I Know Better

I wonder what ever happened to that young, idealistic girl I used to be that would say shit like ‘you gotta talk out your feelings ‘cause they’ll just fester and drive you crazy’ and would laugh at songs like Simon & Garfunkel’s I Am a Rock, knowing it was satire and no one can actually cut themselves off from emotions and other people. She was smart.

Orrrrr, she was just an idiot who didn’t know that theory and application are two vastly different things.

Or, I’m still her, and just a huge hypocrite.

Fuck.

I’m, like, literally drowning in emotions today. (Or I guess that’s impossible and I really do mean figuratively… but it FEELS literal.)

My MO in the past few years, more and more increasingly, is to ignore every little thing I feel, box it up tight and push it from my mind. I have gotten very good at compartmentalizing. Like, dangerously good at it. To the point where I don’t even know how to feel things anymore, good or bad. When something happens, it’s like I’m just watching it happen rather than experiencing it myself. Like watching a movie.

Of course, it’s not flawless. I feel shit all the time. Stupid, unimportant things – a customer annoys me at work, someone makes an offhand comment, Hubby doesn’t stack the Tupperware properly… I fly into a rage. Rage is one emotion I can’t seem to seal up. I bypass sadness altogether these days.

It’s the big things I don’t feel. The things I know I should deal with before they drive me crazy – the death of my friend, the difficulty I’ve had with medical professionals, the precarious relationship with my family… All these things that I won’t allow myself to feel because it’s too much.

I am weak.

I can’t find the strength I need to face any of it. It’s exhausting to even think about thinking about these things. So when something reminds me of one of these issues, I shove it from my mind as best as I can and I distract myself by immediately switching activities.

I give up.

Like I said, most days, this works well enough. I have a mild, niggling sensation of discomfort but I pretend I don’t and carry on. That part of me that knows I can’t do this, that I shouldn’t do this – that young girl – is buried under all those boxes.

But then there are days like today. Something mundane pops up and reminds me of all I’ve neglected and makes me feel like shit. It opens up ALL the boxes, not just the one related to the memory. I’m left to drown in feelings and choke on all the mistakes I’ve made, and the knowledge that I’m here in this place because of the person I am and the choices I’ve made.

This is all my fault.

The sensation of feeling this crap is extremely unpleasant. I referenced it before – of being rubbed raw and soaking in acid. It’s feeling like I want to rip off all my skin. I want scream until my voice gives out and I want to vomit all over the place.

But it’s all internal. On the outside, I guess because I’ve trained myself so well, I am frozen. Expressionless and still, so that if anyone is near me, they have no clue. I can’t help myself, I can’t ask for help, and no one will ever offer it.

‘Cause… I’m fine.

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Super Fabulous Fun Nephew Retreat Quiz

Today, Nephie is away at some sort of retreat with his high school. (I say “away” as if he didn’t live 2500 miles away from me already.) Earlier this week, Hubby and I received an email from SIL (his mom) asking us to write a special letter for him to open while he’s there. She was writing one, their sister (his aunt), the next-door neighbour who is a close family friend, etc. There were instructions as to what this letter should include.

“Some ideas for letter content that have been used in the past include: childhood memories, qualities you appreciate in your son, hopes you have for him for the future, wishes you have for him concerning the retreat, etc. Please feel free to include letters from grandparents and other family members if you feel they would have a special meaning for your son.”

Part of the reason Hubby and I are so well matched is because we both have the same reactions to things like that. A “special letter”? Naaaaaah. That’s boring. Hubby decided that he wanted to do something different instead. He thought about it for a bit and then suggested to me that instead of writing some trite sentiments that he gets constantly from everyone else anyway, let’s keep the feeling of our letter as a reflection of our relationship with Nephie.

Something that should be noted is what a great kid Nephie is. He is 14 years old but acts like he’s already in his 20s in many ways. (Sometimes, I think, to his detriment.) He’s sensitive and compassionate and self-sacrificing to a fault. He is praised all the time for these qualities. I think this sometimes places a burden on him to keep performing a certain way on that high level. He has a lot of expectations to live up to. I often wish that he had more of a chance to “just be a kid”. He’s funny and goofy and has a wonderful imagination and a curious mind. I think we’d see more of who he actually is as a person if he felt he had more freedom to explore it.

Anyway, Hubby decided that he would make up a silly quiz for Nephie to fill out and we would both include our answers and then he could compare them. I think that was perfect. Both of us have the same approach with Nephie (and people in general, probably). We’re not so in-your-face with telling people what we think. We don’t do words so much. Hubby and I are both show/not tell kind of people. Nephie knows we adore him and think the world of him because we spend time with him, being goofy and having fun. We listen to his ideas and do things we both like to do. Sending a quiz, instead of a sentimental paragraph or two, is like what we do in person. It’s lighthearted and fun but we still put a lot of time and thought into it.

Since I’m all about the quizzes, I’m sharing Hubby’s quiz, with both of our answers here too. Why wouldn’t I? Some of the answers are obviously addressing Nephie specifically, so ignore that part.

I think it’s interesting that Hubby and I have so many similar answers, although maybe I shouldn’t since we’ve been together for so long. I also realized, after he pointed it out, that maybe part of the reason I like filling out quizzes so much is because we did a lot of them when we first started dating. We had a long-distance relationship for the first year we were together and filled a lot of the time with odd getting-to-know-you things like that. Pleasant memories.

This is a copy of our entire letter to Nephie, just for fun (with some edits made to names to protect the innocent):

Hi Nephie.

It’s Uncle and Auntie. Well, not really us in this letter but us in spirit. Hope you are having a great time at your new school and a fun time at your retreat. We are so proud of you and can’t wait to visit you next summer. It’ll be a visit filled with sleepovers, watching movies, bubble tea, bike rides, playing basketball, baseball, hockey, video games, Monopoly and that game where we kick the ball and get extra points for hitting Neph Jr. …Also possibly a trip to Morden to visit the Mo-Po-Po.

Not sure what you are doing at your retreat but I hope you are enjoying it. You will have to call us and let us know what it was all about when you get back.

In the meantime, I composed a fun little quiz for you to do. Write the answers down and you can share it with us when you call us next. Auntie and I will answer it too on the next page but don’t look at our answers until you answer yours. I just made up the questions off the top of my head so sorry if they are weird. Auntie and I always did quizzes like this and emailed them to each other…especially when we first met.

Love you.
~Uncle and Auntie

P.S. Remember to write the answers down. There are no wrong or right answers except for question #41.

SUPER FABULOUS FUN NEPHEW RETREAT QUIZ

1 WHAT IS YOUR FAV STUFFY?

UNCLE J: All of them but if I had to choose…Kumi.

AUNTIE K: I don’t know if I could pick one. My stuffies mean a lot to me. They were given to me by people who are special to me or I bought them to remind me of a special time. And they are so cute!

2 WHAT ARE YOUR FAV MOVIES?

J: Marvel Movies

K: My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away

3 WHO ARE YOUR FAV SUPER HEROES?

J: Ironman and Wolverine

K: Hmmm. Can I say Edward? He’s super strong and fast and can read minds. And he’s pretty. Hahaha.

4 IF YOU HAD A SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

J: teleportation

K: I have put a lot of thought into this already. I think it would be very cool and super helpful to be able to enter anyone else’s mind and see, hear, and think everything they’ve ever experienced.

5 WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THIS SUPERPOWER?

J: go anywhere in seconds

K: I’d be able to completely understand the other person. I’d do it so that we would be able to communicate better and not have misunderstandings.

6 WHAT IS YOUR FAV FOOD?

J: Ramen

K: mashed potatoes

7 WHAT IS YOUR FAV STORE?

J: Kiddyland in Japan…like 8 levels of toys, figures and stuffies!!!!

K: I don’t have a favourite store. Do you think Amazon counts? Or…. a bubble tea store? Haha.

8 WHAT IS YOUR FAV X-MAS SONG?

J: Oh Holy Night (Weezer version) and Hanukkah Blessings by Barenaked Ladies

K: Carol of the Bells, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and Once in Royal David’s City

9 WHICH SEASON DO YOU LIKE THE BEST AND WHY?

J: Summer for golf

K: I like fall best, I think. I like that it’s cooler outside and the trees are pretty and it’s okay to wear hoodies and boots, which are the most comfy clothes. And fall things smell better and taste better (like Thanksgiving food). I really like winter too but sometimes it’s TOO cold and if it isn’t snowy, then everything just looks dirty and dead.

10 WHAT IS YOUR FAV THING TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE SPARE TIME?

J: play video games and play guitar

K: Take a nap! Haha. Or watch a good movie, go see a live music performance, hang out with my favourite people, go for bubble tea.

11 CURRENTLY WHAT IS YOUR FAV SONG?

J: Forever Now by Greenday because that’s the album I’m currently listening to in the car

K: That’s a really hard question. My favourites change depending on my mood. I really love the song Aftermath by Muse so I’ll stick with that.

12 WHAT CHORE DO YOU LIKE DOING THE MOST?

J: Laundry

K: I don’t mind washing dishes. We have dish soap that smells really good.
When I was your age, my mom used to leave polishing the coffee table up to me and no one else because I would put on soft sweatpants and sit on the table and wiggle my bum across it to make sure it was really shiny. Haha.

13 WHAT CHORE DO YOU LIKE DOING THE LEAST?

J: cleaning the toilet

K: Not a big fan of cleaning the toilet.

14 FAV DESSERT?

J: black sesame mochi balls

K: cake

15 FAV BUBBLE TEA FLAVOUR?

J: Honey Green Tea

K: Hard for me to pick just one! I have several that I rotate through. My current favourite would probably be almond or plain with pudding chunks.

16 FAV RESTAURANT?

J: Spaghetti Factory

K: Sushi Inn in Toronto. Do you remember I took you there when you were small? You chatted up the old lady sitting next to us. She thought you were so adorable and super polite. (She was right, of course!)

17 IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY CAR…WHAT WOULD IT BE?

J: Batmobile

K: Well, since I can’t drive, I guess I would pick a self-driving car. Those almost exist, you know.

18 FAV ANIMAL?

J: Boo the Dog

K: panda (duh) or wolf or monkey

19 IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE…WOULD YOU EAT ‘YELLOW’ SNOW OR HAVE A TRANTULA SIT ON YOUR HAND?

J: Snow

K: If I was forced to, I’d eat pee snow to avoid being ANYWHERE NEAR a giant deadly spider.

20 WOULD YOU WANT TO LIVE FOREVER?

J: Sure

K: No way! I’d get so bored and lonely.

21 WHAT COUNTRY/CITY (NOT YOUR OWN) WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE IN?

J: Japan

K: I would love to live anywhere in Japan, at least for a little while, or somewhere on the west coast like Vancouver or Portland, Oregon.

22 STAR WARS OR STAR TREK?

J: Star Wars

K: Star Wars, Baby!! I do also really like Star Trek but I grew up with Star Wars. It’s in my blood.

23 MARVEL OR DC?

J: Marvel

K: Marvel, for sure

24 SUPERMAN OR BATMAN?

J: Batman

K: Batman (Confession: I don’t like Superman at all.)

25 X-MEN OR AVENGERS?

J: tough one but X-men… Did you know that in the comics…the teams interchange members sometimes? Like Wolverine was an Avenger recently.

K: X-men

26 SUSHI OR STEAK?

J: Steak

K: Oooooooh. Tough call. Two of my favourites. I think steak, because as much as I do love sushi, steak is more filling and it usually comes with mashed potatoes which is my very favourite.

27 CANDY OR CHOCOLATE?

J: Chocolate

K: Both please? Haha. How about chocolate covered candy? Hahahaha.

28 WHITE CHOCOLATE OR DARK CHOCOLATE (NOT REGULAR MILK CHOCOLATE)?

J: white

K: Hmmm. I don’t really like either white or dark chocolate. Except I like Hershey Cookies n’ Cream, so I guess white.

29 SHORTS OR PANTS?

J: Sponge Bob Squareshorts

K: definitely pants

30 RAIN OR SUN?

J: Sun

K: RAAAAAIN!!!

31 STUFFY OR SOFT BLANKET?

J: stuffy

K: Your uncle is the one who is all about the stuffies. I have a bunch, of course, but I don’t sleep with them or cuddle them much like he does. I have several blankets all over the place and I always curl up with one when I’m on the couch. I feel uncomfortable when I’m not under a blankie.

32 CUDDLES OR KISSES?

J: cuddles

K: Cuddles. Kisses are slobbery. Haha.

33 SWIMMING OR BIKING?

J: Swim in the ocean.

K: I like riding bikes. I strongly dislike swimming. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you before that I failed the first level of swimming lessons 3 TIMES before my mom let me quit.

34 X-MAS OR BIRTHDAYS?

J: X-mas

K: I like Christmas better. I don’t like to be the focus of attention and Christmas is all about spending time with people you love.

35 SOCKS OR BAREFEET?

J: Socks

K: Hmmmm. I think I prefer to have my feet covered up (feet are ewwwwwwwww) but I’m VERY picky with the socks I wear.

36 POKEMON OR SUPER MARIO?

J: Mario

K: Pokémon! I love watching the old TV show with you. That was fun.

37 XBOX OR PLAYSTATION?

J: Playstation

K: Haha. You know your Auntie can’t play video games at all. Just Rock Band.

38 HOCKEY OR BASKETBALL?

J: close one but Basketball

K: Ummmmmm…. neither? Haha. For watching, it depends on which one you are playing. I’d sit through a few of YOUR games to support you and cheer you on.

39 WOULD YOU EITHER LICK A BEE OR HAVE A CLOWN SLEEP UNDER YOUR BED.

J: Clown if it’s Krusty but not the “IT” clown… He’s creepy!

K: Lick a bee! I hate clowns. They are so scary.

40 PAPER CUT OR STUBBED TOE?

J: stubbed toe

K: I think I’d rather have a stubbed toe. I’ll tell you something about me you probably don’t know. When I was 17, I went to Disneyworld with my sister. I was invited up on stage for the audience participation part of a comedy show. On my way up, I stubbed the tip of my big toe on the cement stairs pretty bad (but I kept going cause I was excited! Haha). Ever since then, I have sort of a numb spot on that toe. So if so were to stub it now, I don’t think it would hurt as much anymore.

41 WHO ARE YOU FAV AUNTIE AND UNCLE? (THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION MAY ALTER THE AMOUNT OF GIFTS YOU GET FOR X-MAS). JUST KIDDING.

 

P.P.S.

Hi Nephie,

Just one more quick thing…

It was Uncle’s idea to write this quiz for you. He wanted to make our letter extra fun for you to read. He mentioned that the two of us used to fill out quizzes a lot when we were first getting to know each other. It’s a great way to find out things you didn’t know before – so maybe you learned something new about your auntie and uncle that you didn’t already know today too!

But, the more I thought about it, the more I also felt that by doing something unexpected and fun in our letter, it also summed up what I want most for you in your life and for the future. I want your life to be full of fun times and laughter and I want you to really get to know who you truly are and be whatever it is that you want to be.

Always remember, Uncle and I love you a lot and that will never change – no matter what!

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Dark Spaces ~ The 9th Tattoo

I guess I should finally get around to writing something about my most recent tattoo, since I keep saying I will. It’s not even new anymore. I got it in April of last year.

There was a Twilight event that a few of my friends were planning to go to in Gatlinburg, TN and I wanted to go with them, but had no way of getting there ($$$), so since they were already planning to meet up one-by-one along the way, I purposed that they include Toronto as one of their stops and spend a few days up here so we could all roadtrip down together. Lucky for me, they thought this was a brilliant idea!

niagara

We did a lot of fun things in the five days they visited, one of which was a stop at the place downtown where I get all my piercings and got two of my previous tattoos, Yonge Street Tattoos. Ang wanted to get a piece on her arm that our other friend Tami had drawn for her. Tami is a fantastic artist so make sure to give her a like and a follow on Facebook and Instagram. (She also writes – and I beta for her. I mentioned her current WIP before. There are only 4 chapters left to post. Don’t miss out!)

Jodi had only one other tattoo – the stars on her ankle that we got together a few years back. We were always hassling her to add another. (Still are, in fact. I’m helping her plan out her third!) Since Ang was getting hers done, Jodi decided she’d get one of the semicolons that several of us already have (including Ang, Tami, and of course, me). She decided to get it behind her ear.

Ames was planning a tattoo for later on (which she came back up to Toronto later that month) but decided that, since we were there already, she’d pierce her nose.

Well, I didn’t want to be the only one NOT getting something that day, so I pulled up my want list and picked the one that held the most meaning for me in the moment.

I should know by now that spur of the moment tattoo plans aren’t the greatest. I didn’t have the art I had worked so hard on with me – only a blurry Instagram picture of it. So I screen shot that and tried to get it big enough to get some detail from. I also did a quick Google search to find some inspiration to add.

That’s what it should have looked like. Meh.

Anyway, against what I should know by now, I went ahead with it. I got a soot sprite (AKA makkuro kurosuke or susuwatari) from my favourite movie, Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro. I’ve been trying to get a video clip up on YouTube where they explain what that is for years, but because of copyrights and laziness, it’s not there yet. (If I get around to it, I’ll link it later.) For now, here’s the quote:

“Normally, you can’t see soot gremlins, but every once in awhile, when you go from a bright place to a dark one, you can catch a glimpse of them.”

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I like the idea of that – that there are little creatures who exist in the dark spaces that you usually can’t see. So, like Jodi, I also put my tattoo behind my ear. Get it? 😜

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It’s not the exact shape I wanted, and it’s a little big, and it does have that “sticker” look that I was trying to avoid… but it’s still cute. And I get compliments on it more than any of the other visible tattoos I have. That always catches me off guard. (There was one time, while I was going down an escalator to catch a subway with my earbuds in and music up loud, that a girl tapped me on the shoulder and pointed behind her ear and gave me a thumbs up. It wasn’t long after I had it done and it took me much longer than it should have to figure out what she meant. LOL.)

I’m now officially on tattoo hiatus. As I wrote exhaustively about before, I have very strong desires to spend a significant amount of time in Japan. Each and every tattoo I get makes that more difficult (covering up wise). Also… *sigh* I’m in a weird brain space lately where I’m not loving any of my tattoos. I’m kind of actually sort of a little bit regretting getting any of them. I don’t think it’s the tattoos themselves but probably more my dissatisfaction with the person I’ve become in the past five or so years. I thought I was headed into a better space, but… I’ve made many choices I’m now pretty unhappy with.  ~Anyway, there will be no more tattoos until I am away from those feelings, obviously.

That’s a sad note to end this on. Welp. What are you gonna do?

The experience of getting the tattoo done with a group of friends continues to be a happy memory and something I don’t regret at all. That’s what matters.

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kmah’s Tips

I have a tip for you. Or maybe it’s a request.

In general, please be kind. Being an asshole doesn’t serve a higher purpose. Ever.

More specifically, when you visit a restaurant, please be aware of your own mood and mindset before you paint the entire experience in your mind. If you are already cranky, odds are, you’re going to be seeing things in a more negative light than might be reality.

Here’s what happened:

My boss came to me this morning and showed me a screen shot of a comment a customer left somewhere online (IDK where exactly) that they wrote last night after visiting the restaurant I work at. It was a long-winded, inflammatory comment accusing me of basically being a terrible employee. They claimed I was complaining about not wanting to work and saying I wanted to go home early while I was emptying the garbage in the front area where they were standing waiting for their food. Then I supposedly went straight from there to bag their order and touched their napkins and forks with my disgusting, garbage-covered hands. They also said they were waiting for over half an hour for their food.

What ACTUALLY happened was that I went to empty the garbage and mentioned to my coworker that I was doing it early because it was slow and there was a possibility we might close early like we had the night before. My complaint was that I wanted to be prepared because I had very little warning the night before and didn’t want to scramble to get everything I need to do done in order to close. (I’d actually much rather stay and keep my hours.) So they overheard part of a conversation between my coworker and I and jumped to conclusions.

To suggest I wouldn’t wash my hands after taking out the garbage is really odd. (Have we met?) The larger kitchen garbage, where I put the bag from the front, is right beside the sink. Why would I not wash my hands right then? Pretty sure I did! Not to mention, it’s behind a wall where the customers standing in the front can’t see around. There is also a cloth I am constantly wiping my hands on after everything I touch. That aside, I didn’t touch any garbage! I’m not shoving my hands into a garbage can. I lifted a practically empty plastic bag out without touching anything. And, I don’t put my hands all over people’s napkins and forks. I barely touch them either. And we don’t touch food AT ALL.

So, to me, that sounds like a miserable person making a judgement about me, looking for something to criticize, picking something and blowing it up to be something it’s not. They were specifically looking for something to be upset about. That’s what bothers me. IF it had been a legitimate complaint, I’d take it. But this was bullshit.

They also definitely did NOT wait half an hour for their food. It was a slow night. They were the only customers there at the time. It takes as long as the food needs to cook for an order to be ready. Saying that is just an example of how when a person is upset at something, when relaying their injustice back later, things are amplified to sound much worse than they are to garner sympathy. I see people do this all the time! (Not meaning just customers, but people in general.)

Anyway, whether they are in the right about me or not, is not my point. My request of people is that, if you feel like you have been wronged somehow or received bad customer service, just stop for a second and try to objectively think about how true it really is and what you hope to achieve by flaming them over social media. Do you want compensation? Do you want the boss to talk to that person so that they can fix their error and/or do better next time? Fine. Do that privately. Or are you trying to start shit and convince other people to boycott the establishment with you? WHY?! What purpose does that serve you? Do you feel better after doing that? Are you just being a nasty person and spreading your miserable attitude around and infecting other people? In this situation, based on the barest partial truth of the matter… sure sounds like it!

Here’s why I’d like everyone to take that moment to consider their actions: Your actions have an impact. When you make complaints like that – which seems to me like the only purpose is to validate your own negativity – you are messing with people’s livelihoods. Most people working jobs like mine need them in order to survive. They are people who serve customers all day long in order to get a pay cheque to pay their bills and take care of their families.

Thankfully, I’m actually pretty good at my job. I do make the occasional mistake from time to time, but I’m only human. And I admit it. So when my boss got this complaint, he was actually very surprised when I told him it was me they were referring to. He took it with a grain of salt at that point. Because it was me, he figured it was the customers who were spouting some crap. Someone else might not have been given the benefit of the doubt.

It’s not for myself that I ask this of you. It’s for those who aren’t superstars but still work hard and rely on their jobs to live. If you NEED to make a complaint, go for it. But first make sure you get all your facts straight and don’t exaggerate to bring others to your side. If your issue is legitimate, you shouldn’t need to.

Basically, don’t be an asshole.

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No Like

Things You Should Be Aware Of If We Are Social Media Friends
(in other words, Why I Don’t “Like” Your Stuff):

1. I will probably never like any animal pictures, your pet or otherwise. Don’t take it personally.

2. I HATE the Boomerang app and refuse to like any post that was created with it, regardless of content.

3. I am annoyed by the style of Tasty videos and won’t like those either, even if I think the recipe looks good.

4. I tend to not check my Instagram feed for several days at a time so when I do, I scroll through so quickly that I miss a lot. Or I just don’t scroll back far enough to see everything I missed.

5. I log in to Facebook with the intent of catching up on my feed but have a reduced attention span and usually give up after a few seconds. I don’t even bother with Twitter anymore.

6. Blame the Facebook and Instagram organizers who arbitrarily decide for me on whose shit to show me and whose never shows up in my feed.

7. I don’t think the like button means “I have been online and am acknowledging that you have also”. I think it means I legitimately LIKE what you have posted.

8. I literally forget to hit like most of the time.

nope

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To PSL or Not to PSL?

I have always been the type of person to hate something outright just because it’s popular. Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to break myself of this tendency towards snap judgements like that. I often use the phrase “50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong“. If everyone else seems to love something, it must have at least some redeeming qualities, no?

Maybe.

But the REAL reason I try to force myself not to turn up my nose at something just because the mindless masses are all about it is because I “missed out” on the first few years of Twilight fangirling for that very reason. It was everywhere so I avoided it. Then I caved, tried it, loved it, and regretted not falling in sooner. That was a life lesson for me, as dumb as it sounds. Stop being so stubborn!

So, with that mindset, I feel it is my duty to honour my own culture – as a millennial white girl – and NOT take a stance again the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte. I figure I should probably try it, right? It’s been “a thing” for several years already. Perhaps resistance is futile.

psl-white-girl

I very recently finally tried chai tea for the first time and am on board with the millions of people who are in league with Oprah, loving the chai. Hot, iced, or in frappuccino form, tap a vein and plug me in. I love that shit.

Since I don’t drink coffee, apart from the occasional mocha, PSL has never really been approachable for me. Alas, Starbucks just introduced a PS Chai with their annual re-release of PSL. I discussed it with a friend (I never take these decisions lightly, you know.) and we agreed that if I am to succumb to pumpkin spice addiction, the chai version is a good gateway drug.

I’m sitting in a Starbucks right now as I write this, sipping on my very first pumpkin spice beverage.

It’s… not bad.

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I’ll probably try the latte at some point, just to fully commit to my personal experiment but… Yeah, I don’t get it. I’m not convinced, Elvis-lovers.

I will go back to my regular chai lattes with no regrets.

There is another aspect to this subject. The whole ‘white girls, wearing Uggs, drinking pumpkin spice lattes’ rage that I see all over my social media feeds. What is that?! My Facebook timeline feels like equal parts “I’m so happy PSL is back” and “the obsession with this shit is the downfall of society”. Why the hell does what someone chooses to drink make other people SO angry? I get it that it can be kind of annoying to see a trillion posts about one thing, but this drink seems to make a bunch of people happy. Shouldn’t that be a good thing? They aren’t forcing anyone else to drink it. Why should it matter to the non-PSL drinkers? Just ignore the posts if it bothers you that much.

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It’s like hating vegans for the choices they make about what they want to eat or not and making nasty comments to them or belittling them or judging them. Yeah, there are the few that make it difficult for the rest but none of the vegans I have ever met are like that. Same as not all Christians are narrow-minded homophobic racists. Not all Middle Eastern people are terrorists. Not all Twilight fans are psycho celebrity stalkers. Not all [fill in the blank] are [pick a stereotype]. It’s actually an extremely small percentage of any one group to fit a preconceived idea of them. Yet that is how society treats everyone. I hate that.

Wow. That went off on a tangent. (Just accept it. Love me.)

My point… You go ahead, you pumpkin spice loving enthusiasts, and spread your joy and passion all over the internet. You won’t hear any complaints about it from me.

And haters, sit the fuck down and shut up. Channel that conviction into something you love rather than giving someone shit for talking about what they like. We don’t all need to agree. Don’t be stupid.

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Love and Loss

Sometimes, I say too much. I’ve always been a reflective (self-obsessed) person and I’m very open and honest about my shortcomings. I usually think the worst of myself and am very blunt and brutal when I talk about my own behaviour. I am finally beginning to realize that it can be very off-putting for other people to listen to my self-flagellation. I never really understood that. I guess because the reasons I freely shared those things was not for someone to correct me or turn it back around and compliment me. I was never fishing. And in fact, I’m quite uncomfortable when someone disagrees with my negative view of myself. I suppose I was just putting my thoughts out there as a way to release them from my mind and have someone understand.

More and more, I have come to find that we aren’t supposed to do that. And people don’t understand because I seem to be alone in how I feel about myself and the willingness (or even need) to share it. Most people don’t like to see themselves that way or try to hide it.

When I was younger, I spouted off stuff like that (and other inappropriate things) all the time. As I grew up, I started noticing other’s unfavourable reactions and tried to rein it in. I don’t think I figured out the why part until much later in life, and am still struggling with that. All I knew was that I shouldn’t talk so much, especially about myself.

I learned to be silent.

I gradually stopped telling people how I felt about anything. This has ended up hurting me much more than having some people misunderstand me. At least I had had a handful of people who sort of got me, even if they didn’t fully get my feelings. It’s gotten to the point where I have distanced myself so much from others that when something actually matters, there are only a few people I feel I could turn to.

I lost many friendships. I let a lot of really great people leave my life. I didn’t get rid of friends because I didn’t like them. There were no big fights. I just slowly let them fade away until we didn’t have contact anymore. I did that because I didn’t know how to keep talking. It was never for my benefit, always the other person’s. I didn’t want to make anyone else uncomfortable by forcing my presence on them.

I’ve done this to so many people over the years. One particular case stands out and hurts me the most.

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Tara was my best friend in high school. We were pretty much inseparable. I even lived at her house for my last few months before graduating. Her family was like my other family (and in some ways, I was closer to hers than my own). She was like a sister.

After high school, I moved away but we still talked almost every day. We did our best to stay close and keep each other up to date about what was going on in our lives. But over the years, we slowly began drifting apart. We stopped calling each other, we made seeing each other less and less of a priority. It got to the point where we would only send a message or two back and forth once every few years.

I guess that happens with a lot of friendships, but I feel like the reason why is different. I could legitimately say that we just grew up and developed different daily lives and drifted naturally. That’s true. And I am okay with the fact that our priorities changed and other people became more important. But if feels like there was more than that. I always felt like she was upset with me for being such a crappy friend and that she didn’t want to make any more effort if I wasn’t reciprocating. I felt like it was all my fault and if I had only called her back, we’d still be in each other’s lives.

I know this is an immature viewpoint and that I’m probably being a lot harder on myself than reality demands. But I still feel it and can’t help it.

I would often think of Tara and want to check in with her to see how she was doing and what was going on with her, but for reasons I don’t really understand yet, I felt insecure and uncertain of how my messages would be received so I hardly ever did it. I reasoned that if she wanted to hear from me, she’d ask. That if I left the last message, not to bug her again until she responded. I felt like I should reach out, but rarely did and always felt guilty about that. I was sad that I didn’t really know her as an adult. I loved and missed my friend but I didn’t say so. Now I don’t have that chance.

Tara was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. Although we all know cancer is serious, due to the fact that her mom also had cancer several years ago and was fine, I guess I just thought she would be okay. And she was, for awhile. She was in remission for what seemed to me to be a long time.

And then she messaged me at the end of February – only 5 months ago – that the cancer was back and had spread and she was now Stage 4. You hear that and the fear floods through you. We know Stage 4 is not something people live with very long. But the thing about Tara is that she is ferociously positive and it’s infectious. She knew that her time was limited but I don’t think anyone realized how quick her time would pass.

Her battle with cancer ended one week ago.

And now I realize, too late, that regret is a horrible, horrible thing to live with.

 

I was taken aback at how intense the sadness immediately hit me. I was devastated. Even though I knew it was coming eventually, since we hadn’t been close for the last 10 years or so, I thought, sure, I’d be sad –  but I had no idea just how sad. I was not prepared for the effect her death would have.

I felt like a complete asshole for wallowing in how it affected ME when there were so many people who were still in her life that would be altered completely – her husband, her children, her parents and her brother, and all the friends she was still close to. I felt like I had lost the right to be as sad as I was because I hadn’t made an effort when she was alive. I wasted all this time. I didn’t even tell her when she was sick how much I missed her or how I felt about it. I kept my mouth shut. I think that’s the worst part – she died not knowing that I even cared at all. I hate it and I have to live with that regret now for the rest of my life.

 

I guess it’s human nature to make shitty things into something we can learn from. I know now how awful it feels to have something you truly regret and wish you could fix but the person is gone. I want to do whatever it takes so that I never feel this again. People in my life will continue to die but I can see now that it must be easier to let them go if you have a good relationship with them rather than to have your grief added to with all the things you left unsaid.

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Just a few days before she died, she left these words. She knew the most important lesson of life and shared it with everyone. I’ve taken these words to heart and will be doing my best to live better.

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