Writings

My right to write

Dear readers,

Many thanks for your support and readership over the years. It means everything to me.

I created this blog for my two daughters one day when I was on maternity leave, and it has since grown into something more powerful than I could have ever anticipated.

As many writers and authors do, I use writing as a form of therapy and expression. It has always been a part of who I am and it always will be. Whether it’s simply to tell a story (fiction or not), voice an opinion, or share my deepest and darkest thoughts, my ability to write is my human right.

With my words, I have a voice, and I want my daughters to know they have voices too which should never be silenced.

It’s also important to me to bring awareness to stigmas and taboos surrounding mental illnesses and various forms of abuse. Over the past four years, several women have contacted me to either thank me for what I write or to ask for advice on their own situations. This proves that what I do does make a difference.

My words are not meant to offend, disrespect or shame anyone. My words are my truth. The intention behind this website is for my daughters to know they are capable of making the world better, and so is their mother.

Yours truly,

Taneet

Writings

Vomit Journal – II

Day 382 of depression, round 5.

I’m sitting on a tall, cold, wooden chair. My feet don’t touch the floor, not even close. I’m facing a very large window, so I can actually see a bit of civilization. The sky is beautifully blue, and the clouds appear to be swimming slowly across it, like watching a snail slide across the pavement.

The wind is blowing the leaves on the branches of the trees quite forcefully, but it isn’t cold. I walked all the way here, so I know. Even with the wind, the sun felt warm on my back. I feel content about this, because I truly despise winter. Summer is almost over and soon it will be fall, and everything will be cold again. At least right now there are still colourful flowers in bloom. The leaves are still bright green. Nothing is fading yet.

I was fading for a while. A long while.

There was a generous sprinkling of magic over the summer which lifted me out of that heavy fog. Surrounding myself with family members, keeping a busy schedule, not allowing myself to stop. Always on the go. I was present. I was there for everything. I took my daughters everywhere I could. They have the photos to prove it.

Most importantly, I opened myself up to someone. After almost four years of solitude, I lifted myself up out of that dark hole and into a bit of light. And once I had a taste of that light, I began to soak it up. Every ounce of it. It was like coming out of years of underground hiding and finally feeling the rays of the sun again. Thinking, was it always this bright?

For almost a year, I’ve been kept myself wrapped in silence. In my own cocoon, only I wasn’t anticipating a butterfly transformation. One day, I decided to risk it. Break out of the cocoon and maybe, just maybe, I’ll survive out there.

I did it. I survived the summer out of my cocoon. I was a butterfly. I had wings. Every weekend, I opened myself up a little bit more than the last. I wasn’t numb anymore. There was feeling inside of me, all over me. In my veins, on my skin, in the strands of my hair.

Today is the first Saturday in many that I am alone. I sat on the futon. I wrapped myself up. I listened to the silence. Until all I could hear was the thumping of my heart under my fuzzy, pink robe. I needed to get out. So, I put on some clothes, brushed my teeth, placed my fuchsia ear buds in my ears, slung my floral bag across my back, looked at myself in the mirror, sighed loudly, and headed out.

So here I am. Avoiding silence and loneliness. Desperate for human contact, for voices other than the one in my head. The one that keeps telling me, “the light is going out, Taneet. It’s not going to last.”

Sometimes I believe all the noise in the world wouldn’t drown out that evil voice.

Three weeks ago, I looked at my reflection in the steamy mirror, got really close to it (I didn’t have my eyeglasses on) and said, “everything is fine. You are okay. Everything will be okay.” I said it out loud. I felt silly. But I did it. I figured maybe the voice coming out of my mouth will shut down the voice between my ears.

But it’s back. Or maybe it just never went away.

My hands were trembling earlier. Maybe because of my anxiety, maybe because of the meds. I just needed to get away from myself.

What would I hear if I could jump into this coffee cup? Would it only be the swirling and the swooshing of the warm liquid? Would I drown and blend into the sweetness, with only the powdered grains of cinnamon melting their way into me? Would it be silence?

Or —

Would someone place a lid on the cup? Taking away any hope of light? Making me go under? Unable to resurface?

My hands are trembling again. Its starting to get cold.

Writings

Vomit Journal

Day 261 of depression, round 5.

I’ve moved from one side of the couch to the other side. It makes the charger plug for the laptop come out though. So I might switch back to the other side.

There’s laundry on the futon, not sure if its clean. Another heap of it on the carpet. And more in the washroom. But there’s an entire hurricane of clothes in the bedroom.

How much Netflix have I watched today? I’ve lost count.

The coffee table is covered with scattered items; DVDs, toys, crayola markers, Nutella jar and spoon, water bottle, dirty plate, ice cream sandwich wrapper, etc.

Toys everywhere. Why did I buy all these toys? Where can I put them all? Sometimes I want to throw everything away.

I wept today. Wailed, actually, quite loudly. Haven’t done that in a while. Stood in the middle of the kitchen, wiping my face repeatedly, lifting up my eyeglasses, wipe, more tears, wipe, more tears, wipe, now the tissue is soaked.

My ex-husband called me. Cried more.

I’ve been forgetting to take my medication this week. Hence all the tears today. When I take them consistently, I’m a little bit numb to all the feelings.

It felt good to cry. I feel lighter.

Pain weighs a lot. It’s no wonder my muscles are always aching.

Headaches, migraines, stomachaches.

They told me emotional pain and physiological pain are connected. I guess they’re right.

I’m so tired. I’m exhausted. I’m so tired in fact, that I’m tired of being tired.

There are days I wish I could sleep and not wake up until my body is normal and my brain is new. But then I get so much anxiety about oversleeping, I get dizzy and sweaty and that tiny lump in my neck starts throbbing.

I’ve gained weight.

In my first few rounds of depression I actually lost weight. Down to about 90 lbs. All bones.

Now I can’t even find my bones in all this blubber. My daughter constantly asks me if there’s a baby in my tummy. But she doesn’t know that I’d had to have sexed someone first, which hasn’t happened in ages.

That’s because I have no love life. I’m alone. Aside from my daughters of course, but that’s a different type of love.

My eyeballs hurt. Guess they’re sore from the crying.

My therapist tells me I’m not delusional or abusive or a neglectful mother, so that’s something. But I know I’m not enough.

They deserve better.

A lot of people my age are making a shit ton of money.  They’re successful. They have their own custom built homes. Luxury cars. They take a shit ton of vacations too. Their kids have their own rooms. Happy families.

Me? I’m drowning in debt. I live in a one bedroom basement apartment that I’m renting with my two children. I listen to the well-off family above me walk across their vast living room and hear them rustling around the kitchen every morning; the blender whirs and the kids are running down the stairs, and there are two parents and a nanny. And their home is immaculately clean. I’ve seen it.

I’m a liar. I lie to people. I smile. I radiate. I hug and laugh and plan parties for my daughters. I suck.

I’m a sicko.

Someone’s knocking at the door. Oh. No, that’s just my migraine kicking in the side of my skull. I got nervous for a second; how can I let anyone in to this mess?

(Photo taken in 2005 during round 2 of my depression)

 

Writings

Everything and Nothing

She looked directly into her husband’s eyes and asked him, “what do you do for our children?”

“Enough”, he answered, taking a sip of his brownish drink, the ice clinking together as he brought the glass to his lips.

She took a deep breath, remembering the many times he criticized her while she stayed home on maternity leave to care for their baby. The many times he came home after work to find her still in her pajamas, hair unwashed, smelling of spit-up milk, sleep deprived, and accused her of being lazy. She remembered how he told her she is “getting paid to do nothing” post-partum, and how he walked past the baby and straight to the couch. She remembered the look on his face, pure disgust, when she showed him the pregnancy test she had taken, proving they were going to have a second child. How he told her, “this isn’t gonna happen.”

But it did happen. He couldn’t stop it from happening. Even though he took great pleasure in moments that led to it happening.

She felt the heat rising from inside her chest, into her cheeks, into her brain.

“I do everything for them”, she said to him, her voice quiet but laced with contempt.

“No”, he responded, “if you do everything, that means I do nothing.”

Her mind raced, as she thought of all the things she did, day in and day out, night after night.

Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, diaper changing, walking around all night to sooth their crying baby, bath time, reading books, playing down on the floor, balancing a cranky baby while cooking or doing laundry, going for walks with the stroller (and later, a double stroller), buying new clothes every few months, making baby food, cleaning baby food, ensuring they get all their vaccinations, dealing with illnesses and doctors appointments, picking up their prescriptions, arranging play dates, finding a suitable daycare. Then, as they grew up, making sure their children got into good schools, attending all the parent-teacher interviews, all the school performances, taking them to birthday parties, planning their own birthday parties, paying for school trips, chaperoning school trips, paying for extracurricular activities, arranging music lessons and swimming lessons and never missing a recital or performance, taking all their photos and making photo albums, arranging for family dinners and get togethers so their children got to know both sides of the family, reading books every night and helping with homework. Wiping their tears, cuddling them, sleeping with them, waking up in the middle of the night when one of them has a bad dream, massaging their legs when they have growing pains, giving them medicines to fight fevers, taking time off work to care for them, fighting with the bus company when the school bus was late, making daycare payments, making dentist appointments, finding the warmest winter jackets and hats and mittens and neck warmers and snow pants, taking them to the movies, taking them out to eat, packing their school lunches at 5am, playing with them, taking them to the park, building snowmen with them, breaking up the sibling rivalries, scrubbing their vomit out of the carpet, having dance time in the kitchen, scrapbooking their artwork, taking them to the library, being silly with them, being serious with them, answering all of their questions, teaching them how to become good people, how to treat others with kindness…oh the list went on.

She knew there was so much more. And there would continue to be more. She smiled to herself as she watched him drink.

Let him think what he wants. I’m the one making memories while it all passes him by. He does nothing. He has nothing. I have all of the moments of magic and wonder. Moments he missed out on and will never again have the opportunity to experience.

She took pleasure in knowing that one day their children would come to the same conclusion she had. She watched him drink, wanting to throw it in his face. But she wouldn’t. She gets the memories. He gets misery. That’s his own punishment.

“Mama!” she heard her children call, “mama we need you!”

She exhaled, drawing away from him, turning her back on him, leaving him alone with his drink.

Short Stories, Writings

The Savages, The Slut & The Sun

She was the second born child of three. The second daughter, the second sister. The middle child. She resented her younger sibling because he took the attention away from her. Everyone loved him most. Also, he was a boy. Which was, of course, more than a girl could ever be. She resented her elder sibling because she was too emotional, too kind. A stupid girl.

She often acted out at home and would be punished. The punishments were usually beatings. Sometimes she would steal from the grocery store for attention. But that just led to more punishment. The kids at school called her ugly and fat. So she found solace in nature; insects, plants, animals. There were times she would find injured birds or ducks and bring them home in shoe boxes, hoping to save them. But they died. They always died.

She cried. She sobbed loudly into her pillow, praying for a friend.

At school, she sat in the bathroom stall with a small pair of scissors and would cut herself on her arms. She was sure no one would notice. But some kids found out and told the teacher. That only led to more punishment.

During family gatherings, relatives would ask her why she was so fat and why her sister was so skinny. “Maybe you’ve been eating all of her food!”, they would say, laughing, and clapping their hands together.

As she grew into a teen, she began getting some attention. But not the right kind. Not the kind she had always longed for. There was a boy, a much older boy, whom she really liked. When he found out about her crush, he manipulated her and took advantage of her. She was only seventeen. And he was twenty-five years old. He told all of his friends about her. They took advantage of her, too. They all crushed her.

Soon, the word spread in the community. She was The Slut.

Her family sent her away; far away, to another country, where she could be disciplined. But she was taken advantage of there, too. Abused. Assaulted. Used.

Soon enough, she broke. She knew she would never be enough. She would never be loved. She would never be respected. She was untouchable. Dirty. Filthy. Slut.

One night she swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills, hoping to never wake up, but she survived. “She’s always looking for attention,” they all said behind her back.

For several weeks, she received a phone call in the middle of the night from a blocked number. When she answered, the voice would respond, “are you dead yet?”

She left the house one day, wearing a short skirt, low tank top, high heels, with a purse hanging from her shoulder. Her sister ran after her. “Please”, she begged, “don’t do this.” She looked at her elder sister’s face; wet with tears. “Get away from me”, she responded. And she left.

Abused. Assaulted. Used. She carried on. She became what they told her she was. She might as well be. The Slut. It’s what they all saw. It’s all they ever saw.

She held her head high, not letting them see her tears, her agony. She held her head high through miscarriages, depression,and more assault.

Her family said, “she is worse than a prostitute”, “she dresses like a whore”, “when will she learn her lesson?”, “she has no self-respect.”

And when she brought home a baby, they said, “it’s a bastard”, “she’s no longer welcome in this family”, “she should have died when she attempted suicide.”

She brought her baby to a homeless shelter, where she was given a crib, clothing, food, toys.

She read him books, sang him songs, and kissed his head as he fed from her breast. She taught him kindness and love. Through her child’s eyes, she began to see the world a little differently. Maybe it wasn’t so dark. Maybe it wasn’t so evil. Maybe she had a little bit of power to make it all better.

As she watched the sun rise higher every morning, her days became brighter. Her wounds, very slowly, began to heal. The sun’s rays reached into every dark corner of her life, chasing away the shadows of the past. The past that would haunt her in her dreams.

Until the morning came again. And the sun, her sun, lifted up her face, looked into her eyes and said, “mama, you’re so beautiful. I love you.”

 

 

 

 

Writings

Mommy, my tummy hurts.

IMG_7993_1It wasn’t because I ate too much or too little.

It was sharp, severe, unforgiving, and in the center of my being. And it wasn’t going away.

I was just under 10 years old, and when I started to miss school because of the pain, my mom thought it was time to visit a doctor. Our family doctor set up an appointment at the hospital for me, where they would shove a long, thin tube with a little camera lens on the bottom of it, down my esophagus.

Awake through the whole procedure, scared, crying, cold from that backless hospital gown, gagging and calling out for my mom while two nurses stood above me. All I remember about them was their voices (“no, no dear, don’t do that”) and their heads floating above me, with a huge florescent light behind them. I just wanted it all to be over.

But this was just the beginning. Multiple ultrasounds followed, along with having to drink a disgusting thick goo of chalk, and finally being prescribed these large, white horse-pills for the pain.

“Reflux-esophagitis”, the doctor concluded, was the diagnosis.

I was given a booklet of all the foods and beverages I could no longer consume, and sent on my merry way.

The pain didn’t go away. It was always there. And eventually, I gave in to it and assented to it just being a part of me.

It took several years to realize and understand that the physical pain I experienced was not a result of acid reflux or poor diet. Unfortunately back then, parents and doctors were not too familiar with, nor spoke very fluidly of mental illness.

The stomach pain was a direct result of depression and anxiety.

If you had asked me to describe it when I was a child, I might have said something along the lines of, “feeling like a knife is stabbing me between my ribs.” If I ever had to guess what being stabbed felt like, perhaps this was it.

The sad thing is, that even today, twenty something years later, people still aren’t comfortable talking about depression, or any other mental illness. One of the reasons why is because not many people have been educated on it, unless they know someone they are close to who has suffered from it, or because of a relative, etc. Outside of extenuating circumstances, people just don’t talk about it or learn about it or educate on it.

I want to change that.

Starting now.

How’s your tummy feeling today?

Writings

Love Yourself

IMG_1095Know your worth. Realize your potential. Respect your body. Never lose your sense of self, independence or identity.

At this moment in time, you are young. Too young to understand what any of this means. But time is ticking fast and soon you will be all grown up; too eager to dive into the deep end. I’m here to keep your head above the water and also out of the clouds.

One day you will meet someone who you will believe to be truly special. If they have a functioning brain, then they too will know you are one of a kind. They may even tell you that they are in love with you.
Hearing or saying or even trying to fathom the idea of being in love can be very intimidating. It doesn’t matter what age you are.
I urge you to embrace love and not fear it. Because a life without love, is no life at all.
However, in any relationship, there are rules and boundaries that must be set for both parties involved. If someone is not willing to accept and respect your boundaries, they are not worth your time and effort.
When a person truly and genuinely loves another person, they also accept and respect that person’s intellect, ethnicity, religion/non-religion, family, culture, body, values, beliefs, gender, past, future goals, accomplishments, ideals, career, education and economic state. They support that person’s dreams and make them feel good about themselves.

There may be certain things a person may not necessarily like about your life, or certain topics you both may not agree on, and that’s completely normal. No relationship is perfect. In the world of love, one can learn to adapt to particular things for their partner and for the well-being of their relationship (for example, one may not be fond of animals,  but their partner owns a pet, so they familiarize themselves with the type of pet or educate themselves on behaviour around pets, etc. It can work the other way too; one might own a pet and their partner could be allergic, so they compromise to find a balance that suits both parties). Of course, there are situations where adapting and accepting something you don’t agree with are not worth exploring, because it harmful to your health and mental well-being – such as substance abuse or drug addiction.
Do not ever compromise your moral values for the sole purpose of being in a relationship. You are worth much more than that. Know your worth. And make sure the person who says they love you, also knows your worth as a human being and as a woman.
The right person will come into your life at the right time. Although many, many times it may appear so but it will be the wrong person disguised as the right person at the most opportune time.

Maybe there won’t be anyone “special” in your life for a very long time, and that’s quite wonderful too. I did say a life without love is no life at all, but that doesn’t mean love comes to us in only one form.

So far, my greatest and most powerful love has been the one I’ve experienced as your mom. It’s the most exhilarating love I’ve ever known, and I’m truly blessed.

The lessons on love don’t end here. I’m 31 years old and still learning. And you will too.