Tomorrow is my ex's wedding day. I keep trying to identify how I feel about this. I know I'm supposed to feel something. People are treating me a bit delicately, so I maybe I'm supposed to feel delicate. I don't know. I keep closing my eyes, diving into the deeper well, and waiting. Waiting to feel something that isn't ambivalence. I didn't even remember that the big day had arrived. Someone had to remind me. But now I know, so I'm waiting. To feel something.

Darrell and I were together for more than 5 years. At least three of those years were seriously problematic. Two were nearly unbearable. Nonetheless, a life like that leaves an imprint, doesn't it? Like an ache in an old break before a thunderstorm. Darrell and I were together. We were in the same space, the same place, living what felt like one life, for years. Once upon a time we planned our own wedding. We even made a guest list.

That's a shocking thought. That I wanted a wedding. An engagement ring. Who was that person? To the me I know now, the whole white dress ceremony thing sounds like a nightmare. The idea of a blood diamond ring makes me sick. I didn't realize this then. How could I not have known this about myself? How could I have not known... me?

I was a very stupid girl. That's the bottom line. Obviously I didn't think carefully or seriously about anything beyond what my life looked from the outside. And if you'd asked me then what I might feel now, in this particular situation, I would have laughed, stupid girl that I was. For one thing, this situation would never occur. Not ever. That in my 30th year Darrell would be marrying a former acquaintance in Vancouver? Not a chance. But if such a thing did happen (not that it would) I'd certainly feel something. I would have called that a certainty.

I suppose I didn't understand what a certainty was. Not then. Darrell and I haven't spoken in nearly three years. I wonder if my feelings about him, my anger, resentment, rage and shame about what happened between us burned out in the meantime. Maybe it burned so hot it turned to ashes and blew away.  If so, that might be a good thing. It might speak to a sort of resilience I never knew I had.

Alas, I don't think it's that at all. I'm not resilient. I've never been particularly resilient. I can hold a grudge for decades, feel an imagined slight for months. If I close my eyes, I can call up humiliations that took place fifteen years ago, and in remembering them, I feel them as if they were happening right now. I sweat. That's how real they are.

I don't get over things. I never have.

The truth, perhaps, about this nothing feeling, is that my time with Darrell was largely wasted. Largely meaningless. Maybe our life together was blanketed by a great, suffocating swath of nothing. I didn't know it at the time, and I barely recognize it now, but maybe that explains it. Maybe it never meant what I thought it did. And that is a terrible thing. I let that time slip away. I let it mean nothing. I let those years go to waste. And now there's a girl in the centre of the nothingness who I can't recognize. She's so faded, she's practically gone.
Who was that girl? Where did she she go? Is she this woman? This self I am now? Or is she just... gone?

So. That's what I'm thinking about today. That's what I'm dredging up from the deeper well. For whatever it's worth.

I never thought I'd end up on television. At least, not in a "regularly scheduled programming" sort of way. Once in awhile I envisioned myself making a daring rescue (and the accompanying news clips that would follow), but I never thought I'd appear on TV for no particular reason. Regularly. Practically every week, in fact. For a good two years.

And then, thanks to the MTV After Show, I did.
Outside the MTV building (the Masonic Temple), Toronto
I first discovered the After Show by accident. It was... rough around the edges. Amusing, sure, but I wasn't a regular viewer and I didn't think about it often. And then one evening, fueled by too many glasses of wine and copious amounts of reality television, and egged on by my then-friends (fans of the show The Hills) I send the wee show an email. 

That was the beginning.

Many, many months later, following a move to Toronto and various life changes that made me forget the email I sent in the first place, I got a call about an audition. I went. And suddenly, it seemed, I was sitting in a studio at MTV, right next to Jessi Cruickshank and Dan Levy, with shaking legs and two very attractive underarm stains (not to mention a decidedly sweaty belly) which -- thank goodness -- didn't show up on camera. (Yes, I said sweaty belly. I was nervous, okay?) I have little memory of my first show, but I guess I did okay because they next thing I knew, I was being asked back, and then back again, week after week after week.

I loved it.
Being on the After Show was NOT a job. At best, it was a hobby. It was a fun, unusual, odd, surreal and very lucky hobby. In my years on the show, it went from being on once a week to being on every day. We moved from a small studio to a large one and audience sizes ballooned from an average of about 10 people to groups of 100 or more (depending on the occasion). It was all very heady. I was never recognized on the street or anything. (Others were.) And it certainly didn't make me rich (despite what the high-schoolers think), but I loved it.

In addition to appearing on the show, I wrote a few blog posts, and was blogged about. (One reporter even called me "amazing" - thankyouverymuch.) It was all very exciting. And a nice change from being called a sell-out and a Carrie-Bradshaw-Wannabe which is what I often got as a junior level journalist in the newspaper industry. (Thanks to my age and long hair, I suppose... Yuck, right?)

Being on live TV, in any capacity, can teach you things about yourself that are worth learning. I learned that I make comic, over-the-top faces. A lot. I do it unconsciously. (Which is worth keeping in mind, because lord knows, I've probably been pissing off strangers on the subway with my appraising scowls.) I also learned that I have a seemingly-affected way of smiling and laughing that can look fake, even when it's not. Finally, I think learned to give myself a break about my weight and my skin and my appearance in general, because in the After Show environment, how you looked mattered, but in my role, what I had to say mattered more.

As an After Show "Friend" (as opposed to a CTV Globe Media employee) I was allowed to say nearly anything I wanted (within reason) and that was a great thing. I was often the antagonist, bringing up things like feminism, equality, race relations and gay rights (in other word, things that aren't a part of the usual MTV lexicon) and I like to think that, thanks to popular culture and reality television, between jokes about Heidi Montago, Brent Bolthouse and boob-jobs, I got a few 14 year old girls to think about things they might never have considered otherwise... but that's self-congratulatory (and probably unlikely). Mostly, I just had fun.

As I sat in the studio for the last time on Tuesday night, I thought to myself, "you should remember this." I tried to take a mental snapshot of the scene. After all, the whole thing happened so unexpectedly. My minor fifteen minutes, spread out over two years, are already a blur. But I know the show was something I was lucky to have. And I'm grateful. Remind me of that the next time I complain about anything.

I'm a bit sad it's over, actually.

Thanks MTV. Thanks universe. Just... thanks.