May 8, 2014

Broken all over




There are some great things about being broken. For one,  people stop inviting you to baby and wedding showers because they are afraid you will:

a) break out weeping

b) make cold, sarcastic comments about the impending event.

They are not wrong. I’ve done both. You really only have to do it once before word spreads that you are not the right guest to be seated next to Aunt Nancy.

Being broken means you can be an asshole and people will offer you get out of jail free cards. Not all the time, but a lot of the time. The expectations change. And you let them. Because if you have to explain to one more person why watching a father and daughter dance at a wedding makes you want to slam your head into a wall, you think you will die. So you drink your body weight instead and pass out in the lovely garden behind the reception. And nobody thinks twice about it. Not even you.

But here’s the thing, being broken means you are…broken. Like for real. It means every time some one tells you they love you, you screw your face up like there’s a bad smell in the room. It means that you stop answering your home phone because you would actually rather not know than answer an emergency call ever again.

This may strike some of you as a fairly pessimistic view. Granted, it has its downer moments but there is also something very liberating about looking in someone’s eyes and just admitting how fucked up your puzzle pieces are. Somehow, owning the broken means it owns me just a a little less.

The bigger problem about being broken is that people think they can heal your broken. Flowers, nice words, remembering your favourite wine. I love these things. It would be untrue if I said they didn’t impact me. But deep wounds are not fools. They have not forgotten the kind words that precipitated their making.  And they cannot differentiate between then and now. You have roomed with them for so long that you no longer believe you are worthy of being treated well. Fucked up side effect of being fucked up. Ask any child who has ever lived in care. We think if we place them somewhere warm and lovely, with people who are warm and lovely they will become…warm and lovely. But they will fight you, test you, wreck every last thing you offer them because it feel foreign. It feels too, too risky. And then you will finally agree too that they are not worthy of your love.  And at least you know something for sure then. Stability in the chaos. Broken logic.

I have often said that it is the broken people in my life that make me feel whole.  Like our pieces fit together somehow in a strange abstract portrait. What I am missing, you lend me. Hiding the bodies of our experiences in each other’s back yards. It is the only love I believe.  And the picture above becomes the mantra we speak to each other: You are broken and I love your pieces.



April 26, 2014

Shameful Pride



I recently read an article on the demise of literature as it pertains to blogs…particularly blogs that reveal far, far too much. This immediately made me think of my last blog replete with minute to minute photos of my allergic reaction. Then it made me think of my other, other blog about my soul mate gone wrong. I just stopped thinking after that.

I would be lying if I told you that I don`t have moments of shock and embarrassment at my own candor sometimes but if you happen to be anyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes, you will recognize that this is not my blog persona, this is me in real life. I live out loud. I have lived through much too much secrecy and adornment of truths. In my work, I get a backstage pass to what happens when we choose to cover ourselves up and cover over who we really are. It is devastation. It is also the thing that any parent will tell you leaves them in state of paralysed fear that they are the worst parent on the planet because no one tells you about the secret rage and disappointment that comes with having a child – we just make Easter bunny cupcakes and dress our kids up in clothes that we can barely pull off ourselves and smile, smile, smile.

I don`t have the answers to everything but what I know for sure is that every time someone has let down their guard and opened their stories to me, I learned something valuable…every single time. Those are pretty good stats. All of my best friends are `broken`people who would instantly agree and then show you their scars. I like these kind of people. They inspire me to be that kind of people. And I have come to appreciate the uncomfortable feeling I give others is sometimes the price of living a transparent, authentic life. Gosh, that seems like a much smaller price to pay than your whole darn soul.

So Dear Sir or Madam, author of the article about the egregious over share, kindly kiss my inspiring ass.






April 24, 2014


CRUEL COSMIC JOKE #268,098,711


After a heinous case of the hives gets me some well deserved days off work, the equally heinous weather finally breaks and it is a beautiful day outside. Unfortunately my doctor advises me that should I expose my skin to any kind of sun I will receive a sunburn equivalent to 1000x the hell fire of Hades. I can barely look at the sunshine out a window without my skin bursting into flames…



My night meds make me feel like I drank 10 Tequila shooters with the same warm feeling in my tummy and equally entertaining banter with anyone around…and there’s no hangover.



April 15, 2014


I miss you.

I would like to say this is a tragic statement about someone who died. I have them too. But this one is about him.

I am not the sappy, soggy kind of girl who has ever believed in fate or destiny or even serendipity. I have had my hopes dashed and drowned and strangled and left for dead one too many times to be that naive. There has always been something easier about expecting the worst. At least I have that one shoe to hold onto while I wait for the other one to drop. That is more realistic to me. Less profound and magical, but realistic. And I have always dealt in the currency of reality. Some people say I’m blunt. Some people say I’m rude. He said it was like looking in a mirror.

Have you ever felt that paralysing feeling in your skin when someone comes so close to your own DNA that it is as if you have always known each other? I want to differentiate here between like and lust and love and similarities – it’s different. You read about it. You watch movies about it. You hear about it and expect it feels exactly the same way it did when when your heart would skip a beat right before you kiss someone the first time. That’s nice, lovely really, but it’s different too. Your heart doesn’t skip a beat, it just starts beating the same way as that person. It syncs. Your energy actually settles down. You can breathe each other. You can feel each other. And you have absolutely no choice.

Even now, I can feel his thoughts. I am sure his radar is going crazy while I write this. It mostly just pisses me off these days. I say in my head, “Beat it” and he says in his “Make me”. At a stale mate. Again.

What do you call this? A soul mate? Is it that simple? Because frankly I have a thing or two to say to the powers that be if this is who they have chosen for me. Without going into great detail consider this – what if you were getting robbed at 7-11? Say you were thrown in the back room with a gun to your head and told to shut your mouth or you’d be killed. What if as you were sweating and crying and begging every god you could think of, you looked up, and looked into the eyes of your soul mate? Think about that. Like the very opposite of everything that ever made you feel safe and loved and good was now staring at you with the grim realization that you are the one true reflection of him.

Yep. Fuck me.

I imagine this is what the universe is saying to me. It’s not like Cinderella or the fricken mermaid that gives up her tail and walks on land. It is far, far less complicated. It’s not romantic or charming even. It’s simply two people who just cannot live without each other. Or anywhere near each other.

It makes more sense to me now having discovered this than when I thought everyone was born in the exact right place and time to stumble into their soul mate. How convenient and lovely would that be? I used to wonder to myself how the stats got stacked so evenly. Then I started to wonder about those crazy cat ladies who end up dying alone with the stench of unchanged cat litter -don’t they have a soul mate? Did they wander too far out of their geographical area? Did their soul mate? Did she miss a bus or an appointment or a memo? I mean if you read the stars or the palms or the tabloids – everyone has someone for them. It’s just accepted to be the truth. And they are wonderful. And they are kind and rich. And when you have a break up, people say, “He wasn’t the one honey”. And you start working out and fixing up and  going out more often so you will be hot and gorgeous and ready when you slip on a banana peel in front of him and he saves you from falling head first into the subway. I mean, we get out bed for this shit right? We slough off bona fide heart ache and self doubt and cruel indignation because we believe we will find the holy grail of partners – your god damn soul mate.

I literally feel like I’m about to tell you there is no Santa Clause and I feel like I should prepare you to reveal that while there is indeed a St. Nick, he is less the jolly gift giver you have always thought him to be and more the startling real human being that can’t remember your birthday or where they left their keys. Soul mates are just human beings who have been through the same or more or less than you and may not be anywhere near the same life page as you are. Soul mates aren’t matched on socio economic similarities, or matching skin tones or extra curricular interests. No. They are other human beings. That in some strange and weird and wonderful amazing way have a piece of you inside them that glows brighter when you get closer to them. It’s like a magnet to yourself. Your human, flawed, scarred self. I am certain he had a similar reaction to me the first time I started to cry and was looking up the soul mate manual on how to make it stop and just be wonderful. Like the first time he advise me I was “trying too hard” at sex and I wanted to instantly file a grievance with the soul mate association. It is confusing to me how you can love someone so much, so instantly, that has the ability to tear out your insides like they are casually gutting a fish. It is even more confusing to me that there is no earthly way to be with this person that supports a healthy state of mind. Like I’m in the back room terrorized at gun point all the time. How wretched, soul crushingly wretched.

Ok, before you write me off as a complete cynical nut job, let me say that despite my obvious disappointment, I am grateful to have had the chance to lay eyes on him, to touch him, to know him. He was indeed my mirror, holding up to me the very flawed way I was conducting myself, the holes in my well manicured exterior, the strengths of my tormented soul. I miss the way his very presence could soothe me. I miss the way we laughed at jokes seemingly invisible to everyone else, and how time passed like it didn’t even exist when he was around. Time sucker, he used to say. There was never enough time to drink him all in. And now there is nothing but time to miss him.

I think the idea of soul mates is very real but even after that experience I just don’t know or understand it all. I can’t fathom that being it, him being all there was to discover in this life. I hope that the notion of how I felt with him will keep me from being with less than I deserve since being with him also proved that even a soul mate can devastatingly be less than you deserve. Is a soul mate meant to be an everlasting love or the only thing that would wake you up when you were living a dead life? I just don’t know for sure. Even as much as I know for certain that something was strange and beautiful about us together that can’t be explained.

I’m thinking of you. I know you know this. And yes, I had my ginger tea today. Thank you for making it for me that first day. That, and so many other things you taught me have changed my life. And while in theory this alone is consistent with what a soul mate is meant to do, I will forever lament the absence of you and be thankful for it at the same time.





April 04, 2014


This strikes me as especially true as I approach 40. Not because I’m turning 40…this part thrills me, but because I spent most of my childhood being 40. Youth really is wasted on the young. Sigh.

I wanted so bad to be a grown up. I genuinely compared myself to the adults in my life and thought, “I could do that”. And I did. I cared for my Cabbage Patch Kids as if they were the actual fruit of my loins. I waylaid your typical grade 5 plans to shop for and make my dolls as comfortable as possible. I saved my money and was entirely too thrifty for a child. I routinely checked in on the adults in my life, on the adults in other people’s life. I excused myself from watching movies over a PG rating (I was not overly popular as a sleep over companion, go figure) and I banished myself to a time out when I felt I had wronged my parents (this usually included not telling on my brothers and sisters for stealing the cupcakes. It killed me to keep quiet. They generally had to hold my Cabbage Patch Kids hostage to keep my silence). Go on and ask my mom, my nature was to comply, comply, comply.

I kind of want to kick my child self in the face.

I have discovered something as I round the corner of middle age – life will bore the hell out of you if you let it. There is ample opportunity to be responsible and planful and status quo. We are encouraged and rewarded to follow the norms. I don’t want to suggest that I support anarchy theory (entirely), I still pay my bills, raised some fairly well adjusted children (?) and go to work mostly on time every day. I vote and pay my small dividend for a foreign foster child. I would be all talk if I told you I had totally bucked the suburban dream. I have a garden gnome for the love of all things mediocre…

But…I have developed a taste for the good things in life – and I don’t mean Yachts or expensive champagne (though I will cruise topless on a boat any day…just saying). I mean the good part of life that does not require approval from society at large. Drinking wine out of plastic glasses, or dare I say right out of the bottle. Snort laughing my way through a line up at the passport office with my friends. Wearing clashing colours. Putting my hair in pigtails and sporting bright lipstick.  Asking the bartender if he knows what a Pussy Riot is. Offering an 18 year old a “motor boat” on his birthday as a rite of passage into manhood. Asking customer service at Wal Mart to announce my search for my partner “Oliver Klozoff”.

There is something very freeing about being free. Something my younger self would have been horrified at. Something I am sure my children will be equally horrified to read about their mother. The thing is the consequences I have had to reap for the above behaviours….is nothing. No one removed my children for neglect or abuse (though they may have wished to be removed for embarrassment at times). My mortgage was still valid and indeed expected to be paid. I was still able to arrive at work and put in a semi productive if not ambitious day. I live the same life as my neighbours….except way more fun. (I know this because they gossip about me like magazines do about celebrities. Flattering right?) And I just cannot accept going back to mainstream. I would miss this life way too much despite it having characteristics of living on the Island of Misfit Toys. Because true to the picture above…being older sucks. Gravity is not kind. Regrets are devastating. Time is fleeting. Be ridiculous and laugh. Find joy in places that age cannot influence. There is no greater truth than regretting the things you didn’t do. So go do them. I’ve got movies to attend with a flask of Sake and contraband candy hidden in my pocket. Carpe Diem!


March 20, 2014


There is no reason to doubt the good in people. Until there is.

Our lives are so small in the grand scheme of things – we wake up, we worry about what we’ll eat for breakfast, if we’ll have enough time to work out in the morning, if we finished that report, if the cable guy will show up in between the insane 24 hour window they give you…it is these things that consume us and become our “worst case scenario”. We cannot comprehend the things we read in the paper or see on TV. We have no context for starvation, or plane crashes or rape or assault…until we do.

And then, you are suddenly the newest member of a strange club who can no longer imagine the small things as “worst case scenario”. Suddenly, there is no small stuff. And you stand on the outside of the world who is making porridge and deciding between paint chips for the living room.

I feel like I’ve been inducted into this club a few times in my life. Being a single parent and recognizing that even though everyone says it’s ok, that people still secretly whisper about how selfish you are for making your kids grow up without their Dad and how given the chance you would bang any one of their husbands…sigh. When my dad died by suicide, there was a heavy awkwardness that enveloped all of my family and friends, this unspoken damnation that the church started and frankly, society propels. It’s as if you are tainted by it by proxy – that you are an unforgivable too. You lose interest in how your tulips are growing a wee bit faster than you might have otherwise.

Recently I have been on the losing end of someone’s last bit of rope – addicted and devastated and hopeless. I was not physically harmed. I recognize that there was an even worse case scenario there that could have played out that for some cosmic reason, did not. I recognize that despite feeling very alone, I had some very capable people around me waiting to find an opening to help. In the simplest terms, I had intersected with another human being at a very inconvenient time. How many times a day do we intersect with others? How many people have we crossed paths with who were struggling or devastated or lost and we didn’t even know it? How many degrees of separation align us with other people feeling the exact same losses and grief we might be feeling? The tricky part is how we intersect with each other at those moments isn’t it? Maybe we just flip someone the bird who cut us off in traffic. Maybe we snap at the cashier or kick the dog. Maybe we cut all ties with someone whose inconvenient timing is becoming a bit too routine. And sometimes those intersections are the stuff of movies – those life changing, mind altering moments that change all the small stuff into stuff you dream about being concerned about again. Suddenly, you can never go back to being who you were before.

I’m writing about this because it is likely not the most momentous thing that has ever happened to me but it is the reminder moment, the one that no longer whispers for you to stop taking things for granted but screams it at you instead in an earsplitting overture that you simply can’t ignore

Despite the very obvious drawbacks of trauma, there is probably no better cure for complacency, ever.

And you can repress it, justify it, organize it, distract it, exemplify it, martyrize it, disguise it or therapize it  but trauma lives solidly in your brain, creating indestructible bridges away from who you were before to who you will become. You can’t undo it. Look up every country song if you don’t believe me. That shit sticks to you. And it can be a gift. Or it can be a curse. But it’s going to be a bitch of a process either way.

I want to find the right perspective here that helps me grow, that builds a bridge to my better self. The one who can grow tulips AND write blogs without forgetting to finish the laundry, still shave my legs for my hot date and volunteer with children. I want all of it – all the chaos and raw open wounds walking around – I want it to be for something. I want this man and I to walk away from this experience having seen how we impacted each other, how mistakes were made and past tragedies were allowed to drive the bus that collided us into each other’s way. I want Nietzsche and I to high five over his assertion that surviving is finding the meaning in suffering.I want it all to be a grand realization and Cinderella Ball of intelligent collaboration. I’m asking for too much again aren’t I?

No Champagne?

No Golden Spirit awards?

Most likely, this man and I will lick our wounds separately, collect bricks for our ever growing wall of protection and remain islands in our search for meaning. I will write a blog about it. Based on his history, he will be in jail by the end of the week. How did this happen, this separation of “us” VS “them” and isn’t it funny that depending on who you ask, I can be lumped in with “us” or “them” on any given day? Perception is a fickle thing. A blessed, fickle thing.

What I know is as often as I have stood outside looking into windows that seem normal and happy and wondering how did I get out here? I know there is someone wishing they had my “normal and happy”. As Regina Brett advises us, “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” So here I am, confused, scared and indignant and I’ll take it any day over your burden sir. I wish you some peace by virtue of our combined chaos. And for everyone else…hug someone god dammit. The world always needs more hugs. : )  hugs

see more Brandiland here ~


March, 18, 2014



I seriously think we should start posting signs like this all over.

I could use a good reminder in the middle of the day when I am lamenting why I can’t get a nail appointment on the same day as my massage, that I am OK. Why do I feel the need to call my therapist when a sale item is not in my size? And I’ve spent 8 months of my job working smack dab in a disaster zone – how can this perspective be so hard for me to manage on a daily basis? We need to petition to put these signs up. My character is failing dramatically. Maybe I should just put a reminder in my phone? Maybe I should wait until I get the newest version of my phone? Then I’ll have to learn how to use that phone. Never mind – can you just call me?  I’m pretty busy being shallow to remember that shit could be much worse. ; )

see more Brandiland here ~


You would think when you hit the beaches of paradise that everything you left behind would have the good sense to stay behind. It’s a comm

on misconception that you can run away from your worries – if the scenery is just lovely enough, the sun just warm enough, the water just blue enough – you will forget everything else. My first day in Mexico certainly felt like I had finally eluded my demons. I congratulated myself on outwitting and out running those filthy bastards. Drinking a dreamy concoction of liquor and anonymity, I waited…waited for the peace to come.

Would this be a good place to tell you that I slept like a coddled baby? Or that my skin looked like sweet milky coco which has a particularly flattering appeal on my figure and my face?

Brandi says... Mexico


Or that my mother routinely advised me that I was likely the loveliest woman in the place? (On vacation, everything your mother says the way ; ) Because this is also the place I have to let you know that not only did my demons make it into my luggage, they brought a whole bunch of rotten pals to help me evade that sweet peace I had paid by credit card to acquire.

I waited out a young suitor who visibly tried to get my attention because I simply did not want him to see me in a bathing suit.

I wandered away from a Hawaiian beach party with my drink and devilish pals in tow to sit on the beach by myself and make a check list of all the things that made me unworthy enough to be without a partner on this particular trip.

I remembered the last trip I took with my husband before we split on a beach that looked strikingly like the one I occupied now and took mental note of how long it had been since I had belonged to anyone.

I mentally admonished myself for every unspeakably delicious morsel I put in my mouth.

I woke up every night at 3am wondering if I was the only person in the whole resort who deserved none of it and then wondered how long it would take for everyone to discover this – which I took as a loud and clear sign that they already had when they didn’t just flock to my table.

Oh I could go on and on and on…there is something very humbling about being present with yourself. Even in Mexico. Even with a goddess like tan. It took me a few days to get used to the quiet hum that will actually outweigh the heckling voices in your head if you just give it a chance. And then the silence was nothing short of deafening. I was actually even more lonely without the constant chatter in my brain advising what I was and was not. I understood quite suddenly that enlightenment is really as elusive as they say. And yet, I expected it to come. Back on dry land chasing down the winter…I still do. Come to me Peace. Just come here dammit. Ok, just forget it.

Look we’ll sort out the details later that I possess the ability and resources to even get on a plane and fly somewhere magical and have my every whim catered to. This is also something I need to work on, accepting the gifts I have been given. But even more than that is the truth that despite what my devious little demons told me about my apparent reigning title as the Mayor of Loserville –  there was not one other woman on that trip who did not feel the exact same way I did. I know this. I felt it more plainly than the salt water slapping my face. And when I let myself mourn for the small ways that my self esteem and self image had been chipped away over the years, I started to feel a place where other women could join me. When they smiled at me and my nephew clowning around on the kayaks and someone whispered, “He sure must love you”.  And when my Aqua gym group swam in a circle with our arms around each other with the trust that no one would care a whip about the bulges and stretch marks we laid hands on. I wish I had paid more attention to this in the moment rather than as an after thought, sitting  here at my computer already plugged back into a technology with no such tenderness for me. I hate to admit I did that because I preach it but unerringly, when you acknowledge the ache inside you, it can open up a place for the joy to join. Next time, I’m gonna see if I can leave a little room in my luggage for that.  : )



2 thoughts on “BrandiLand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s