Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Not That Kind of Girl

November is some kind of national novel writing month. Every November, I feel flooded with guilt that yet again, I will not write a novel. One year I tried. Made the word count of 1750 daily words for a week or so. The novel was about the time I lived and worked at a house for people with intellectual disabilities. I called it “Two Spines.” The material was rich. I pull it out regularly but I have never been able to put it together into anything coherent. By about eighty pages, it feels useless and impossible. Torture, regret, self-loathing. Can novel writing month be filled with anything else? I told my mother about novel writing month and its ensuing guilt. She told me that sometimes she wishes that someone would cut off her arms so that she wouldn’t have to feel guilty about not practicing the piano enough. Perhaps guilt is genetic. Or endemic. Perhaps I will write a novel while I’m in Delhi. Or someone will cut off my arms and forever rid me of the guilt.
Now I am in Delhi.

In the mornings I try and meditate. I used to be good at meditation, but in Delhi, it is excruciating. To stay focussed, I balance a copy of Lena Dunham’s “Not That Kind of Girl” on my head. Maybe Lena Dunham would like that. It’s possible that I am the only person in the world who balances “Not That Kind of Girl” on her head while meditating. We will have to see on Periscope. All through meditation, I am dying for the Internet.
Me and Lena
“Not That Kind of Girl” is somewhat up my alley. A great deal of nudity, sex, body parts, menstruation and masturbation. When she was very young, someone told Lena that touching your private parts led to something that felt like a sneeze. Soon afterwards, Lena started masturbating and discovered that in fact, the result was more like a seizure. I liked that part. During the summer, a friend of mine asked me when I felt the most alive in the past few years. Without missing a beat, I told him about the surprise sex that Robbie and I had one summer afternoon. It was heavens parting squirt everywhere kind of sex. Magic Mushrooms Sex. Beautiful Sex. A sneeze sort of orgasm. The time was August of 2014.
When I think about that summer, sometimes I consider that this was the last time Robbie and I were truly happy. A bit sad. You never know when the best times will be over.
My Magic Mushrooms Friend says that if you're a squirter and you don't squirt, it can build up and cause neurosis. I met my Magic Mushrooms Friend on the online dating site Plenty of Fish in 2009. We never made each other squirt; in fact, we never even kissed. But he has taught me a great deal about drugs and squirting. My Magic Mushrooms Friend is a big advocate of learning to squirt by yourself. I have never figured this out. I find the duvet is limited in its ability to generate a squirting sneezing sort of orgasm. If Lena Dunham were me, I imagine that by now, she would have done a better job at figuring it out. Probably she would have published all of it: the Magic Mushrooms Sex, the sneeze sorts of orgasms. So now I am like Lena Dunham. In her book, there are excerpts from online messenger chats. I can see myself publishing such things. And/or excerpts of words I wrote to pen pals. And why not do this right now.

In Delhi, I write to my pen pals constantly. Nobody is as good at writing back as I am. Not even my mother. That’s why I need at least five or six or seven pen pals. Maybe more. If you’d like to be my pen pal, here is what you can expect.

“When I was squatting on a public toilet today it occurred to me that my vagina looks different than it used to. Like the labia sticks out more and is crooked. I am not going to google prolapsed vagina but I am wondering if my vagina has changed since I stopped doing ashtanga. Or maybe I hump the bed too much. Or stretch too much. Do you remember my labia sticking out a whole bunch? Okay thanks.”
“Oh man. Not sure what I was thinking I was going to do here. I feel overwhelmed and isolated and useless and dirty and gross. Just tried to order food and it was a shit show. Whatever. It's the same old me. Everywhere I go. I don't know what was so bad about my life in Halifax or in Montreal with my stoner roommate. I miss Robbie so much. I feel like I won't pull off anything with my life. I am too old for this. Sad noise.”

“Tonight for dinner I ate some canned beans in tomato sauce and couscous. Quickly going through Fern’s cupboard of non-perishable items. She has some questionable do-it-yourself custard, skippy peanut butter and two kinds of oatmeal. I will need to find the restaurants soon.”

“The Canadian winter seems so wonderful if it means fresh air.”
“I really don't feel okay. I feel like my friend’s four-year-old, so desperate for his parents to come see him in bed but it wasn't part of the agreement so he was left to wail on his own.  Going to have a shower and try to sleep.”

“Am I actually going to become self-reliant, self-assured? Feels like such a stretch. I am baffled by how people figure out their lives.  Like how my friend Fern has figured out such a beautiful home in this crazy city. She just seems to have livelihood all figured out. It's so impressive. There there, Erica. You'll figure out your life too. Or will everything just dissolve like the colours of your tie dye hippie skirt?”
“I finally got the balls to go to a restaurant. It was kind of a dive but I had an okay feeling about it. Chana masala, jeera rice. A ten year old girl who I thought was a boy came and stood beside me and talked to me the whole time. She asked me about Canada and said she really wanted to see snow. It was adorable. She even gave me her mother's phone number. I hope she won't be too disappointed if I don't text. Felt immediately better after eating, which is not always the case in India. I find when I first come to a new place I suffer low grade starvation as I try to figure out where I can safely feed myself... Not the best for a serene state of mind, though easily fixed.”

“It seemed I was the only person in hippie clothes in the city but I did some touristy things today and I feel like maybe anything goes. Spiritual pants, jeans, tie dye, moomoos, whatever you want is no problem. I am happy that the yellow in my tie dye skirt matches the yellow in my splash n boots shoes. Highly trendy.”
The Hippie Skirt and the SplashnBoots shoes. SplashnBoots is an outrageously successful children's band whose members I am related to. Their theme colours are blue and yellow, just like my zero drop sneakers. 
“I rigged the tarot deck so that all the good cards faced upright and the bad ones were reversed. But since I moved to delhi the cards don't come true anymore. The cards say upright even when it all turns into massive chaos. I don't think they work anymore. I might need to give them up.” 

“It sounds bad but I got into a conversation with some guy who complimented me on how good I was at crossing the street. I am actually excellent. I just looked at the bus driver and he stopped. Imposing Nova Scotia ethics onto Delhi traffic. (Please don't worry)  Anyways, this guy ended up coming to a cafĂ© with me and it wasn't sketchy at all. Not all Indian men want to get into your pants. Maybe a bit, but not excessively.” 
Spiritual Pants. Again.
"Kind of sick of wearing hippie clothes. The skirts drag in the puddles. It seems Delhi is a lot more cosmopolitan than Mysore. Women wear jeans and leggings or whatever they want. I suppose it's better to dress more conservatively in the more touristy areas. Or anywhere unknown. And some Indians seem to like pyjama pants. For badminton, and powerwalking. My friend Fern has quite a fancy wardrobe. Prada and the works. She is also about a foot shorter than me. And if I’m going to pull of the Prada dress, I will need to do something about my leg hair.”
“My ex-boyfriend sent me an article about the risk of loneliness and premature death, and how lonely people sometimes make choices that don’t help their loneliness. Haven’t heard from him much since he sent it.”

“Did your toenail fungus cleanse end up working? My toenails are a catastrophe right now. Half of both big ones broke off. I don’t know why all of the sudden. Too much papaya? White carbs? Everyone’s fungus mixing together? So gross.
Have you looked into colonics yet? Other cleanses?

Maybe I am having a people cleanse right now. Resetting my social skills. The idea, I think, is that if you don’t interact with people for a certain amount of time, your habits of interaction totally change. I’ll let you know how that goes.”
“The cleaning lady messed the Tarot cards up so that some of them were upside down. I did some readings with the flipped around deck, but it seemed too scary and devastating. If the cards predict a bad day in Delhi, it could be truly horrific. I decided to rig the deck again. I think it was a good plan.”

“Though I have the Internet, being here reminds me a bit of Vipassana. Barely a soul to talk to, and people barely see me. And when I think of people I know, I am filled with love and longing, as though nothing could be more beautiful. 
It isn't a terrible feeling, but I miss the humans.”

"I am trying to go to sleep but I keep checking the Internet for friends. I want someone to cherish me and tuck me in with a deep love. And well, there is only me."

“I got my vag and legs waxed on Wednesday. Also found a pair of jeans in Fern's closet that sort of fit. I think they might be Bobbi's. One size too big. But both the jeans and the waxed vag sort of helped my morale.”

Me with waxed vag in Bobbi's Jeans
“I forgive you for not writing back about my vagina.”
The End.

The Lotus Temple, Proof that I do more than sit around and take selfies.
Off to Udaipur tomorrow!

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Soul Fucking
Cardboard Box 
Spiritual Beard, Secular Vagina 
Are you strong or are you skinny?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Now I am in Delhi

Now I am in Delhi.

How and why did that happen?

For months I have been meaning to tell you about “fuck blinders.” According to the urban dictionary, fuck blinders is a phenomenon that occurs after fucking very profusely. When the profuse fucking is over, people afflicted with fuck blinders are unable to see, find or accomplish very much of anything. They walk around in a daze, as though they have blinders on. All this may be true; however, the Urban Dictionary doesn't know everything. I happen to have a very dear friend who was crowned Queen of the Butt Club in Mysore last year. She and I have our own special definition of Fuck Blinders. According to us, fuck blinders occur pre-fucking. So you meet someone and this person permeates you with the feeling that the two of you must absolutely have sex, despite obvious reasons why this is a horrendous idea. Popular reasons include a lack of emotional availability, incompatible values and lifestyles, and/or geographical distance. Fuck blinders render you blind to all these issues. So you have sex anyways. The act of sex tends to have a solidifying and adhesive effect on fuck blinders, though everyone is different.

Fuck Blinders are hard to attain, especially post break-up. Amazingly and pathetically jaded, these days, I often make speeches about how relationships are beautiful lies with inevitable expiration dates. Loose-fitting and slightly transparent fuck blinders may materialize when the option is nearly impossible and the expiration date imminent and evident. Such fuck blinders are rather short-lived.

And well, all this relates perfectly to buying a one-way ticket to Delhi.

Since August, I have found myself sadly low on the Mental Health Spectrum. (Or high? I’m not sure. The Mental Health Spectrum is another invented entity whose definition you can probably sort of guess.) On August 1st, I moved downstairs from the apartment I was in and immediately felt terrible. I felt like I was staying in a grey soulless hotel. As far as apartments go, it was somewhat decent besides being a little messy and infused with the smell of weed, both things ostensibly temporary. I even had my own yoga room. And yet, right away I craved an exit strategy.

I called a friend who had just had a baby. (Not the Queen of the Butt Club.) The baby slept peacefully in her arms as I wept in the most distressed and un-delicate fashion possible. I wailed that I should probably move to Nicaragua.

“I’ve been waiting for this phone call,” she said. The reality of breaking up with the Boatman, moving away from Halifax and a million other changes was sinking in. From her perspective, I was doing reasonably okay. From my perspective, I felt like a broken disaster. Somehow I made it through the month of August. Over the summer, I completed more freelance translation work than I’d done in the entire year. By the time that was over, I was totally strung out and distraught. I dreaded going home to my soulless grey hotel room of an apartment. In my desperate misery, I felt like I was too much of a burden on my friends. I became increasingly isolated and lonely. One night, I barged out of my apartment onto the streets of my Montreal neighbourhood, where I cried inconsolably and unapologetically. As I reached a corner, I saw my friend riding his bike.

“I’m super high,” he said. “How are you?”

I proceeded to melt down even further.

“You can’t just cry in the middle of the street!” he told me. I would argue that this is a matter of opinion. But my friend strongly urged me to seek out professional help. A rather obvious recommendation; however, I found it frustrating since I have been going to therapists and expensive friends since I was thirteen years old. Plus a decade of wholehearted yoga practice. And some daily meditation. Butt exercises, manic walking, spirit walking. I have tried ten million things. Prozaac didn’t work. Probably there was no more hope.

As it turns out, every neighbourhood in Montreal has a crisis help line. I called them in my distress. It was a good opportunity to practice French. They were helpful in a generic kind of way and I got an appointment within three days. I am glad that such things exist.

Although I was grateful for the outlet, alas, the days of crying in the streets were not yet over. A few weeks later, teary in an alleyway, I called my super trendy and hip friend Fern (STAHFF) who works in advertising in New York. I mourned over my sad aimlessness and incapacity to manage the details of life.

“Dude,” she said. “Why don’t you go use my flat in Delhi?” Fern used to work in Delhi and then she switched to New York. (See how trendy and hip Fern is? You should see her wardrobe. More on that later.) Her apartment would be empty and available until the end of December.

And there they were. Fuck Blinders for Delhi. Sometimes it’s good to try and look beyond your fuck blinders. Other times, just let them do their magic and mask your doubts. The hell with pros and con lists. Look straight ahead. Move to a dirty, crazy city, fuck an impossible match, and/or make a baby.

Oh yah, Fuck Blinders are entirely necessary for planning to have a baby. Baby Fuck Blinders, it’s called. Essential.

Anyways, I made it to Delhi last Friday.  What a crazy world.

Thank you to everyone for their support. And huge gratitude to Fern.  This apartment is extraordinary.

Much love. Oh, and Happy Divali and New Moon!

I will do my best  to blog as much as I can. As you might have noticed, I have tons of things to say and seem to be oversaturating my pen pals.

The End.

My Magnificent Bed

A street near my house. Not a good place for crying.
What have I done?

Day Before Departure. Delhi Fuck Blinders Firmly Secured

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Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, by Erica J. Schmidt
Day Trip
Brand New Mysore Clubs

Business Ideas on a Tuesday
How I am violent

Where is Emma Fillipoff (One)

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Business Ideas. On a Tuesday.

Business Idea #1. On A Tuesday.

People Walker: Since moving to Montreal and quitting Ashtanga yoga, I have been walking all over the place, all the time. So far I have not regretted one step. Walking is delightful. In the process, you can listen to podcasts, talk on the phone, space out, or watch families wash their cars and play road hockey in alleyways. And I have found that I am gradually phasing out my clicky hip, crooked spine, eighty year old arthritis days. I have said this several times before and I still agree with myself: it is more important to me to be able to walk pain-free for long distances than it is to put my legs behind my head and/or bend backwards and stick my face in my crotch. While these things may not always mutually exclusive, for now my priority is drawing my femur bones back. I believe that walking can be just as spiritual as yoga. In fact, all my walking theories can be amalgamated into a philosophy called Spirit Walking which may hold the same marketing potential as Prancercize, an ecstatic and revolutionary success. And so my Excellent Business Idea is becoming a People Walker. This entails walking people up and down streets, hills, or wherever they’d like. As we walk, we can talk about femur bones, children, sex, food, or any topic that brings the client immense joy. Noble and spiritual silence is also an option. Everything is an option, even leashes. Business is open, as of this afternoon. Hit me up before I leave for India and/or I’ll walk you in Delhi!

Related Literature about Prancercize (Wikipedia)

Some Exciting Footwear Options:


Business Idea #2. On a Tuesday.

Letter Writer: When I was 20 years old, I came across a copy of the Artist’s Way. Written by Julia Cameron, the Artist’s Way outlines a 12-step spiritual guide to Higher Creativity. Besides her spiritual self-help books for blocked creatives, I had never heard of any of Julia Cameron’s excellent novels, haikus or theatrical productions. Even so, I embarked upon my spiritual journey with JC. One of the first things you learn on this Spiritual Path is a practice called Morning Pages. Morning Pages entails waking up thirty minutes earlier than usual, and then filling at least three pages with uninhibited writing. JC views Morning Pages as a sort of Active Meditation during which all the deepest desires and irritations of your unconscious emerge to the surface. According to JC, becoming aware of what is Deep Inside of You will bring you closer to overcoming the obstacles that prevent you from achieving your biggest dreams and becoming a real artist. For nearly a decade, I wholeheartedly devoted myself to Morning Pages. And then I decided to stop. I discovered that hammering my problems into the page for half an hour every day only exacerbated my angst and neurosis. It seems I already have a natural level of impeccable self-awareness. And as it turns out, self-awareness is somewhat overrated. These days, instead of whining in a journal of Morning Pages, I have begun to enjoy sending heartfelt letters and emails to my friends. Writing letters makes for a low-pressure and generous writing practice. Knowing you have an audience keeps the angst and self-absorption at bay, even if your audience is a forgiving and compassionate friend. Sometimes you end up writing decent sentences which you can use to inspire your other art. Almost always, the person is happy to hear from you. And so, Letter Writing is my Second Business Idea for this Tuesday. Between grade three and grade five, I used to send a letter to my grandparents in Manitoba, nearly every day. This might have been the peak of my life. Perhaps it is time for a New Peak. If you or someone you know would benefit from receiving letters or emails, as of today, I am an official Letter Writer. To insert a selling point, I have vast experience signing off letters in interesting ten-year-old ways. For example:

Yours ‘til the dew drops.
Yours ‘til the jelly rolls.
Yours ‘til the banana splits.

As business expands, I’m sure I will come up with something even better. I look forward to hearing from you.  Don’t be shy.
The Envelope I sent to my grandparents, circa 1995
The End.

Happy New Year Letter. Quite Irresistible

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I Let Go, by Erica J. Schmidt

Yours Til Ekam Inhales
Pen Pal
Cardboard Box

The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
Internet Diagnosis of the Week
Move Your DNA, by Katy Bowman

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Be your own best friend.

One day in grade eight, a handful of public health nurses came to visit our classroom. They warned us about the excessive hair that was probably already growing in all sorts of places, about the technical difficulties we might experience while inserting a tampon, and how most women don’t lose all their baby weight.
During one session, a nurse stood at the front of the classroom holding a piece of paper. ILAC, it said on the paper in big black letters.
“I’m Loveable And Capable.” That’s what ILAC stood for. “This is your self-esteem,” the nurse explained. She proceeded to rip up the paper. Apparently once your ILAC breaks into pieces, it could never ever be the same. The nurse illustrated this by taping together the ripped pieces of paper. You could still read the letters ILAC, but she was right, it wasn’t the same. It looked all ripped apart.

A couple of years later, I remember seeing this same nurse at the gym, where I engaged in a vigorous and extensive, self-loathing exercise regime. Like me, she had a solid two and a half hour workout. We started with at least an hour of cardio, preferably the stairmaster or rowing machine since they burned the most calories. Next was a fast-paced dynamic free weights routine, crunch-til-you-can-no-longer-menstruate, and a brief conclusion of minimal stretching.  
There is a story about taking a shit on the treadmill. Some other time.
I’m Loveable And Capable. I lack without a k.

When I was in second year university, my beloved roommate came home with a mission. It seemed she had a realistic opportunity to give a blow job in the near future. She was both excited and bewildered. How do you give a blow job? Neither of us had any idea. There was only one thing to do. Call my older sister. Earnest and focussed, my roommate faithfully wrote down my sister’s step-by-step instructions. My sister was full of helpful tips. Lovingly, my roommate stored the list in a drawer. As far as I know, the blow job was a success. 

Back then I thought that spooning involved spoons and vaginas. For this reason, my roommate and I had to call McGill nightline for clarification. So I learned that spooning is significantly more wonderful than I imagined.
On the fridge of second year university apartment, we’d stuck a hand-out my therapist had given me. The hand-out was about negative thinking patterns.

“Be Your Own Best Friend,” it said at the top. Underneath were the words, “Treat Yourself Well.” Every once in a while my roommate would repeat this, when I was frenzied and frazzled about some essay, dude or food hang-up.
Be your own best friend.
“You’re really hard on yourself,” a friend told me recently.

“But it’s the only thing I am good at,” I said. “I am so good at it!" I am amazingly good at it. And it’s hard to find something you are consistently talented at. Even if you have an expertly dictated how-to blowjob list tucked into a drawer, next to the condom jar.
When I was fifteen years old, a few months after I shit my pants on the treadmill, I was hospitalized in an adolescent psychiatric ward for eating too many laxatives. A terrifying psychiatrist named Dr. Roberts ran the ward. The bun on the back of her head was so tight it looked like it hurt her face. All the patients would seize up and shudder whenever they heard her high heels clicking from down the hallway. It seemed Dr. Roberts could not speak without snapping. I suppose she had a difficult childhood. They say this why people become psychologists and psychiatrists. Maybe I should have given that a try.
While I was in the psych ward, I vowed that I would never again puke or purge or obsess about my weight if it meant that I would avoid being re-incarcerated. It seemed so simple. The day I left, I was certain that my eating disorder was all over. Her voice void of compassion, Dr. Roberts announced otherwise.
“You are not out of the woods,” she said. “You have a severe eating disorder and because you are an externally motivated person, you are going to have a hard time.”
Damn. And with that vote of confidence, my parents drove me home. Although Dr. Roberts’ delivery left about a million things to be desired, that part about being externally motivated has proved to be somewhat true.
Fame, Money, Weight Loss, Prizes, Sex (FMWLPS), none of these things are a given. Stunning Blog Stats (SBS), Innumerable Facebook Likes (IFL), these too pass away. If such items are your main source of motivation, you are probably going to have a hard time.
In less than two weeks, I am going to be thirty. I no longer have a severe eating disorder, but that took a really long time. And I remain highly motivated by external things. Stunning Blog Stats. Sources of Sexual Gratification (SOGS). Prizes. Sometimes I have a hard time. I am not my own best friend.
Back when I was twenty years old, I lived and worked at house for people with intellectual disabilities. After one year, I had to decide whether or not to stay for another year. During my weekly 32 hours off, I used to write down lots of things in a little purple notebook. Like this list of my goals for my whole life. I have already published this list, but since I am going to be thirty, and because I used to be such a darling, I get to publish it again.

The Purple Notebook

Life Goals

never get fat, that is to say, always be physically fit
                master French

Learn a new language
                                Either Spanish
                                 Italian or

 Properly perform
headstands and

Develop flexibility

     Live in Third World Country
     Live in Europe

Finish University Degree

   Develop piano talent

       Fall in Love.

Be immersed in a language Other Than My Own

                Write Novels
                    And Short Stories.
                                ->Become Famous
                                        Doing This

Not to worry about money but to live simply

Not to worry.

   Be Close to Someone Who Dies
          Fall in love
              Not get cancer.
                Be Grateful for Life

Always be helping children and/or adults with disabilities.
The End of the List.
Life Goals, by Erica
I ended up staying a second year at the house for the people with disabilities. Over the next decade, more than half of the list came true. Many of the important things. Some of the embarrassing things. As it turns out, many of the items you put on lists end up happening. Whether or not you hang the lists on your fridge. It’s possible that you don’t even need a list. Just like you don’t really need blow job instructions.

Even so, here’s my list for the next seven years. Feel free to put in your purple notebook, or on your fridge, or in a drawer next to your condom jar:

You’re loveable and capable.                                                                                                                         
In fact, you are kind of a darling.
Be your own best friend.
Treat yourself well.

The End. 
Me and my friend the Corn Puppet

Not Separate From All That Is
The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
The Closer I am to Fine

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I Let Go by Erica J. Schmidt

P.S. Parents from Eastern Ontario: If you have a teenager in distress, take them to CHEO in Ottawa. The staff there are so lovely.

Also, thank you to everyone for reading and sharing my blog series, Where is Emma Fillipoff. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, here is Part One: The Grieving Mothers of Perth Ontario.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Where is Emma Fillipoff (Nine)

Previous Segments of Where is Emma Fillipoff
ONE: The Grieving Mothers of Perth, Ontario
TWO: She's Missing
THREE: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
FOUR: Mental illness runs in the family
FIVE: A Mother's Instinct
SIX: Okay. So I'm dead.
SEVEN: She ran away because she fucking hates her parents.
EIGHT: Safe Until She Returns

A Perfect, Beautiful Family
After I did the interview with Shelley, my mom told me a story about when we first moved to Perth.

“I don’t know if I ever told you this, but one of the first times we ever went to the Perth Pool, the Fillipoffs were there. Shelley and James were playing with the two girls and one of the boys. The kids were around four, six and eight. All five of them were taking turns throwing one of those rubber balls. All together. I remember thinking, what a perfect, beautiful family. I guess that’s what everyone wants. A perfect, beautiful family."

For Shelley, family was everything. When she had her first child, her whole life changed. If she hadn’t become a mother, Shelley claims, “I’d be dead now. I would have been an alcoholic, a drug addict. I’d be dead.”

Shelley loved teaching, but at the end of her long days, she couldn’t wait to come home and spend time with her kids. “I could have had ten,” she says. “It was like a drug to me.”

Now, without Emma, her family is not complete. “There are days I could shoot myself… My mind is not what it used to be… I struggle to stay afloat.” Even the most minor tasks seem monumental. The trauma of Emma’s disappearance has left Shelley with PTSD and a mild form of dyslexia. Since James left, she has battled a major depressive disorder and anorexia. She takes medication to manage the depression, and help her sleep. But because her depression is situational, pills can only do so much.

I asked her to what extent she thought that knowing where Emma was would change her state of mind. Certainly, finding emma is the one thing she has been hoping for. The initial relief, the joy would be immense. That said, her psychiatrist told her that she would never go back to being the same person again.

“I didn’t go back to being the same person after James," she says. "I'm different... I'm not sure how different. Less confident. Less comfortable with myself. Way less happy.  Way more doomsday. Like something bad is going to happen.”

Sometimes you hear of people losing their legs or getting a terrible illness and they stop worrying that other bad things will happen to them. Because the bad thing has already happened.

Shelley assures me that this is not her case. She worries constantly about her other kids.

“You hear of families where one thing goes wrong and everything else falls apart.”

Though losing Emma, surely this is far worse than just one thing going wrong.                 

Shelley: “What happened to Emma is something I never could have imagined would happen… I used to imagine it when they were little… Like what if they pull away from my hand and disappear?"

Erica: “And that’s kind of what you feel is what happened.”

Shelley: “Exactly, it’s kind of like I let go of her hand.”

Erica: “Or she let go of yours.”

Shelley: “I’m not sure I could have protected her. I’m not sure she would have listened or sought help… But I’m sure I’ll always regret not going. I should have just gone that Saturday. I was all packed. I had my suitcase. I should have just gone, Erica. I should have just gone.”

The End.
-Written by Erica J. Schmidt.

An immense thank you to Shelley Fillipoff for her candour and generosity .

Thank you to my mom, dad and all my family. Thank you to my sister and friends who helped with the interview before it was published.

To learn more, please follow the links below. The Fillipoff family is still offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to Emma's whereabouts. If you know something or someone you think could help, please contact Shelley, Erica or the Fifth Estate. OR CALL THE POLICE.

Thank you to the Fifth Estate. Their documentary Finding Emma and its related site contain an enormous amount of crucial information.

Thank you to everyone who has written about Emma's case, in addition to everyone who has shared photos and articles. Raising awareness is probably the best way of keeping hope alive. As the Fifth Estate points out, there are far too many Emmas out there. If you have a loved one who has gone missing, you are welcome to share your story in the comments below, or with the Fifth Estate.

Much love to Shelley and the Fillipoff family, to Emma's friends and loved ones, to all who have gone missing, and to all who keep looking. And to Emma.

Where is Emma Fillipoff
ONE: The Grieving Mothers of Perth, Ontario
TWO: She's Missing
THREE: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
FOUR: Mental illness runs in the family
FIVE: A Mother's Instinct
SIX: Okay. So I'm dead.
SEVEN: She ran away because she fucking hates her parents.
EIGHT: Safe Until She Returns

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Email Erica: ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com
(contact form below)
Email Shelley: fillipoff(at)hotmail(dot)com
Call the police.

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Erica on Twitter: @mypelvicfloor