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.

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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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And Every Day After That

And Every Day After That

January 22, 2011

I wake up
to hear
‘I love you’,
a tangible reassurance
that you’re safe.
Everything
in my life is still upright.
I won’t have to redefine
and see the world differently,
not today.

I cry
for a minute
with relief, then
stop.
Certain
that although we have cheated
death today
it will come
tomorrow.

I used to have an account on FictionPress.com, and I recently logged into it again because I’m considering putting the first quarter of the first draft of my novel on there to see what happens. And while I was there I rediscovered the last couple of poems that I wrote, which was clearly quite a while ago. And I expected to hate them, the way I do my high school poetry, but I do not.

So I decided to share them again.

This was written about my ex boyfriend who got really upset with me for a weekend and refused to speak to me, and I was terrified. I was worried that we would break up or that worse, he would hurt himself. Except looking back I realize that this was a completely irrational fear in that situation, and this was actually written about my first ex boyfriend, who self-harmed and left me worrying-but-not-worrying about him indefinitely.

**By the way, I’ve started posting again on my FictionPress account, although whether or not I post the novel remains to be seen. If you’d like to read more of my poetry and fiction, check it out here.**

It Gets Dark at 5 Now

It’s still October and relatively nice out – cold, but not so cold that I dread getting out of bed and going outside. I can still wear my nice coat.

But I am filled with dread all the same, because winter is coming. Obviously. Normally I am so excited because of Christmas, and I don’t start to feel the impact until January, but it’s starting early this year. Really early.

That’s because last winter was absolutely brutal for me, to the point where I can count the number of good days I had throughout the entire season on my hands. I was in a depressive episode, although it took me way too long to figure that out. I was constantly tired, and when I try to remember those months the weather is always dark or cloudy, even though I know that’s impossible.

That’s just how things seem to me when it’s cold out. It’s not S.A.D. because I’m perfectly capable of being depressed at any time of the year, it’s just way more likely in the winter.

And now I am constantly tired except in the middle of the night, and that’s only because I get up really late and take naps in the middle of the day. Things are starting to seem pointless because I have nothing to look forward to until April.

I’m terrified of falling again. I’m terrified of even just remaining where I am right now.

My life requires a LOT of energy. I do not have time for naps. I do not have time for sitting on the kitchen floor for 15 minutes because I was opening a drawer to get a pot and then just gave up while I was down there.

I don’t have time to be sad, let alone depressed.

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Someday

You, with your switching sides
And your wildfire lies and your humiliation
You have pointed out my flaws again
As if I don’t already see them
I walk with my head down
Trying to block you out cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again

I bet you got pushed around,
Somebody made you cold
But the cycle ends right now
Cause you can’t lead me down that road,
And you don’t know, what you don’t know…

Someday,
I’ll be living in a big old city

And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Someday
I’ll be big enough that you can’t hit me

And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
-Taylor Swift

Nearly 3 weeks ago I was officially hired as the Creative Projects & Communications Assistant at the non-profit that I interned at over the summer. I’ve known this was going to happen since my last week there, I just wasn’t sure what exactly my role would be so I didn’t want to talk about it too much. Actually I still don’t know, considering that my title was just made up for me, but we will find out! Over the summer I mainly handled media related things but for the past year I’ve sort of been someone who just does anything and everything (except for for math and science), so who knows. But I am getting a paycheck and I have my own office now, for some reason, so that’s all I’m concerned about. I’ve enjoyed what I do so far so I’m sure it will continue that way.

This is basically the best thing that could semi-realistically happen to me. Let me explain that – I’ve mentioned (several times) that I had a dream to get married and shit, and I’ve come to realize that I also had a dream to have a tight-knit group of friends who would support me. These things will never happen. Not the way I want, anyway.

And out of that darkness came this newfound ability to be…me. Who I really am, I guess, not that I knew that as it was happening. Someone who can be highly functional even during her darkest periods, who speaks her mind and isn’t particularly scared of what anyone else thinks, someone with good ideas. And as a result I ended up building a new dream and the beginnings of a career.

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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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Please Support the Oolagen Charity Ball presented by Active Minds at UofT!

I am the president of a student group at my university called Active Minds at UofT, and we raise awareness for mental health issues.

This year, we are planning our biggest event yet. We want to host a benefit in support of an organization called Oolagen. Oolagen runs a walk-in clinic in downtown Toronto where youth & their families can receive FREE counseling. If any of you are in any way involved in the mental health community, you’ll know how rare that is.

We need to raise money both for Oolagen and in order to be able to host the benefit in the first place. Our university provides very little funding to its student groups so we’re turning to the public for help.

We created an Indiegogo campaign which is live now, where you can get more info, purchase tickets, and donate to the cause. Please check it out at the link below!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/oolagen-charity-ball-presented-by-active-minds/x/8030954

If you can’t afford to donate, it also helps if you share the link and explain to your followers what the cause is and why it matters.

Thank you so much ❤

-Chelsea