The rantings of a pissed off introvert

I was 18 or 19 when I gave someone a fake name for the first time. I don’t remember how old I was precisely – I know that my high school sweetheart and I weren’t together at that point in time, but we were allowed to smoke in the bars, so I had to be under 20.

Like most little shithole towns, mine had a bar called The Zoo. It was typically shitty – the carpet was ancient and so sticky that you could slip a high heel off, stretch your toes, and your heel would be exactly where you left it, the pool tables warped and faded, one of the ladies’ toilets stopped flushing years ago – and it’s been a very long time (like, I think I was 24 the last time I was there) but I still remember the layout. They used to put up a stripper pole a few nights a week, used to truck sand onto the dance floor a few times a year (for a beach party!), and it was your typical shithole bar. It was my shit bar. I loved there, I fought there – generally with the same person.

Anyway.

This particular evening I was likely having a smoke with my beers (I was a social smoker. Altogether now – ewwwwww) and this guy slid up next to me. He was older than I was, but I didn’t recognize him. He made my skin crawl, but I couldn’t walk away easily because of a small wall between us.

“Hey, cutie. Howzit going?” His breath full of smoke, his eyes droopy from the drink. “What’s yer name?”

A fake smile. A realization that I couldn’t move away from him easily.

“Luke,” I yelled over the music. A lie. A joking nickname one of my high school friends gave me due to my riding shotgun pretty much all the time until I was allowed to take my dad’s truck more often.

See, if I’d given my real name, he would have leaned in closer to try to get it right. He’d have blocked my exit more than he already was, gotten close enough for me to smell the nicotine seeping from his pores, maybe would have put his hand on my lower back to steady me as I repeated my real name until he got it right.

Since then, I give Luke out when I’m too tired to talk about my name. Coffee shops, creeps in bars (you’d be surprised at how many people believe that Luke is short for Lucinda, but I disgress), you name it, I’ve given my fake name there. I even used to have a flask that read LUKE in all capitals letters, given as a goodbye gift from a friend in Australia. It’s particularly lovely given my introversion.

However, since entering my profession, I’ve gotten more careful with my name and pictures of myself. I’ve curated my online reputation to the point of lunacy, I’m sure. I tend to be anal about Googling myself (every 6 months or so), to ensure that nothing new has cropped up. My privacy means a lot to me (especially since the business intelligence team. It’s alarming how easy it is to find someone.) and I protect it fiercely. Triply so since this whole terrible terrifying encounter.

So, what does this mean? It means that I don’t use my full name on Facebook (and, in fact, am debating changing my name to its traditional spelling to hide further). It means that there is no photo or detail on LinkedIn until we connect. It means I use a bastardized spelling on Instagram, and I’m named nowhere but on media releases and for volunteer activities. My Reddit account is tied to me in no way, ever. Period.

Now, however, I’ve found myself embroiled in an unusual situation, and the media wants to talk to me. And I’m torn between rioting for this unusual (for me) cause, and protecting my privacy.

I bought a place a few years ago, and until now, we have been allowed to smoke on our personal patios. Frankly, that meant sweet fuck all to me. I don’t smoke, precious few of my friends smoke – but we were allowed. And now, in a knee jerk response to the legalization of marijuana, my condo board (who are, with the exception of one truly lovely soul, a pack of judgmental assholes) has decided that the entire property should be grow and smoke free. The level of Reefer Madness has reached feverish heights, and the bias being shown by the condo board is unbelievable. Like, if you smoke pot clearly you’re a criminal levels of bias. At an “informational meeting”, one of the directors was giving her absolute bullshit opinion on medicinal marijuana and how you can take different things to get the same effect.

I’m a bit pissed. I don’t smoke a lot, but it’s none of anyone’s business whether I do or not. I have no desire to leave my home to go for a walk, or to a smoke shelter (where old men in my building can sneer at the “dirty hippies embroiled in the sex, drugs, and rock & roll lifestyle” as they stroll past). I don’t want to host a gathering of friends and police them – “Sorry, I know that you smoke cigarettes but you need to leave my house and property in order to do so” – let along be fine with my neighbours propping doors open. There are security risks, safety risks, and all this board cares about is banning cannabis. They are saying it’s because it’s a fire hazard, but are doing nothing to prevent the smokers who are currently tossing their butts over the balcony railings. And even though the most vocal people are ANTI this bylaw, and even though they are using skewed data to support this decision, the board isn’t saying anything… I’m furious.

First, I’m aware that I’m at the mercy of multi-housing living. I do realize that. I did join the board for a time, but literally couldn’t handle the stress of it all – the continued drama and flat out lies told by the then-president. And this just….

Makes me want to riot.

I went online awhile ago and asked for options. “Does anyone else have some ideas how to deal with this?” I got railed on a lot, and was given a really hard time by a few, but now a reporter wants to talk to me about this. Frankly, I’m debating publicly shaming my board. I’m debating tying my name to the “Hey, I smoke pot sometimes!” article and speaking my rage to a paper to be published for the city to see. Right now, she and I have gone back and forth on it – she can’t grant me anonymity, but wants the scoop. She messaged me again this morning. And I want to do it. I want this reporter to call my property management company and demand answers, and then destroy them in print.

Except it’s in ink. The internet is ink, and my name will be tied to that position forever. My real name, which most of the people reading this blog already know. But I’m sure that I’m surprising people that I’m on this side of legalization (hey guess what, I also staunchly support the legalization of prostitution! Surprise, y’all!) and it scares me that my position on a smoke and grow free building will be freely available. I don’t want my colleagues knowing that I dabble or support it.

Ugh. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

But, here’s a happy tune to end with. Happy Friday – may your beer be cold and your decisions wise.

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One day before 35

We recently completed an employee engagement survey at work. I hate those things. Generally it doesn’t change anything but the rhetoric, and it feels like more of a chore than anything. My team had a meeting yesterday about our results, and after a lot of talk about the past and how we can move forward as a team, I spoke up.

Now, I am very happy at my job. In fact, I LOVE my job. I wake up excited more than I don’t, and I’m usually bubbly the second I walk in the door. My team is amazing, and I am proud to work where I am. Full stop. I’m in love with what I do, and where I am. I get thanked a lot for the work I do, I get a lot of compliments about my attitude and the effect it has, and I haven’t said no to a project yet. Hell. I even had a little birthday celebration yesterday, and got thanked by two directors (including my own) for overtime I put in.

I. Love. My. Job.

All of that, however, didn’t stop me from pointing out that employee engagement results tend to be difficult to implement, that I had the previous results and nothing has changed, and that I didn’t see the point of putting a lot of effort into something that wouldn’t matter anyways. I genuinely believe that effort needs to come from the top – that it’s impossible to say to jaded individuals “It will get better if you work harder!” unless you want to piss everyone off.

Given that I’m generally the happiest person in the office, that statement has raised a few questions and a few compliments from my team. Most obviously, the one I’ve heard 4 times now is comments about my positive attitude versus my opinion about employee engagement surveys.

To that, I say I choose this.

I’m turning 35 tomorrow (what the fuck), and I have to say that the lesson I’ve learned the most since last year is that your attitude defines your life. I have finally learned that I get to choose.

I choose to be happy at work, especially on Mondays, even though it would be really easy to be grumpy and disengaged.

I choose to be happy. Even when reason says I shouldn’t be, I choose lightness over darkness.

I choose hard work. Whether it’s the gym or repairing a relationship, or even cleaning a storage room, I choose to get sweaty and fight through it.

I choose to dance. Even though I’m TERRIBLE at it, even though I don’t know how, I choose to shimmy and shake and sing to honour God and myself, I choose to feel lovely as I move.

I choose love – I choose to love me in all my busted up glory, I choose to love my friends and family, I choose to believe in romantic love and a happy ever after (even though I struggle with that last). Today, especially. I choose love.

I choose to fight for the things that I want. As Sugar says, I want to fight in the muckiest muck and walk out, filthy, exhausted, but still choosing it every time.

I choose, I choose, I choose.

It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, only in real time. It’s really hard to be this way – I struggle with falling into old habits (“Why does this keep happening to me?!”) and somedays, owning my choices is really fucking difficult. But the more I do it, the easier it is.

I turn 35 tomorrow, and I choose to be happy. I choose to keep living my life without regret, I choose to keep working to being the person I want to be. If I could give you any advice, it would be to choose. Choose what’s important to you, choose to fight for the people you love and the future you want, choose yourself, choose love.

Week 7: February parallels

This time last year, I was well into a bottle of bubbly.

I had been restructured out of my job. They pulled me into a meeting room, told me that they didn’t need a marketing and communications pro (which, to be fair, was true), tried to look sincere when they apologized, and then let me pack up my things and go. I sat in my car and screamed, cried a little…. and then came home and drank prosecco because I had no idea what I was going to do.

To be clear, this wasn’t the same as the Irish whiskey black out that happened when I left the GoA. This was a night of “well, fuck it, I don’t have to work tomorrow. Cheers!”

It’s been 365 days. And oh so much has changed. In true N style, let’s show some gratitude for that time before I get into the parallels.

I am just over 10 months into a job that blows my mind every. Single. Day. Seriously. Every day. I wake up absolutely pumped to go to work, and my boss often teases me that I must be on great drugs because I’m just thrilled every day. My reviews have come back positive, and I’ve been praised for my leadership skills. Which is awesome, because this is my first leadership role (hooray to going from a MarComms Coordinator to Communication Team Lead!). I’ve been doing things that are generally out of my comfort zone and succeeding – traveling to large scale events with no idea what I’ve been doing, interviewing for vacation positions – and I am so fucking in love with my job. I didn’t think it would ever happen.

I have the homicidal love muffin. She’s currently asleep in a shoe box (well, she’s trying to fit into a shoe box) and chirping in her sleep. I didn’t plan on adopting her. I saw a photo, and all of a sudden I had a feather chasing fuzz butt who is now 12 pounds and loves to play hide and seek.

For the first time, I dated with intention. I realized precisely how lonely I was, and started being even picky than I usually am with dating. There were some really nice guys. And now… there is just one really nice gentleman. No drama, no strings attached, just goodness.

I am slowly but surely getting healthier. Full stop. There have been slides backwards (like right now, because fuck my ankles and the flu, that’s why!) but I am always getting back up and continuing to move forward.

However, it can’t all be hunky dory. This time last year, I was steeling up the courage to go to my doctor and tell her that I wanted physio to heal my knee so that I could start running again. And now, I’m dealing with an ankle that isn’t stable that I’ve been instructed to be gentle with until it stops popping out of place. No high heels. I’m not allowed to spin until I’m done curling (repetitive motion, for the win!) so I’m generally just cranky about it. The other night I slid out of the hack, and my foot popped so loudly that I thought I’d broken it. And today, it’s all swollen.

All that said, I take a lot of peace that the only thing that is the same as last year is the idea that I need physio. How amazing is that? I’m experiencing a lot of joy, things are finally in a place where I am content and feeling happy. I don’t think I’ll ever say that I’m done improving, because I don’t know that I ever will be, but I’m so happy.

Week 5 – so much for weekly updates

Well.

The road to hell, and all that jazz.

It’s week 5. I’ve been steadily losing, minus one really weird week that I will account to a monthly bloat. I went up 9 pounds (WTAF) and then dropped to my lowest weight yet. Boom. Low 170s. I’m a babe.

My January and February so far has been a lot of remembering. I have been struggling to meal plan and prep, but I’m getting better every week. I have said this before – but prepping healthy and delicious meals for one person SUCKS. I get sick of what I make easily, so I’m trying for variety and delicious. This week was the best one – raspberry, salami, and feta spinach salads, and roasted sweet potato, apple and feta spinach salads. I had smoothies and egg sandwiches for breakfast, and snack consisted of fruit, snack bars, and yoghurt. Simple but delicious, and lots of choices. This week felt good.

Exercise has also been good. I signed up for my friend AR’s weekly spin class. AR and I used to run together (and by together, I mean that we’d chat before our runs, because even in my wildest dreams I likely couldn’t keep up with her). But, a year or two ago I confided that I was sad that I wasn’t able to run any longer, and now we work out before our beer visits. Whether it’s yoga or spin, we move together. So when I say “it’s my goal to ride one of those core bikes”, I know that she’ll have me on one. And I did this week – it was a bit of a stretch for me, but it felt GREAT afterwards. I feel super lucky to have a friend like AR.

I’ve also been at the gym at my work almost every day. My go to is walking – I can walk over 3KM in 40 minutes. I love walking – it’s as close to running I’ll likely ever be again. Also, confession – I don’t like figuring out the machines, plus I’m a creature of routine, so I like the treadmills. That, however, is changing.

Because I signed up for, and started working with, a personal trainer. And she has told me that I’m not going to be walking anymore. Because I’ve also told HER that I want to push myself. I am regretting that a little today, though. Yesterday was our first REAL session together, and I was feeling like a babe before the session. Wednesday, I wore my old running pants to spin. They had stopped fitting about 2 years ago – and they fit amazingly on Wednesday. On Friday, I was able to bust out a pair of jeans that make me look and feel amazing. To say I was feeling like a babe is an UNDERSTATEMENT. And then I went to the gym.

You guys, I was so ashamed. I almost cried in the gym I was so embarrassed. It was an easy ish routine (even now, replaying it in my mind, it seems easy) but I am so so weak. My arms were shaking as I moved the weights, and my balance was off. I struggling to finish, my legs were wobbling. I am so ashamed that I’m so weak. I have neglected myself so much that I struggled with every single movement – and today my body is ACHING. My shoulders and legs especially. Even putting on my awesome jeans after the workout didn’t make me feel better. I felt sad. And fat. Which, as I’ve already discovered, makes me want to eat. That makes me feel infinitely worse.

This is the defining moment, though. I know that, in my heart of hearts, I have two choices. I can give up because of my shame – I can go back to what I know, and what I am comfortable with – or I can choose to move forward through the discomfort to be better.

It’s the second month of 2018, and this is the second time I’ve made this choice. I went to a meditation workshop in January, and during an affirmation session, I started to cry. The session leader was talking to us about the teaching of Louise Hay, and I couldn’t repeat these affirmations – all positive statements that I want to believe about myself. The words we were speaking are my deepest fear about myself, the thing that keeps me awake at night and prickly during the day. As I was struggling to speak, my tears were flowing down my face. My heart felt like it was being shattered open. Even thinking about it – I have tears in my eyes. And maybe on my cheeks.

There are only two real choices as I move forward with this journey. I can choose easy. I can choose to move forward with my hard shell and soft body – I can ignore that my joints ache, and that my heart breaks (and I cry) every time I try to speak about my deep fear. Or I can choose discomfort – I can choose to continue to show up for myself, to look at myself in the mirror and acknowledge that it’s hard and that it hurts, but moving forward is the only way to go.

This is my choice. This discomfort and vulnerability is my choice. I will continue to make this my choice, even as my heart heals and my body gets stronger. I choose discomfort over easy.

Week 1 – Again

It feels weird to write Week 1, again. Especially since the Week 1 already happened, but it feels like just starting over.

Accidental John Lennon reference in the first sentence. Go me.

Ok, so it’s week 1. My Fitness Pal gave me a very very salty goodbye yesterday (“We see these reminders aren’t helpful. So we are going to stop now.”), because I’m having a hard time putting my meals into it. It’s not like I’m not eating well, because oh, I am, but I just don’t seem to have that particular routine down yet.

HOWEVER. Overall, the rest of it came back easy peasy. I managed the gym 3 times this week, with over 11,000 steps each of those days, and I completely forgot how much I loved working out. Also this week – I signed up for 13 weeks of spinning, and gained a 25 class pass at Oxygen Fitness because I’m so done feeling like not my total babely self!

That said – and I’m very excited about this – I stepped on the scale the day after my last post. It wasn’t as high as the first Week 1 – about 10 pounds under that first horrible terrible first time – but it was higher than the last time I stepped on the scale. However. I stepped onto the scale on Tuesday.

And I am officially in the 170s. Officially, more than halfway through the 170s.

I feel like a total and utter babe.

***

To that, there is something else I want to write about. It’s been percolating a lot this week. Mostly because 5 years ago, exactly, I was in Africa. Africa was a total game changer for me.

5 years ago, I was ready to quit communications and marketing altogether. Like, full stop. I hated my job, I hated every single day I was at my job. There was one good thing about my job, and she was my boss. I wanted to quit and run back to operating heavy equipment. Because, and this cannot be overstated – I hated my life every. Single. Day. I had to go to work.

5 years ago, I was sharing my life and home with a man, who I very often described as my soulmate. I had a dream for us (even though I wasn’t allowed to talk about it with him), I wanted to marry him and have his children. Even though it was secretly awful and devastating and far lonelier than I have been since.

5 years ago, my anxiety was off of the charts. I wasn’t allowed to cry or be anxious at home, I wasn’t sleeping, and I was constantly thisclose to a full on meltdown.

And now I’m here.

I love what I do, even though I’ve gone through a couple of major derailments and ended up on my ass (and sometimes in a bottle). I love writing, I love the challenges I face day to day. Communications has become my love.

I have been single for most of the last five years. I have dated- some men longer than others – but haven’t ever found anyone that made me feel like my former roommate. I keep faith that I’ll find that spark – but then I think, maybe a spark like that isn’t meant to light a life. Maybe they are meant to incinerate who we were, in order to become who we need to become. I’ve been on the most hilarious and terrible dates, but I’ve also fallen in love with myself. That was something definitely missing from my life 5 years ago.

It’s been a battle – mostly with myself. I have fought myself into corners, fallen, given up, folded in child’s pose and wept, stood back up, and kept fighting. I’m really, really proud of all that. I’ve learned to dance more, sing louder, care more, and be fiercer.

To that – here is a really great dancing tune. Please go and dance for joy. Dance for life, dance for love, dance for all the lessons we have learned, for the lessons we haven’t learned yet, and the choices we yet to get to make.

Week 6: 10 pounds down 

There are a lot of numbers flying around my life today. The most important, though, is 10.8. 

Yep. I’m officially 10.8 pounds lighter than I was 6 weeks ago. Boo yah. My pants are looser, so are my bras. My cheekbones are more prominent, my hair is even shiner.   

10.8 down, at least 29.2 to go. I am very happy, a little scared, but very determined. 

This wouldn’t be my geeky little blog, though, if there wasn’t a “however”. Isn’t there always a however? I did a little math yesterday. And I am not very good unless the numbers are laid out right in front of me… but this math was all receipts. I’ve saved every one from Jenny, and may I just say. Holy shit. HOLY SHIT. That was a high number. A big number! So, given that I’ve been out of work 2 times in the last year, money is a little tight for me. My savings are in shambles, but my work-my-ass-off attitude pays off. So I haven’t ever run out, but I decided this year that I’d budget. And my concert buddy helped me out. 

Moving back from that – I have a friend. We have been friends since kindergarten, and we keep running into one another in our lives randomly, which is a big deal when our lives are full of social media. She’s kind of a bad ass. Potty mouthed, music loving, and budget genius. She is one of my biggest supporters – when I adopted Nox, she was out there shopping with me and giving me advice about the best litter, the best wet food, and a scratch her cats stopped using. When we date, we check in with one another and then swap war stories. When I needed help creating a budget, even though I was deeply, deeply shamed… she was here. 

She puts up with my “WTF AM I GOING TO DO”, my “I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS” and my “PLEASE HELP ME I AM SO LOST” text messages. She came over one afternoon to meet Nox and to help me set up a spreadsheet. She got baby cuddles, did addition, and helped me put every single number from my bank account into a spreadsheet that does the math for me (and good thing). 

So, last night I was doing my budget, because I have one set up and I was wearing my big girl panties. And then the number from Jenny…. kinda threw a wrench into my budget. I meditated on it, and did some research into some other weight loss tools that are a little cheaper than Jenny. 

And then tonight, I walked into my weight in (did I mention that I have lost over 10.8 pounds? CAUSE I DID!) and walked black out with a month to myself. I told my consultant all of the worries I had – the money, the preservatives – and she let me take a month to figure out what my next steps are, with the following caveats:

  • If my weight moves up more than a pound, I am to call her
  • I am to monitor my intake of food, maintaining my 1,200 daily caloric intake. 
  • I come back to her in a month, and decide whether or not to stay with Jenny. 

I downloaded My Fitness Pal tonight, and had my last Jenny dinner (for now, maybe). I have a vanilla cupcake in the freezer for dessert. 10,000 steps today, and planning to do the same over my (super long!) weekend. Gym on Tuesday. 

Onto the next 10 pounds! 

Oh, and here is the weekly Nox update. She’s totally and utterly miserable (I’m saying this with ALL SARCASM because this is how I woke her up the other day). 

Week 4 of Operation Please Don’t Cut My Leg Open 

I’m pleased to announce that it’s Week 3, and I haven’t killed anyone yet. 

It’s been tough. Seriously tough sometimes. There have been tears and lots of cravings. The first week was really easy – lots of movement, lots of defeating the random addiction craving (specifically, caffeine and refined sugar), and I really liked the food. Week 2 and 3 were less easy. People ask me about my diet all the time. I have been told many times that I don’t need to lose any weight. I have been spending a lot of time being intensely lonely, and then realized that I tend to eat poorly when I’m lonely. But, let’s focus on the wins. 

Big shifts with Operation Please Don’t Cut My Leg Open: 

  • I’ve lost over 7 pounds so far
  • I’ve been averaging over 59,000 steps a week – still less than 10,000 a day
  • I’m joining the gym at my new office so I can work out at lunch rather than do what I have been doing (i.e. Working through my lunch) 
  • I’ve lost 5 inches from off my waist, hips, and bust collectively

There are two other big things that happened in the last 3 weeks. 

First. 

I left my part time job. It was terrifying and sudden and I only have one job now. For the first time in a year. Actually, the first time in 2 years that I will have every single day of the week to myself. I am looking forward to it, but I’m also walking away from my sanctuary. It’s the first time I won’t have my safety net, and it feels like I’m losing part of my family. Excited and scared, definitely. 

Second. 

I adopted a kitten.  And she’s really freaking adorable. 


And now I’m not as lonely anymore. We are also experiencing a jingle ball shortage in my house. And her name is definitely a Harry Potter reference. 

Overall. It’s been good. I’m looking forward to breaking into the 180s next week. I think I’ll be posting photos of progress with every 10 pounds lost, and definitely will be putting numbers out when I get further away from my starting point. Because I’m still afraid of that starting number. 

Gratitude at 34

The thing about hitting rock bottom and being able to stand back up is that you become aware that there isn’t a lot that you can’t survive. 

This past summer I found the bottom of a lot of things. I found the bottom of a few Irish whiskey bottles. I found the bottom of my soul. I found the bottom of the deepest, scariest pits in my mind. I found the bottom of my tear ducts, and the emptiness of my stomach, and the truest desires and fears of my heart. I mean it whenever I say that I didn’t think I was going to survive. I hit my bottom of my well, and I crawled out of it with the love and help of my friends and family. I found the darkness, I struck the match that eradicated the black, and I made it get better. Something about being forced into submission, something about being brought to your knees, turns that action into prayer. I came out of the fire even stronger than I could have imagined.

So, when it happened again, a restructure that wiped out the whole marketing/communications department (or, just me. Because I was all of that), there wasn’t a bottom. There wasn’t a night where I crawled into the whiskey bottle. While there were definitely tears, often I was laughing until I cried. The blackness that consumed me in the summer didn’t return, even though it certainly tried at night. It turns out that this session of unemployment has truly taught me the meaning of gratitude. 

I am so infinitely grateful. 

I am grateful that I have a part time job at my favourite place in the city. I am able to go there whenever I need to be grounded, whenever I need to stretch, whenever I need to submit myself to my yoga mat. At least twice a week, I’m surrounded by people who make me laugh, hug me hard when I’m about to cry, and who encourage me to try harder. 

I am grateful for my family. I couldn’t imagine better parents – both of them constantly push me to be a better, stronger, kinder human. On my hardest, most foul day over the last 6 weeks, they were here – and, rather than stick to their plans, they stayed another night so that I didn’t need to be alone in my terror and panic. I am grateful for my brother and sister in law, too. Amazingly supportive, stubborn as I am, and just as determined. Who could have better cheerleaders? 

I am also grateful for my amazing tribe. They say your vibe attracts your tribe, and oh man. My tribe is fierce, and never to be fucked with. I cannot believe the support I have. From job recommendations to references, to random McDonald lunches and spinning, to supportive messages and road trips for nephew cuddles, to dinner or drinks, to laughs and tears at yoga, to live music and cold beers… I have warriors as friends. As dark as the night may become, and as rocky as it may be, I am never alone. My gratitude cannot be overstated. 

I truly don’t think that I’d be here without the people in my life. Today, on a day that is seeing some pretty big changes happening… thank you. Thank you for being here, thanks for reading. Just… thank you. 

The Tetris Lesson in real time

When I was in high school, I had the best shirt ever.

Black, short-sleeved, with an angry fairy on the front. Eat My Dust. It fit me perfectly (both physically and otherwise). Short spiked hair, blazing a trail as an active martial artist and truly not giving a fuck who thought what of me. I was fearless and fierce, and I loved that shirt.

I loved that shirt. I have no idea what happened to it, but I wish I still had it. I’d make a pillow out of it.

Because. Ridiculously.

I’m being bullied again.

I have to face a pack of bullies. Every. Single. Day.

And I’m sitting here, with tears held in my throat, ignoring the bullies. Like I always have. These tears won’t leave until I get home (edit: They left on my drive home. Crying in traffic sucks.) I won’t give them the satisfaction of seeing the effect they are having on me. I find it slightly ironic that it’s been a full 20 years since this all happened. Like, are you all fucking kidding me? Don’t you have something better to do than NOT invite me to things? Or pretending that you can’t hear me when I’m speaking to you? Or sitting with your back to me so that I’m physically excluded from a group conversation?

Truthfully, all I really want to do is go home, have a glass of wine, watch a sad movie, and cry myself to sleep. I really want that right now. I want someone to rub my back as I cry, and I just want to cry until my makeup is gone and I’m empty so I can be brave and make myself face it again tomorrow. Even as I’m sitting here. Safe on my couch. I just want to cry.

However. As Mick said, you can’t always get what you want. And I have a curling game tonight so. There will be no crying. There’s no crying in curling. I’m sure I read that rule somewhere.

On days like today, days where my banged-up little heart just wants to be loved and accepted, I try to remind myself that I’m fabulous. That I might not fit everywhere, but I have the ability to move (because I am not a tree!!) and I can move as far and as often as I like. True, this can be seen as “wherever you go, there you are”, but it also serves a higher purpose.

Mainly, I like being happy, and being actively bullied makes me very sad. If I have the ability to remove the things or people that are making me sad, I’m going to do so. I get to choose. And, even though it makes me very sad, I’m still going to try to Because, let’s be real.

tetris

I’m trying my very hardest to rise over this. I’m trying to remember that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d rather be someone’s shot of tequila. I’m trying to focus on the fact that I am a kind person by nature, and my kindness won’t go anywhere, and that I’ll always strive to be kind to everyone. That I’m unusual and varied and sweet and have moments of darkness and longing for acceptance and love, but I’m not ever going to fit in everywhere (but where I do fit in, boy do I fit!). And today (no matter how much I’d like to not be on the receiving end of bullying and that I’d definitely love a glass of wine and a huge cry and cuddles) I’m very sad… but tomorrow is a better day. 

Fuck bullies. 

Love letters 

Many years ago, I sat on the edge of a cement wall next to the Sydney Opera House and wrote a postcard to myself.

To step back – I left Canada with a very banged up, very scared little heart. My boyfriend of 1.5 years had been cheating on me for over a year. I had never traveled alone before. I had never carried a backpack as far as I was going to. I was afraid of a lot – heights, water, sharks, big bugs, being let down after over 15 years of planning – but I did what my parents taught me to do and packed my bags and did it anyway.

It ended up being one of the most important things I’ve ever done. It still doesn’t feel like it’s been (spoiler, holy fuck time flies) 10 years since I moved back to Canada. I remember the utter terror and excitement of landing in Auckland, and I remember feeling elated when I extended the trip by moving to Perth. I got over my fear of heights by being tied to a bridge and leaping off, I got over my fear of bugs by swagging in the desert, I conquered my fear of sharks and water at the same time by learning to dive. Suffice to say that my coming back to Canada made me feel like a completely different person – one that I became genuinely afraid to lose.

I didn’t want to be the scared girl in the corner any longer. I wanted to remember the feeling of being able to conquer anything I set my mind to, the true joy of being a brave person. So, on the last day of my journey, I wrote a letter to myself, reminding me of what I had accomplished and how powerful I really was.

To honour that, and to say goodbye to the shit year that was 2016, and to joyously welcome 2017….

Dear N.

You beautiful, wonderful, astounding creature.

You made it. You’re officially on the other side of the worst year of your life. There were moments where you laid down, little girl, and you almost didn’t (or couldn’t) get back up. There were moments where you thought it was over – when the failures and the broken heart and the turmoil almost broke you forever. When you raised your voice and started screaming to wound the people closest to you. When you cried until your eyes swelled shut and you didn’t have tears anymore but you kept crying anyway.

Baby, you made it.

And not only did you make it, you made it healthier than you have been in YEARS. You have learned more about yourself this year than any year before – how to deal with your emotions, how to meditate best for you, what you need to keep yourself healthy – and you have healed so many of the hurts. After finally turning to see yourself, you saw what needed fixing. And you fixed it. You’re still a bit of a chubby panda, but you finally even fell in love with those curves and accepted every single inch. 

Hell. You didn’t even see the freckles under your eyes until this year. How lovely is that? You can hold crazy yoga poses and walk forever and lift weights and rock climb- maybe you aren’t the beauty specific, but you’re a smoke show, traffic stopping babe nevertheless. You even stopped believing in love for awhile- how crazy is it that the best, sexiest, and most fulfilling relationship you’ve ever had is with your beautiful self? Even crazier- why did it take you so long? 

There is a lot of mystery surrounding your life right now. Things are in a holding pattern right now, and you are usually way more prepared (ahem, you anal planner you, ahem) than this. But you know what? You fell down HARD this summer. You failed the worst you literally ever have. But you know what, babe? You’ve been into the darkness. You can’t be afraid anymore, because you’ve seen the other side. So embrace this mystery, the unknown. Your path is leading you precisely where you need to go. Keep loving fiercely and keep volunteering and keep laughing and drinking green smoothies. Keep crying at movies and keep praying and meditating and working your ass off. 

You have everything you need. 

Keep moving forward, you stunning goddess. 

With so much love and joy and respect,

N