Friday, January 31, 2014

More than we think we are

As in most stories, the truth is stranger than fiction.

I write because it's what I do, but more than that, because I need to make some meaning of what seems to me a wasted life.

And I share my story because it's only just beginning--and facing the past and moving forward are things we should never have to do alone.

I can rhyme off the words--trauma, enmeshment, abuse, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD, dissociation, abandonment, loneliness, loss--but without context, they are still just words.

For 35 years I've been a victim. I'm fighting now to see myself as something more--as the hero of my own story.

This blog is about transformation--about a lifetime of merely surviving; about finding hope, and about losing everything; the struggle to spin straw into gold. To move forward now, it's time to do everything I missed while growing up; to experiment; try new things; discover what I like and don't like; to find out who I am. And to see myself, not as a victim of my past, but as someone with a future worth waiting for and the strength to achieve it.

It's time for me to truly believe that each one of us--myself included--is so much more than we think we are.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Way too long...

I can't even count the days since I last wrote--even 10 months sounds ridiculously close to forever. And that photo? You can probably tell by the weather that it was taken last summer.

Apparently I've been locked inside my head--and inside my apartment--for much too long.

Is anyone still reading, or have I lost everything in the silence?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

When tears are your language

"Tears are words the heart can't say."

I didn't cry until I was 22.

Before that, I'd numbed myself to cope with the trauma. I didn't cry, but I didn't smile much either. In just the last few years, I've started crying pretty much every day for a million different reasons--sometimes a single tear; sometimes a total breakdown; at home, and in public. When you're just learning to feel any emotion at all in your 30s, your heart uses tears to speak a language your mind doesn't know yet. People criticize my tears; they're embarrassed; they think and say awful things about me because I'm crying. They don't see that until I'm safe to feel the complete rainbow of emotions, crying is the only language my body knows.

It's amazing what tears can express: happiness, pride, grief, sorrow, surprise, anger, relief, terror, pain. Someday I'll learn the language everyone else learned as infants. But for now, tears are all I have. 34 years of trauma requires serious therapy. It's been just 3 weeks, but I am so f**king proud of what I've accomplished. Everyone knows that I am sweet, loving and sincere--that I would DIE for the people I love.

It hurts to lose people I thought were friends, but really, they're the ones who are missing out. If you're not willing to put up with the rain, you'll miss out on the brilliant beauty of the rainbow I now know that I am. For those who have and will choose to stand by me through this storm, when the sun comes out, they'll receive all the blessings that come with the rainbow that's been hiding inside me all these years.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Something for me

It's been nearly a month since I moved from below ground to far above it.

The balconies here are odd--almost completely enclosed--and I soon learned why. As the wind sweeps, frigid, off the river, it whips along the sides of this boat-shaped building, as if my new home were meant for gliding smoothly through the water, not staying embedded in the ground.

It's Victoria Day weekend here in Canada, and fireworks crackle outside. The cool air draws me after the hottest day yet--all fans running full-tilt. I wrestle with the screen door; then step outside, leaning over the railing to see beyond the walls around me, and let the breeze touch my bare skin.

And then I see them, stretched all across the skyline--lights bursting upward from at least four different fireworks shows. Only the highest bursts are visible above the trees and buildings, and I feel as if I've stumbled on a secret. Miles apart, my eyes scanning for just where the next configurations will appear, I've found a celebration for my eyes alone.

I've never liked fireworks; perhaps it's more my dislike for convention, the expected: blankets and lawn chairs crowding an open, grassy space; the booming noise; the obligatory "ooo's and ah's"; and the disappointment of always being on the outside, tagging along and always alone.

But from my vantage point on this balcony, I hear little noise, see no crowds. I'm simply me, inside and out--no clothes, no makeup, no pretending to be someone I'm not to attract someone who doesn't want me; no disappointment that no one does. Just lights shooting upward like mysterious creatures bursting from the depths of the sea.

I may be alone, but in this moment, beauty explodes in a display of wonder just for me.

Monday, May 14, 2012

An aunt for always

My mind is filled with babies this Mother's Day week.

My former sister-in-law, Kate, is pregnant with her third little one, due to be born on June 29th--my mom's sister's birthday and my parent's anniversary. I planned to visit her this month for what would be the first time in one-and-a-half years--the non-mother foolishly thinking that a woman 8 months pregnant with her third child under age 3 would be in any shape for visitors.

And I daydreamed...her going into labor a month early (I knew 36 weeks would still be healthy--I'm practical and thoughtful even in my daydreams!) I imagined that her sister would stay with the kids; that I'd have the honor of driving her to the hospital. The baby was coming right away, and with no time to wait for husband or mother, I dreamed she asked me to stay. Obviously my only concept of labour, beyond the very few stories I've heard, is from TV and movies, but I pictured myself letting her squeeze my hand until it bruised while she pushed; stroking her hair and telling her how brave she was in between. Then sobbing and laughing with her as she held her little one for the first time; being the only other person in the world who shared the secret of whether this precious child was a boy or a girl.

A daydream born, I imagine, of knowing that this being part of story, a miracle, is an experience I will never have: not as the woman giving birth; nor as the aunt, sister, friend or mother honored to be asked to stay in the room. Most of my friends had their children when I lived far away, many fight to have children at all.

I learned more about the reality of labor from Kate after her first baby was born than I've learned anywhere else. And I love her endlessly for it. She ushered me in to that sacred "mother world" that others share only with their other mother friends.

Katy, you are the only woman I know whose given birth to two babies that I've held within days of their being born. Thank you for always making me feel like I belonged there--in your mom and dad's living room--even after your brother and I had sold our house and I was living in Kitchener alone.

With my laptop broken for nearly 6 months, my only access to the myriads of photos I've taken is through what I've posted on Facebook. (Yes, those photos are backed up in several places--just none of them in this apartment!)

I scroll through the past few years of profile pictures: Kate's daughter, M., takes up most of the first year of her birth; her son J. pops up the next year, giving one special photo of me holding both my niece and nephew. And always, me smiling--a real, true, from the bottom of a heart filled with love smile, whether my eyes are focused on the camera or the baby.

The comments friends leave echo the happiness in my heart--the ubiquitious remark that I look so happy; that I'll be a great aunt. And I was. I will be.

Happy Mother's Day, Katy. Thank you always for sharing your children with me. Not being there makes the memories bittersweet, but they're some of the brightest I have from the past 9 years--memories precious and untainted by what happened next; a sweet breath of happiness that even a lost husband can't take away.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day--sorrow and surprises

This photo of my mother with her own mum, my Gram, was taken in August 2011, 4 months before Gram died unexpectedly. Although she was unconscious for around a week before she died, we didn't get the chance to say a true goodbye.

I'd forgotten this photo completely--the very last of the two of them together--then discovered this wonderful surprise on my camera. I zeroed in on their smiling faces, squinty eyes and all!; then printed and framed a copy for my mother and one for myself.

I have no doubt, with Mother's Day here, and Gram's birthday approaching, that this photo is a gift sent from heaven.

I've been too poor to buy gifts for several years now, and my sister's always been the one who's amazing at finding just the perfect present. But for this one day in my life, I feel I've done something right; a true surprise that my mom cried over and loved; something I hope she'll always cherish.

Gram lived her life fully, completely--right up until her last days in the hospital at age 86.

Today I honor both her and my own mom, but I reach far beyond that to all the woman I know--those with children, and those without.

I ask you to please be sensitive to those "wish-I-could-be-Mothers" in your life this weekend. Whether we're dealing with infertility, or impossible choices due to medical problems, age, poverty, or being alone, motherhood is a miracle that many of us long to, but may never get to experience. Many have also lost mothers or babies, some not-yet-born that you may never knew existed. Please be careful of ALL the women in your life. Our hearts are an ocean of secrets, so tread lightly; assume nothing, and show love and respect to all of us--mothers or not.

As women, we are joined by our strength; the sacrifices we make, and the fierce depth of our love.

You don't need a child to have something to fight for--and fight we do. Today I extend my congratulations just for being you. Keep fighting, my girls. The battle is not yet won.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This one goes out...

For the one I loved...

They finally know what's wrong with me, baby. Depression was just the tip of the iceberg.

It's called Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (Complex PTSD), and it encompasses everything--every single thing--that annoyed you so much about me. It was never really me, my love. Just another sign of my disease.

And they can fix me! It'll take tons of money no one has; months, more probably years of work. But I don't always have to be broken.

They recommend patients be in a safe, trusting relationship for optimal results. It's going to be a lot harder without you.

We could have been great. And we were. Imagine how wonderful we could be with these demons off my back; how happy we could have been together.

I blamed myself all along, yet it was never really my fault. Now that I'm aware of it--that I've never had my own identity--I can slowly develop one.

We made a promise, love: "For better or worse." But you won't be here for the better.

It's going to be a long road to healing, without us to look forward to; without you to help keep me from falling apart.

I wish you were here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wherever I go...

During the four months I spent in bed, my parents--for the first time in a lifetime of pain--finally realized that I really was sick, and stepped up to help me. They showed up ever few days to wash dishes, clean the cat litter and bring me food. And writhing in pain, I was thankful.

Suddenly, they were looking for an apartment above ground--somewhere better for my mental and physical health. A complete whirlwind--my mother and I looking at apartments in a building I could never afford; one with a seperate bedroom, large windows, and amazingly, a view of the river and bridge to the U.S. She was agreeing to pay the additional expense that my disability wouldn't pay; I worried about the strings attached, but was already caught up with the absolute beauty of these new surroundings. I pictured room for friends to visit; waking up to the light; doing stretches and Pilates; painting on huge canvasses; cooking healthy meals in my tiny kitchen. I saw myself healing, growing stronger, escaping my depression and anxiety; becoming someone I wasn't; discovering who I really was.

And in the frenzy of signing a lease, packing and planning, I forgot.

Weeks later, I remember--see photos on my Facebook of when I first moved to Sarnia nearly 2 years ago; remember the brilliant plans I made--exactly like the ones I made such a short time ago.

As my mom and a thoughtful friend packed up my kitchen, I ran errands. Walking, I had a complete meltdown. I wasn't supposed to stay here! I was supposed to be leaving Sarnia--escaping the total enmeshment between my parents and I. But it was too late, too late, already far too late. I begged my mother: Would they have helped me financially if I moved back to Kitchener, even Guelph? She didn't know.

I called my psychiatrist, Dr. Goodheart, begging for an extra-long session. Yes, I'm suicidal. But though that may be the only act that cries loud enough for those around me to see my pain, they know I'll never do it.

A friend stepped in to save me in the midst of a panic attack, listening to me blubber on the phone as I sat outside on a tree trunk, listening, caring, and discovering the practical things: that it was too late to get out of my lease. I was trapped again simply for being me--for following along; for forgetting that each time was always the same.

I carried my sobs into the midst of a basement filled with boxes, carefully packed, and begged to be sent to rehab. But where do you send a 34-year-old who's done nothing but try to please people; who thought too much to cut herself; starve away into oblivion--whose greatest sin was numbing herself so that she'd never truly felt the pain of all those years; who spoke of them as if they'd happened to someone else. Therapy and reading might be good for her in the long run, but the feelings had been hovering too close. With no one to turn to, she was terrified of what might happen if those thoughts broke through late one night alone. If instead of her wailing turning to numbness, it morphed into something much too strong for her to handle. If she were ever to feel, it would need to be amongst professionals--a safe place.

Dr. Goodheart and I identified my basic problem: "I'd been totally enmeshed with my parents all my life such that I'd lost my individual identity and was suicidal." He recommended moving away, as he always had. And then a source of hope, a center in BC, Canada that had been praised in the book When The Body Says No. I had ordered a catalog and was enthralled with nearly every course. Unfortunately The Haven wasn't a place you could stay at for a month--instead, it offered a variety of courses lasting anywhere from a week to several days.

I discovered two week-long courses taught back to back at a reduced fee. The teacher had actually studied for 20 years with the woman who invented the theory the courses would focus on--a name I'd heard over and over again in the latest book I'd been reading. Dr. Goodheart was thrilled--this same woman had been his professor during university and she was wonderful.

The perfect start to beginning again.

An impossibility for a 34-year-old child/woman living in poverty.

My new apartment is beautiful. The cats curl up on the bed together, staring out the window at the city. I want to love it here. I want to hug my parents close in gratitude for this gift of light and space. But wherever I go; there I am.

I gaze out at the water I love so much and feel nothing. Numbness has saved me; crying gets me nowhere because I don't know what my heart is trying to tell me; and until I sever this unhealthy bond in which I've lost all individual identity, I can never be my own person.

And so I wait--terrified that underneath the false self I've developed to please the parents I love so much, there's nothing left but tears and dust.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I wouldn't like me

Before you start reading...

I imagine you've noticed the execessive time lapse between post. Rather than trying to go back and write in order, I'll try to fill you in as inspiration strikes. As you read this post, keep in mind that it was written several weeks ago--the basic part being an email to a friend who'd asked about my new diagnosis (plural??!) Two things have changed since that have given me a bit of hope, so don't be confused if you already know what they are. We'll get to that later!

Oh, and if you'd prefer not to know intimate details about my health issues (yes, they're in intimate areas), please feel free to skip the relevant paragraphs. I don't know how to be anything but honest!


In December, right around the time that my Gram died, I decided that I was going to stop blaming my parents for everything; that I would stay for one more year in Sarnia, and that I would focus on healing (find a Pilates teacher, try acupuncture, eat healthily, deal with my emotional/childhood issues [okay, make a start on dealing with those issues], etc.)

Then I was hit with a bladder infection that wouldn't go away. The doctor tried 4 different antibiotics before telling me that nothing had pointed to an actual bacterial infection all along. I've been referred to a specialist, but essentially this means that I have Interstitial Cystitis (aka Painful Bladder Syndrome)--so I have the symptoms of an infection (the wall of my bladder is inflamed, bleeding and tearing), but there's no known cause and no cure. People with fibro and IBS (which I also have) often get it -- it all involves inflammation and is worsened by stress. Western Medical cures often make it worse or don't help, but because my only income is Ontario Disability (ODSP), the only thing that's covered are drugs. Blow #1.

Then I started realizing that I had additional symptoms that didn't fit with Interstitial Cystitis (IC). I couldn't wear any clothes that touched the area outside my body (meaning underwear) or even sit up straight on a chair or the couch. I knew that clothes with a tight waist causing pain made sense with IC because they put pressure on my bladder, but these symptoms didn't fit. Well, that's because I have another yet another chronic no cause/no cure diagnosis that started at the same time: Vulvodynia--excruciating pain in the entire area around my vulva (an ice pack between my legs is the only thing that helps). The closest explanation is that it feels like sandpaper scraping or knives stabbing.

So, I've spent the last 4 months either naked in bed, wrapped in a sheet on the couch, or in the bath. I can't even wear underwear--how painful would jeans be?

These latest difficulties in a life of one hell after another are baffling. I wasted most of my life with depression and anxiety, but when I finally made that all-important decision to let the past go--to learn from it, heal from it, and move on, I got slapped in the face with 2 more disorders that make me seriously consider suicide every day.

Suicide makes sense because I am now even more of a burden to the only 2 people who are a constant in this life in a town where I know I don't belong--my parents. With these 2 diseases, plus what I already have, it's impossible for me to work. I can't sit straight on a chair for more than a few minutes, and with the IC, I have to be able to run to the bathroom at any moment and stay there until my bladder decides it's empty. (Not to mention the constant pain.) Yet my disability income doesn't provide enough money to do anything else with the time I can't spend working.

The only way I can leave the house is by wearing a loose-fitting skirt or dress with no underwear that goes at least to my knees in case of a gust of wind. This is very impractical when one lives in Ontario. Driving anywhere is excruciatingly painful as it involves sitting. I can no longer do typical social things like swimming in a pool (chlorine), horseback riding (which I loved the 2 times I tried it), biking, or anything that involves being more than 5 minutes away from a bathroom, such as walking or going to the park with a friend and her kids.

I am essentially housebound. If I could find an appropriate wardrobe of nightgowns, dresses and skirts, I could build a life of entertaining at home. Unfortunately people's lives are busy and don't fit in with mine--nearly always, I've been the one to visit them. In the past 1.5 years, my parents have been a regular presence in my basement lair. Otherwise, I can count on one hand the number of other visitors I've had.

I understand why people can't visit. My few friends here in Sarnia have kids, and all my other friends now live at least a 2 hour drive away. Some don't have their licence; all are married, several with kids, and it's always made more since for me to fit my freelance life around their schedules. Normal people are busy--they have lives, friends, families, and committments. Dysfunctional people like me are so busy worrying about everyone else that they don't take care of themselves--the most they can manage is taking care of the cats, avoiding any place that requires spending money, and attending medical appointments.

Sure, I can offer a weekend near the beach to friends stuck in the city, but where's the fun in visiting a friend who can't take them out for ice cream or fries under the bridge because they can't afford the few dollars to buy their own? Who can't even comprehend how to feed and take care of a guest? Who, instead of a beautifully appointed guest room like all their friends, can offer only a couch in their living room or their own bed (which yes, is located in the kitchen--no doors in this apartment besides the one to the bathroom).

I am only too aware of what I've become: bitter. A person with nothing to talk about because she's lost all hope that at her age, life will get better. And with every book she reads, every conversation she has, realizes more and more how truly screwed up she has been for the 35 years she's existed. Make no mistake: if I met myself now, I sure as hell wouldn't want me for a friend.

Yet I love with all my being, leaving no room for myself. I hear about someone else's suffering and I cry and obsess and wish to God that there was something I could do to make it go away. But no one sees this part of me. They see anxiety, depression; someone who could fix her life quite easily if she'd just get out of bed and try; stay positive; go to church; stop complaining. They don't see the truth: that despite my seemingly happy childhood, emotionally I am the equivalent of a burn victim--stripped of all skin; screaming in pain at the slightest touch.

All those years spent trying to please others, smiling on the outside. And I succeeded--no one knew the truth. At this one thing, I have not been a failure, but I have failed myself. 35 years wasted being what others wanted me to be. I should have spent them screaming on the outside. Instead, I cried silently, so as not to bother others. And still I'm surprised that no one heard me.

I've been desperate enough many times in my life to consider offering sex for basic needs like food and rent. Now even my very womanhood has betrayed me.

Someone is laughing very hard at me right now.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Requiem for a marriage (written August 10, 2010)

I remember how our fingers danced towards each other as your friend insisted we couldn't be "just friends"

My shy smile mirroring yours, the electricity leaping between finger tips as they accidently brushed across the table

I remember the rush of filming whales in Boston, bracing myself against the boat, camera held tight inside my coat against the rain; losing, yet always finding you again

I remember the mini-donuts you'd buy--3 for you and 3 for me, fed from your fingers as our eyes held tight

Your eagerness not to lose me, running back into your house to scribble down your number as I waited in my friend's car

I remember your writing--all in caps--green marker on the inside of a gum package; the mix of courage, shyness and excitement as I picked up the receiver to call for the first time

I remember the first time you kissed me--hidden from our friends in the pool hall; your intensity and passion--the aura of joy and exuberance rising up all around you

I wanted in for the ride, to give you every piece of myself, yet pushed back and forth, afraid

I remember the Blackout--going to bed early and alone, the loneliness I felt as groups and couples danced excitedly outside the house; the beating of my heart as you knocked on my door to pull me out into the starlight; the joy that out of everyone it was me you wanted to spend that night with

I remember your gentleness; your patience with my tears; how afraid I was to lose you--and how my fear was what pushed you away

I remember 7 years spent together, flirting with you and you alone--yours the only validation I needed

I remember slumping on the floor against the couch, the grief of knowing that even begging wasn't enough to make you stay

I remember hope--you wanting to try again--how I held you close when you came in through the door, resting all my fears on your strong shoulders--how the world felt right again

And how those six weeks of you truly trying were the best we'd ever been

I remember finding your ring--tossed among a basketful of odds and ends, knowing that no words, no tears could keep you with me; knowing that I'd failed at loving you; that I loved you, but was never good enough

I remember driving in your car; how you'd turn down the radio when I spoke so you could hear

How no one can pack a box or trunk like you can; how no one can fix a computer like you

And how although you couldn't fix my every problem--and I didn't expect you to--I don't know how I'll solve the smallest puzzle without you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Where's my money tree?

I have 3 credit cards. When you work freelance, you learn that they're much safer than cash because you never know when your next paycheque is coming.

Unfortunately the recession stopped the flow of money, and when I tried to use a card last week, I discovered that I've reached my limit. With all 3 cards.

It's not that I've been spending much. Most of my debt is from the year post-recession when I tried courses and coaching in hopes of reviving my career. And from the year post-separation when I refused to ask for money.

The disability support the government gives me is saving me from spending thousands each month on medication, but once my rent is paid, I can barely pay the minimum on each card.

I'm afraid.

Poverty does wonders for depression, of course. I'm supposed to be getting out, planning things with other people. But the cost of a movie, or even an ice cream cone is too high.

My family takes pity on me--taking me out for a meal and picking up the tab. And I love them for it. But once again, I've become the charity case.

I make lists in my head of what I might possibly have left to sell; wondering who'd give me a fair price for what I have; regretting all I had to leave behind last year as I down-sized for each move.

The surest way not to spend money is to not leave the house.

And so I sit here, paralyzed with fear. Because when I'm afraid, I don't jump into action--I freeze.

Sleep makes the time go by.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Home is where

I've never understood those who struggle staring at an empty page as they wonder what to write.

When I wrote for magazines, I started with the research, preceded by the point behind the article, summed up in a witty line or two that seldom made it into print.

With personal writing, like my blog, I came to the page with a line or two already written in my head.

But these days, my head is filled with inconsequential noise: concerns about money; where to move; where in the world I might belong if such a place exists. Perhaps not so inconsequential, but more than I can handle now.

As the weather warms around me, I think of my house--the porch I'd sit on to read at night; the back yard where I'd sunbathe, hidden from the neighbors; the garden I dreamed of building; the office I'd only begun to decorate; the breeze of the fan above my bed as I napped.

I didn't know how much I loved that house until I had to leave it.

I'm a woman alone; living off the goodness of the government disability program--below the poverty line. In the vicious cycle where I can't afford the rehab my body needs to work, and thus can't work, so can't afford what I need.

I can dream big all I want, but woman alone + poverty seldom equals the ability to own a home. I'm not naive. I know our little starter home was the best I'll ever get. And it was he who got the mortgage--all alone--not me.

I regret nagging; regret my lack of appreciation; regret turning into the worst parts of my mother. All because I tripped on the steps the first time we saw the house; all because I was much too insecure to see his vision; and because those godforsaken kitchen cupboards reminded me of the battle scars of the PTSD of my childhood.

It was beautiful when we left--his dreams achieved, but far too late for me.

Home is...not another basement...alone.

Home is laughter, conversation, music, the sight of something outside larger than a slice of sky; a voice other than my own, that of a crazy cat lady speaking to her fur-children. Home is other people; other hands; other thoughts and opinions. Home is an invitation, a journey together--not a life sentence: forever and ever alone, amen.

The T-shirt I wear reads "Love Where You Live," but this is not living. As much as it hurts to know it, here is not my home.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This is the story of me

It's over now. 15 months and I've been replaced.

I tell myself how stupid I was to keep on hoping. And my broken heart grinds away into finest powder beneath his feet.


...if I'm the heroine of my own story--not the victim--I'd tell it a different way.

I'd be the brave one; who kept my vows, and kept on trying even when it hurt.

I'd be the strong one; who trusted the man I loved too much to just move on; to let someone else jump in and take his place.

I'd be the one who loved despite everything; who hoped against hope; not the girl who loved too much, but the woman who choose to love more than she had to.

I'd stand against the wind alone...and let it take me.

I refuse to let them steal my story from me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The fascinator

It seems I missed a lot by not watching the recent wedding between William and Kate. Even my father watched it the next day with my mother and grandma.

With no TV or radio, I receive news in bits and pieces, after the fact. I don't see movement, but I see words and photos of whatever matters to the writer of what I read on the internet. Everything comes second hand, filtered through the person who speaks to me, whether out loud or in writing.

To many women, the hats or "fascinators" the women wore to celebrate the royal nuptials were the true...fascination. (What other word is fit to use?) My grandma reminisced about hat-wearing; bloggers asked if I'd follow suit if fascinators became the style here in North America. My mother wondered, too.

Considering more than half the weddings I've attending have been as bridesmaid, bride or piano player, and that daily life gives me little other occasion even to dress up, I said it would have to depend--would I also be attending high tea, horse races and polo matches?

Life constrains us, doesn't it? Yes, you can wear a fascinator; yes, you can learn not to care if others whisper when you do. But where would you buy one? And would you wear it to the movies, dinner, or for a night at home with your husband?

Buy me a fascinator and I'm quite prepared to wear one. But please, along with it bring a place and time that I can sport my new decoration.

P.S. Costume parties don't count.
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