Ottawa Gay Pride 2010

My second gay pride of my life, the second in this beautiful, politically correct and government town.

Ottawa is known as a boring town. If you compare it to Montreal, of course it is, committing suicide would be an extreme sport, but I like the town the way it is. This year the parade was shorter, faster and smaller. Just let’s take  a good example: the Public Pride Service, that means, government employees….last year there were 8, this, just 4 people, 2 were busy holding the poster. It was ridiculous, I wanted to march with them but a college at work said she would go, of course, she’s straight and I don’t know, since things aren’t working very well with my crazy and pathological peers, I got scared. After all, it was a wise decision.

When I was looking for a perfect spot for taking pictures I stared at the zoo lesbian fauna. Two very different halves were distinguished: the young radical dykes and the very old almost retired lesbians. 80% of them were in couple, and me? I was totally discourage when I checked the meat market. Is it possible to find a potential girlfriend? Should I quit? Should I become straight? No, I’m desperate but not so much. Ok, you can say I was depressed, of course I was but at least the parade made me cheer up…a bit.

I went alone this year, it was very hot outside, I was carrying my camera and I did 90 shots, I told you it was a short parade. I was sitting in a corner with a bunch of old dykes and butches. Nobody talked to me, of course, knowing I’m an antisocial plus shy, I didn’t try to make contact with them. I was melting under the sun that was giving us 30 degrees of hell on our skins…it was almost time for the start and suddenly, a group of young lesbians arrived. So, you can  say, well, it’s the gay parade what’s so extraordinary about it? It would have been a normal dyke group just for the presence of somebody who until that moment was the reason of an old coincidence. Do you remember I wrote about an American dyke who left the US Army and asked for refugee status here in Canada? Yes, that girl came and they were just beside me. I was feeling like a jerk, totally uncomfortable. I wanted to write her when I saw the article about it on the gay journal. And there she was. She’s short, kind of skinny, wearing glasses more fashion than I wear. I realized she had a scar on her left arm. On it, she has a tattoo…the scar is around 7 cm. long, not so deep, the tattoo is just a gay line, the rainbow colours on int and a kind of draining drops, like blood but in colours. It was very significant for me. After knowing her story, I think she chose the best tattoo, simple, small and nice. I was glad she was having fun with her friends. It seems she is very involved in the Ottawa gay  community.

I saw many groups, churches, communitarian groups, sports groups, even vegans, again old people and young radical political university groups. Also the roller derby girls were there, I loved it. The police, members of the Canadian Army in uniform even people from the Royal Canadian Mountain Police were there, yes, those guys disguised in red with a funny hat, they looked more like plushes than  representation of authority, but it was cool, very impressive.

There was a party after the parade but I didn’t go, I just crossed the street and took my bus just dying to grab a beer. It was too hot outside, last year both senses of the avenue were reserved for the parade, this year was easy to come back home. It was very small group. Probably everybody was already on vacations.

I hate Summer. Another parade passed by, 25 years since the first one took Ottawa by surprise.

I was a bit sad for 2 things: the small gay groups in the parade and my fear for not  join the Pride Public Service group.  I suck, I know, but things at the tribunal are getting to my nerves and isn’t not the moment to do something able to turn back into me as  discrimination, they have already troubles to talk to me and it’s hard. I wish things change soon. What are happening to my cards and my fantastic future?

Hope Always Makes You Wait

More than 3 months in that shitty tribunal, more copies, more documents to be treated or processed, more reverence to big lawyers, more hearings to be held…more time there.

I had an interview a month ago for a position and yesterday I received a letter saying I didn’t know several things for working in that position…so…I was reading my cards periodically and everything seamed normal and ok…but no, I failed. I was very down and depressed, I’m still down, I planned to check some car dealers but I don’t have much energy to do no matter what. I tried to cook my own pesto and it was another disaster.

I’m still waiting for Agriculture, since I’m in their pool….will they choose some day? I mean, at least this year…I don’t think so. I lost of my hope…plus, Summer is almost gone, everybody was taking vacations, it was very hard to talk to people, nobody is available. I think what it hurt me the most about that letter is the possibility to meet a new girlfriend. The cards said I would meet her in that job but everything is gone.

I went downstairs, where the landlord has her business. I talked to one employee to see if she could make some modifications to my pants…while she was taking my measures she told me she went to a party yesterday…that she was feeling tired and her boyfriend was talking to a very sexy girl, his ex girlfriend…of course, she was feeling jealous, that they were sleeping on bed without saying anything… I just wanted my pants fixed and there I was playing Dr. Phil.  I felt bad for her…but what could I do?

Three days ago I felt a kind of panic attack, not a real one just the feeling I’m scared, I need to move or do something, I cannot sleep because of job stress and my unhappiness. My cat feels the same, she became my own mirror.

I wish somebody could read future, at least give more hope.

Old Mates

Sometimes, ok, ok, ok, everyday I check my Facebook, reading some comments, writing mine and most of the time sneaking, if I can, in others people’s profile.

I was checking on my ex classmates at the university. All of us studied History, in a public, cheap and quasi low quality centre. I remember my first year (the career takes 5 years like many others, just Law takes like 7), those were my alcoholic days. We drunk almost every single moment. Every time there was an excuse, the perfect one: there’s a teacher’s strike, there’s no class, there was a test and you failed it, somebody birthday…it’s Monday or you don’t want to study just drink. My faculty was recognized like one of the most heavy drinker in all the campus. We were proud….and me, as a not standard girl I drunk not beer but a kind of alcohol made in Peru called Pisco, 40% ….yes, that think mixed with whatever…for a moment I thought I found the cure of AIDS.

The most fascinating thing about these alcoholic meetings were the things we used to talk: politics, Marxism, football, economy…debates…it was awesome. I think I learnt even more outside the classroom in those creepy bars, were Pisco was cheap. Making friends was so easy, with one beer you could know the all past life of your buddies. As Latinos, we loved talking, as poor people we shared even our photocopies, we listened  problems, we cared….those days are gone.

Doing some archeology online I tracked some old colleagues. The most alcoholic is now Literature teacher in a private school. I should stress the fact when you got a degree in History you’re labour life is limited. You can be a teacher, or working in archives like a fake librarian, or doing research in NGOs but for doing that, you need really good contacts, something I didn’t have. Most of my peers didn’t go so far. I would say more than 70% are teachers, at school, not even University level. Being a teacher in Peru, like being a policeman means you’re the poorest of the poorest. Your income is microscopic.

I saw many of my classmates fat, older, married or divorced, with children, some of them didn’t change, they’re still kids, others are still trying to work in a NGO or publishing books for high schools. When we finished the 5 years, 90% finished the career in 6, had already family dramas, like…being pregnant without being married (a real Latino drama), abortions, working part time to pay those things. Some others have blogs and are against the government, that most of time execute policies not very democratic.

Just one was openly gay, and me? I just said to a couple of good friends my sexual orientation.

I cannot imagine my life in Peru again. I wonder…what would have been of me? Repressed and without a job…a mean, a real job. At least here I can pay my food, clothes, I got an apartment, a cat and I can save money, things impossible to do there. Of course the price is high, I have no family and friends, totally alone… I cannot come back.

Life changed since I’m here, I don’t forget who I’m and where I can from. I miss them, old faculty days are gone but I got faith thing will be better for me. Working hard sometimes is not enough…no choice, I must continue.

 

Running After A Ball…

Since I cannot run after a girl, I decided to run after a cheap soccer  ball. I didn’t know happiness could cost 7$, well, you know, a kind of happiness, a bracket of joy and overall, an activity to do on Saturday afternoon. I spent all my morning doing some shopping for my cat (she needed her own ball too) and checking some other stuff, cooking like crazy for lunch, speedy due to my 3 coffee shots, I went to the library, I bought litter for my bitch and finally…I decided to kick the ball.

Probably you don’t know what it means for a Peruvian girl playing football (what in US and Canada is Soccer). Football is a man’s sport. Macho sport, you run after the ball, you fight other team players for stealing the ball, you insult your opponent, you become temperamental and so other incomprehensible things related to man’s behavior, I mean, things associated to masculinity or masculine gender.

And there I was. A woman playing with a ball, which is unthinkable for my Peruvian gender, homo sportivus, running from left to right, kicking the ball against the wall, feeling my legs could run faster than the ball…it wasn’t just doing an activity, it was like defeating one fear, just one, I dared to do something it was forbidden or bad seen in my own country. Of course, now I’m in Canada, soccer is a girlish sport, men play hockey, breaking bonse is more masculine than just look after a ridiculous ball and share it with other 11 team players. In Peru, when a woman plays soccer everybody laughs and think she’s a butch, they say “you should go back to the kitchen”. Now it’s different, but still, that way of thinking still remains. Many lesbians play soccer, so, if you don’t want to be insulted or if you want to remind hidden or invisible, or if you want to protect yourself, because show up can be dangerous, don’t run after a ball.

When I was running behind the ball, I got the strange sensation …I was feeling comfortable, with myself, with my identity and with my masculine underwear (which, by the way, it very comfortable and sexy). Suddenly, I remembered when I was a kid, when my mother, at the time, thought it would be a good idea to cut short and short my hair because in her mind, that would make stronger and thicker my fine dolly hair. I remember I wanted to play football with the other kids, of course, there’s always someone who yells at you “that’s not for girls!!!” or “you’re a girl not a boy”. I remember once, when I was at my aunt’s house, a group of boys got confused and invited to join then for playing a football game…and my cousin’s just pissed me off saying “she’s a girl!”…damn, can we have surprises in life? They got one, and I was feeling like uncovered. Well, I was 8 years old. There were many times after that episode people thought I was a boy not a girl, I was skinny with short hair. I don’t know if I’m still skinny, but 55 kg. are ok on me.

All that for saying kicking a ball has a gender connotation in me. Once, I wanted to fly a kite. So, I asked my dad to buy one and go to the park to play with it. My father was a bit mad at me and he said “That’s for boys, it’s like you brother wanted to play with dolls”. Honestly, my brother is so useless in all senses that playing with a doll it would have been an incredible odd activity, most of his time he spent it reading things even stickers on cans or whatever thing with any information on it. Boring life, well, his life, not mine.

I’m discovering myself, I’m feeling I’m building my real me, my real identity, which is not only a gender issue, it’s more than that, it’s feeling comfortable, oneself, confident, visible, honest, the real me or at least what I want to be.

I’m kicking off the ball now. Now people can see me and I’m not scared to show up.

A Letter?

Let’s be honest. In 2010 nobody receives a letter written by hand. Especially me. In fact, I received 3 letters written by hand all from one woman, from the same one: my mother.

3 letters in 6 years is a clear image of our bad relationship. I should say 2 letters because the second one I threw it away since the first one was to say being gay was disgusting that I should marry a man have kids, to have a man to protect me blah, blah, blah. That very first letter had a horrible impact and repercussion in my life. Just in the moment I was feeling the most vulnerable person on earth, after my break up, after living alone, totally alone, the moment I needed her the most she sent me that letter. I should have listened to my father when he told me not to tell her I was gay. She didn’t want to speak to me on the phone, she ignored me and I know she felt like a failure as a mother for not being able to make a woman of myself, I mean, if we consider the feminine gender. I wrote about that nasty letter…time ago, and I still have that bitter taste on my mouth when I remember it…the violence. With that letter, my mom took for a couple of minutes control of my life…again, controlling…telling what to do, the right thing, she had the absolute truth on her hands.

Yesterday, I received her third letter, after my day of car dealers and at the verge to buy a new car, confused by prices and by the burning sun over my clothes….just before going to ask my neighbour about this subject I had time to read that letter. I confess I was scared and I almost throw it away but this time, my curiosity was stronger than my fear.

The paper was a stripped sheet, blue lines on it, thin paper like an onion slice for salad, cracky sound when you unfold it, light like a feather, smooth on one side and rough on the other. Written were my mother’s words on blue, delicated, u shaped, those u’s  together are like m’s, they looked more than  waves drew on paper than words, like an electrocardiogram of a soul leaving its body. 

She started the message hoping I was fine and happy to know I have a job. She also said if death could find her know she could die in all tranquility knowing I got a security in life. She encouraged me to work hard and consoled me for difficulties I got now at work (my father probably talked to her about my abominable job at the Tribunal). She gave some tips to do at work and finally she wrote…”your mother that loves you”. How did I feel? More confused in an already confused day.

It surprised me what 3 years of silence and distance made on her. I just wanted to protect myself since the break-up, the problems, the temporary jobs, solitude and more things I don’t want to remember, those things that made me take the decision to be stay away from her….to avoid all contact by phone, I refused to speak to her in especial days, I was suffering in all senses I didn’t want to suffer more in the name of mother’s love which was toxic since my childhood.

I talked to one of my good friends on MSN about my mom’s letter. I translated all the letter from Spanish to French and my friend said: “your mom has made progress since your coming out, and for writing with all her emotions she surele has been suffering”. I remembered at my birthday she sent me a boy’s T-shirt. I was happy to received even if it wasn’t my size (well, I’m Small but small for men is like Large for me). It was her way to figure my gayness in a cliché way. If you’re lesbian means you want to be a man, so, for my mom, a man’s T-shirt was something to make feel happy or to make her get closer to me, a kind of hidden connection, the forbidden one, because girls cannot wear man’s gear…that was her philosophy.

Today, another friend of mine on Skype introduced me her mother. An elder woman with Alzheimer…I didn’t see my mom’s friend. I saw a fragile woman, short white curly hair, sweet and forgetful (she asked me twice in 2 different moments how many years I was in Canada), I saw a fearful and vulnerable mom, I saw fear in her eyes time to time….I saw her daughter taking care of her, like a mother takes care of her first and only one child. The inverted roles. I felt tenderness in my friend’s voice, I saw my friend playing the caring mom over her own mom. I saw the madame smiling, looking at my cat through the webcam, asking simple questions…I shared an intimate moment of my friend’s life…I stole her mom for minutes and it was inevitable to think of my own mother and it was unbearable. I was very pleased and happy to see and share that moment.

I understand better why my friend wants to take care and not leave her alone, her only family is losing what she wants to preserve the most: the memory, the past, the good and bad times….all that she wants to recover or keep or preserve. Now I understand better the suffering of seeing those things vanishing in slow motion or degradation, the conflicts that can be struggling inside of both of them.

Contrary to me, I dealt with her schizophrenia since childhood, and all I want is to forget in a pathological way to continue, not looking back anymore. But that letter brought all what I didn’t want…the contradiction of love and pain, love and its opposites, love and hate. I’m not a monster, I did what I did because otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I’m surprised, it’s a miracle I even made it this far. Death knocked at my door in those dark days…

Of course this letter needs to be replied. Her birthday will be in 2 weeks. What to say? From the bottom of my heart the phrase I love you is not there I don’t feel it yet. It can be sound horrible for you but is just an example how relationships born to be beautiful can be twisted for several reasons or circunstances…the only thing I can tell her now is “don’t hurt me anymore”.

Marketing: Art Selling Things You Don’t Need With Money You Don’t Have

Today was Ontario’s Day, so, day off for all workers. As I live in Quebec side all business were open. After procastinating  for 3 weeks my car research I decided to visit some concessionaires. One of paradoxes of buying a car is even when you look for a car you need a car. I had 2 options Hyundai Santa Fe, not Tucson anymore or Toyota RAV4. Both of them are SUV and big. I don’t want a SUV because I’m gay or because a big truck means a big dick, it’s just I’m planning to move and probably I’ll move more often as I think, so, I need space, in consecuence, the car must be big enough to transport at least 6 corpses. So, Santa Fe is a good option, huge trunk, the interior is not so hot but still, good for me. I stopped at Hyundai dealer…and old woman around 56 (but in her business card you bless God for Photoshop’s invention) grabbing her coffee came to me asked me if I needed something. Sure, I needed a car. I asked about pros and cons between Tucson and Santa Fe, cylinders, gas etc. A new one cost 31 000$, payable in 5 years  you will pay $525 per month. I asked about old models like 2009 or before, she said the interest is 7% and a new one is 0%. So, I found it very higher, both. I asked to all posibilities, 4 or 6 cylinders, warranty, tires…and finally I asked if I could drive one. She agreeded…First time in life I drove a new car. It was being in a spaceship, huge but smooth, it wasn’t stick but I enjoyed the small trip. We went up and down for almost 20 minutes…I felt the car was running so sweet, so good, the engine was good, not so strong as a Jeep but enough for moving my things. She was explaining me about the fact if you plan to move heavy stuff 6 cylinders would be better….a good seller, trying to sell things I don’t need, but I appreciated her explanation. I spent like 1 hour there, asking her about the payment, bank, plate, almost everything. I confess I was confused when I left. Trying the car, seing the price but I was sure with my salary it would posible but hard to pay the car.

Next victim: Toyota dealer. I went directly to the door when I saw people given away hot dogs…well, Summer I guess, but no, it was the special cheap day for cars. I went straight ahead for a RAV4, a fake blonde asked me if I wanted to talk to a seller, of course…and another fake blonde came. The price for new one, in this special day was of 23 00$, that per month, during 5 years means $432, still expensive. When I asked about a RAV4 2009 she didn’t want to tell me the price the only thing she stressed was “but is not new”. So, the visit was very short, less than 30 minutes, and I couldn’t test the car because of policy in this special day. More confused than before, I left and not without asking a hot dog and a 7 Up. Free food is always welcome.

I went to bus stop I called my friend in Germany to ask her opinion…after I left a message to my friend in Montreal to guide me in these issues. On the bus, I was feeling dizzy with prices, one day only special price, saying to myself Toyota is a good option but price is higher, sure cheaper than Hyundai but still higher. I was thinking in those fake blondes, high heels, polish cars, tanned fake skins, trying to selling me happiness on 4 wheels.

Before going home, I stopped to my neighbour house I rang and at 11 am, half slept, he opened the door. I told him about my dilema. He saw the prices and took off his IPhone, used the calculator option and crashed my fake steal dreams. “If you buy a new car forget buying a house in 5 years” He was right, I used to work with him in finance. He made some calculs and the price was to high, both have the same salary. I was like talking to my older brother, this Moroccan guy, like most arabs, knows about money business. He said…”prepare yourself, I’ll show you more small dealers in Ottawa” In 5 minutes I changed my clothes, we jumped on his 1997 Jeep, which is falling apart, and we went to Ottawa. Smooking, talking about the bloody big dealers. We went I don’t know where but we stopped at least in 6 places, just one was opened….the guy was an arab guy also…he was selling a Jeep 2003 at 7 000$, and my friend was headbanging his head, he felt in love of that car…I couldn’t find a Hyundai, but there was a Mazda….a huge one: Tribute, too big… he had nice cars, Toyota Corolla under 10 000$, good shape…when we went to ask about prices he was smooking his shisha (water-pire for smooking).

After that, I was a bit hungry and this time I said fuck up Pesto sandwich and I bought KFC, junk food is good time to time. Sometimes Ottawa surprises me a lot. In front of this KFC there was a motel, like in the horror movies where serial killers kidnap young girls…this one looked like one of 70’s but the tenants, I mean not clients but tenants were all black people, dressed in traditional African clothes. They were refugees. The government pay those places for them. It was shocking, police cars where around that place. It was like watching that documentary “God grew tired of us”…it was sad and I realized my situation despite being immigrant is good.

The search for Hyundai Santa Fe will continue, next week probably but tomorrow at job will be a hard day. Let’s see what happens and what cards must say about it.

Pesto Sunday

Well, it’s almost 3 months since I started that nightmare called job at the Tribunal. This afternoon, on skype, a friend of mine reminded me it’s 1 year I live in Ottawa, kind of, 10 minutes from downtown.

Since a week I feel the sensation I feel totally alone, well, it’s more than a sensation, I’m alone. I’ve already cried, I drunk beer like never before, I smoked cigarrettes with my neighbour and i called my father twice this week…more miserable impossible. I don’t dare to go downtown and see all couples, families, friends hanging together…and me? Carring my cellphone with my cat’s picture on it.

I was watering my plants, small beans and pesto, smell so good those plants. I’m a zero for gardering, feeding a cat is simpler for me. After watering for 2 days consecutively, I decided to go for a walk and pamper myself in a café. For me, things are simple, salty or sweety. So, I decided to buy a sandwich, chicken and pesto. My God, I should ask for the chicken’s death certification…so old. The most exotic thing in my bread was the pesto, but still, I paid 6$ for that ridiculous untasty thing 6$. Before going to that café, I wanted to go to KFC and buy an unhealthy chicken, greasy French fries…and holding that sandwich, looking at it, staring at it…why I always choose for the good things when I really want the bad things?

I came back to my appartment, nobody to talk on MSN, or Facebook or Skype…so, I checked that website Craiglist, I went to the section Women to Women…and in the most pathetic way I replied an ad, a crazy one. So, things go really bad at work, at my personal life, my cards say everything is going to be fine….but nothing moves….I lost my smile and my faith…

I should buy a car