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

Broken Hearts and Sweet Hypocrisy

Ok, so remember how I re-discovered all those old poems? And I was all, I hate everything I wrote in high school? Well, it turns out that that is not true, I only hate SOME of what I wrote in high school. This is a collection of poems about “a broken relationship, but more than that, they’re about one broken person and the secrets they kept, and someone who would have given anything to save them” according to the description I wrote on FictionPress. And the reason I don’t hate these particular ones is because they give me SO much insight into what happened back then and what my thought process was like. I think these are illuminating. There were 6 of them but these are the only ones that I think are interesting enough to share. (Note that I said ‘interesting’ and not ‘good’.)

I talk a lot about how tough this whole experience was for me, I did an entire speech on it last year, but no one can say it better than fifteen-year-old me.

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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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Love is Stronger (I hope)

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On Wednesday I poured my heart out in a blog post, and it was THE most hateful thing I have ever written. It was about myself, of course. It was quite the spectacle. Don’t get me wrong, there were some insightful thoughts in there and I am still finding those things helpful. But the overall tone was angry and bleak.

And it was the most popular piece of writing I have ever published, so far. That isn’t saying much for me, but that post alone gained me 6 new followers. Normally I’m lucky if I get one.

I appreciate that, of course, but I didn’t WANT attention on that post because of its negativity. So why publish it at all? I had to get it out, and I had to figure out how I was feeling. Like I said last week, hitting “post” helps a lot more than just writing something and saving it for myself. I don’t know why.

What does it say about our society that so many people could relate to a post in which I basically say that I’m such a horrible person that I don’t deserve to live or be happy? That’s awful. It really is. If you’re one of those people who liked it for whatever reason – I do hope it was helpful in some way, and I leave it up primarily for that reason.

I feel like I should present a more balanced account of the situation – one that’s more hopeful. Because there is hope in everything, if you look hard enough. This is a weird thing to talk about (weirder than usual) but it seems unrealistic to only blog about happy-fun-times. Or comparatively-not-that-bad-times.

Recently I’ve learned that I’ve made some mistakes – specifically, I just haven’t been treating someone I love the way that I should. It is tearing me up inside because I thought I had made a change. I thought I was “better”. This person is my favourite person in the world, the last person I would ever want to hurt, and worse than that I know he’s been through enough pain already without me adding to it, and there was a time when I would have done anything to stop it.

I was reminded of that last bit and that’s why I realized that this is a serious problem that needs to be fixed. It’s not just a mild annoyance or obstacle.

Back then, their pain was my pain. The easiest way to hurt me was to hurt them, and that is still true. Now, being me, I’m well aware of what my own weak points are. If I wanted to hurt myself, guess where I would start? They were never the real target. I was. They were just a casualty.

It’s smart, really, and I’m kind of impressed. I try to be a kind and optimistic person, but there is a part of me that has listened to the people who have said nasty things about me and done awful things to me over the years. This part has internalized those things and now considers them the norm. It believes them and so now believes that good things will not come to me, no one will ever genuinely like me, and everyone is lying, all the time. And that’s okay, because it’s all right if people treat you poorly if they have a good reason, and you don’t really deserve any of those things anyway. You’re too quiet and socially awkward, you’re not pretty enough, you try too hard, you’re not smart or talented enough. When good things happen, it tries to make me doubt them. “Oh, someone is inviting you somewhere? Someone is proud of you? Please, don’t get excited. They’re obviously being condescending.” A part of me feels that way and hates myself, and it also hates the people who made that happen. One of those people happens to be the one in question here, which is not helpful. It only gives me more reason to justify my own behaviour in my mind.

Normally I don’t realize quite how strong that part of me has become, but even when I do, I don’t view it as a serious issue because it’s only hurting myself, so who cares right? Wrong. If there is ANY part of you that hates yourself and is bitter and angry you will almost always hurt someone else eventually.

Watch: Someone cancels plans. They say they’re busy. Obviously they’re lying and they hate you. I get upset and angry. They are confused because maybe they meant nothing by it, and maybe they were bummed out about it too, maybe they really missed me, who knows. And now I’m mad for no reason. This type of thing goes on for a few weeks, and they think, “Why do I even bother? She’s determined to feel this way.” And then all of a sudden they kind of do start to hate me.

How do you think it feels to have someone you love not believe that you love them, and feel like your efforts aren’t enough? It feels shitty. Like really, really shitty. I know because I’ve been there. I wanted a lot of things when I was younger, but nothing more than for my best friend to just be okay, and I cried for more hours than I can count because I couldn’t fix it. Eventually I became a target for all of that pain too. I was so, so good at being a target, because I was devastated and heartbroken but it was okay because there was a good reason for it. I’ll stay, we can work it out, we’ll still have our happy ending. Maybe it’s good that I wasn’t allowed. I was never going anywhere and everyone knew that. And amongst other things, that is how pure love turned into self-hate and the tables were turned.

Now, this has been allowed to fester for a few years and it’s wormed its way into my skin like it’s part of me. It’s decided to name itself Depression and cause all kinds of trouble. But it is not part of me. That hate is not me. I stand for acceptance and love. I want love to win.

Yeah, I was hurt many times over, and no, that’s not fair. But all this is doing is turning me into someone who is just like those who hurt me. Am I really going to give them that kind of power?

I don’t want to. Although I was insecure as a child, this really all started because I was told that my relationship with the person I loved most was wrong and made to feel like I didn’t deserve that kind of love. They tried to take it from me and in the long run they never really could. But by giving in to this I am letting them take it away, this thing that made me so happy.

All of my self-loathing and insecurities and depression and anxiety and rejection sensitivity – all of that is pretty strong. I underestimated all of those factors for sure. But they underestimated me, too. By preying upon my weakness they’re simultaneously playing up my strengths. They’re making me lose the most precious thing to me but I will do anything to keep it. I’ve never fought harder for anything in my life and for once that might actually be useful. In ordinary circumstances I’ll attack anything and anyone that hurts this person like a rabid dog, and now that applies to me too. Well, half of me. Really, me? You think you can just come in here and ruin everything? No. Fuck you. Stay the hell away from them, and from me.

That’s important, it has always been important, but now it reminds me why I have to save myself for me, too. It’s hard to make improvements when you feel like it’s hopeless. At this point, even though I’m self-aware I feel like I’m not even worth improving because I hurt someone. I destroyed our future and then I just kept making it worse after that and worst of all I hurt someone I swore to protect. I broke a promise, the most serious promise I’ve ever made, the one that saved me last summer when I couldn’t find any other good reasons to live.

So I keep trying to convince myself that I don’t deserve to live now, but if I HAVE to then I don’t deserve anything that might make me happy, like food, or entertainment, or friends etc. etc.

And I’m fighting that voice and actively trying to cheer myself up because they would hate this. They would hate this so much because why would you ever want someone else to feel the pain that you felt in the past? They believed in me and I let them down but the ONLY way to fix that is to rise above it. It’s not a choice any more. You either fly or you fall.

And I have to do it on my own. I don’t have my roommates who kept my head above the water the last time something similar happened (which was really only a few months ago, good job). I don’t have them either, obviously. They’re the only one I really want to see – I need a hug, I need to know that I’m still loved. But who knows if that’s even true at all. They’re the only one who knows how this feels, but I guess that doesn’t matter when you’re on the receiving end. We said we’d always be there for each other but I’ve lost that privilege now.

They don’t believe that I care about them and, you know, like them as a human being, and why would they? I didn’t believe it either. I knew it to be true, as a fact, but I didn’t feel it. I was purposefully trying NOT to feel it. I think that I truly did learn and heal and change a few months back. I spent like two months straight just reminding myself of all the reasons why we made each other so happy and realized that I gave myself far more credit than I deserved. I started seeing new qualities and moments I had forgotten, and memories I thought I knew off by heart that I was actually interpreting all wrong. And then I buried all of it. Things have been irrevocably changed between us, thanks to my last mistake, and I guess I don’t deal with loss very well. I wanted things to go back to normal, I wanted to not feel lost and overwhelmed, I wanted to stop crying all the time again. I didn’t know what I was doing, only that it magically didn’t seem so bad any more. I was proud of myself for handling that situation, and I still am, but at what cost?

I went back in time to 2 months ago. I got a tattoo without telling them, and it was an interesting choice to say the least, and something that was meaningful to both of us. They said they were happy that I did it because it was important to me. Such easy acceptance. The same thing happened last year when I decided in a day that I wanted to move back to Toronto. “You should do it, it will probably be good for you” (it was). That’s it. They don’t even blink, ever. They always support me and they’re always proud of me and believe in whatever I want to do, and they are one of the only people that I can say that about. Even my own parents don’t do that.

I remember things like that and remember why we’re friends. It’s not about remembering how you feel as a concept. It’s about remembering the little things. Remind yourself of them and paint yourself a mental picture of someone who loves you, because they do. Let that override whatever doubts and insecurities you have and silence that hateful inner voice.

And now I believe it. I believe it and I will not let any of this negativity touch them again. I refuse to turn them back into a reflection of myself. The cycle ends here. Love is strength. Don’t bury it. Use it. Love is stronger than hate.

So. It’s going to be hard for a while. I mean, it’s always hard, but it will be extra hard. There will probably continue to be a lot of crying and not a lot of anything else productive. I will probably tweet a lot of song lyrics, because somehow that also makes me feel better. But I’m going to hopefully have my psychiatrist fix my medication on Thursday, and until then I’ll do what I can. I’ll spend more time in the office just because there’s someone there who makes me happy and I will convince myself that there is nothing wrong with that. I’ll get my shit together and wear cute outfits and clean my room and eat proper meals (why is that so hard for me?!). I’ll keep planning for my future and not let anyone tell me that my goals are stupid and impossible. I will write all the things. I’ll read and watch TV and watch Youtube videos because it’s okay to just relax every once and a while. And then maybe after a while I’ll find a way to make amends, we’ll be friends again and I’ll get that hug, and all will be right with the world.

They don’t believe that I love them, that I think they’re a good person, but I do. I do, I do, I do.

When the time is right, when there’s no way out
And I am losing something I ain’t got
When the love is gone and I’m all alone
I give it everything, I’ll give it everything now
When the time is right, when there’s no way out
I give it everything, I’ll give it everything now
-Glorious/Foxes

Don’t Be a Fucking Asshole

**This is a LONG one and it’s probably not even great writing. I just needed to get it out.**

Somehow I’ve been successfully lying to myself for at least a year now. I mean, I already knew that, but I thought that it ended a few months ago. Nope. Still happening.

I’ve written, I don’t know, like four motivational posts on here that I either haven’t published because they’re too personal, or they became irrelevant, or I was saving them. Now I realize there is no point in saving them, because why publish them if no one will believe them? It doesn’t matter how good of a writer you are – you can’t re-write reality. Writing about how much you love someone or yourself is nice, but it means nothing if you can’t actually do it. I lack credibility, but I believe in all of that motivational stuff 100%. I do.

However, I also believe that all people are good people, and therefore I have always believed that. Well, most of the time. You see, when I was younger and I felt attacked and unloved and like I wasn’t good enough, I hated outsiders. It didn’t matter if they’d never done anything to me – I hated them instantly, on principle. I even hated the person I love most now for a little bit, before I gave in and got to know him. I never had that problem with friends though, which was good.

I was scared and defensive but I still found it in me to love someone else unconditionally, and put myself and my own dumb insecurities aside when I was needed. I was a good person. Yes, I wish that I had been more confident and assertive, but aside from that I am so very proud of my little self. She had no idea that what she did was anything special.

I lost that for a while – I got hurt badly and I became bitter and angry and cynical again, and eventually, numb. I stopped believing in people. I thought that I had recovered those traits that I lost, and I did for a few months here and there. But I have been lying to myself thinking that I’m not still bitter and angry.

Whenever I am hurt I get this way, and this is unfortunate because bitter and angry people hurt other people. And I have been hurt a lot, which means that I’ve gained years of pain to use as fuel and years of experience learning how to cut someone else down, protect myself and just generally be an asshole.

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