The Fear

When I was 13, in the eighth grade, my best friend got a boyfriend. Out of all of us, she was probably the last one you would have expected to start dating first. She was ‘too smart’ for that and kept to herself.

I was super invested in their relationship because this was basically the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me (I know). After this, I became even more obsessed with getting a boyfriend. Now that she had one, it was only a matter of time.

But according to her boyfriend, it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

He said that in a way, once you get a boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s kind of all downhill from there, because from then on you’ll be gripped by the fear of losing them.* So basically, being single is better because then you don’t have a care in the world.

And at the time I was kind of like, “Yo, check your privilege,” or whatever the 13-year-old version of that is, because he had no idea what it was like (even though they had literally just started dating). I was dying alone and he thought he had problems?

But of course, he was totally right. Anyone who’s ever been in a committed relationship will probably tell you that. Until you’ve passed every single milestone you possibly can, you worry if you’re going to make it to the next one. Or maybe that’s just me. Maybe some people feel a lot more secure than that much faster and are so confident that things will work out that they have very few doubts.  Continue reading

New Romantics

***written November 2014 but I forgot to publish it oops…I still stand by it though. Newer posts to come soon***

For the past 6 months, almost exactly, I’ve been wanting to see one of my best friends but not been able to. I’m honestly not even sure why. And the other day I finally did, and I’m happy, but the results were not what I was expecting.

I’ve been saying lately that I have no expectations of anyone, which is more or less true, but I still have expectations of myself. I expect to feel certain ways and say certain things in different situations.

And that didn’t happen.

I was so just beyond anxious the entire time, partially because of the setting but partially just because I didn’t know what was happening. And then me feeling that way scared me even more, making me even more anxious, because that normally doesn’t happen. Normally I feel at peace. He’s my oldest friend and one of the only people I feel truly safe around. I don’t want to lose that feeling.

I also don’t remember that night that well, even though I was completely sober and it was THREE DAYS AGO. Maybe that’s an anxiety thing? Who knows. I’ve been noticing that a lot lately with important moments. I remember bits and pieces but not nearly as much as I want to. Continue reading

Jump (Then Fall)

3 months ago I had this very, very brief thing with this guy, and I never wrote about it publicly until it was over. Except I did write about it, and it’s been sitting in my drafts. I went back to it and was going to delete it, because it’s now irrelevant. But then I realized that that’s what makes it so important.

This is an example of how quickly feelings can change, of how wrong you can be about someone. How even the smartest girls can get all wrapped up like this.

The only saving grace is that now I know that this is possible – unlikely, but possible. Stupidity is awful, but it’s also fun while it lasts. Every girl deserves a little fun now and again, something that I had been sorely lacking. And I’m okay. I didn’t fall in love. And I’ve been through worse.

This post will probably make you want to punch yourself in the face, it’s so adorable. And it makes me want to punch myself in the face too for different reasons, because he didn’t jump, he didn’t understand, and we didn’t make it through those hard conversations. Continue reading

Reflecting: NYE On My Own Terms

There is so much pressure on New Year’s Eve – it feels like everything I’ve ever done throughout the entire year has all boiled down to this day, December 31st, 2014. And it must be perfect.

I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one. With that mindset, the holidays inevitably become a great time for reflection. It can seem like you get what you deserve on New Year’s – if you go to an awesome party or get a New Year’s kiss then you must have done something right; if you’re sitting at home, it’s because you made the wrong choices or didn’t try hard enough.

Last year, I didn’t have a lot of friends (not that I have a lot of friends now, but I have a couple more) and none of them chose to spend their night with me. One of them changed his mind a couple of days before because he needed to reflect. See? Not just me. But that just caused me to reflect too, which resulted in me crying in his car about the fact that none of my friends loved me and it’s just not FAIR because I try so hard, and I was just a pathetic loser and why did I even move away from Oakville anyway? Did I really think that would change anything? I felt so stupid for even thinking that anyone would actually want to share New Year’s with me. I spent it alone (technically my parents were there too, since I was at their house, but you know what I mean), and I thought, this is my life now. I was alone for most of the second half of 2013, and I would only continue to be alone in 2014.

Of course, none of that is true – not what I was telling myself, and not the idea that New Year’s Eve somehow represents your entire life that year. It’s just a day like any other. You can’t feel the difference between 11:59 on December 31st and 12:01 on January 1st.

Continue reading

The Black Hole

So, I’ve been working on a book for the past 6 months that features a lot of personal details about my life, and as you would expect, writing it has been interesting, to say the least.

As I’m writing, I’m forced to remember things in painstakingly accurate detail, and this is either excruciatingly painful or touching or hilarious or all of the above. And sometimes this sticks with me for a little bit, but then a funny thing happens – the memories disappear.

I mean, they don’t really, of course, but they become no longer my memories, real things that happened to me, but a fictional character’s memories. If I tried hard enough, if I went back through all the old pictures and documents and scrapbooks and gifts that I sifted through in the first place, in order to recall these things, I would remember. But assuming that I don’t do that, I remember things the way I wrote them. In third-person, about someone else, who is me but not me.

Continue reading

Learning to Let Go

It occurred to me recently that I actually have no idea who I am right now.

I USED to have a fantastic sense of who I was, so much so that I refused to deviate from the path that I (and others) had set out for me. Please, I could never be a leader, I could never write anything halfway decently, and I can’t wear crop tops because my boobs are too small and I can’t wear tiny shorts because I have too much leg hair and it takes forever in the morning to shave, I can’t get good grades in university, I can’t make new friends, I could never be interested in anyone else. And on and on the list goes.

This sounds bad, but it isn’t really. I loved my old life. I did. I’m still sad and heartbroken that it’s over. But let’s face it, that path isn’t working for me anymore, and it’s not working for anyone else involved either. Who knows why, but the reasons aren’t really important – it is what it is. Now what do I do?

I’ve been asking myself that question for the past 4 months. I thought this was going to be the summer that we learned how to hold on to what we had, as much as possible, but it turned out to be the summer that I learned to let go. It became apparent before summer even technically started that that was what I was going to have to do, I just refused to see it. I did, I always do at one point or another, but that’s a shitty feeling, so I choose not to feel that way. I choose to try to make it better. Every time. And it works for a while. But not for long enough. People tell me that I’m bad at choosing to be happy, to change my thoughts, etc. but that’s not true – I’m actually really GOOD at that. When I want to be. Too good. I can believe that I have a chance when I don’t. I can see love where it doesn’t exist.

Last year I let this ruin my ENTIRE summer, almost. And it nearly ruined this one, too. But right at the end I decided – not this time. I’m reclaiming these last 3 weeks. I’m just gonna do me.

But wait – who is me?

Who AM I when I walk away from someone I love? Who am I when I stop trying? Trying is my LIFE. I’m the girl who tries way too hard, who puts everything into people she loves. And I’m weirdly proud of that.

Now I’m someone else. I don’t know who yet.

But does that have to be quite as scary as I’ve been making it seem? Not really. It can be exciting if you’re optimistic about it. It can be great, if I’m as passionate about finding NEW things and people to be passionate about as I was about my old life.

And I’ve already made some progress. I have Active Minds, which is my child, and I’m in my last year of school, so as a reward/experiment I’m taking a creative writing class. I have my internship, which is over now but it was still cool. I’m going to start blogging for them and hopefully stay connected (spoiler alert – I might be getting a job. Like one where I get paid). I have new friends and they’re awesome, even if one of them is going to Ireland for 6 million years (CHARLOTTE) and some of them are leaving the country permanently in a few months. I’m oddly invested in Taylor Swift and Marianas Trench, who both have new albums coming out this fall (THE STARS HAVE ALIGNED, FINALLY), which is awesome. TV shows are starting up again. I am also oddly invested in those. I have cats and cute clothes and cute hair and cute shoes and cute handbags and a new chair. I got a new high score the last time I played 2048.

So maybe these are steps in the right direction, even if it’s not the final destination. And although they may seem unimportant, a lot of little steps can add up to a pretty substantial leap. I have to convince myself that those things, like work and school, are not just “important” or “necessary” but meaningful. Just as meaningful as the things I had before. I have to stop telling myself that everything is superficial and won’t lead me to true happiness. Probably not, not on their own, but maybe this is just the beginning. I doubt that my new dress is going keep me warm at night, but maybe it will make me feel more confident the next time I’m with someone I like. Maybe they’ll lead me to finding even more good things – like a yellow brick road leading me on a winding journey to Oz.

So let’s see what happens. The next chapter starts now.

And we were dancing, dancing
Like we’re made of starlight, starlight
Like we dream impossible dreams
Don’t you see the starlight, starlight?
Don’t you dream impossible things?
-Taylor Swift

Respect

I try not to look at the pictures.

I try not to, but they’re there. I have four of them.

I don’t look at them, but I get upset when they fall down – which is often, because I have a cat. I go over and gingerly pick them up, focusing my vision on something in my periphery, so that I don’t really see the image.

I put it back and I walk away, still without looking at it, and I feel like everything is in its place again.

It’s important to me that they’re there. They’re not meant to be seen, they’re meant as a kind of knowledge – a knowledge that by doing this, I am respecting the past.

Most ex-girlfriends don’t do this. Most ex-girlfriends burn everything.

I am not most ex-girlfriends. I keep everything, either hidden in plain sight like the photographs, or tucked away in a box or drawer or a file on my computer.

I don’t really know why I do this. The logical thing would be to try as hard as possible to forget, to make room for something new. But that doesn’t seem to work for me. I guess I don’t want to feel like nearly ten years of my life were for nothing. Even though, essentially, that’s what I’m left with, when you take away all the pictures and cards and text messages and pretty necklaces and pretty words.

The truth is that even though weeks or months or years have passed, depending on how you look at it, there’s still a piece of me missing. And the more time that passes, the more I forget what that piece looks like. Trying to fill the hole only makes me sad. Nothing fits inside of its imperfect shape.

So I let it exist. I try to build things around it, rather than in it, both to keep it safe and to keep it from escaping and ruining everything. I want to protect it because even though I don’t really remember what it was like, I remember that it was good and that I was happy. I know that when I try to think of it now, it feels like I’m looking at another girl’s life, someone far prettier and luckier than I am.

If it ever comes back, or if I find it again, I’d like there to be a nice place for it. It sounds like a nice thing to have. I’d like to be a girl who at least remembers, as well as she can.

I know, logically, that even if all of those memory aids were gone, I would still remember something. I could never forget. That’s the rule. You never forget your first love. Apparently.

Tonight I’ll fall asleep thinking of all the things I want to say, wishing harder than I have all day that I actually could. I’ll mentally dump all of that into the hole, and what doesn’t fit, I’ll put into writing somewhere.

But I think that this approach might be working for me. Slowly. So slowly that it’s probably impossible for anyone, including me, to tell, unless I actively compare how my life feels now to 4 months ago, 8 months ago, a year ago.

I keep either putting way too much pressure on myself (“Well, this is it, I’m never going to think about it again”) or too little (“Well, who cares, I’m going to die alone anyway”). But all I can ask of myself is to try. Focus more on the building of new things than the maintenance of this hole. And it might take years to be okay, and maybe it will never happen, but there are worse things than being the kind of person who holds on. I’m learning that you can hold on while still trying to let go.