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.
Today I’m happy that I can drive.
For years, I used to rely on cabs, buses and worst of all, the dreaded Greyhound to get me from point A to point B. The ‘journey’ for me was/is always a pretty major part of any trip of any length of kind and I always sort of looked forward to the adventurous feelings that accompany travel. But after being forced to bend toward someone else’s schedule, I got a little tired of public transportation. When I was 23, after years of fear and procrastination, I finally got my drivers’ license. Since then I’ve driven all over the place: to the States, in other provinces, to Calgary, in Maui, within and around my very busy city and the surrounding cities… and I’m so happy that I now have all this freedom and that my world has grown as a result.
Today I’m grateful that I made it through my teaching practicum.
I was told when I started the program that it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done and because I’ve been through a lot of hardships in my life, I thought to myself, “as if this will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done” and I low-balled the difficulty level. And I was so wrong. Teaching is everything hard and time-consuming and it takes up all your time. You dream about it. You think about it constantly. Everything becomes something you could use in your classroom and everything that goes on in your classroom is of primary crucial importance. It’s everything. And it takes over everything. It’s scary just how invasive it is as a part of your life while you’re in that room working with kids for 7-8 hours a day. It was so hard for me to be diligent, caring, vigilant, responsive, respectful and just be all the things that everyone needed me to be at once while still being myself.
But I did it.
I can’t believe I did it.
Today in my car I found one of the notebooks I kept during my teaching practicum and it was just full of notes and reminders and mock-ups of lesson plans and to-do lists and it brought me back to those six weeks of tumultuous terrifying hellish work. And I just think… I did this. I did all of this. I did what I thought I could never do and I took it all with pride, dignity and hard work. I’m so proud and grateful for that.
I talk a lot about vinyl in my blog. Whenever I add new records to my collection I feel empowered; a record is more than an object. Its contents ages well and becomes more valuable and provides opportunity for reflection and memory over time. In this regard, vinyls are like journals that are at first written by and for someone else, that are later transposed onto your own self, your own awareness, your own experiences. Very few other objects can do that, and this is a key reason why I love records so much. You can listen to a song anywhere but to listen to someone’s old record with its scratches, pops, its cover with someone’s name written on it, is like reading a biography and gleaning your own life from the life of someone else. I’m happy that these experiences are a part of who I am as well.
Today I’m happy that I am the person I am. At this point in my life, I’m (reasonably) happy with my body, friends, life, home and the decisions I’ve made in the last few years (with a few grave exceptions). I can honestly say at this point in my life, I feel like I’m exactly who I want to be and because I never really thought I’d be able to occupy spaces in which I could say that, I feel really good about what and who I’ve become. I’m proud to have walked away and toward certain people and certain situations because I think both experiences have taught me a lot about who and how to trust and who to love.
Last night I was looking through my old journals and I was reminded of so much: of the fact that some people are not and were never to be trusted, for one, and that I’ve known that for six years without realizing I knew it… on a more positive note though, I remembered, in words of Jenna in 13 Going on 30, what “used to be good”; I recalled vividly what it was like to be in undergrad and be innocent and be wondering and waiting for what was to come but never REALLY caring after all. I remember how it felt to go to Kinsmen Park and turn on all the sprinklers and stay out until the sun came up. I remember what it was like to feel like you found your niche and be obsessively coiled up deeply and neatly into that niche and believe it would last and stay the same forever. I remember what it was like. In detail. I’m so grateful for those memories, whatever they’ve deviated into now.