Archive for the ‘Personal Life’ Category
[Note: ce texte parle d'intimidation («bullying»), mais sans exemples concrets.]
J'ai une soudaine envie d'écrire sur moi-même. Ça arrive à tous ceux qui écrivent, je suppose.
Je suis née dans un petit village de l'Abitibi. L'école primaire et l'école secondaire comptaient moins de 200 élèves chacune. Pendant presque toute l'école primaire et une partie du secondaire, j'ai été victime d'intimidation. C'était presque exclusivement verbal. Je n'entrerai pas ici dans les détails. Ce n'est pas très intéressant à lire, je suppose, et ce n'est certainement pas agréable à raconter. Le but de ce texte, de toutes façons, n'est pas d'inspirer la pitié, mais d'expliquer un peu de ce qu'est moi-même.
Tout autant que l'intimidation puisse avoir été désagréable, c'est un élément de moi-même dont je ne puis me séparer, un élément de ma construction cognitive qu'on ne peut extirper pour trouver une autre «moi», meilleure que celle qui existe présentement. Sans cela, je serais une autre personne. Cela dit, je ne fais pas du tout l'apologie de ce que j'ai vécu.
Dans une certaine mesure, c'était semblable à la répression: un mépris pour mon être, pour ma simple existence et présence, et une tentative de me faire disparaître. J'ai longtemps cru, et il m'arrive encore de croire, que c'était pour le mieux, que je devais effectivement me conformer ou disparaître.
Une différence majeure vient du fait que, dans le cas de la répression, il m'est facile de comprendre les causes. Perturber l'ordre social est perçu comme une enace non seulement par les plus hauts placés de la hiérarchie, mais aussi par ceux qui sont privilégiés par l'ordre ou pensent que seul celui-ci peut leur offrir le bien-être.
Je me révolte contre l'autorité. Pas avec une colère adolescente, mais avec un anarchisme réfléchi et pacifiste. J'ai une aversion quasi-maladive pour tout horaire qu'on m'impose. Je questionne la kyriarchie quotidiennement. Je cherche des voix mutées par les médias de masse. J'essaie tant bien que mal de faire tomber les murs bâtis autour de moi.
Je ne suis en rien une personne violente et je condamne souvent la violence dont je suis témoin. Je n'apprécie guère l'état actuel des choses justement pour sa violence, tant explicite que cachée. Il serait étrange alors que je cherche à le défaire en utilisant moi-même la violence.
Vous me direz que les gens ne réagissent pas tous ainsi à l'intimidation. C'est le cas pour toutes les expériences humaines. Mais dire que je devrais réagir d'une certaine manière et que ma réaction actuelle est incorrect, c'est nier ma capacité d'auto-détermination et, pire encore, d'auto-description, ma capacité à me donner du sens à moi-même, ce qui est franchement déshumanisant.
Tant sur le coup que maintenant quand j'y repense, je me demande «pourquoi?». Pourquoi moi? Pourquoi me faire ceci spécifiquement? Je n'ai jamais compris. Peut-être ne comprendrai-je jamais. Qu'est-ce qu'il y avait en moi de méprisable? Comme je le disais plus haut, ici je fais une différence majeure avec la répression politique et/ou policière. À l'époque, j'étais perdue et incertaine; j'ai maintenant de fortes convictions. C'est dans les autres que je vois des ressemblances: la conformité et la valorisation de celle-ci, ou encore des attentes strictes non respectées par la victime.
Pendant ce temps, académiquement, je n'avais aucun problème. Au cégep, j'ai étudié en sciences humaines. Pourquoi en sciences humaines? D'abord parce que ça m'intéresse et ensuite parce que, devant le mépris que beaucoup leur portaient, je prenais plaisir à leur accorder ma préférence.1 J'ai quitté mon village natal à 18 ans, pour étudier en cinéma à l'Université de Montréal, un sujet qui m'a toujours intéressé (le cinéma, pas l'université). C'est là que j'ai craqué. J'ai fait une dépression durant ma deuxième session, que j'ai abandonnée sauf pour un cours (nous faisions un film et je ne voulais pas abandonner l'équipe alors que le travail était déjà commencé).
J'ai beaucoup changé depuis ce temps ou peut-être ai-je simplement appris à me connaître et ai-je ensuite agi en conséquence. J'ai passé les dernières années sur différents niveaux du spectrum reconstruction de soi-dépression. J'ai toujours du chemin à faire.
J'ai encore souvent la certitude que mon apparence et ma personnalité ne peuvent que repousser les autres. Il est normal, bien sûr, de ne pas s'entendre avec tous ceux qu'on rencontre, mais le biais de confirmation vient facilement se jouer de nous lorsque l'on souffre.
Je suis à la fois une personne solitaire et une personne qui se sent terriblement seule. J'ai besoin de solitude, mais j'en ai en surplus.
1 Ça ne veut pas dire que je méprise les autres sciences. Je les trouve non seulement intéressantes, mais essentielles. Ça ne veut pas dire que je veux y consacrer ma vie.
I started working a couple of weeks ago. While I most definitely want to continue, it is rather difficult. There are days where I just get so stressed and can't sleep, which makes it very hard the next day at work. No giving up planned. I can do this!
My sister, her partner and their children left on August 1st for my home region, where they are staying with my parents. Tomorrow morning, Mario and I are leaving to join them. More stress there. I am looking forward to seeing the family, but I absolutely hate car rides. *eyes supply of anti-nausea pills*
There's another thing that stresses me. In January, my parents moved. They had been staying in the same house for more than 25 years (before my birth, then). It was the only home I knew and would constantly call such. Through the bullying and depression, it was the place I could always return to and find some comfort. It just won't be the same now.
In addition to work, I have been attending several protests lately. I was quite surprised to realise that I enjoy protests. I hate standing in a crowd. I hate places full of people. But I love protests. Go figure. Maybe it's the ambiance, the mixture of anger and hope, the people full of ideas. I think the movement also helps, and I mean that in the strictest physical sense: standing there in the crowd feels bad, walking around feels good.
I would have tons of things to say about the movement that has shaken the province since around February/March, but I feel like, tonight, I would be unable to do it any justice, so instead I leave with a simple phrase: protests are beautiful.
I cried yesterday. But it's fine. They were tears of joy and relief.
Since February 2007, I have been fighting. Fighting against myself.
Yesterday, I won. Not the war, not everlasting peace, but a very, very big battle.
I woke up in the morning, feeling rested. I did a normal morning routine (you know the deal: eating, showering, dressing up...). I took the metro. I entered my employers' building. And then I worked.
It sounds like the most boring victory ever, but for me, it is enormous. I have struggled so much, I have constantly made up excuses to avoid doing that sort of thing, I have cried, I have told myself the most horrible things. But there I was, yesterday, doing fine. No uncontrollable anxiety. No lies. No avoidance.
To you it might be the smallest, most insignificant of things, but for me it is the biggest victory.
Il y a environ 120 ans, j'étais aux études en cinéma à l'Université de Montréal. (J'ai commencé très tôt.) Pendant ma deuxième session, j'ai fait une dépression. J'ai ensuite abandonné.
J'ai abandonné les études, j'ai abandonné les amis, j'ai abandonné les sorties, j'ai abandonné le travail, j'ai même abandonné Montréal pendant quelques mois...
Je m'apprêtais à retourner à la vie quand c'est arrivé. Autour de moi, un mouvement qui s'éveille. Dans la rue, des gens qui manifestent. Ils ne sont pas d'accord, ils ne sont pas contents. Et un jour je me joins à eux. Moi, l'agoraphobe, moi, l'éternelle silencieuse, je marche, le 22 mai 2012, avec plus de 100 000 personnes dans les rues de la ville. Moi non plus, je ne suis pas d'accord, je ne suis pas contente. Notre colère gronde. Ce n'est pas une colère enragée, qui court et mord aveuglément autour d'elle. C'est une colère réfléchie, débordante d'idéologie.
Merci pour cet éveil.
Merci pour vos mots.
Merci pour vos idées.
Merci pour vos convictions.
Merci pour votre persévérance.
Merci de me montrer que, peut-être...et si...si jamais on réussissait? Si jamais on changeait quelque chose? Ne serait-ce qu'une vague qui laisserait à jamais sa marque quelque part? Une note dans les livres d'histoire pour dire que nous étions là, que nous pensions et que nous agissions, que nous ne sommes pas restés assis à regarder bêtement le monde autour de nous.
Merci de faire partie sans le savoir d'une renaissance personnelle qui a trop tardé à venir.
Note: si vous voulez aider les étudiants, vous pouvez faire un don à la campagne Je donne à nous. Il y a eu plus de 3000 arrestations depuis le début de la grève, en février 2012.
The past months have been rather...intense. If you've been following, then you should know I live in Montreal (That's in Quebec, that French-speaking province of Canada).
Up until recently, education tuition fees were frozen, meaning they were not increasing yearly as in most other places. Our government has decided to have none of that: let's thaw out those fees and boil them up, giving us a hike of over $1400 over 5/7 years. The numbers keep changing because they make tiny changes here and there in a one-fourth-assed attempt to make us happy (or to get a tiny brains confused by all the numbers, who knows?).
You might know that the currently leading party at the province level is the Parti Libéral du Québec, the Liberal Party of Quebec. Now, do not make the mistake of thinking that "liberal" here means what the likes of Fox News means when they say "liberal". Our Prime Minister Jean Charest, previously of the Conservative Party of Canada, has moved there by taking advantage of the existence of a thing called neoliberalism. Neoliberalism, meaning "new liberalism", is a doctrine that aims to make sure economy does not evolve past how it was around the end of the 19th century by defending the money-having elites in the name of their liberty to own everything and screw the rest of the world.
When everything started around February, I was, to be honest, not caring much. You see, Mario, my beloved partner, is bipolar, and entered a manic episode also in February, and then spent a few months in the hospital. It greatly affected me and, for a while, I cared about that much more than about any social crisis. He is much better now. He is out since late May and has gone back to work recently. I have, of course, devoted much time since then to following what is going on.
Much has been said on the topic, by the media, in the media and basically everywhere you can go in this city.
The arguments in favor of the hike are familiar. They remind us of how we, as a society, are convinced that the current capitalist economic system is a fatality composed of inevitable elements. Of course, fees are going up. The price of everything is going up! Bollocks.
Bollocks for two reasons. First, like I hinted at earlier, the economic system can (and, eventually, it will, unless humanity goes extinct very, very soon) change. Prices constantly going up are a component of this system. In a different system, it is possible that prices would still go up, but it is not necessary. A parenthesis on the subject. If the prices are going up, then there are two possibilities: either all prices are going up at the same rate (so, for example, if the yearly salary of a teacher goes up by 2%, then the price of four tomatoes of the same type should also go up by 2%); or different prices are going up at different rate (the way things currently are. For example, the teacher's salary could go up by 2% while the tomatoes go up by 150%). In the former case, one can wonder just what the point even is. If everything is going up at the same rate, we find ourselves in a Pinball Scoring situation. Maybe last year you earned $40,000 and this year you earned $200,000. Woah! You're so rich! Except you're not because everything quintupled. In the latter situation, what happens is that the price of some things go up much faster than others. Generally, in a place like Quebec, salaries (while salaries are an income to those receiving them, they have to constitute a cost for someone) have increased much less in the past couple of decades than the price of other things such as housing. What this means is that certain things that were normal back then have become more difficult to have today, while things that were a luxury at the time are pretty normal today. An example of the latter would be most electronics. Of course, when you are very rich, the changes in pricing are not very significant. You have the means to absorb the difference. Except there are people who don't. It might be that x years ago, a family of average size and average income was able to send all its children to university, and that a family in the same situation today is not.
End very long parenthesis.
The second bollocks-causing aspect is a very ideological one. There is an excellent video on the topic of hikes that was done by the IRIS (Institut de recherche et d'informations socio-économiques, which means Institute of Socioeconomic Research and Information). Sadly, the video is in French, but I will offer a paraphrase of one of their points. The current problems are caused by two different visions of higher education. In one vision, the one held by the current government, the purpose of universities is to make research. Be careful, this means a specific kind of research: the one that is financed and praised by companies, for example pharmaceutics, to find ways to make lots of money very quickly. It is a university that serves capitalist interests, including those of its attendees, who are investing (actual money, not only time) not necessarily in their personal interests or in their society, but in their future "wallet", like true entrepreneurs.
The other vision is the one I hold. It is certainly held by at least some of the students taking part in the protests, but I cannot speak for all of them. For us, university serves a more social purpose. While it can definitely help prepare you for a paying job, it is not its only role. Its role is instead to transmit society's knowledge, its history, its culture (in the sense given to the word by social sciences: all that a society makes and uses to make things - languages, customs, art, etc.). University is thus an investment made not only by individuals, but by society as a whole. We decide that it is important to have universities of quality to transmit our cultural baggage, to better society as a whole and/or so that future generations can see what a fabulous place this is.
A second parenthesis: it might sound very patriotic, but it is not xenophobic. After all, it can be part of one's culture to believe that other cultures are also awesome, and that neither is truly "better" than others, they are merely different for a variety of factors. Besides, when I say that we transmit our culture and knowledge, it does not mean exclusively local ones. For starters, no culture is a closed space. They all absorb elements of other cultures. Think of it as transferring the whole of human knowledge rather than as Patrioversity 101: Why Places That Ain't Can'da Are Horrible, Eh?
This has been going on for longer than I expected, so this will become a series.
[Note: throughout this post, like in future ones, I use "university" as synonymous with upper education. This is not quite accurate in Quebec, where Cégeps take in part of the "job" done by universities elsewhere. I am using university simply because it is simpler and shorter.]
Looks like a new year started. Guess it's time for a review (apparently English doesn't have a word for "bilan" when used in an abstract or non-monetary way) of 2011.
Early in January, my godmother died of cancer. As I probably state somewhere on this site, I am atheist. I was, however, baptised as a child and, regardless of my (lack of) faith, I loved my godmother. She was a wonderful woman. Talking about her still tends to bring tears to my eyes.
In late winter, I moved into this here flat with my sister, her partner, their daughter and their cat (who, for the record, is hungry). It was, and still is, a difficult transition for me. I have a dire need of money and I don't have enough furniture (or other storage space).
I am, however, in the process of returning to this world thing. I'm trying to find some place to volunteer. I had started looking in December, but I got sick and then it was the holidays, so I got kind of delayed with that. My plan is to to some volunteering for at least a few weeks before starting an actual, paying job. At first I want something small, not too stressful, just to be in a better financial situation.
Late in the year, my parents announced that they had purchased a new house and sold theirs. It was quite a shock to me. I can understand their decision. They lived by themselves in a two-storey house with far too much room for just two people. They also wouldn't have bought just any house. My father owns a land in the countryside, the land he grew up on that used to belong to his parents. His childhood home was destroyed a while ago and the lot was split, the largest part belonging to him and the smallest part belonging to other people, with their own house on it. This is the house they bought. (On a more technical note: zoning laws prevented my father from building a house on his lot, as it's in an agricultural zone)
I could be very happy for them, but I find it very difficult to accept the loss of the house I grew up in. (Go ahead, call me stupid and childish and materialistic. I LOVE THIS HOUSE.)
The end of the year was a moment of great stress for me. The holidays in themselves are stressful: having to leave my comfy flat for a long trip home to my parents and then attending four million family meetings. I also spent several hours going through the many things I had left at my parents' home. I got rid of lots of paper I didn't need and gave away lots of clothes that don't fit anymore. That doesn't mean I didn't keep lots of things too. Books, texts I wrote, some clothes (that fit), photos (of course I didn't actually got rid of any of those), movies (I did get rid of some. I'm not keeping terrible movies on VHS.)...
In December was also Mario and I's second anniversary of togetherness.
All in all, last year was filled with changes, some for the better, but nearly all stressful for me.
Hello there people and folkses! I'm going to update you in bullet points 'cause I want to do bullet points, so nah.
- Babysitting is suspended for the moment due to the next two points.
- Been fucking sick this week. It started with a little innocent-looking cold, then I started having a big throat ache and I threw up a lot. I hadn't thrown up in years, and I was fucking glad I hadn't because it's unpleasant, and it hits pretty damn straight into the almost-O of OCD for me (I don't have actual OCD, but I have "Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified", which includes tendencies towards OCD-like thingies). Vomit is huge trigger for me and, and let's just say I'm avoiding certain spots of the floor even after cleaning them. Yeah...I must admit something though: having it happen to me might actually have reduced the trigger-ness of it, as while it was in no way pleasant, it wasn't the End of the World.
- My sister and all the family were also sick recently. Last week it was a cold/flu thing, and this week both my niece and my brother-in-law got an indigestion (is that a word in English?) because of a cantaloup. I knew those fruits were evil. That and the fact that my sister was finishing school this week has quite changed their needs.
- I was doing phone calls for volunteering earlier this week, but then with my sickness I couldn't keep it up. It will have to wait next week, which pretty much guarantees that I won't be able to start actual work before next year.
- Next Sunday is totally Mario and I's second anniversary together!!!11!!1! 'Tis awesome and he's awesome and we're awesome and I'm actually super excited!
- My sister gets her cat shaven around twice per year. He has long hair and, because he's overweight, he has a particularly hard time cleaning himself properly, so he gets horrible knots and tangledthingies. I don't mind him getting shaven, but I pity him because those who do it perfume the poor thing. It's like replacing his ID card with a different one! My cat keeps sniffing him, wondering who the fuck is that cat who keeps acting and being treated like Tao, but can't possibly be Tao, because he smells so weird.
I've been continuing my babysitting lately, although my schedule has changed because my sister stopped working. I now take care of her from around 4pm to around 6pm, when supper is ready. This leaves her parents some time to prepare the supper, and me some time to sleep very late and take naps. Ain't that fun?
Also, I have an appointment tomorrow, with the Volunteer Bureau of Montreal, or however they order those words in English. As you can tell, they help volunteers find places to, well, volunteer at. Lots of things interest me, but I think I'll settle for something with at-risk youth.
I'm sure the title of this post is something that caught you totally off-guard. Stressful? It's not like you're all alone with a tiny human!
Anyway...if you've been following my, erm, activites for the past couple of years, then you should know that I am currently unemployed and that 'free time' is pretty much equal to 'all time' for me. While it certainly has helped me, it's, in the long run, not a very gratifying life.
I won't get into details of my lifestyle since I moved into this flat with my sister, her partner and their daughter. Recently, though, they offered to have me babysit (baby! She's 3.) her, in exchange for getting free suppers with them (homemade, naturally). A very agreeable arrangement!
As I'm already at home with them, I don't need to do any commuting beyond crawling out of bed. Her father works from home (although he seems to work much less now that he has so little time to himself) and my sister works 5 days per week at a different place, plus she has a class on Wednesdays.
My schedule is really not busy, just enough to give them some relief. Taking care of a 3-year-old kid all on your own five days per week drives you crazy.
- Monday: from around 5 to the beginning of supper. My brother-in-law prepares the supper around that time, then leaves for his tai chi before my sister comes back from work.
- Tuesday: 10am to noon
- Wednesday: from around 4 or 5 until supper is ready. This is usually the day where they invite friends over or go visit them, so my help isn't needed during the day
- Thursday: same as Monday
- Friday: 10am to noon
- Weekends: off, though on any day I'm available at their request
My niece is in a wonderful mood in the mornings, which makes it a very pleasant time for me to be with her, all while allowing her father to do errands and whatnot without an attention-seeking child.
Naturally, while it is fun, it also brings a lot of stress. We were playing in the sandbox in the backyard the other day, and WOAAAAH! There were two centipedes. My niece actually loves them, but I had to struggle to stay calm. I can't run off and leave her alone because of a stupid bug.
Anyway, I know this has stressed me. Since then, every time I see a speck, some lint or whatever on the floor, I immediately think it's a bug, and even convince myself that it's moving. Neither are true.
I had an appointment with my psychiatrist last week. I didn't go, blaming anxiety. I took another appointment, for yesterday. I did go this time, still feeling about equally anxious, but knowing I had to go.
Sitting in his office, I had to answer the question of just why I hadn't shown up. I babbled about stress and muttered the beginning of incomplete sentences, until ultimately I managed to form the truth in a clear, straight-to-the-point way: I knew that, by going to that appointment, I would need to reflect on my current state of being, looking at myself in a metaphorical mirror and say "This is how I am right now". And, shit, how far am I from the way I wish things were.
I keep imagining that I'm a published author, that I help out charities, that I travel the world...but when I get up in the morning (I did manage to stabilise my sleeping schedule), I don't go out into the world. I go down into the basement, sit at my computer and read news, play games and generally get nothing valuable done.
I do not need psychiatrist help at the moment (I have, in the past, been in need of therapy, for depression or something very similar to it, and for phobias). I just need to think really hard about exactly what I want to do with my life, and then proceed to do it. No one can do it for me and, to paraphrase my psychiatrist, it would be a pity to wake up in 40 years and realise "Fuck. I haven't done anything yet." (My psychiatrist didn't say fuck. Or any expletives.)
As I walked from the office towards Mario's home (Mario! Awesome!), there was only one thing I knew for sure: I want it to be FUN.