I didn’t want to go. And now I’m thinking I might never come back. This, and so many other truths and revelations about my life and what I need to do and what I want to accomplish and who I want to accomplish them with, are all becoming slowly realized. And these realizations make me feel more like an adult, and more like the person I’ve always wanted to be than I ever thought possible.
I wrote my first short story today in years. I can’t even remember the last time I was able to craft something so much as resembling a “story”. I wonder what ever happened to the characters I created, the fictional lives I made or broke. When they’re gone and over and go unseen, unwritten or unexamined, there they stay.
I wonder what happened to my friends who wrote stories – are they still writing stories? Does writing not mean the same thing anymore as it did during undergrad years, as it does me? Have they moved on from lofty writerly pursuit ambitions in lieu of real-life practicality? I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter anyways. The one thing that bonded us was the one thing that, once deviated, broke us all apart.
After desperately trying and trying and having a million doors slammed in my face I am fortunate (very fortunate) to say that I have achieved, and currently am achieving, my dreams. I’m feeling stronger and I’m feeling more confident and I’m feeling more like a leader and an adult and less like a scared little girl who can’t go after what she wants or lead people to realize their full potential. I am achieving my dreams.
Sometimes I spend time with the people I knew when I was just beginning this, and I remember a time when I was just starting and didn’t know them and I had no idea where this was going to go down the road. And what I see, rather than acquaintances, is people who helped me along the way to be what I never knew I was capable of being. Their professional development, emotional support, late nights of drinking and talking, their lending of resources and moaning and complaining about the whole process has gotten me to a place where I could be here now. Those people have helped me in big and little ways, but in ways they can’t possibly even imagine.
Lastly, there is him. Him who on our first date told me it “made him sad” to hear I was giving up on this dream. Him, who with his own leadership skills and amazing talents and abilities in this profession we both have encouraged me relentlessly and believed in me and told me to be patient and constantly reminded me of the gifts and prowess I bring. Him, who said to me once, “you are the monster” and allowed me the very next day to believe that to be true. It was him. It was him who held on for me and offered to be my stability and pulled me from the wreckage of my own shattered confident and self-esteem. He makes me believe in this. He makes me believe all of this is worth it and I can be a part of something great. I’m great because from the very first time we spoke, he told me he believed I was.
So when you land the big job and you have amazing people in your life who have helped you along the way and you have the man of your dreams, what more do you really want or need? When you have everything you’ve wanted the last few years when you started at the very bottom rung of this totem pole, that’s it – you can just breathe and enjoy this feeling. It’s the moment my clouds have finally, finally parted.
The Original Heartbreaker.
What can you learn from the person who dumps you with a high five? What can you say about him that hasn’t already been cried out, scrawled angrily and quickly into journals, or written thoughtfully and reflectively elsewhere? Or passive-aggressively spewed on social media, or passive-agressively referred to in song lyric-laden 21-year old Facebook statuses? Except for… sometimes, we think we’re in love. We think we’ve found the person. And if we wait and wait and wait for them they’ll realize it all too. They won’t. And if they were the person, you wouldn’t have to wait a day.
The Drama Geek Who Drove the Toyota
I learned from the Drama Geek Who Drove the Toyota that dating can be fun and it doesn’t have to be serious. At the time, my naive inexperienced 24-year old self felt like everyone you dated needed to become your boyfriend. And no – sometimes going for post-midnight slurpees and going on a hike and talking about tattoos is just enough.
The Crazy Cat Man
The Crazy Cat Man was totally and inexplicably hot and cold and I’ll never understand him at all. I learned from him that sometimes you don’t get closure from inexplicably hot and cold people. That sometimes people just have their own strange motives for their odd, poor lame dating etiquette. And if they’re going to leave you waiting for a bus alone in -40 weather in downtown Edmonton, they’re not worth your time.
The Blur Fan
Has there even been a more adorable person ever than the Blur Fan? While he was the cutest thing on two legs and he was so much fun, the reality of him was that he and I were on completely different pages and phases in our lives. There were times when I thought he was the right person at the wrong time. And now I realize the right person will always be the right person, and the wrong person will always be the wrong person. And time is just a number.
The Friend With Benefits
While I didn’t learn anything about the nature of men, dating or love from the FWB, I learned a bit about myself and what I was able to put up with, tolerate and deal with emotionally. Sometimes I was concerned that the FWB would suddenly turn into someone I was crazy-attached to and in love with because I get that way with dating prospects sometimes. Or I did. Until I met him and learned that there are some guys you pine over and are head-over-heels nuts about, and others that are just there for the good times. And you’re grateful for those people.
I almost chose him because of how he made me feel; of how he kissed me, and how we made fun of each other and how we shared some crucial moments and how he changed me and my beliefs and my everything. But I see him now as someone I can count on and laugh with, but someone who just isn’t ‘the one’ for me. I learned from him that some people are meant to be in your life and they can make all the difference and they can move mountains and you can learn to love them deeply, more deeply than you’ve loved almost anyone. But just not ‘that’ way.
From the Activist, you learned that love is a two-way street. And if it’s not a two-ways street, it’s not love. I learned that just because you admire someone for all they do in the world to be a good person and contribute to and give back to making society and the world and the planet and the poorest neighbourhood in Canada ‘good’, doesn’t mean they are good to you and contribute and give back to you, and make you feel ‘good’. I went to all of his shows. I stored his things at my place. I got less than nothing in return. Go forth, Activist, and keep bettering humankind. But don’t call me anymore.
The Newly Single Guy.
I went on three dates with the Newly Single Guy. He was nice and pleasant and he meant no harm. We had drinks together and spent a couple of nights together. And then he faded away. The Newly Single Guy probably didn’t want a long-term thing, and he certainly didn’t want his non-long-term thing with me, really. But some people are placeholders for each other. In the end, I found my actual place. I hope he’s found his, too.
I have been in this world for 28 years. Which is a little time and a lot of time all at once. Even ten years ago it was hard for me to imagine being nearly 30. And here we are.
The one thing I’ve learned about life that I’ve carried with me since I was 9, for better or for worse, is our greatest enemies are those closest to us. All of you have been among my closest confidantes and have caused me the greatest, deepest, most intense pains.
I often wonder why or how one loses people. Is it what we do, or how we react? In my case, it’s both. I’m not perfect and unlike some of you, I’m not going to get defensive and just point out all the reasons why I’m consistently right in the process of making enemies, and you are all consistently ‘wrong’. That’s not what this is about. But the fact of the matter is, I have enemies. Sometimes it’s because of who I am, and what I represent. Sometimes it’s because of the ways in which I reacted to something one of you has done. Sometimes I just shut down and can’t communicate or comprehend the ways I feel hurt by you. But there are millions of ways to lose people. And it never makes it easier.
All of you have stolen something irreparable from me: the ability to trust, to engage, to lead, to befriend, and to feel confident. They’re things that are broken in me and make me feel broken to lack. And whether it’s my fault or your faults, that is my reality. And I have my relationships with each of you to blame for that.
Nobody likes to exist in the world with the knowledge that they have “villains”. It’s an unpleasant string that hurts to tug on. It’s something that’s heavy and awkward to carry, that you need to constantly stop and rearrange. But there’s no way around that except to just carry and carry and carry.
Someday, I hope that all of you can just leave me alone, both internally and externally. I hope you can unplug, or leave my thoughts and nightmares and recollections. I can only hope for this to be true. For now, I take comfort in how empowered I am despite all of you and the ways you’ve torn strips off me.
Whether you are in my life or I simply look to you as a pillar of wisdom and inspiration despite that we’ve never met, you are all equally valuable.
I came from humble beginnings in my life; I was destined to be a strange, awkward adult with immense difficulty fitting into the world. I was someone who was always under-confident, left of centre, and a stranger to everyone around me. It’s people like me who need their heroes the most.
I questioned today: what makes a good hero? To me, a hero is someone who is fearless, true to their own vision and/or their own self, and someone who embodies qualities I wish to uncover and reveal for my own self. To me, a hero is someone who is a born leader and isn’t afraid to take charge of a situation. A hero is someone who protects the interests of others to a fault, and someone who is unwavering in their kindness and care. Heroism is difficult to define, as its qualities and traits vary from person to person. I see my heroes as people who are dependable, loyal and possess integrity. I see these traits in all of you every day, or every time I listen to a song of yours or read your words. I am instantly comforted, empowered, inspired and long to be better.
I am grateful for such amazing heroes. You make me want to be better even when I cannot be what I want to be. You helped me out of the deepest darknesses I’ve ever felt and also helped me to appreciate and be grounded and feel fortunate for what I do have, rather than constantly lamenting what I don’t have. You taught me lessons about love and careers and growing up and becoming the burgeoning person I am today. You remind me that I’m not perfect, ever, but on top of that, I should never claim to be, think of myself as such, or think I am ‘too good’ for any opportunity, any person, or any situation I find myself in. Most importantly, you have shown me love, whether you realized it or not, and you taught me how to love others in ways I didn’t think were possible, sometimes just on the strength of words alone.
So to my heroes, and others’ heroes, and those individuals who embody the characteristics of what makes a good hero, thank you. For making others’ lives better, for demonstrating the best qualities humankind can possess, and for being role models of strength, humility and good character.
So inspired was I by this article, that I felt like writing about the biggest compliment I have ever received.
This was not an easy task. I don’t take compliments well, for better or worse, and I don’t really know that I ever deserve compliments (as a very under-confident person, that struggle is real). Having said that, there is one that sticks out to me as one that really ‘got to me’:
You’re wise beyond your years
This was said to me by one of my ex-boyfriends, a person who I wouldn’t say I’m on “bad terms” with presently, but with whom I don’t speak anymore which is, I think, the best for both of us.
He said this to me in the context of me speaking about my past and where I’ve come from that’s led me to the understanding of the world that I have now. Everything I do, believe in and love is entrenched in believing in and prescribing to the wisdom of people I believe to be ‘wise’. I believe wisdom is something that is to be passed down, shared, and most importantly earned. In short, I hold ‘wisdom’ as a concept, in very high regard.
To be a person who is wise beyond my years implies that I have a sound understanding of the world, my world, and where I fit in and what I can do within the confines of what I’ve been dealt. That this person who said this to me recognized a quality in me like this that I so, so deeply admire in others, was something I will cherish forever.
I don’t really know where this ex-boyfriend is in life right now and if he is happy in life and love or not, but I hope he is. These words will stay with me forever and remind me of just how far I’ve come and how much I really do know and understand about life.