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I feel so relieved that I made it through a month again. I was so disappointed in myself for losing it in July. I just got a few days behind, and then I felt like I could not possibly catch up. I feel like I am filled with lead these days. Everything is heavy: my arms, my legs, my brain. I canít move quickly, I canít think quickly, and all I want to do is sleep.
I considered doing the 3-day novel writing contest this weekend, but I could not disappear for 72 hours without someone noticing.
For August, I decided to go through the whole story about "the girl" without checking too many facts. I decided I was going to just rely on my memory, and just try to piece together events that way. I started reading an interview with her in an Activist magazine, but decided to wait until after I had written to read it. So I am preparing to read it now, as well as looking up the "Squamish five" and the names of the individual to see what surfaces. A cursory search reveals quite a collection of information, more than I thought.
Wow, it seems that I was a bit off with the chronological order of events. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, the bombing of the Hydro substation and the Litton Industries bombing happened first; then the Red Hot Video bombings. I read the rest of the interview with "the girl", and was quite disturbed by her adamant support of the use of violence to forward a cause. Strangely, it was not only the violence part that bothered me, but the fact that in the Wikipedia entry and in the actual court document, which can be found online, she had renounced all violence.
There was also a CBC documentary made about the events, that was only aired once. It was made sometime in the late 1980's. The comments about the doc were that it was very one-sided, told from a very sympathetic view of "the girl's" involvement. I have not seen it, but those that have say that the filmmakers must have only spoken to "the girl" and not the others involved, because it showed them as being tough and almost bullying her into being taking part. She was much younger than the others, so it was easy to believe this premise.
The interview with "the girl" in the Anarchist/activist magazine is what has made me not believe that she was just an innocent young girl dragged along into a world of violence. Although she was apparently quiet and repentant during her trial, saying that she no longer believed that violence is the answer, she is speaking in this interview as if nothing had changed from when she was planning to bomb a video store at the age of 18. She would be the same age as me now. The interview took place when she was 44 years old, I think.
The reason I say that I don't think "the girl" was as young and innocent as she professed to be, because in this interview I am reading, she is spouting the same violent philosophy at 44 that she did at 18. Back then, she said in court that she was full of remorse, and no longer supported the violent cause that she had been involved in. But maybe that is not all that surprising, that more fuel has been added to the fire of her beliefs after spending years in prison. I should find out what prison she was in.
I am also going to read the public court document that describes the sentencing of all the "Squamish five". I am unsure who served what amount of time, but I'm pretty sure that I read somewhere that one of them, probably Ann the leader, served twenty years. See was much older than "the girl" at the time this happened, so that would make her in her fifties now. Ann wrote her memoirs while in prison. I was going to buy it from this Anarchist website, and then for fun decided to look it up on Amazon, and there it was.
I don't know why I thought that Ann's book would not be in general circulation. I guess I was thinking it would not be a book that a lot of people would want to read, but it was on Amazon and had many reviews too. They ranged from glowing praise to an absolute thrashing from somebody who felt it was written in a very childish manner, and did not give much insight into the real basis for the Direct Action cause. Anyway, I decided I would look it up in my local library, and again was surprised to see it.
I'm feeling now that there is something in this whole crazy story that I am going to end up writing about, but I'm not entirely sure why I am so interested in it. Now that I have said that out loud, it seems silly. Of course I would be interested. It's probably the most unusual event to have happened in this area that I can remember. Well, except the random feet that keep washing up on different shores around Vancouver. How many pairs is it now, seven? Oh, and Robert Pickton. Wouldn't that be weird if they were all connected?
Actually, "the girl" did mention in the interview in the Anarchist magazine, that she did have an encounter with Robert Pickton. I will have to look at it again, but I recall her saying that for awhile, I think before she came to our school, she lived in Port Coquitlam near where the famous "pig farm" is located. She had ventured onto the property just because she was curious about her peculiar neighbours and had been chased off the property by a man who looked like he was carrying a gun, or possibly a baseball bat. Lucky she got away.
So, my curiosity and interest in these events and these people also has to do with their brief brush up against my suburban, shletered life. "The girl" automatically gained people's attention because there was something about her that was not like the other people I knew. But I'm not sure about what that something is. I am a person that lives in the grey areas all the time. I probably seem undecided to some people, unable to commit to one cause. I could never be a Fundamentalist: I have always been able to see too many sides of one story.
Although I do find fanatics interesting, I don't feel that the folks involved in these particular events are fanatics. Listening to them speak they sound generally intelligent and reasonable. "The girl" speaks of being hurt by the rumours (true or false) that she "ratted out" the others, and about being abandoned by somebody who supposedly loved her. Of course, just because a person can experience being hurt, does not mean they are incapable of terrible violence and rage. Perhaps it makes them more capable? I don't really know or understand, and I think that is really why they interest me.
I am so far behind. Since last entry I have received notice from the library that the books I put on hold were available for pick up. So I now have Ann Hansen's book(the unofficial leader of "the girl's" urban guerilla group). I also picked up a copy of Joey Shithead's book, "I, Shithead: A life in punk". I can't believe that I am looking at these books. I have never been a person to look backwards: certain periods of my life I have not really wanted to remember. From about 1980 to 1983 is one of those periods.
The experience of going back to a library was one that made me feel I was falling back in time.I used to practically live in libraries, and I can remember in great detail the ones that i loved the most. The Summerland library was a place that I spent a lot of time in different periods of my life. There was one summer, I think it was 1988 or 1989, I can't quite recall. I had arrived back in Canada from Australia, and I was in a position to try and figure out what to do with my life.
That summer was one of the strangest and best summers of my life. I had decided to come back from living in Australia because I wanted to go back to school. I felt like I was drifting through my life and not really getting anywhere. I didn't know where particularly that I thought I was headed, but I just didn't want to coast anymore. I had been living in my sister's back pocket for years, and through a series of strange and enlightening panic attacks, and a feeling of dissociation, I realized that I wasn't living my life, but hers.
This was not the first time I had had that feeling. You would thin after the second time I would have figured out what was going on, and split myself from this person to go my own way, but I didn't. Not the second time, or the third time, or the fourth. You get the picture. I lived life as a poorly defined shadow, and I don't think I knew how else to do it. I had been very busy fitting myself into the shape of other people's shadows (it's not easier, it's actually harder), I couldn't recognize my own.
I am only now, at 47, starting to be able to see the faint outlines. Through the writing I have been doing here, and in my 'journal', I have started to rediscover the person that I once was, and am able to finally turn the spotlight onto my life without feeling that it wasn't really me that lived it. The past always looked to me like a series of still photographs in which somebody had painstakingly cut out all the pictures of me. I recognized the places and faces, but I couldn't tell you if I had really been there.
Through years and years of counseling, on and off, I think I understand the reasons why I did this. I no longer blame my parents, as I realized that the things they had to deal with were very difficult, and considering my Mom's inability to allow herself to feel any emotion, she did the best she could. I remember being absolutely shocked that my parents and my siblings were not the perfect human beings that I had made them out to be. They were human, as was I, and we were all just doing what we could to get by.
The problem is I feel like I have so many years to catch up on. I am trying, but I fond it hard not to feel angry at myself because there were so many things that I could have been spending my time doing, writing being one of those, instead of spending all my energy trying to make people think I was a perfect person, and that they couldn't live without me. You have no idea how exhausting that is. But I learned well. I was the best mirror, or chameleon, or whatever you call it that I could be.
But I realize that the thing it did do is make me a very, very keen observer. I have a talent that I can now safely use for myself that allows me to see into other people and their motivations. Great trait for a writer. What it also makes me is a terrible cynic. I see peoples' motives that they have for doing what they do and I have trouble, especially at work, pretending that I don't see through what they are trying to do. I see their motives behind their actions possibly before they even know what they are.
Now that I recognize these things in people's behaviour, and I am working on more honesty in my relationships, it makes me want to call people on their machinations and manipulations. I feel like saying,"don't think you're fooling me". But something stops me. Maybe this is not the right thing to do. Maybe just the knowing is the most important thing. This is for my own self-preservation. The reason that I came so close to disappearing altogether is that I did not listen to that voice inside me. I shut it out because it made life too complicated.
And I think because somehow I had gotten the impression that I was crazy and couldn't trust my intuition. I think I still believe this to a certain extent.
But back to that crazy summer in Summerland. My dad offered me a job working with him for the summer, from July to September when University started. So at 29, I packed my bags and spent the summer in the Okanagan living with my parents. Even though I was with them, I had plenty of alone time, and it was like I had been given the greatest gift in the world.
I began to understand more about myself in that summer than I had in my entire life. Even though, as I said, I was living with my parents, they had always had a firm understanding between themselves to not meddle in the lives of their children, and to let them figure things out for themselves. Although I kind of wished they had given me a little more guidance when I was younger, I was the last of five children, so the parenting had become pretty free and easy; this freedom was perfect for me at this time in my life.
What did I do that whole summer? Well, outwardly, it would look like I didn't do anything. I am a very internal person, my Myers Briggs profile is an INFP, which means I am extremely introverted (although nobody who knows me at work and such beleives this-I hide it well) and I relate to the world through pure feeling and intuition. The feeling part is something ridiculous like 85%. I honestly don't know how I have made it this far in my life. Suicide has been a consideration a few times.
INFPs make up only 1% of the population.
So for an INFP and Highly Sensitive Person (oh, Jesus), that summer spent away from all major influences in my life, both positive and negative, was probably the picture of an ideal way to spend time for the kind of person I am (see above). A typical day went something like this. Wake up about 7:00 to the glorious Okanagan sunshine, and a cup of tea in bed brought to me by my dad. This after having slept out on the deck, falling asleep looking up at the stars that are brighter than any you see in the city.
Then up for a shower and a delicious, healthy breakfast and fresh percolated coffee. This eaten outside on the patio in the gentle morning sun. There would be conversation, or sometimes not. Sometimes just reading the paper, or teasing each other about something. Around about 9:00, dad and I headed off to work, dressed in casual shorts, etc. For work we installed underground sprinklers. Fabulous. All day long out in hot sun, often with cows or horses milling around the fields with us. Their magnificence in close proximity a joy for a person who sometimes prefers animals over humans.
After a day of physical work, we would come home to relax in the garden, with a martini or a gin and tonic. Dinner, again outside and then the night was mine to read or relax, or go for long walks or bike rides, or I would take the car and drive up into the hills where the houses were few and far between, and all I could smell was the scent of pine in the soft warm breeze...and the quiet. Something I think I have craved all my life. Just some fucking peace to let my soul rest.
Peace seems to be an underlying theme, and something that has been difficult to attain in my life. I remember years ago attending a meditation workshop, and one exercise was to answer a number of questions immediately after coming out of a meditation. So the idea was not to think about your answers. The first question was, what do you want most in your life, and mt answer was peace. I think that surprised me a bit. I started to cry and I couldn't stop. I don't often cry in public. In fact I thought I was incapable of it.
So blah, blah blah. Me, me, me, me. When I started doing 100 words, I said to myself that I didn't want to write personal stuff. That it would be about observations of others and the goings on in the world that I would write about. I did start out that way, but it seems in this strange vacuum I have perhaps a false sense of safety and now do nothing but go on and on about myself. People reading this probably wouldn't believe that this is not a normal thing for me.
I can't believe what I am learning.
For some reason this morning I am stalling. I don't have anything at the ready, but that was no longer a fear for me, I thought. I have spent the last 25 minutes reading other peoples' entries for September-some truly beautiful work. I am now able to be amazed and pleased for other peoples' strokes of genius without feeling that I have lost something by doing so. My entire upbringing was about trying to hold everything for yourself, not giving anything to anyone else out of fear. That never really worked for me.
I am happy for the change.
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