Sunday, November 30, 2008

Of Lies and Liars

For five years I worked a Government job. One of the main functions of my job was to determine when “clients” were lying and to figure out if that was problematic enough for us to take action or just let it go. It didn’t take long before I figured out that everyone was lying to me about something or other and I just had to figure out if the particular lie in question was important. It was also around this time that I discovered Mr. Intellectual’s propensity for telling little white lies constantly. It was something I had always noticed and was confused about, but it began to gnaw at me as I became more adept at spotting these obfuscations and catching him in his tall tales.

Over the years as these little white lies piled up I became more and more frustrated and angry at the discovery of each one, particularly because they were so unnecessary. When I bluntly asked him at one point why he felt it was necessary to embellish so much and so often he had an intriguing reply and an answer that gave me some insight into his personality. He said that he wanted to make his life seem more interesting and by extension himself more interesting. That didn’t excuse his behaviour in my eyes. I just wanted him to be honest with me. I didn’t care if he led a normal, ordinary life or his anecdotes were nothing exceptional. As the job started to wear me down more each day I craved honesty from those around me, particularly the man who was supposed to be my biggest emotional support.

The job was starting to change me, and the way I saw people. With each passing day I was becoming more disillusioned with people and I became quite disgusted with humanity. As each lie was uncovered at work I was becoming increasingly hostile towards the white lies I had to face after work. The cumulative toll that these white lies took on me was one of the factors that precipitated the end of our 6-year relationship. It was one of the big things I was thankful to leave behind me. I hated always second guessing the things I was being told and constantly keeping a mental puzzle in play to see if what was said was the truth, white lies or outright falsehoods. It really hurt that he didn’t think enough of me to tell me the truth.

This was all brought home to me again recently through this blog. An anonymous reader who was actually looking for a poem by Catullus uncovered this particular lie of Mr. Intellectuals. It was a brief, sharp and painful reminder of his untruthful nature. I am thankful that this person left the comment and alerted me to the deception. Many years ago Mr. Intellectual had written me a poem and I was under the impression up until now that it was one of his own original works. It was beautiful and I always treasured that poem. I found out that it is basically a word for word copy of the poem “Happiness” by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, 84 BC - 54 BC. Now I’m just thoroughly disgusted by his behaviour and wonder if other poems he wrote me were also deliberate plagiarisms. The sad thing is that if he had just told me it was a work by Catullus and it made him think of me I would have loved it just as much. There was no need to pass it off as his own work since I already thought he was a good writer.

While his brazen behaviour took my breath away it has solidified my disinterest in his life. I no longer care what he’s doing and how he is, or how he is faring with the difficulties in his life. I find him to be ridiculously pompous and disingenuous and do not want those kinds of people in my life. He doesn’t deserve any more of my time or headspace. What this has also done for me is make me even more grateful for the man I’m with right now. From the start Quiet Confidence and I have had an open and honest relationship. I have never had that nagging feeling that what was being said wasn’t quite what it seems. QC respects me enough to tell me the truth, even if it’s not easy, and for that reason alone I love him.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


As a Teaching Assistant at the University one of my responsibilities is the marking of assignments, essays, tutorial participation, midterms and final exams. I have to say that this is one of the least favourite parts of the job for me. I hate judging someone else's work or performance. There is something very distasteful to me in making that call and sticking with my grade. I think sometimes that I agonize over these students grades for more time than they take to study for the exam or to write their term papers. I just want to be fair and impartial to all my students and ensure that they have earned the grade I give them, regardless of whether it's an A or an F.

As an undergraduate I was never the greatest at taking tests and my exams were always somewhat mediocre. I understand that even the brightest student might have difficulties with writing a decent history exam. It's not an easy thing to remember specific dates, names, and places and how they all fit together to make something meaningful. It has only been in the last couple of years of my Doctoral degree that I'm getting even remotely comfortable with the names and dates of history in relation to an event, and that's only when you're talking to me about Canadian history. Give me any other country and I'm as helpless as a frosh. This is largely because I'm TAing the same survey course on Canadian history for the second year in a row, and I've spent the better part of the past 4 years deeply immersed in Canadian history for my thesis work.

So while I'm bogged down with midterms and papers right now I'm dreaming of the day when I'll have a bevy of graduate students to do the marking for me. I think that's one of the best perks of getting a full Doctorate- not having to mark obscene piles of undergraduate work.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Decorations

A couple of years ago I taught myself how to Tat. After some false starts and a lot of time in between I've taken it up again.

Snowflake, Work in Progress

Over the last few days I've begun to make a couple of snowflakes as Christmas decorations. I had originally planned to offer up a set as a prize for completing NaBloPoMo this year.

Snowflakes, completed

I promptly dropped the ball on the NaBlo challenge, and also stalled out on getting back to Eden in regards to this prize. I'm going to try to get it in at the last minute regardless. My apologies on the bad lighting. These were taken at my desk in the late evening with no natural sunlight. The snowflakes are actually made out of a subtle off-white shade of cotton thread, and don't look this dingy in person.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nablopo....oh crap

As I was drifting off to sleep on Friday night I realized I hadn't posted anything that day. I didn't even make it a week before I blew the NaBloPoMo challenge.

I could have chosen to get out of bed to throw up a post, however I thought it would be a bit odd considering that I was at Quiet Confidence's house. I wasn't sure how he'd react to me getting out of bed around midnight to fire up the computer for a blog post. He's been very supportive and accepting of the whole "blog" concept once I let the cat out of the bag. He wasn't all that surprised given the fact that he knew I kept a paper journal and I'm pretty "plugged in" (his words not mine). We still haven't discussed boundaries on what he's comfortable with me posting about our relationship. I'm kind of waiting until he's finished reading through the past couple years worth of posts before delving into that discussion.

I don't consider my lapse on the Nablo challenge to be a failure really. I'm trying not to use that word in an effort to stop seeing my stumbles as failures. I need to really curb the negative self-talk and focus on what is working in my life. I'm going to see how many posts I can create with the time left in the challenge. This was always meant as a challenge to undertake in an effort to help me get over my academic writer's block. Hopefully by the end of the month I'll have succeeded in that.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This weekend Quiet Confidence and I were looking for a board game to play. It's been forever since either one of us had played one and it was perfect weather for staying inside- cold, rainy and plenty of fog. We ended up having to go out to pick up a game since there wasn't anything either of us were digging in his limited supply.

After much debate and browsing of the games at a local toy store we finally settled on Blokus, the duo edition. It appealed to both of us by combining elements of tetris and strategy, as well as looking pretty simple to pick up right away. Plus it looked somewhat addictive and potentially something we could play over and over without getting bored. It ended up being a huge hit and actually hilarious to play. The nice part about the duo edition is that it's compact, easy to travel with and only 2 player, which makes for a faster game than the multi-player edition.

The best part about the whole game was after we started cursing "Blokus!" when our respective opponent made a particularly good play. That alone made this purchase completely worth every penny.

I did a quick search today and found out you can play Blokus online through their website. Not only that but apparently the game has been very well reviewed and quite popular. I think we lucked out in our choice and can't wait for the rematch. He ended up winning our best out of 5 series by 1 game. It was a close game which made it all the more entertaining.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


I'm with someone who is so compatible with me that it seems too good to be true. Why do I keep feeling like something bad is going to happen, or I'll wake up only to discover that it was all a dream. Is there such a thing as perfection in a relationship?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Public vs. Private

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years feeling like my life is out of control. Ever since one asshole came into my life and ripped apart my sense of security and my ability to trust myself I’ve been largely unable to make a decision and stick with it. Normal, everyday things create unexpectedly negative reactions within me. In order to get a brief sense of security back I pack up and move, which is why I’ve moved 3 times in the past 12 months. When I feel threatened I run and hide.

Several weeks ago my boyfriend had flowers delivered to my house. My first reaction was not one of surprise and delight - it was a sickening fear that he’d found me. And anger. I think I slightly frightened the poor delivery guy with my hostile reaction and questions of who they were from. I wanted to know who sent them before I’d accept. As soon as I closed the door and read the card I knew my reaction was wrong and I was upset that I couldn’t experience the normal joy of receiving unexpected gifts without the panic and fear that it was starting all over again.

Finding out that Mr. Intellectual has been to my website has raised that same gut wrenching reaction. It’s not that I begrudge him the curiosity, or that I don’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. I largely feel indifferent towards him and his life. It’s the feelings I have of it being unfair. That yet again I’m an unwilling participant in something I can’t change. It’s the feelings of being utterly powerless and unable to stand up for myself. That I’ve been rendered completely helpless. These are feelings I struggle with on an almost daily basis since the stalking began and again when the post-traumatic stress emerged. This overwhelming sense of vulnerability is a new facet of my personality that I dislike and causes me a lot of distress.

Jaclyn, a kind reader, has suggested that maybe I’d feel more comfortable taking this blog private and requiring people to ask for access in order to read. While this is tempting, it kind of violates the spirit of this blog in a sense. This was supposed to be a safe space for me to work through things that I couldn’t voice anywhere else. To take it private means that it is no longer that safe place and it also means that I’m limiting access. It also feels like I’m running and hiding again. Like I’m giving up a small sliver of the control I feel I have on my life. It’s the feeling that I’m giving him more power and influence over my life than he deserves or should have. Very much the way I feel towards the man who stalked me, and forever changed my life. A lot of the time I do things because of my experience, thereby allowing the stalker to continue to exert a power and influence over me that is wholly undeserved.

I spend a lot of time struggling with these feelings and the resulting anger. I’m trying to take baby steps to stop this cycle of behaviour, which is why Ph.Depressed will continue to be publicly accessible. I will try very hard not to let the fear of unwanted readership dictate what I choose to put here.

"I cannot control how you act. I can only control how I react."
- Jane Canuck

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Rapidly Changing Seasons

Last Wednesday saw our first snowstorm of the year. It was quite a mess because there were still so many leaves on the trees and the snow was so heavy. Lots of downed limbs, power outages and general unpleasantness on the streets. Not to mention sub-zero temperatures and black ice.

This Wednesday the temperatures climbed to 20*C and I wore capri's, sandals and a t-shirt to campus. I also enjoyed a beer out on the patio of the grad club in the late afternoon with some colleagues. It was truly a stolen moment from Summer and felt more like the return of Spring than the end of Fall. If only this coming Winter could pass us by that easily. Sadly, I know that's too much to hope for in this city.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

1288 Days, 298 Posts later

A little over 3 years ago I started a blog. I’m not really sure what it was about the medium that appealed to me, but at the time I was reeling from a couple of big life changes. I was struggling to come to terms with my depression, graduate school and being thrust back into the single life after 6 years of being safely cocooned in a relationship. I have always found that writing has helped me sort out my more complex emotions and crystallize in my mind the problems I was having. While I have friends and acquaintances, I don’t have many people I trust or feel comfortable enough opening up to and sharing the deepest recesses of myself with.

In the past three years, I’ve completed a Masters degree despite some serious difficulties, entered a Ph.D program and floundered, was stalked, developed post traumatic stress, moved 5 times, worked through my 6-year relationship with Mr. Intellectual, dated or had pseudo-relationships with more men than I can remember names for, saw another niece and nephew enter the world, experienced a complete break with reality, went on and off anti-depressants and anxiety medication a handful of times, and met a man who is one of the most honest, emotionally mature and unconditionally loving individuals that I have ever met.

In the past year I’ve struggled with this space and where I’m taking it. I’ve spent a lot of time being disengaged from life and my personal pursuits outside of school and the daily grind of life. I spent several months where I stopped doing just about everything I enjoyed, from reading fiction to going outside or interacting with friends. Some days are easier than others to pick up that book or go out for coffee with a friend. I find myself easily distracted, agitated and restless when I do try to concentrate on my schoolwork or my hobbies- writing in particular.

One of the biggest obstacles I have with this space is that I know that Mr. Intellectual finally found me online. My statcounter alerted me to this fact sometime around my birthday of this year. It disturbs me somewhat to know that he may or may not be reading here. Like why should he give a shit now? On some level it feels like being stalked all over again since it’s an unwanted, secretive observer of my life and he hasn’t told me about it or reached out to me in any way. It also makes me slightly more cautious in what I choose to write about, and I hate that feeling. I hate feeling helpless and that is all I have felt since the day I called 9-1-1 fearing for my life because of the stalkers behaviour at my door. I don’t think it's particularly fair that he can turn his back on my friendship, yet get a front seat into my inner struggles. I’m trying very hard not to let it censor me.

The other big hurdle to my writing here is the fact that my new boyfriend doesn’t know about my blog. I’ve been debating about whether or not to tell him. We have a policy of absolute honesty, which has worked very well for us, and it feels kind of like a breach of his trust not to let him know. I’m scared about how he’ll respond to some of my writing- not that he’ll reject me, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings in some way or cause him to worry unnecessarily about me. Is it possible to share too much with someone? We’ll soon find out because I think it’s finally time to let him in on my last big secret.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Writer's Block, already

This is day 3 of NaBloPoMo and I officially have writers block. It's a tad early to be this hung up on what to write, but given my problems with my academic writing this shouldn't be a huge surprise. I was hoping to make it a full week or more before I really started to feel like I had nothing to say. This certainly bodes ill for the remainder of the exercise.

It's all about baby steps though. Even if it means writing a junk post like this, I'm still putting one foot in front of the other (metaphorically) and trying to overcome my overall writers block in the hopes of improving my academic performance.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Library Graffiti

Library Graffiti, Sept. 25, 2008

I was in the University library a while back collecting a few books for a project I'm supposed to be working on. While heading up the stairwell I spotted this on one of the landings. It's not drawn on, but looked to be more of a silkscreen template. It was fairly innocuous, about the size of my hand, and easily missed if you were in a hurry.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this month. I thought about it for a while before I signed up since I haven't written anything here since July. Which, coincidentally, is around the same time I stopped writing academically and almost completely stopped writing in my paper journal. Writing has become so difficult for me that I've completely turned my back on it, which as you can imagine is a serious problem in a graduate program that involves multiple 30+ page papers and a 350 page thesis as a requirement for graduation. I hoping that by completing 30 days straight of blogging that I will be able to return to my academic work. If I can't write, I can't be here which means finding an alternate career path and giving up on my Ph.d.