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Borderline Diary –  “I know why the caged bird sings” (Maya Angelou)

I know why the caged bird sings because I am a caged bird. I am a caged bird that has been singing a song, a song that expresses my longing to be free for years. I long to be free from the cage that is my nutty family. I long to be free from being relegated to the invisible albeit “black sheep” role that they have me stuck in, in their minds. When I left “home” at 17 I thought I would find freedom from their caging me in. Hasn’t happened. Even since I have moved out to go to college I am still in this cage. Everyone is them and their criticism of me is in everyone else. I don’t know who I am but whoever I am I must suck and therefore in my hating them I think I hate myself too.

Phoned Home Like a Fool Looking For Support – As if …

November 14, 1975


I am not adjusting well at all to the dorm life at college. There’s just so much going wrong all the time. I have no idea why. Either I am pissed at everyone or everyone is pissed at me. It feels so much like being at home. Too many people. Too much confusion. I am always afraid and I don’t know why. When I am afraid I get very angry.

I tried out for the varsity hockey team and I made it and now I am being held back from playing pending a third neurological evaluation because of a few seizures I had. This is so unfair. Of all the areas of my life hockey is the one place where despite everything and everyone and how poorly I get along with people there is joy – just pure joy for the love of the sport itself. I am so good at hockey.

It’s killing me to not be able to play. It’s driving me nuts to be seen as so weird and to have people like being afraid of me. I seem to be even more of a freak than usual these days.

I called “home” today – as if I ever really had a “home” – against all odds even though I damn well knew better than to bother doing that. I don’t know why I did that. How desperate was I? My parents never listen. They don’t care. They don’t have time. They never get where I am coming from. They always blame me – see me as the cause of everything that goes bad. I am not allowed to feel anything.

I sat upstairs in the Newspaper Office, where I am the Women’s Sports Editor and feature writer. I was alone in the office. The office overlooks the ice rink. There were my teammates out practising for our next game and I just keep ending up in tears. It’s like I don’t feel real if I am not out there practising and playing too. I feel alive on that rink. I feel alive in the challenge of hockey. I don’t even usually cry about much at all. I can’t concentrate on my work for the paper right now at all. I can’t get my homework done either. Journalism assignments are piling up – maybe I have writer’s block? Maybe I journal too much?

Anyway, I called “home” which is technically 500 miles away though I feel more at home in Toronto with or without “family”. Not that Sault Ste Marie was ever my home but my father got transferred there in my grade 12 year just in time to screw up my graduation with the kids I went to high school with from grade 9 until 2 months into my grade 12 year. I only lived up there with the parents for just under a year – hated it. I absolutely hated it. I couldn’t wait to get out of that city and my so-called “family”.

When I called, my father answered and listened for a few minutes and then my mother got on the extension phone and they both sat there firing blaming and critical questions at me. It hurt. I was trying to express how hurt I am that I can’t play hockey right now and how unfair it is and all they could say is, “Well you must have done something wrong.” What about the concept that they did lots wrong to me in my life?



Borderline Diary – ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’