Maladaptive Daydreams

I haven’t written in a while, but this is a realization I came to recently, which I am trying to put into words, which I am trying to remember… because in a lot of ways, it’s the key and last hope to change.

I live in a state of perpetual fantasy.

Since I was old enough to hold a pencil, I’ve been writing or drawing to escape the various cruelties of reality. These disappointments involve the usual boring clichés of early childhood; being overweight, daddy issues, not speaking the dominant language very well, pathological lack of self-confidence, anxiety, schoolyard bullying. Everyone has their burdens which ultimately carry through to adulthood. And everyone has their coping mechanisms. I long thought that didn’t have any. That I’d somehow been spared the perilous challenges of dangerous addictions and other destructive means of escape, for those like me who hadn’t learned how to properly deconstruct and deal with issues. I sort of wore that fact with a badge of honour, for a long time. “I’m better than you, I don’t self-harm to deal with my problems,” I thought.

But then I realized that was because I didn’t deal with them at all, because I was never really there to deal with them at all.

I would write love stories by hand, in secret notebooks carefully stashed between textbooks under my bed. I learned to draw so that I could insert my characters into the various romantic or adventurous situations that I never could, but that I craved. On commutes to the schools or jobs I hated, I’d pretend to sleep and instead retreat into my mind, where my fantasy world allowed me to create the reality I truly wanted. Instead of classes and responsibilities, there were quests and beauty. Instead of dealing with the endless potential for disappointment and neglect which humans have in regards to the planet and each other, I’d imagine worlds where everyone was respectful, close to nature and each other. My worlds are beautiful, accepting and enriching… and I still spend as much time there as I possibly can.

This was something I’d done subconsciously for the better part of my life.

I realized recently, that I’ve been living almost exclusively  in my head for over 25 years, since those first experiences when I learned about the true, harsh nature of reality. When I realized that Princes don’t come and save you, that there isn’t some magical cat that’s going to grant me magical powers, that I can’t just become an award-winning career person through sheer force of wishing. 

Living is hard. People are cruel, competitive, untrustworthy. Disappointing. Heartbreaking. I still don’t understand how people are able to get over this. I never have been able to. People live for the hustle. I live for avoiding it. And yes, I know how disgusting that sounds. 

I was excited and hopeful once. However, as I progressed through my teens and into my twenties, I found myself rocked and traumatized every single time, by people’s ability to hurt others; by the overwhelming heartbreak which seems to be woven into life, and my shameful inability to work hard enough, or to be strong enough to deal with any of its fabric. To live is to hurt and be devastated time and time again, I realized, and though I was told that the upside was “becoming stronger”, I have never found this sort of lesson alluring. Call me sensitive or weak, but while the educational nature of these abrasive experiences might strengthen some people, they have only served to cause me to retreat even further into the safety of my mind. 

I’m smarter now maybe, but I’m further from reality than I’ve ever been. The older and more unaccomplished I get, the further and further away my mind drifts. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle. I’m trying to figure out what ultimately was the catalyst of this retreat. I still haven’t. I’m still trying. 

I’m still trying because in those moments when I am faced with my true reality, I am impossibly disappointed and ashamed of myself, and somewhere deep inside, I still haven’t given up on the idea that I might be able to function normally in the real world. I’m writing this at work, so clearly I haven’t figured it out yet. 

I have never worked hard on my real life, because it has always hurt or bored me. Instead, I have toiled on the joyful tasks of constructing such a rich fantasy life that my real life has become an exercise of minimal effort. Of “good enough”s and of lowest common denominators. Of scraping by as fast as I can, just so I can spend more time in my head, where things are loving and easy. The only positive sides are the creative skills I have developed to help craft this fantasy life into representations in reality, to be able to share these with some others who understand. Those are the only useful applications of myself I have been able to translate into reality. The only joys I find in reality, are those which come from my head and sharing them with the few other people who understand this affliction.  

As such,  I am ill-prepared for the perpetual challenges of real life. I am weak. I don’t wish to fight, because the promise of better things is but a daydream away. In my mind, I don’t have to try so hard to fit in, to be accepted, to love myself, which are all seeming impossibilities in the real world. But unfortunately, everyone has to live in the real world and ultimately, my imagination has become a band-aid. A crutch. An addiction. 

As such, I live in the ironically dual state of perpetual fantasy and permanent disappointment with myself.

In some sense, it’s a relief to understand it. To put it in writing. But in another way, it might as well be a pre-emptive epitaph explaining why my life was an utter failure.

I am no better than the addicts, than those who drink or do drugs, or watch television to escape. And I have realized that to progress in the real world, I might have to to destroy all I have created. To let go of the freedom and joys of childhood that have grown up inside me into beautiful, comforting things. I’m not sure I am willing. 

And so, I am in a perpetual state of flight.

And nothing flies forever. 

Maladaptive Daydreams


One thing I’ve come to realize through my journey on this sad little planet is that I’ve always operated under the baseline assumption that I am not enough.

No matter what situation I approach, I assume I will have to catch up.

I assume people will think the worst of me.

I assume I will fail.

And most ingrained in all of my basic functioning is that I always assume that I am a burden to others.

In short, I unconsciously presume in all of my interactions, all of my decisions and in all of my actions, that I am fundamentally flawed: that I am not enough, no matter how hard I try. I am less, no matter what.

There are a number of reasons why I have come to assume these things, but that has taken me literally four years of therapy to untangle. I won’t get into it.

One thing I will say though, is that it is a terrifying realization.

I suppose part of therapy is learning to become aware of your mind’s automatic responses to things in order to hopefully realign them more healthfully, and one of mine, I’ve learned, has always been “aw but you’re not good enough for that” as a baseline hypothesis to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I do. It’s not even a matter of being self-pitying or wanting attention, or being depressive. Up to this point, it’s been entirely subconscious, and I’ve only recently become aware of it.

This is something I’ve now realized has become part of my fundamental makeup, a baseline operator in how I actually perceive reality, as insidiously obvious as how I see colour or how I know coffee is hot. Like a fundamental truth you take for granted, because you don’t have time every day to question, re-evaluate and then marvel at the fact that yes, coffee is indeed hot. It’s ingrained beyond emotional response; it’s become a rational fact.

In short, if everyone begins at a zero on the axis, I automatically begin the race at a -10.

Again, I can’t stress enough to you how absolutely terrifying realizing that is.

For those who know me, it might even have seemed blatantly obvious from the outside looking in, but to me, it’s been like discovering that every single thing you’ve ever done in your life, every thought you’ve had, was being undermined by some evil little gnome you didn’t even know was there, driving the train the entire time. Redirecting your life towards darker places when all along, you just thought that’s what the normal itinerary was.

To continue with the questionable metaphors, it’s kind of like if realizing that your house is built on an ancient burial ground for evil gnomes; shit’s been flying all over the place for years causing all sorts of damage to anyone and everything in there, and well yeah; now it finally makes sense. But your foundations are fucked big time after all those years of quakes and poltergeist, and you’ve got no choice but to stay; there’s no moving out.

So what do I do? Call a priest? Is it too little too late?

After all, becoming aware of a problem doesn’t exactly solve it, and I’m fresh out of gnome-be-gone.

I wrote about this because I’m feeling absolutely drained lately. Completely depressed, completely unhappy with where I am in life. I’ve failed at everything, and I don’t feel like I’m enough for this world, or for anyone. Not strong enough, not smart or hardworking enough, not resilient enough for all of the things I wanted in life. Not gutsy enough, not confident enough, not kind enough, not organized enough, not determined enough, not responsible enough, not anything. These are on repeat in my head constantly. I don’t think I need to explain that it’s a horrible, helpless feeling. Like you’re already too late. Like you’ve failed before even realizing what it is you wanted, before you’ve even begun. I’m entirely envious of those who don’t have that soundtrack in their brains, who don’t have that weight shackled to their foot as they face their own challenges.

And knowing why it feels this way is barely a consolation. Realizing you’ve sabotaged yourself without meaning to for years, is wholly unsatisfying. If anything, it only contributes to feeding the gnomes even more. It’s terrifying. Because I’m not strong enough.

I’m fighting a perpetual battle against myself, while fighting the battles that life throws at everyone.

And I’m losing.





Me Too. Duh.

Image (c)

Disclaimer: I can only speak as a white woman, which comes with an admitted amount of privilege, I realize full well. These are some of the things that nevertheless have happened to me, that I wish to share. (Sexual harassment / abuse trigger warning. )


There’s a lot of bad shit happening in the world, and I don’t even know where to start with most of it.

The truth is, every time I sit down to write about something, or get behind a cause, there’s another Bad Thing™ that rears its head and calls for attention and protest. Like a lot of people dealing with the effects of social media I’m sure, I wrestle every day with which cause should constitute my priority, and feel bad that I simply don’t have the energy to physically care about every Bad Thing that happens. I wish I did.  I wish more people cared, too. But I get why they don’t, or can’t. Caring in the face of such a tremendous amount of Bad sometimes feels like holding a candle in a hurricane: scary, intimidating and inevitably, there’s a large piece of shrapnel (or a flying bovine) that’s gonna bury itself in your cranium at some point, turning you into a witless vegetable in face of the storm. These days, trying to manage the relentless avalanche of crap cascading onto my timeline/dashboard is more perilous than being up shit’s creek without a battle. In fact, in terms of my personal mental health, it’s more like navigating in a tumultuous, gale-blown ocean without a boat, or arms. …Good luck with that.

Still, today I’m sitting down to write because if there’s one thing that’s been an unfortunate constant in my life, despite the comings and goings of Bad Things each more horrifying than the other, it’s the reality of sexual harassment. Given the recent revelations regarding Weinscum, like many others out there, I’ve found the subsequent #MeToo campaign to be a painful wake-up call (or simply a quantifiable reminder, for most) for how rampant sexual abuse really is.

And honestly? DUH.

First off, I wanted to say that I’m furious that it took a rich white man’s public fall from “grace” to make the world actively take heed about the fact that this happens. All the time. Every day, on a disturbingly huge scale. It wasn’t enough that victims spoke out. It wasn’t enough that there were dozens of witnesses. It took a mountain of effort to dethrone this guy after years of abuse of power, for anyone to even notice, nevermind acknowledge his transgressions. But I suppose I should be grateful that it even happened at all because unfortunately, the outing of this sort of predator is a rarity.

Because the thing is, it’s all about power. It’s about one person exerting his or her power over others to justify abuse, violence and to compel silence. And as eye-opening as #MeToo has been in the wake of this person’s uncovered abuses, I feel it is a bit incomplete despite its positive intent. It succeeds in starting the conversation, or at least uncovering it, and that’s an extremely good thing. However, #MeToo falls just short from pushing the conversation forward. I believe this is because no one should force victims to share their stories if they don’t want to, but I also think that many victims might feel like they would not be heard anyway.

So I will share. Because I should be heard, and so should you. I am hereby reclaiming my power, because they don’t deserve my silence.

These are some of my experiences:

  • Having it being said, during a meeting with 5 of my colleagues, that I “spend a lot of time on my knees” because I had knelt down to pick up a piece of fallen paper. Enduring my colleagues’ subsequent silence and uncomfortable stares, and having the perpetrator, my boss, yell at me in a private meeting when I brought it up with him later, for daring to accuse him of misconduct and for trying to ruin his reputation.
  • Having a colleague sitting down at my table during a staff retreat while I was alone, and telling me that he owed me an apology. This was because he claimed he was trying to make amends with the fact that for years now, he’s only ever thought about my breasts and the breasts of other female colleagues in the office when talking with us.
  • Having this aforementioned colleague ask me to meet him in a professional context in his office under the pretense of having me illustrate a project of his, only to have this project be about a character representing himself, who walked around naked and whose sole purpose was to do battle with his sexual ardour (represented by a large red penis he wanted me to draw on the character – I could NOT make this up.)
  • Having a stranger accost me from behind in the metro when I was about 16 years old, and whisper “hey pretty girl, want to come with me?” directly in my ear.
  • Having my boss comment on my appearance several times during the day whenever I would wear red, because I “look like Snow White”. I never wore red again. That same boss would invade my personal space and constantly comment on the appearance of female staff, but no one would say anything because he was very high up in the ranks.
  • Having a colleague whom I’d never spoke to in person  tell me over Google chat after I helped him correct a document, that I was “the prettiest girl in the office, everyone says so” completely out of nowhere. Again; I had never spoken to or met this man in person before.
  • Having a travel booking agent we deal with solely over the phone begin to ask me, unprompted,  if I had a boyfriend, if I “liked to party”. Once more, I had never met this man in my life, and only ever spoke to him in a strictly professional context.
  • Having to hear a gang of young men berate my friends and I with slurs and insults because I dared talk back to them after having had enough of them making sexual comments every time we’d pass them in the entrance of my apartment building (where they would deliberately block the way and harass women). They threatened physical violence and that they’d find my mother and fu*k her, among other things. A security guard and subsequently the police had to intervene.
  • Having to dodge a taxi driver’s inappropriate comments and propositions upon having to sit in the front with him, because the cab was full. He asked us to return to his place with him, because his other job was being an “actor”in a lot of adult films.
  • Having a stranger’s hand shoved under my skirt and into my privates while I was dancing with my friends, and subsequently having the perpetrators follow us around the club until we had to talk to security to get them kicked out.
  • Being accosted at 1AM on the street on my way home from my sister’s birthday party in a residential neighborhood, and subsequently being called a bitch and a cunt repeatedly while he followed up the street until I yelled at him aggressively to leave me alone. I was violently firm in my tone for him to “fuck off” but was almost never so scared in my entire life.
  • Having a teenage boy tell me, while I was in line at a restaurant after having seen a play, that I had “big tits, yes you do, look at those big tits”. Fortunately that time, I yelled him out of the place, asking him if that’s how he spoke to his mother. However, I never wore the dress I’d been wearing again, which I previously had thought was pretty.
  • Finding out that I’d only been invited on what I thought was a “friends” trip with trusted people (that I had known for years), because the host wanted to hook up with me. When I refused him, he proceeded to not speak to me for the entire time, and eventually told me he wanted me to leave. I was a 6 hour flight away from home, and terrified. My other “friends” did not defend me, even though they knew exactly what had happened, because I told them.
  • Frequently waking up with a non-consensual penis in my mouth, because he justified that I was “in a relationship” and that’s “just how things are” sometimes.
  • Dick pics.
  • Being threatened with having my “beheaded French-Canadian bitch skull f*cked” on numerous occasions by an online stalker who I had to threaten with a restraining order after years and years of this sort of abuse. By the time I’d asked the police as well as the internet platform in question’s for advice on this, I’d blocked about a dozen of his usernames, but he would keep returning to my page via an IP blocker, and making personally-directed sexual threats. To this day, I still have no idea who this person is/was.
  • Discovering, after a boyfriend had left indefinitely for another country and left me his laptop, a number of videos he had taken of us during intimate moments, without my knowledge or consent. He also had videos with a number of other women I did not know. I was fortunate enough that the hard drive was destroyed and that this took place before the days of streaming porn sites.

I could go on, as this is just scratching the surface of the worst experiences I’ve had. This doesn’t even cover the experiences that people (of varying genders) I know and love had had to go through. I had one girl I barely knew from class break down into tears one night in my car as I drove her home, because she was too scared of her ex boyfriend to go home. He had broken in the previous night and sexually assaulted her. I drove her to her sister’s further away instead. Another male acquaintance of mine had been cornered by a woman in a bathroom while he was too intoxicated to refuse her advances but he never spoke about it, for fear of people not believing that a man wouldn’t want sex.  I’ve had to hear about my sisters being harassed and persecuted for orientation. Those are just some examples, from a handful of people I know. Out of thousands.

Ridiculously enough, despite all of these and more, I still consider myself “lucky” that my situations weren’t worse. Because I’ve always known that worse happens, and felt I had no right to speak up. That admitting to being victimized meant weakness, assumes attention-seeking, or worse, involves blame. We’re taught that we’re supposed to feel grateful for not being abused more, which assumes a baseline of deservingness for such action.

But the truth is; no matter how big or small the abuse is/was: nobody deserves it.

And I believe you.

Speak out. Denounce sexual harassment and abuse. Help make the world safer.


Me Too. Duh.


I feel displaced.

A pair of the most formerly party-hearty friends that I frequented a decade ago, just had their first child.

In fact, most of my friends from a decade ago have had children. Plural. This isn’t new.

…I can say “a decade ago” and not have that feel abstract.

Because I remember most of what I was doing, as a fledgling adult.

I was free to make my own decisions, to live independently, to have fun with my friends. It was exciting.

Now that I’m well into the third year of my thirties, this freedom has changed in its nature. I didn’t see it happen. It was a gradual, insidious change, as subtle as the first hints of autumn. A crispness below the endless sunshine.

This freedom, once exhilarating, is now twinged with bitterness, just like the faint scratches pulling at the corner of my eyes.

I feel old.

Like I have somehow missed the boat towards a direction that everyone else implicitly understands, and I am left standing on the shore while the Arc sails away from my grasp. My future is this island where I am left only to my meandering anxieties and small  occupations;  the only distractions left to comfort me in the wake of a childhood full of naive hopes long since extinguished. And I stand helpless, as the gap between myself and the comforting certainties of Life inevitably widens, carrying away all the others I have encountered to the other side. They sail away happy; certain. Full.

I feel alone.

There is no comfort for an aimless thirtysomething like me.

No time left to “Figure It Out”, as they’d all promised I would.

Another false hope.

Another wrong path.

There is no sympathy for us lost adults.

The encompassing uncertainty that inhabits me is no longer the endearing hesitation of your twenties, it’s the off-putting disappointment of missed opportunities.

Others don’t know what to say. They do their best, waving from their boat as they can. They smile and wave, because the truth is too difficult to discuss or deny.

I am surpassed. I am lost.

I am too late.

Left marooned on the shore of my pretty little island, filled with frivolous occupations… I am too late to go somewhere greater.


The same tune

Dat feel when your depression is so intense that every minute of every day feels intolerably pointless, to the point that you need to escape to the dubious comforts of a bathroom stall to collect yourself amidst the overwhelming hopelessness to breathe and convince yourself that you can get through the next hour; that you can act normally enough so as to fool those nevertheless well-meaning people around you into believing that you’re not consumed with an all-encompassing self-hatred and bilious contempt for humanity.






Just me then.

The same tune

One of those days

Same shit, different day.

This is one of those days where I’m having trouble staying on top of it. Staying even remotely human, never mind positive.

I have no motivation. No direction. No self-love, today.

It’s all anxiety and hopelessness. The days have been melting into one another, and I’m just left feeling pointless and old. Worn.

I’m having trouble faking to everyone that cares about me that I’m fine. I haven’t been fine for months. There are bleeps of happiness of course, but the rest of the time, when I’m left to my thoughts… I’m really just a mess. Worse than I’ve ever been. Just anxious, existential and literally feeling like my chest will explode with frustration.

I want to do something about it, or with it… but my mind is just a jumbled mess of false-starts and half-formed ideas.

I just don’t know.

One of those days


As a Canadian I don’t have much right to say anything about this, but for real… I am so distraught today.

I can’t believe Trump happened.

I can’t believe a guy who condones sexism, racism, and the discrimination of minority groups was elected to the most powerful office on Earth, arguably.


I guess it’s time to give up. The world really has gone to shit.