Full of Fear

Journal Entry January 19, 2013

Tomorrow marks the end of this program for me.  After that day, I will be ‘free’ to move about the world again.  A world that is not buffered by gentle group meetings where connections are made between others that suffer the wounds inflicted upon them, by self or by society.  Where there is no time or money for private daily therapy sessions that endeavour to uncover the root of the evil inside.  Where colouring a mandala to settle a troubled spirit is considered elementary and downright odd.  Where intimacy involves virtual strangers being brought together to battle the beasts within, and then finding true camaraderie and love as a reward for baring a battered soul, and for listening to those that presently share the same fate.  This is the world that I know.  The world that I feel safe in.  The world as it should be.

I am afraid I have no interest in joining the ranks of the chaos that exists beyond these double panelled steel hospital doors.  When I leave this building I am exposed to the cruel reality that has sent me plummeting, how many times before?  Dare I even try to count the times where being committed to a hospital has saved my life, literally and figuratively?  And yet the average person would think that a long term mandated stay in a psych hospital was something to be avoided at all costs.  Do they even recognize the brutal existence in which they live in the outside world?  The cut-throat actuality that honours the brawniest and most savage of beings as the victors in the Game of Life?  And tomorrow afternoon I am to be sent into that vast jungle and expected to thrive because of the tools I have collected during my stay in this cocoon.  Have I grown to be an exquisite butterfly where I can stretch my beautiful wings and fly out across the city to face my new and improved destiny?  Or am I yet a tender larvae, unready to break through the silky folds of my present environment, but being forced out onto the planet just the same?  I am full of fear.  I should be full of hope.


January 22, 2017

Living in fear is a terrible thing.  There was no moving forward when my existence was defined by fear.  It strangled the life out of every other emotion, until Fear became my constant and only companion.  It accompanied me everywhere.  Not that I was traversing around very much.  I had become afraid to leave my own house.  But Fear settled like a sour acid in the pit of my stomach.  It wrapped tightly around my chest, squeezing the life out of me so my breath became shallow and uneven.  It filled my head like a toxic gas, its vaporous tendrils enveloping my brain and swaddling it in anxiety and fearful thoughts.  So imprisoned was I by my fear that I became completely unable to cope in the world I was afraid of.

Over time I have learned how to combat my fear when it arises.  I know that nothing is permanent, and that thought helps me realize that the fear I am feeling at the moment will pass.  I have learned how to stop and focus on my breathing when I notice my heart is racing ahead, and my breath is getting laboured.  I can clench and unclench my fists in an effort to get the blood moving to other parts of my body.  When I do this, I become more in tune with how my body is feeling and I concentrate less on my emotional state.  The movement in my hands also acts as a diversion from the thoughts in my mind.

I no longer cultivate such a jaundiced view of the world in which I exist.  That interpretation was ruled by the fear in my heart.  Fear will always be in my repertoire of emotions, as it must be.  It is necessary to experience fear when danger abounds so I can think and act to remove myself from the situation.  But it needn’t control my every waking moment.  Fear has its place within the universe, and I thankfully, have mine.


The Leg of the Journey

Journal Entry January 17, 2013

Feeling very black.  That old compressed feeling where the ceiling seems to be forcing my head into my neck hung about me today.  I couldn’t even lift my eyebrows under the apparent weight of this burdensome pressure.  Moving though my groups was like slogging through a bog.  Assertion.  Self-love.  Resiliency.  Anger.  What are they teaching me, and why is it so difficult to learn these lessons?  And who are these people that are going along for the ride with me?  Where have they come from and what do they want?  And why should it matter to me?  Because it does matter.  They and their behaviours affect me and impact on my reality.

Today S dismantled our morning group again.  The group was about unhealthy thoughts, and her negative interjections wrecked any chance for the rest of us to benefit from our guest leader’s expertise.  The key to the lesson was in the group activity at the end, which we didn’t even get to engage in because S demanded so much time and attention.  Just ruminating about her behaviour makes my insides boil because I am at a point where I know I need to learn how to live another way.  I won’t make it much longer on the path I have trodden for all these years; a path riddled with gaping holes that threaten to swallow me whole and deposit me into a bottomless void.  I NEED to escape myself, and the only way I can achieve this goal is to change all that I know.  To change all that I am.  And I need help to do this.  I am on my knees grovelling for an assistance I never dreamed I would ask for.  And my receiving it is threatened by the actions of one girl who herself is lost and suffering.  A girl not unlike me, but one who is on a different leg of her journey.  A leg I know all too well.  A leg I have no interest in travelling anymore.


January 15, 2017

I am left wondering how many times I have been the ‘S’ in some other girl’s journey to recovery.  Caught up in my own self-hate and destructive ways, oblivious to those around me and how my  actions affect their realities, as well as my own.  Because we are all interrelated in some way in the every day comings and goings that make up life as I know it.  What I do, no matter how much I intend it only to affect myself, will touch other people around me, too.  Both those whom I know, and those who I don’t know.  That can be a scary thought.  But it can also be an incredibly empowering one.  I have the ability to make a positive impact on the world in ways that can be great, or little.  It is within my power to be a force of good, pure light to people and animals.  I have only to choose a thought, and couple it with a course of action that can be beneficial to all that it touches.  This is the leg of the journey I now traverse.  May it be long, and intermingled with many others like it.

Telling Time

Journal Entry January 16, 2013

Today I feel a little bit glum, although after I got up I dressed nicely, dabbed on some of my favourite perfume, styled my hair, and arrived at my session early!  Wow!  I haven’t done so many tasks in succession in a long while.  AND in an attempt to make myself presentable!  I haven’t cared about doing that since I don’t know when.  The fact that I got to my destination early, even if it is just a walk down the hall, is also mind-boggling.  I’m NEVER on time.  In my family I am famous for showing up to a planned event over an hour late…or more.  I don’t know where the time goes.  I try to get to places on time.  No one believes that, but it is true.  Somehow during the time I am getting ready I drift off.  I’m not even aware that I am doing it.  And when I become conscious of my actions again, I find myself staring fixedly at the paint on the wall.  Or at the fibres of the towel I have used to dry my hair.  Or at the grain of the wood on the hardwood floor.  Or anywhere really.  I seem to be examining whatever I am looking at extremely closely without knowing what it is that I am doing.  My mind floats to somewhere else and time passes unbeknownst to me.  What it is I am thinking about I have no idea.  Or IF I am thinking about anything.  My brain is a vapid space, a wasteland where thought does not exist.  When I realize I am sitting on the bed, or on the floor doing nothing, I get up and proceed to get ready.

At some point I think to look at one of the clocks I have sprinkled generously throughout my house, and I am aghast at how much times has passed.  In a panic, I rush through my routine and prepare to leave the house.  But even my ‘rushing’ is dialled back from the regular definition of what “rushing” means.  My every movement is slow and deliberate, and I seem incapable of moving quickly.  My limbs feel dreadfully heavy and weighted down.  My head is a giant boulder on my stick frame, balancing precariously.  It’s as if my body functions have slowed down to match the speed of which my brain is able to process.  The resulting consequence is that I am late…for everything.

But not today.  I wonder what Dr. F would make of that?


January 8, 2017

In my world today, I feel it is imperative that I arrive on time.  Whether it’s to go to work, or a family function, or a rehearsal, or an appointment, or a meeting, be it personal or professional, or…and so on, ad nauseam.  Am I able to achieve this goal?  For the most part, I think I am.  But I still struggle with time and the management of it.  To wake up early in the morning for work, I have five alarm notifications set on my phone in 25 – 30 minute increments so my rise from slumber is gradual.  As I strive to arrive at work by 7:45 AM, I have to start ‘waking up’ at an ungodly hour.  Then I have a few more alarms set so I know how much time is passing between the normal activities that are involved in getting ready to leave my home.  How crazy is that?!  I do not move as colossally slowly as I did back then, but nobody is going to award me the gold medal of speediness any time soon!  The rest of my day is not stridently organized like my morning practice, but I seem to need this particular regimented schedule at the beginning of the day in order for me to arrive at work on time.

I am also better at focusing on the task at hand.  It is not often that I find myself on my bedroom or bathroom floor when I am prepping to go out, unable to account for the past 45 minutes.  It still might take me longer to organize myself for an outing, but I am now able to concentrate and propel myself forward towards my destination.

To me, the hardest part of being perpetually late, was in having people believe that I thought my time was more important than theirs, so it didn’t matter when I arrived.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Instead, I was acutely aware of how important the people in my life were, and how worthless I was.  I didn’t feel like I deserved to be with them, so it was hard to get myself there.  The fact that I showed up at all is an amazing feat in and of itself.

The most pertinent lesson I learned about time is telling.  It is a message that I have only embraced within this past year.  So much time has gone by, frittered away in a kaleidoscope of lost and lonely years.  But I now know one thing for sure; the passage of time has taught me that Time itself is too precious a commodity for me not to be accountable for it, in all of my waking moments.




Journal Entry January 15, 2013

Today I don’t want to be here.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps I feel impatient and I want to move on.  I am restless, that is true.  But I have nowhere to go.  There is nothing out there for me.  And if there was, I wouldn’t be able to cope with the reality that would be confronting me.  I don’t seem able to manage any aspect of living that presents itself to me.  Instead of meeting a challenge face on, I cower uncontrollably in one spot.  Fear wraps its crippling fingers around my throat and squeezes until my eyes feel like they will burst violently out of their sockets.  My breath becomes ragged and laboured, and I gasp for air in an attempt to control my breathing.  As I fight for my breath, I find myself slowly slipping down and forming a pool of defeat on the floor.  Overcome and fatally fetal.

To date, I have not made any concrete plans about my near future, other than asking P to help me get my resumes out for teaching positions next year.  This in itself is a major step towards rising from the abyss to attempt an approach on Life, one more time.  Without the help of the courses I am taking in the hospital, I would not have been able to even contemplate such a task, let alone face the ensuing repercussions that will come from such an act.  I don’t know when this will occur, but Dr. F said just having asked P shows me and him that I have made a little progress since I began this program.

I wish I shared his enthusiasm.  To counter this, yesterday I spoke with A.  On her volition, we began brainstorming how and who to contact regarding starting a program like the one I am in, within the school system.  She became increasingly excited as her plan began to percolate in her mind.  For me, however, the more we talked the more overwhelmed I became.  I could feel myself sinking into the pit of my stomach, on a feeble raft that would not withstand the enormous waves that were occurring in my gastric juices.  I began to feel physically sick as my tummy churned and the back of my neck got damp.  Beads of sweat began to gather at my hairline, while the sensation of lightheadedness washed over me, leaving me dizzy in my seat.  When I felt like I might pass out, I pushed my chair back abruptly and hastily excused myself.  A seemed surprised, but she let me go.  I rushed to the ladies restroom and locked myself in a stall.  Why is ‘overwhelm’ my ‘go to’ response?  I feel defeated before I even begin anything…everything.  I don’t give myself a chance to even contemplate a, “What if?”  That’s not exactly true.  But the, “What if’s?” I ponder about all have to do with failing.  And I really don’t have to think about that at all.  I know I can fail…spectacularly.


January 2, 2017

As I read the above, I get the sense that I was reluctant to accept the fact that I might be getting somewhere.  That after so many years of false starts and mind-numbing depression, it was almost impossible to believe that an alternative existence could occur.  ‘Hope’ was not an entity that existed for me.  I had long since given up believing that good would come my way.  The development of the habit where I believed I did not deserve, happened so long ago.  I had cultivated that thought from the time I was a small child of five.  I might not have been able to state that back then, but the belief was as real to me as the glasses I wore on my face.

Any change for me is difficult to accept, whether it be positive or negative.  I struggle to maintain the reality I presently exist in, for fear the change that will inevitably transpire will be worse than the reality that encompasses me now.  So I kick, and scream, and pull out my hair until I am forced to adapt to the actuality that greets me. But I am learning that moving forward, or for that matter, any direction but backwards from where I am now is progress because it is a chance to change myself and my settings.  Change is not necessarily good or bad.  It is just change.  Whether I progress forward from it or not depends on the decisions I make as it approaches.


Happy New Year!  With the advent of the New Year, I must return to my place of employment.  As it is a demanding occupation, I will only be able to write in my blog once weekly.  I would like to write in it every day, but presently that is not possible.  Please continue to read, knowing that the frequency with which I write will be slightly diminished.  Thank you for reading, and I wish you all the very best the New Year has to offer!


The Act of Being Grateful

Journal Entry January 10, 2013

It has been a long day.  I’m tired of being in groups.  Groups that change and reform for each new session we do.  It’s hard to make connections with people, but I guess we are not here to make life-long friends.  In fact, the whole place reeks of detachment.  It drips from the ceiling and is blown out through the hot air vents.  It’s interwoven into the fabric of the chairs we sit on.  It leaks out of the coffee urns that are placed in strategic, low traffic areas around the rooms so there will not be a general place for patients to gather in.  Even the nurses and counsellors are cloaked in it.  They only seem obliging when THEY approach you, and not the other way around.  Everyone’s agenda seems to be to glean whatever information they can from the resources around them, and then hightail it out of here.  And I am looking to meet people I can talk to.  People who have travelled a road similar to mine, who are willing to share and to listen.  But as I think of it, who would want to talk to me, or relive any of the nightmare they have experienced through a friendly chat?  Again, I am on my own.  The Purple Sheep Syndrome.

I should be grateful for this opportunity.  I should be thanking Dr. F profusely for hooking me up with this agency.  I should be reverently gobbling up whatever self-help information there is that is thrown my way.  Digesting it carefully in the evenings as I revisit the day’s events.  Regurgitating it mindfully during the nights when sleep won’t come.  But I don’t feel grateful.  Instead I feel angry that I need to be in this hospital.  Angry that I am in dire need of the lessons that are being taught here, because without them I will slide down further into a pit where there is no escape.  Where the one exit stretches into an unknown eternity of which there is no return.  Angry that after all these years, after all these battles I have fought to feed my soul and save my sanity, I remain an unknown and broken soldier in my own life.  Who am I, and why do I continue to fight?  What do I have to be thankful for in a life peppered with failure?  Where each new attempt to succeed is buried under a mountain of criticism and cryptic laughter.  Where my own existence is a cruel joke played on me.

Gratitude…what is it anyway?  I have forgotten.


December 26, 2016

The act of being grateful is a skill that must be honed.  I don’t think I was born with a ‘grateful’ gene.  Gratitude is developed as I learn to appreciate what I have; to be thankful for the world around me and my place in it.  I believe it is an entity that grows throughout my life when I cultivate it.  When left unattended, it drys up and crumbles into unrecognizable pieces.

I just celebrated Christmas with my wonderful family.  It was a time filled with laughter and joy; of giving and receiving.  We sang, and we ate, and we drank, and we played!  My young niece F exclaimed with great fervour, “This is the best Christmas EVER!”  Which is a sentiment that was felt by all.

On my early Christmas morning drive to my sister L and her partner’s home, I drove by the hospital from above where I have been an inpatient many times over.  A memory played before my eyes that I had long since thought about.  It was Christmas time, 1995.  I had been admitted into the hospital in November for major surgery.  Four days later I was operated on again because a blockage had occurred.  That surgery was very long, and it went horribly wrong, not due to the brilliant surgeons who were working on me.  I became very ill and my stay in the hospital lasted several months.  I had a PIC line in my heart, which was attached to several feeding bogs on a pole, and a thick tube that ran through my nose, down my throat, and into my stomach.  I had a catheter and a steady Demerol drip, also hanging from the pole.

When it became apparent that I would be spending Christmas in the hospital, my mom got to work transforming my private and sterile room into a winter wonderland. I took a red marker and made a round circle on the bandaid holding the tube in place in my nose so I resembled Rudolph.  Finally, we decorated my TPN pole with tinsel and a star because I wasn’t able to have a Christmas tree in my room.  I wanted the spirit of Christmas to be with me wherever my bed was rolled in the hospital!

On Christmas morning, Doctor L, the head surgeon, came into my room.  He said they had decided they would grant my wish to go home for 1 1/2 hours so I could enjoy Christmas with my family and see our Christmas tree!  I was absolutely thrilled!  When I had made the initial wish to Dr. L, he had kindly and gently let me know that this was impossible.  Now to have my wish granted was my dream come true!

My favourite nurse came into my room and gave me a special sponge bath so I was clean and ready to go for my visit.  She even put a little perfume in the water so I would not carry the antiseptic smell of the hospital with me.  The nurses gathered up all of my tubes and lines and detached what they could.  They transferred me from the bed to a wheelchair and rolled me out to be met by B.  We were both excited!  He carried me to his car and then we were off.

When we got home, B carried me into the house where a chair had been prepared for me.  It was decorated with green, red, silver, and gold bows and ribbons.  It sat right in front of our Christmas tree!  Mom and L were there and I thought I was going to faint I was so beside myself with excitement!  I got to cuddle with my doggy and my kitty, and I drank in the homey Christmas atmosphere like a workhorse quenching its thirst at the end of a long day working in the fields.  Suddenly it was time to go back to the hospital.  I wasn’t sad because I had spent Christmas with my family in front of our Christmas tree.  B carried me back out to his car, and then back into the hospital.  By the time I was situated back in my bed, I was exhausted and in considerable pain.  But it didn’t matter.  I had got my wish.

For the remainder of the day, I was in and out of consciousness, sleeping fitfully.  Later in the evening I heard an unexpected sound.  Three exuberant voices came ringing out singing, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas!”  At first I was alarmed and confused.  I didn’t understand what was going on.  I was awakened by a raucous noise that grew increasingly louder.  I started to panic in my disoriented state, and then L, B, and C came barrelling down the hallway that led into my room, which was right off of the nurses station.  When I saw them I smiled gleefully!  They were bedecked in Christmas sweaters, toques, and scarves.  They wore enormous smiles and their cheeks were red from excitement and the frigid temperature outside.  They were so boisterous and full of joy!  L carried small beautifully wrapped gifts, B had a bunch of festive Christmas balloons, and C carried a plate of both Mom’s homemade shortbread cookies and toffee cookies, even though I couldn’t take anything by mouth.  What a jolly time we had!  We all giggled and laughed as I tried to open the goofy gifts L had brought in.  There were funny fridge magnets I could attach to my pole, and silly toys that they dispersed around my room.  I began to fade rather quickly after the gift opening was completed.  The nurses then came in and kindly asked the three to go.  They had stayed well over half an hour, which was way longer than any of the other visitors I had had.  L gave the shortbread and toffee cookies to the nurses.  Instead of taking them to their station, the nurses decided to leave them in my room, so they could have a treat every time they came in for a scheduled, or unscheduled visit.

As I lay in bed thinking after they had vacated my room, I realized L, B, and C had left our marvellous family dinner to come and visit me on Christmas night.  What an amazing day and night!  Undoubtably my best Christmas EVER because of the simple fact it was all about love.  Family love.  And my real Christmas presents?  They were left under the tree for me to open months later when I was finally discharged from the hospital.  But that didn’t matter.  I don’t even remember thinking about gifts at all.  My joy came from the most pure source.  My heart was full and bursting with love for the family that was so good to me.  It was a Christmas we will always remember.  And the gratitude I feel for all of that and a lifetimes more, is one I intend on cultivating for the rest of my life.


Journal Entry January 7, 2013

Dr. F enrolled me in a six-week program at the hospital to help me learn how to cope and deal with my life.  I didn’t want to do it, but I figured if I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, I couldn’t say I was doing my best to help myself.  I don’t know why I want to help myself.  I don’t feel like I deserve to have help.  I am enormously embarrassed at the thought that I need help, and yet I would be the first to say how hopeless I am at the art of living life well.  At the art of living life at all.  I just want to curl up and go away forever.

After we finished a session this afternoon and we were on another break, I began to panic.  Thoughts flew through my mind.  What should I be working on…thinking about?  What are other people working on…thinking about?  What did I just learn?  Words swirled around in my head in a smoky haze that left my throat and mouth dry.  I couldn’t think through the fog.  I strove to clear the cloudiness that surrounded my brain, but instead of dissipating, it intensified.  With it came a pounding sensation that threatened to split my head apart.  I could feel my blood pulsing, as my heart began to race.  I felt like I was suffocating and the sweat began to trickle down my forehead and at the back of my neck.  Suddenly I knew I had to leave the room, so I exploded from my seat, flung open two sets of doors and flew to the bitter cold outside.  The wind rushed to greet me and I breathed deeply in, saturating my lungs with icy cold air.  I stood out there breathing for awhile, opening and closing my eyes until my breath regulated and my heart slowed down.  When I finally went in I felt more calm, and all thoughts had vacated my head.

I feel far removed from the people in my group.  They talk about friends; jobs; relationships.  About how they are changing themselves.  About how they are using the tools the program has taught them in their lives today.  And I was in bed the entire weekend.  How to break this pattern?  Do as N says and just, “DO!”?  But I lack the physical energy.  I am exhausted just having to get out of bed or off of the couch to let my dog S out and then back inside again.  They talk about setting boundaries in relationships…I don’t even know what my own boundaries are!   And the only relationships I am a part of right now are within my immediate family.  “Boundaries,” they parrot.  “Boundaries accompanied with assertion”

Daily life is overwhelming for me.  Daily life IS overwhelming me.  I get increasingly lost in the everyday activities that other people move through with apparent ease.  Why am I unable to cope?  Why do I need sessions to assist me in this area?  Why am I not moving forward with the cohorts in my group?  I seem to be missing the point of the program.  I seem to be missing the point, period.


December 22, 2016

Asking for help has never been an area that I excelled in.  To this day, I struggle with putting myself first in order to get my needs met.  But I believe that the ability to look after myself adequately depends greatly on knowing that I deserve to be happy and that I have the right to live a full and rewarding life.  I am growing more comfortable with these thoughts at present, and I feel that I am moving ahead.

Anxious times occur less and less, and when I do experience them, I am usually able to work through them until they are dispelled.  Deep breathing, positive affirmations, and meditative moments all help to relieve me of my anxiety.  It is a terrible thing to be incapacitated by fear and angst.  These emotions have crippled me until I have been rendered incapable of forward action.  They have strangled the life out of me on countless occasions, leaving me prone and unable to function.  My goal is to live free of fear, which is a massive undertaking on my part, as fear has paralyzed me in every area of my life in the past.  I could even say I have been afraid of fear itself.  I am determined, however, to come to terms with it so I can own my life in its entirety.

I now understand I am worthy of a good life…a great life.  I am terrifically lucky to have been born in a place where this is a possibility.  And I am forever grateful for the help I have received along the way.



The Quest for Perfection

Journal Entry December 31, 2012

Thank God the last day of the worst year of my life is finally here.  Will 2013 be even worse?  Please God, not have it so.

After so many years of trying to be perfect, I realize now I will never get anywhere near attaining perfection.  And yet I am a perfectionist.  The incongruous aspect of the situation is almost laughable.  I strive for an ideal I don’t believe in.  The world around me, however, and the people in it, seem perfect to me.

I have always considered myself to be the Purple Sheep in my oh so perfect family.  Not black.  Black is too sombre, and, well, black.  Purple presents options in shades of complexity.  I am the person that is different.  The one that doesn’t fit in.  Things just don’t add up where I am concerned.

I think self-confidence gets eroded away when you are surrounded by people who you don’t think you are like.  Or who you don’t feel you belong with.  That is the loneliest of feelings.  To be a part of something you don’t feel you are a part of.  I am a mangy, stray dog amidst a pack full of pristine purebreds.  Who are well fed and well cared for.  Who are perfect in appearance and manner.  Who know they have the right to command a presence in their own lives, and the lives of those around them.  But I hang back with my tail between my legs and my head bent down in submission.  No wonder a sense of self-respect, or a positive self-concept is impossible if those around me are different than what I perceive myself to be.  And my perception of them is that they are perfect, something I’ve already decided is an impossibility for me.

Will I EVER fit in?  Will I ever be anything but a lone, flea-ridden mutt, traversing the earth in a solitary path that leads to nowhere?  Round and round I go, cutting deep ruts in the ground that I perpetually revisit each time I circle back, searching for a place of peace that never comes.


December 19, 2016

I am a little lost today, as I reread my December 31st journal entry.  The pain of those days, and the acute sense that I did not belong to anyone or anything, let alone myself, looms over me like an ominous spirit.  The ghosts of my past lick at me like the flames threatening to devour the logs in the fireplace.  I am left feeling unsettled and empty inside.

Although now I know that I have my place in the world.  Defined perhaps, by the things I do, as opposed to the things I am.  But I believe I will arrive at a time when I can embrace who I am and love the person I have become.

The quest for perfection is long since dead.  Although it was not laid to rest without considerable struggle and epic hardship along the way, it remains a distant myth I once believed in.  The idea that anyone is perfect is ludicrous to me now.  I can accept that perfection belongs to the snowflakes and the beauty of Mother Nature.  People do not have a rightful place in that realm.

I also have a place in my family, although at times I still endeavour to define myself within the confines of that institution.  Possibly I am not alone in trying to navigate through the complicated intricacies that make up the entity of ‘family’.  The ever changing flux of dynamics that makes families so interesting and so real.  And so imperfect.  I might not always be in tune with the cacophonous strains of my family’s exuberant existence, but I know I do belong, imperfections and all!