His butt smashed the windshield and his bike is pretty much totalled. It was horrific and traumatic to see.
I was hit by a car in 2007 and it’s become this giant grey cloud that I constantly think about. It’s effected every aspect of my life and I was immediaely worried about the long term affects that this may have on B. But B’s body and mind are not mine and I am proud of him for responding and being as strong as we was.
I finally understand what my friends went through when they saw my accident. They had a harder time than I did, and I think I might have a harder or just as hard time as B with this particular experience. Thinking of how life can change on whim has once again reminded me that we are just… temporary.
B: I don’t think a lot about death but I do think a lot about my life. I think about the impact I want to have on this world and how every choice I make is a part of that affect.
When the car hit me it was sudden. I remember A’s piercing scream and the wheels screeching. In my head I just thought “Oh fuck, am I seriously now on top of a car?” When I came off the hood I was in shock. People often talk about “fight or flight” response but they forget that there is also a freeze response. I just stood there and stared at the woman.
I’m so happy A was there. She helped direct the driver to a side street, she helped get me in the ambulance and told the paramedics that I needed to be X-rayed (which should always happen after a hit). She called my Mom and rode with me to the hospital.
I feel so lucky that I am alive, I wouldn’t want to leave A.
French Improv Finals
Date #300 – Tuesday, June 3, 2014
A: Our friend does French Improv and it was the finals for the season so we went to support her. B went to French Immersion but, to be frank, he was a poor translator this night. I didn’t really know what was going on and when I asked him he just stared and me and smiled. So I was pretty lost. But the red team won so at least I could say I was there!
B: It’s hard translating OK!! Alright, freakout over. Yes, I could have done better. It is hard though. Improv moves fast and translating jokes in an interesting way is tough. It was a lot of fun to go and support A’s friend. It was our second time, but I didn’t get to sit next to A the last time.
At one point A’s friend did a sketch where she was a translator and spoke English, French, and Spanish. It was great because I could tell she made this character just for A.