This Week in My History: October 26, 2008.

He doesn’t like me. I just spent the coldest weekend of my life (in more ways than one) with him and it was business, business, business. And then I wrapped. And that was it. Actually, it was mostly just awkward as fuck. And I hated life a lot. Then I worked on my horrendous McTaggart Award entry – GOD – I don’t stand a chance at winning that contest. There’s no POINT to my essay, no hook, no interest, it’s too dark and controversial, the style is all mixed up.. totally, totally, totally shitty, legitimately. *Sigh* and I wanted to win so badly. Because if I did, I could take him with me. That will never happen. But he kind of hates me anyway, so it doesn’t matter. I’m cold. And I’m going to bed. Because I’m tired. TWO MORE DAYS UNTIL CARDINOLOGY.

 

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I’m Done.

With March being a significant month in my personal history there’s always this little bit of pain that accompanies this time of the year. While the rest of the world becomes brighter and warmer and lighter by this time, I always feel a little lost and impatient. Nowhere near as much as I did eight years ago (has it really been eight already?!) but still, only a little. I’ve found though that as time passes and things change, so do those feelings and anxieties and pains that accompany that first “real” love.

I’ve tried recently to put this into words… to release again, my reflections and thoughts and feelings about first love, about who I was before I knew anything about the world, where I’m at now versus where I was eight years ago emotionally, physically, inwardly.

But I can’t anymore. It feels like an old tired cliche. It feels like an exhausted empty shell that you put your ear to and can’t hear the ocean anymore. In short… I just don’t care. I’m tired of this same old story over and over and over again. It feels like a ghost of my past is living inside me sometimes. But at the same time, that ghost has less and less of its unfinished business. And now there’s just nothing there except a wisp in the dusty corners of my heart. Sometimes I do feel that I need to consistently remind myself of the important markers of my personal history. My demons and angels and the things that have most made me me. And other times I realize what’s done is done. There’s nothing left to explore except the present, the future, the moments that are yet to come that are bigger and more important and actually worthwhile to talk about and think about.

I once sat on a bench and thought of nothing but you in the most sorrow-filed, darkest way imaginable. The darkness I felt about us, and you, became reasons I hated myself and reasons why I wanted to hurt myself and harm myself and torture myself. I listened to “She Wants to Play Hearts” again and again while I looked down over the new snow-blanketed valley, its vast emptiness and deadness almost symbolic of the exhausting, empty, despicable hole in my heart. Everything was different that evening. Everything had changed in my life. I had changed. It was the first time I ever really had changed, ever. It was the first time I was ever really left in the dark and unsupported until I would have to find my own answer just to get through what had happened. The person who sat on that bench that night, is not me. And that’s all I need to really say about that.

Memories I wish I could re-live.

There are so many days I wish I could go back to, or rewind back and watch again as if I’m re-watching my favourite movie. I’ve been thinking about a few of them today that give me chills with their resonance and those memories are keeping me strong and motivated this week.

  1. The first time I heard “I love you” was one of the most magical feelings I’ve ever felt. While it never gets old to hear it every day, that first time I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. It was something  I could sense was coming and I didn’t know when. But he picked the most perfect moment. If I could re-live that a hundred thousand times, I would.
  2. The first time I kissed someone I actually liked (and, at the time, thought I was in love with) ended so poorly, I don’t even want to get into it. But now that I’m at a safe distance and I can look at this moment with the pure innocent nostalgia that I think the Good Lord intended me to feel for this moment later in life, I’m perfectly satisfied saying I’d love to re-live it. It was another cold nighttime kiss (I apparently love those) but snow fell around us and I could almost envision this moment before it even happened. The moment led me on a string of horrible heartbreaking pain but it was all worth it for that few seconds of awkward, teeth-clicking, bag-of-trash-sitting-outside-his-apartment-door magic.
  3. Concerts, even if you see the band multiple times, are experiences that cannot be repeated; you can’t redo the set list, the moment, the feelings, the people around you, the joy. The two shows that stand out to me as the ones I’d most want to re-live are the most recent time I saw Ryan Adams at the Orpheum in Vancouver, and the very first time I saw Ryan Adams & the Cardinals in Vancouver back in 2007. There was nothing quite like that first time; having been at my peak of Ryan Adams’ music, I think my whole body went into shock when I saw him for the first time. I can barely remember it. Fast forward eight years to the most recent Ryan Adams concert-going experience, Ryan Adams, injured with a broken rib, pained his way through a full band set until opting to go acoustic so he could finish up the show unscathed. It was sumptuous and full of feeling. I was leaving that city in just a little while and to bid it goodbye in this way, and think of my true love while all of this romantic amazement was happening, were just too much. I was on Cloud Nine for days afterwards.
  4. I wish I could go back and re-live my meal at Mama’s Fish House in Maui, HI every single day. Not only is the restaurant shockingly beautiful and surrounded by the most amazing scenery anywhere around ever, but it was by far the best meal I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.
  5. The first time I ran a half-marathon, I had just moved to Vancouver and I worked so hard that I was in the best shape of my entire life. I can’t believe I was ever that small or that fit or that disciplined. I’m running another one this summer which will demand similar attention and hard work from me (I’m trying to get back there already!) but there’s nothing like that first time. Those last fast strides to the finish line were unreal and I felt so accomplished. I used to be 200lb and a size 18-20. To be able to run all that way in a reasonable time was something I once thought completely unachievable. I felt like I could have climbed Mount Everest afterwards.
  6. This one is a bit odd but I wish I could remember and re-live the first day I woke up not suffering from my first heartbreak. Time eases all wounds (though arguably, never completely heals them in many ways) and all I needed was time. But there must have been a day sometime after the dust settled that I woke up and the first thing I thought of wasn’t him. And I went about my day without feeling those familiar pangs and longings and sadnesses that I could never express without looking like a crazy person who had no right to complain about how my whole heartbreak went down. That day existed. I don’t remember it, but you think I would. If I had to make a guess, it might have been the day after he gave me that birthday gift I politely accepted without hardly a word, as it had been a few months since I decided to let him go and take my life back. I had lost almost 20lb that day. He sat across from me, and I didn’t talk to him. After that, I could have woken up completely free.
  7. The first morning I woke up in my Vancouver apartment, alone, was a surreal feeling that I never thought I’d get to experience and I wish I could re-live so badly. Those days were some of my deepest and most important and most happy. Normally I’m in a good emotional space but a bad physical space. When I lived in Vancouver I was in the best physical space I could ever be in. But my emotions were all over the place. I loved the freedom and excitement of being in one of the biggest and most beautiful cities I know of, being able to live how I wanted and be anonymous and ride the skytrain around every day. I loved waking up and smelling the ocean. I loved going for long, carefree runs in Stanley Park or around the downtown area of the city on days when the fog was too thick and the hills were too big. Occupying that space was the best. Waking up for the first time and not knowing the life that awaited me when I first moved there is something I wish I could sink my feet into once again.
  8. Lastly, I would love to re-live the moment when I saw my boyfriend for the first time after our first three weeks of distance. I got on a plane and I was vibrating the whole time, nervous and anxious and excited and unable to control my emotions. I felt like a caged animal about to be freed from captivity. I was worried things would change between us; I was concerned he wouldn’t love me anymore; I was afraid it would be awkward; I was nervous about how I would react to him. But instead, I was heading down the escalators to the Arrivals part of Edmonton International Airport and and I saw him waiting for me and I ran to him. I thought I was going to knock him over. We were pretty quiet but tightly holding hands the whole way home. Nothing had changed. I was pretty sure then that nothing ever would.

Fifteen Things I’m Glad I Did This Year.

This was a big year for me in many ways. Sometimes I felt like I was backing up into a corner and other times I felt like I was bursting through double doors. Here are the best things I did, the best decisions I made, and the best memories I’ll keep from 2015.

  1. Going to Sasquatch again was one of the best decisions I made this year; with my new career life, that American May long weekend isn’t the best time for me to go away anymore, if I’m even able to. So sadly, this may have been the last time I might be able to head to Sasquatch, or any festival for the matter. There’s something that happens at festivals – we get to be young gain and we get to experience a life of what I refer to as ‘peaceful anarchy’ – the idea that everyone gets to collate and join metaphorial (and sometimes literal) hands but outside the confines of society. It’s a magical place full of amazing music. I’ll really miss festival life, especially in the Gorge. But this year’s festival was wonderful and to go back again and live those experiences again was something extraordinarily well worth it for me heading into the final year of my twenties.
  2. I was incredibly grateful to move back to Alberta this year as well, for reasons that were right for me, and incredibly practical, and also incredibly fortunate. What I found in terms of a passion for the love of my life and the career I’ve been waiting for was back here; and to stay in a city I loved without those things felt at the time, like a foolish sacrifice to make for what was best for my life in the long run. I made a difficult choice. Time will tell if this will all pay off, but it was the best thing I could have done and I’m so  much happier now with the certainties of what brought me back here in the first place.
  3. I lost a few really important people in my life this year who felt like belittling me for whatever reasons they had. Who ousted who is a question I ask myself too. But despite how said-ousted people argue the situation, I made the decisions to walk away from these people in the end. Hanging on and hanging on with the hope that the people you used to know who have changed into ugly, selfish and mean versions of the people you knew once, to revert back to who they were, is a pointless and frustrating endeavor. I’m not going to pretend it was easy for me to let go of any of this. I’m not going to pretend either that I was happy and felt nothing doing it. But again…. sometimes what we don’t necessarily want is actually what is for the best. So with that said, FUCK those people. FUCK THEM. What I’m doing for me now and the people I’m doing it with are better for me than the people I thought I knew. And fuck me too, for not knowing better sooner.
  4. Following a positivity movement right here on this blog over the month of July 2014, I reached out to the ex. My first love. And what I got in return was the assumption that I was doing so to rekindle some sort of flame (I wasn’t. I was actually just trying to make peace with former ‘enemies’). Following the move on the part of my partner and I to become “Facebook official” I noticed through a mutual friend that First Love had blocked me. Sigh. Facebook is interesting. It is a series of sophisticated communication that allows us to present ourselves how we want, to who we want. It allows us to be dialed into our friends, family and acquaintances any time we want. It allows us access to pertinent and crucial, and frankly, useless information, from our phone and our workplace and our PCs whenever. I hear people talk about its frivolity but really, blocking is a statement. And it’s quite a very large one at that. But having said that, what I am grateful for is to see something very important about First Love: that he is a sad, petulant, egotistical little child. I will never understand any of the bullshit he put me through in the past, and I don’t care to understand any of the stupid bullshit he’s trying to put me through in the present.
  5. While this is not one thing, it is a million little things but since my shot at my current career, I have found it important to note that I have really worked hard at becoming more assertive in 2015. I showed solid assertiveness in standing up for my prick of a landlord after a really unpleasant standoff I had with him just before I moved out. I show something resembling assertiveness that I have in my job every single day. It’s something that, when I first started this whole career I never, ever thought I could do and I do surprisingly decently mot days. I’m not some masterful guru of assertiveness but I do my best and my best now is better than my best two years ago and beyond, so that’s something I’m incredibly grateful for.
  6. I’m so glad that I saw Wilco again this year. Despite that it’s no secret how much I LOVE Wilco, I’ve only seen them in concert four times, including this one in 2015. It was like a nice break from everything that was garbage about the few months prior to my move. I was able to stand front row-centre for the show and watch my favourite band melt my face off and remember how good it feels to be young and unencumbered and independent living in a world-class city and hanging out with awesome people doing what I love to do.
  7. I’m not an athlete by any means, but this year I put those insecurities aside and tried rowing in an eight-man rowing class. I was HORRIBLE at it. HORRIBLE. But the scenery was beautiful, I made minute connections with friendly people, and I learned a little tiny bit of a new skill. With more practice I might have been a lot better than I was, but the environment and timing were not right for me in the end. But still, I’m glad to have tried.
  8. This year, I spent a great deal of time (and money) consistently travelling to and from the city I lived in and the city where my long distance partner lives. Being apart was painful and getting such little time was even more painful; furthermore, the suffering of not knowing when or how we would be closer again prior to me taking a job closer to him was incredibly stressful and frustrating. The world was topsy turvy and difficult and pricey for the first half-year of our long distance relationship. And what I learned from that is, just how important it is to be around the people you’re insanely in love with as much as possible. Home really is a person and not a place.
  9. I’m so glad I never quit searching for what I thought might make me the happiest and most secure. As I move forward in my career I find that sometimes I feel like crying on a daily basis, or tearing my hair out, or walking away and never coming back. I am overwhelmed and tired and burnt out and often incredibly frustrated. But — never bored. And never checked out. And never with the urge to quit. After searching for the better part of a year, I DID find what I was looking for. I don’t know if it’s all I dreamed of but I never quit. And that’s what’s important.
  10. I’m glad that this year I didn’t succumb to the negative feelings I have about myself. I learned that when you have love and a purpose, your looks and the shallow views of an ugly and misogynistic society are second to everything else that’s important. I’m not where I would like to be in terms of body image and physical health. But what would have been a spear to my heart and self-esteem in the past, is now a mere inconvenience.
  11. I live in an incredibly small and concentrated right-wing conservative riding in my town. And I never really saw the purpose in voting, as for these reasons I didn’t think the party I vote for would win in my riding, so what’s the point? Having said that, I’m so glad I voted in the federal election; as a Canadian citizen, I have a right to vote for the party of my choice regardless of the riding and what kind of educator would I be if I forewent the civic duty of voting? In addition this election is HISTORIC and I was pleased to be a part of seeing a generational and image turnaround of my country.
  12. Ever since I left my advising career, I’ve always wondered how life would be if I went back into that line of work. I did, briefly, in Vancouver; in a different capacity, with slightly different duties, and in a very different working environment. I hated it. I was bored and under-appreciated and I felt like all the work I’d put into doing something more was wasted going back to Square One. I was glad I had this opportunity so I had a clear vision of what I wanted, and what I didn’t want.

  13. Only recently did I come to the conclusion that I didn’t want to live as an empty shell of a human being in this black hole of a complete lack of confidence. After years of suffering through crippling self-criticism and low self-esteem, I have learned that I can’t do it alone. I have started getting real help for that,  and I look forward to seeing where it takes me.
  14. After learning more about “self regulation”, I have come to find that I have happy places I venture to as well when I feel lost and lonely. I have been baking more and now that I have people to bake for, it’s been a great way for me to make people happy and clear my head.
  15. The world can be a rotten place. But when you can shield yourself by loving the shit out of someone else and have them love you back the same way you can get through the tough times – yours and the world’s – through the constant reminder that no, it’s not all bad. I’m glad I allowed my walls to come down with the person I love the most and allow them to help me through the darker and drearier parts of this year. My partner and I both saw a lot of strife and personal tragedies this year and towards the end of the year things became smoother and clearer. I’m glad I had the support and love of him to help me be the best I could be this year.

To anyone reading this: I hope you too, can take the time to articulate fifteen wonderful things that happened to you in 2015 and that you have an enjoyable end of the year.

Looking Back.

There was this time in my life when I looked into the eyes of my first love – the very first one that I believed was “real” – and I could see everything in my past and future, all in those hazel-green wide mischievous eyes. He was all I wanted, and all I thought that I could ever have the capacity to love. I believed that my hopes and dreams and obsessions with him were true love and somehow, someday, he would realize what I realized. and looking back now, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

When we love at first sight we tend to inject that love into someone’s actions and words even when it’s not there, not even remotely. It colours our view and vision of every single thing. that we remember about them; that fondness, that longing, those happy memories that were so fleeting they were addictive, and so we tried to recreate them again and again. And when we were successful there was hope; and when we were unsuccessful we were alone at home, licking our own wounds and making up stories that confirmed for us all the horrible icky awful things that haunted our nightmares: it’s over, he doesn’t love me, he loves someone else, soon this will all be over and the door will close and that will be that forever. How can I go on?

Looking back I wondered repeatedly why I was so unworthy of love; if it wasn’t from the person I thought I loved more than anyone, how could anyone ever love me? Why would they? Surely, if I was worthy of love, all of that would have worked out for me. It’s amazing how someone you would give anything to and do anything for, can make you feel so badly about yourself, looking back.

Being blindsided like that by my first love was one of the events in my life I least saw coming. It was a sure thing. It had to be. I felt like I was wilting away and my real self was in bed somewhere, dreaming the whole thing. I was watching this on a screen. I was rubbing my eyes and pinching myself desperate to wake up from my worst nightmare. And then when I woke up the morning after, only to realize the day before had actually happened, I punched my pillow and teared up, then I went to work, then I went to class, then I, humiliated, had to tell my friends what had happened. Looking back, I know now they were gleeful about it. Looking back, those people were never my friends.

Looking back, I realize I’m still angry at all the people who hurt me because they never actually gave me propulsion forward. They never allowed me the opportunities to heal that I deserved. I continually wished and hoped for conversations that would lay to rest all my bad feelings and confusion, but those conversations never came and I was just left angry because nobody ever gave me a reason not to be. Am I angry at my first love anymore? No. But I’m angry at me. For being that person that allowed myself to be treated like that by someone who never, not even for a moment, deserved my love and attention and worship. I’m angry at myself for thinking that just because my first love didn’t love me back, that I didn’t deserve love whatsoever, from anyone. Currently in my life I have the greatest love I’ve ever, ever known and maybe ever could and looking back, I couldn’t have been more wrong about who I chose to give that love to for the first time.

But maybe, that’s what life is about. Maybe growing up is designed to prepare us through hard lessons like this, how to love properly and fully with, not for, people who deserve it. Maybe love is not the answer to people’s pain, but it drives us to put aside pain for the benefit of love and growth and true happiness. I wonder if my first love understood that, or if, because my love was so, so one-sided, he even thinks about it or cares about it at all, or if he learned anything whatsoever. I wonder if my first love is still figuring out how to love on his own without the worship of people he never loved back. I can’t wonder, though. Because there’s no point wondering about something you’ll never know about, just as, looking back, you can’t love when there’s no point in loving.

And so, looking back, I have learned a great deal about myself in the last eight years and those lessons were extremely hard to learn, and yet, here I am, better off because of them. I would never pretend things were perfect or that I don’t on some days, or in some moments, don’t nurse unhealed wounds inflicted by the people in my past. And if they’re reading this, I hope they do take comfort and satisfaction in that. No. Things aren’t perfect. But they’re better, and they continue to get better still. And I’m in a better place in my life emotionally, with this ability to look back and view from a safe distance, all my mistakes and where they have led me.

Losing is never easy, nor is heartbreak. Loss and heartbreak are wounds that are only healed with time and the more we face them and stare them down, the better our well-being becomes, slowly but surely.

First.

You were first.

You were the first person I couldn’t get enough of and the first person I felt like I couldn’t live without, imagine a future without. You were the first person I loved with my entire heart. The first person I wasn’t attracted to first based on looks and popularity, the first person I could look at when you sat across the table from me at the campus bar and not look but really, really see. You were the first person I actually saw a future with. The first person I felt like would give me the love I deserved.

You were the first person to share a bed with me, the first person I woke up next to and wrestled and cuddled and made out and confessed to like openly, without a passive-aggressive love note or a journal entry or a wish at 11:11 on a digital clock. You were the first person I was excited about. The first person whose apartment I left early on a snowy morning, almost skipping home because suddenly for the first time, there was real hope for the future.

You were the first person I hated, the first person I destroyed myself over, the first person I begged to be removed from my life, my memory, my existence, but my prayers and pleading were never answered until I answered them for myself. You’re the first person I cried over, because you removed me on Facebook. You were the first person who made me concerned about my drinking habits. You were the first person who made me question my sanity, health and well-being. You were the first person that made me take a steak knife from the kitchen and contemplate running it down my skin somewhere, which I never told anyone, not even my “best friends”, who were the first people who pretended they would have cared if they knew that.

You were the first person to treat me like I was an empty, rotten hollow shell of my own self. You were the first person who made me truly hate myself and feel like I was less than nothing. You were the first person who consistently made me wonder how I would ever be happy ever again. You were the first person whose opinion mattered to me so when you made jokes about my writing I laughed with you but I was embarrassed and shamed and wanted to crawl into a dank cave and just lie there, wondering how all these firsts, the good ones, became firsts I wanted to be extracted from my body, bigger and more foreign than I was used to in ages, because I medicated firsts with booze but also comfort food.

You were the first.

And you’ll be the last.

I needed to remind myself today how far I’ve come.

I hate 2008. I think out of the whole year so far, I’ve only been truly happy for a total of about 15 days. Every day I wake up and the first thing I think about (actually, the only thing I think about, all day) is prayers and 11:11 and **** motherfucking ****. Who was supposed to come over today but hasn’t contacted me at all. He forgot about me. Completely forgot. He wasn’t thinking about me. Not for one fucking second. Charlotte Gill once wrote, “She lived and died by what came out of his mouth”. That’s me. Pathetic me. VERY pathetic me. There’s no one out there for me. I need to realize this and stop longing for someone who doesn’t want to be with me. But… I miss him. Soooo much. It kills me. It doesn’t stop hurting. And I want to remind him he made a date with me. But… why bother? If he wants to forget me, fine. Forget me. WHY DOES HE HAVE THIS KIND OF POWER OVER ME?! WHY CAN’T I STOP CARING!? WHY!? Because I love him, that’s why. Because I LOVE him. I really, really, really do. And I mean that. But he doesn’t love me at all, or give two fucks about me. ‘Monday’. Right. Right. Thanks SO much. For remembering me. THANKS SO DAMN MUCH. God. Iv’e always maintained that love and hate are the same. They are. Both are powerful enough to move you emotionally and passionately. I love him. But right now, I passionately, deeply hate him too. HATE!!!! And because this make me look psychotic, I don’t wish to share it with anyone. I want to DIE right now with hatred. I wish it would rain – the day doesn’t seem appropriate for my mood. This goes back to my novel, I guess. Where do you get happiness from? The more you know yourself, the more you know where your happiness comes from. Mine apparently, comes from quality time. Which I was SUPPOSED to have tonight, but instead I’ll be watching TV ALONE. So thanks, you asshole. FOR FORGETTING ALL ABOUT ME. FOR TOSSING ME ASIDE AND THINKING I’D JUST BE COOL WITH IT. FOR CONSTANTLY HITTING ON MY BEST FRIEND! ‘Monday night’. I didn’t imagine that… I didn’t. God. Fuck him. FUCK HIM. I hope he remembers all of this someday and feels so bad. Words can’t express how mad I am. Words can’t express how anguished I feel.. I’m nobody. I’m being dramatic right now. And I don’t care. Why did someone up there decide to turn me into this person! It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’m convinced. Yes. I AM still fostering hope. I am. Because I HAVE hope. I just can’t see things any way but hopeful and clearly haven’t given up on this pipe dream yet. I wish I could. I often say (and it’s time) that I only want to date when I have a crush. While right now, I’m in so much pain, I need someone, ANYONE. A crush, a date, a random makeout… SOMETHING to make me forget about him. I had hoped that immersing myself in my writing would help me forget. But – it makes me think of him more because a) writing workshop deadline is on his birthday and b) I want desperately to pour my heart out and have him see the real me… I want him back. And I feel like I’ll just harbour that forever and ever.

No, self. He won’t remember this day. He’ll never remember this day, or any other day like it. But I can remember sitting on the floor of my then-bedroom, pen in hand, writing this very entry. I remember my open windows. I remember how warm and heavy the air was. I remember what time it was. I remember every detailed thought that ran through my mind when I faced this kind of rejection from someone I thought I loved, giving me reason to believe that this kind of unhealthy thinking came part in parcel with what it meant to be in love. I remember it all and he never will. And I said in the aforementioned diary entry that I’d never share this with anyone.  And I am now, so that anyone who actually reads my blog (if there is indeed anyone who does) that it does get better. And it does become clearer as time goes on. And sometimes when we re-examine past incarnations of ourselves we realize fully that we were in a mindset then that thankfully cannot and will not be repeated. We don’t love like this as responsible adults. And those who truly care about us would never, ever treat us like this.

I have to remind myself on this evening of self-pity, that I have come so far since I was this empty, self-conscious, servant of a vessel who loved and loved and loved to the point where it made her feel awful about herself. This person and everyone and everything associated with them is far, far beneath me now and I don’t care who knows now that I ever felt this way. If this is the only way I can take my own power back in this very powerless moment I have right now, then that’s what must be done.

Goodnight and rest peacefully, remembering that you are who you are because of difficult times and difficult days.