I am grateful for connectedness and coincidence, both of which I feel go hand-in-hand. What if I had loved my first practicum and it was the best experience of my life? My journey through PDP would have been smooth and easy and devoid of that total meltdown I had in Term 1.
But then, I wouldn’t have met you.
Two things had to have happened for this to have come true: firstly, I would have had to switch schools – to yours, of all the schools in lower mainland BC. And secondly, we would have to feel something that I felt the minute we started talking. And both of those things did happen. Coincidence, and connectedness. I’m so glad. I’m so glad I could smile all day.
Today I’m grateful I went into teaching at all.
It was a hard decision to make, leaving my career, friends, family and my city to pursue all of this. It was a financial burden (and will be for a long time) and it involved some (although, thanks to a lot of assistance, not a TON) of sacrifices, and I was unsure of how it was going to go. Can I do this?
I almost didn’t.
But then, I did.
And I am a couple of weeks from graduating and now I can’t actually believe that this insane year is actually ending. It feels different from undergrad. Undergrad was a culmination of so much hard work, but it was also easy to skirt by and sit around silently doing the work. In this degree, I had to do something I’ve never done before: scream out loud. And I did it. So loud it hurt my own ears. So loud I yelled and then ducked for cover. Loud.
I did it and now I’m graduating and I couldn’t be happier, not just of my accomplishments but from what I gleaned socially and emotionally from this program. I’m so grateful I had the chance to switch schools so I could connect with a particularly wonderful person who’s been wonderful from the day we met until today. I’m grateful for people without whom I never could have pushed through a Bachelor of Education program and I’m grateful to have realized what I needed to succeed and make it happen for myself. I’m grateful.
Today I am grateful for being a student. I am going to miss the student life when Round 2 of it is over at the end of this month; it was hard. This was one year of academia that was so much harder than the last five years I did when completing my BA. You know what, though? It was amazing – the people I met, what I learned about myself, my increase in poise, confidence and public speaking, and the proof that yes, I can overcome the hardest most grueling thing I’ve ever done is immense. Life learning trumped academic learning and I think that was kind of the point of PDP in the first place. I’m so glad I did this. It was a shot in the dark but it gave me everything in life I ever needed or wanted.
You know what I’m grateful for today? The fact that I’ve known so many awful human beings in my life.
People can justify all they want; they can say and do awful things and find reasons to stand by what they did by providing ‘reasons’ but at the end of the day, reasons mean shit to the person who got the raw end of the stick. Reasons mean nothing to someone who is oppressed. Reasons are not reasons; they’re excuses. And if you really care about someone, you’re going to care that you hurt them before you did something selfish and mean that you justified with “reasons”.
But back to what I’m grateful for.
I’m grateful that I know who is my friend – who is truly my friend – and who isn’t. I’m grateful that I have a sense of real versus fake friends and even if realizations about fake friends have shattered what I know and knew about my past in Edmonton and in undergrad, and even if I don’t have those memories anymore of what I thought I knew, I would rather stare bitchy, petty, rude, immature bullshit behaviour in the face and be glad I know it’s there, rather than continually be fooled by people who put on a smiley face and pretend to be my friend or give any sort of fuck abut my well-being. Knowing that makes me feel better about myself, even though in the moment it makes me feel worse. I would much rather know when to stop giving pieces of myself to people who don’t deserve them than grin like a moron and just keep on giving.
I’m glad I don’t have these stupid childhood notions of ‘best friends’ anymore. They don’t exist, and I was once said about that and I’m not anymore. In October I’ll be 28 and my 28-year old self who has a teaching degree and feels like an accomplished woman who has done a lot in her life romantically, financially, geographically and emotionally, certainly can leave a few fucking assholes behind that made her feel like she was stuck in a distant past. Or an episode of The Hills. I’m grateful I have real friends and real men in my life who are good people and that I can walk towards people I trust rather than people I don’t.
Today I’m grateful and happy about the transcendent, amazing power of cuddling.
The other day I was talking with a friend of mine who said a guy she was dating for a while never cuddled and thought it was weird at first. She was amazed that someone lived their life without cuddling because in her words, cuddling is “good for your soul”. She’s right. It is. I don’t know why it is but just laying with someone in silence and breathing together and touching each other and being next to that person does something to you. It calms you. It makes you realize that everything else except that moment is unimportant. It solidifies your belief that people need people and those who disagree with that are wrong – fundamentally, tragically wrong. And that other people – the right other people – are important to you discovering who you are and what’s important. Cuddling affirms all of this and more. It is the time of quiet when you look into someone’s pretty blue eyes and see a reflection of your soul staring back at you. And you like it.
I’m happy I’ve been hurt.
Last night, I was out with a couple of friends and we were doing what any three semi-single girls would do on a Tuesday night after suffering through the world’s most boring university class of all time: man-bashing. And from said-bashing came this revelation from the three of us: that when you’re heartbroken, you should be happy. Because not everyone gets to feel the highest highs and the lowest lows and it can be a rare thing to feel so much love that you are capable of feeling so much hate and hurt and sadness. Some people, as my friend’s friend pointed out, are just level. And they’re level all the time. They either haven’t been hurt, or they don’t allow themselves to get hurt because they’re afraid of being vulnerable. It’s better to be up and down.
I’ve been hurt many times by men but only twice did it really break me into 10,000 pieces of gutted misery. And I’m sure neither of those people, for one reason or another anyway, really felt like they intentionally wanted to hurt me, but they did. And at the end of the day, so what? You move forward it. You get over it. You realize it wasn’t right (sometimes way later and after countless lone drunken nights and after countless overeating and bitch sessions and days of retail therapy and self-torture in the form of journals) and then you find a way – big, or small – to move along.
But when you look back after having moved forward, you realize you were lucky to feel passion. Bad passion, or good passion, is still passion, and it’s a good thing to really deeply feel it. I’m happy about it.
I never thought I’d say this. But actually, today I’m happy that I grew up in Jasper.
My mixed experiences growing up were to do with the people, and a certain type of violence I dealt with while I lived there. Childhood, mine and most people’s, is not without confusion and trauma and fear. Childhood is a scary place to occupy.
But I was at home this weekend following two amazing drives down the Coquihalla, and I was mezmerized for some reason, with the natural beauty all around me. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the rockies, especially in the summer, and the heat and blue skies and the great gray ghosts of mountains looming over me with their protective arms wrapped around me was something I didn’t realize I missed until this weekend.
I did the Glacier Skywalk at the Columbia Icefield and I was blown away. And terrified. And I was traipsing so so slowly across that glass bottom floor, and yet, when I looked out, I couldn’t believe just how gorgeous and wild and open everything is. Jasper National Park is an amazing place, and an even more amazing place to have grown up in, despite its other shortcomings.