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

Until It’s Too Late

On Thanksgiving Day my brother found out that his best friend died, and in a way it was fitting because nothing reminds you of what to be thankful for more than loss.

We don’t know how he died – it could have been suicide, but maybe not. I’m not here to talk about that. What I am here to talk about is paying attention to your life, and to the lives of the people around you.

My brother’s friend died a week before the police broke down the door of his bedroom and found his body. He lives with roommates, who I guess didn’t think to check on him. I can only imagine how they must feel now, knowing that he was there, dead, this entire time as they went about their daily lives mere feet away.

As someone who has contemplated suicide many times, a thought I always had was that if I made that choice, no one would notice for a very long time. I didn’t have a lot of friends and the ones that I did have were pretty absent (and still are for the most part if we’re honest), and I don’t talk to my parents regularly enough for them to worry about me. I attributed all of this to the fact that my life was just awful so that was probably even more reason to do it. That was the depression talking, of course, but I still think about that every now and again, and I still felt like there was no way that that would ever happen to most other people, who are swimming in friends and family and so on.

But it does, doesn’t it? More than we like to admit. Our culture is so hands-off. We feel like we’re bothering people and being pushy or nosy if we ask questions. We think that they’ll come to us if they need something. We don’t say things that we should say because we assume that they already know. I do it too. Sometimes for those reasons but more because I assume that they don’t care about me, and since they don’t get involved in my life they certainly won’t want me getting involved in theirs.

Sometimes it’s big, serious things like mental illness, but sometimes it’s little things like relationship drama or a tough job search or even a particularly trying school assignment. Asking all of your friends, “Hey, are you okay? No seriously, ARE YOU OKAY?!” every other day is probably not going to be helpful, but showing interest in the smaller aspects of their lives can be. If you don’t show that you care on a ‘normal’ day, how will they know that they can turn to you when the shit hits the fan (which it inevitably always does for everyone at some point)? I can’t tell you how much it would mean to me for people to just check on me every couple of weeks, like, “Hey, how are you? What’s new?” instead of having to seek them out when I want to tell them something.

Don’t just wait for people to come to you. We are all full of various insecurities that stop us from seeking out love and attention. Go to them. Even if you don’t feel like they’ll reciprocate – maybe one day they will. Be hands-on. BE touchy-feely. Say how you really feel and often, even if all you’re met with is silence.

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One Year Later

It was this time last year that I restarted this blog (August 1st to be exact). Not on WordPress, of course, but in its original form on Tumblr as what is now known as Bird & Cage. I felt broken. I spent way too much time in my bedroom alone, sweating in the humidity and binge watching Modern Family. I sat around and did that and sometimes I would amuse myself by driving to the mall, or Target, or the grocery store. And it was at this time that I first discovered that writing helped. It didn’t really make me feel less alone, like it does now, but it made me feel like I was being productive, and not just a sad loser living at her parents’ house.

I didn’t start with the blog; I started with an article that simply attempted to tell my story in some sort of linear manner, which later became the article I published in The Varsity (which I still do not love). I never would have thought to do this if my friend hadn’t randomly told me that I was a good writer, apropos of nothing (given that I hadn’t written anything in years, other than cards and emails and notes that were all essentially love letters). There was never some sort of hidden drive that I felt within myself to be a writer. It was just something that people told me I should do, or assumed I already did, because I’m an English major. But I started that article, and at the time I was in love with my first couple of drafts. My counsellor at the time pointed out that my face lit up when I talked about it, and I was super embarrassed but now I’m not – passion is a good thing.

When the article was done, I was bored. I wanted to write something else but I didn’t know what. And I remembered that I had a blog when I was in first year that I never knew what to do with. I still didn’t know what to do with it, but it was something. I asked my friend again what he thought. He’d admitted to reading my old blog back in the day, as a way to see what I was doing I suppose, since we were no longer in contact at that time, so I knew that he would be a good judge. He said go for it. I didn’t think I’d keep it up – maybe only for 2 or 3 months at best, like the first time. But it’s a year later now and I’m still going strong. That is incredible to me, because I don’t stick with ANYTHING. Now I actually sort of have a hobby. What can I say, I can only write what I know (also the reason why I still don’t consider myself a “real” writer). It took me a couple of months to figure out what I wanted this to be, and I still feel like it’s shifting but I have a voice now. Continue reading

Outsider

It’s weird how, of the many things that have hurt me and I’m sensitive about, there are some that I tend to avoid talking about and others that I can’t stop talking about. I talk a lot about love, even though that’s what has hurt me the most – I think because I still view falling in love and trying so hard as somewhat brave. However, I’ve also been mistreated socially quite a bit – you could say bullied at some points – but I don’t talk about it a lot because there is a part of me that still views it as a sign of weakness on my part, even though I know how silly that is.

This weekend, some of my friends and ex-friends are off at a little vacation spot not far from here that’s owned by one of their families. They’ve gone to this place at least once most years for about the past 7 years or so – and yet, I’ve never been invited. It used to be a big deal, a massive party with the whole gang – now it’s a smaller deal, but it’s still something that I hear people talk about pretty frequently, that I’m completely excluded from. They went there for a grad trip after high school, and I went nowhere because they had been my friends, and I was not invited. And people tell me stories of the drama that occurred there, expecting me to sympathize with them, and I have a hard time doing so because all I can think is, “I wish I was there.” I’d take all the petty drama in the world in exchange for a chance to feel included.

Usually I look at situations like these and I wonder how anyone can be so cruel – surely they must know how much it hurts me. Surely they know that deliberately excluding someone is wrong. But maybe they don’t. Maybe they are genuinely just so far buried in their own world that they have no idea how their actions (or lack of action) affect others. It’s not like I don’t have those moments sometimes too. It’s true that I like to see the best in everyone, but that’s not me being overly optimistic, I’m just considering all the possibilities. Maybe they’ve been deliberately mean, maybe they completely forgot I exist, maybe they’re genuinely clueless.

So, if anyone’s wondering, this is what it feels like:

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Knowing Your Worth

For the past few months I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that I haven’t always treated people the way they deserved to be treated. Even though people were good to me, I assumed their actions to be disingenuous, or not enough. I’ve felt guilty about this and assumed all responsibility for the relationships that failed as a result.

I still believe that I was wrong. Of course I was wrong. But it’s also wrong to respond to someone else’s negativity with even greater negativity of your own. All that has taught me is to fight fire with fire. When that happens, a chain of events is started that is very, very hard to break, and in my case, it started a long time ago, when I was basically still a child. Someone, or more specifically several someones, wronged me and ever since then I’ve only grown increasingly angry, suspicious, and defensive towards everyone in my life. Obviously, other people don’t like this type of reaction, but they respond by doing even worse things to me. I’ll yell at someone for something and then get completely excluded from something, or stood up, or cut out of someone’s life completely, for example. I’ll be at least slightly angry about that for months, at least. Where does it end?

It ends with forgiveness. I forgive myself for the way I’ve acted. I know that it was wrong, but I also know that I didn’t mean to, and that it was the result of a lot of pain. All I can do now is promise to do better in the future. And I forgive everyone else who wronged me in the first place and ever since then.

But that also means that from now on I have to respond to people’s actions the way they deserve to be responded to. If people care about you, they will prove it. And when they do, you have to accept that and respond with the kindness they deserve, and if you don’t feel the same way (in any capacity), be honest but sensitive to their feelings. If they don’t, they won’t, and you have to accept that too, and walk away. I may forgive people for our pasts, but that doesn’t mean I will tolerate the same treatment going forward.

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