Do You Believe in Curses?

I actually do, to a certain extent. Or at least, I didn’t at all before I felt cursed.

One time, I was sitting in my dad’s office and he had a lucky cat on his coffee table; a little white one. White lucky cats, as Japanese legend has it, are said to bring happiness. I was fidgeting with it and my dad said, “Do you want that?” My answer of course, was yes. I took the tubby white cat, and his little red pillow, into my purse and brought them back to Edmonton with me.

Just prior to my owning of that cat, everything was in a very transitionary phase; I was in love, but had not yet had my heart broken; school was teetering on the edge and I was getting over a rough blow in January that I let affect me more than I should; my dad was just getting over cancer and his business that year was sinking slowly to the bottom because of some economic issues affecting tourism in the Rockies. Things were just different, and iffy.   Once my dad got rid of that lucky cat, he ended up much better in health, pleasant weather returned to Jasper, and he achieved his dream of owning a Japanese restaurant, courtesy of, by random chance, the previous owner and an acquaintance of his, moving away and him essentially walking in on the “I’m not sure what to do with the restaurant” conversation. Business at the tour company picked up towards the spring. He was busy and productive once again.

Once I acquired the cat, my life spiraled out of control; I had a painful lesson in heartbreak, as did my friends; the weather was a horrid frigid wasteland; my roommates all had an awkward falling-out so ‘home’ was no place to be at all. I also had to move out of residence and we found a thoroughly expensive, albeit nice apartment in the neighbourhood, but then I could not for the life of me find a full-time job to pay for it. And on top of all of that, I lost my beloved Ryan Adams & the Cardinals watch that I got on that magic day in 2007, which I regarded as one of my most prized possessions and somewhat of a good luck charm.

While I was moving, I was clearing off my desk and under a pile of papers was my lucky cat; he was grinning at me with his paw up, sitting on that pillow, and I thought about the past few months with clarity. I still moved the lucky cat to my new apartment, but stuffed him in the back of our storage closet. After that, everything gradually got better; school finished up, I got a job, and since then life has been amazing. I moved out of that apartment this past December, and did not bring the cat with me.

St. Patrick’s Day… a day when apparently, everyone is “Irish”, and a day when everyone is supposed to be feeling this fabled ‘luck of the Irish’. Man.

My distaste with St. Patrick’s Day started in March of 2006 with the horrendous, awful, miserable night of the Lister Dodgeball Pub Crawl. A good friend of mine showed… to use a pleasing term… her ambition and drive, as she ended up buying this ticket for me and making me bail on a dinner with my dad, who was in the city getting cancer treatments and my sister and her then-boyfriend, to hurry back to Lister so we could catch the bus. The bus took us out to Cowboys, which is in the middle of nowhere alongside an essential highway out of the city, and that’s when everything went wrong; I was not popular on my floor that year. In fact, none of my “floormates” barely knew I was alive, and I was abandoned by them and left to my own devices and I kept drinking and drinking in hopes it would become increasingly less awkward. Just before I left, my dad had generously bestowed fifty bucks upon me for fun money and the next day, that red dollar bill was nowhere to be found. It was actually my first time ever being drunk. And I lost track of everyone, including my friend, who I found out used me as an accidental wing man in order to get together with this other guy on my floor. I exited the bar to catch a bus and hopefully rid myself of this miserable time. Once again, I couldn’t find anyone I knew and it started to snow; a lot. I was wearing crocs (I know) and my feet were cold; the bus parked at Whyte Avenue after a long, dark, lonely 20-minute ride with strangers, and I walked home in the dark and snow. I soaked my feet in the bath tub when I got home, never feeling more alone.

The St. Patrick’s Day the following year provided me with a moment of clarity and reconnaissance as I, just getting over a very small  heartache, had an amazing night with new friends and thought the ‘curse’ was broken.

The following year, it came back with a vengeance as, the day before St. Patrick’s Day, I sat in the Sugar Bowl as the love of my life told me he didn’t want me, with about seven actual words and a high five. It seemed like that day for me, would always be fraught with these nightmare-ish, unpleasant occurrences.

I’m dramatic. I don’t forgive, forget, or an easy combination of the two easily. I mourn, grieve, whine, break my own heart, and repeat these steps again and again until I might as well be lying dead on the floor. To me, it’s a cursed day, March 17. March in general actually, is a cursed month. It should be treaded on carefully and it should be the subject of my cautionary contempt.

But as I saw with that little ceramic lucky at on its plushy red pillow, curses can be broken. I thought I believed in them and their destined powers to make the cursed person miserable. But hard times can be turned around; you can toss the lucky cat. You can change your reactions, your behaviour, and your own future, even if you can’t change the past, right?

So I do pledge to wear green again and celebrate this fake holiday, whose only purpose is for people to get lie-on-the-floor drunk. Because I don’t want my life to be surrounded by this sad cursedness every March for the rest of my life. I’m going to do something about it.

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