Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Procrastination Nation

So listen, when I said I’m not great at handling change, I may have been underestimating my ability to avoid dealing with the looming presence of change in my life. I’ve made some strides in getting myself ready, physically, for this move. I’ve sold things, purged my closet, and partially dismantled my cozy little home in this wee downtown apartment. Emotionally, I have no clue what the fuck to do.

I’ve spent the majority of today taking procrastination to new heights. I mean, I made one semi-productive phone call to ensure my casual status at my current job remains, at least for the foreseeable future. I have also, however, made my way through at least two seasons of The Mindy Project, ordered thai food (because the 60 km/h winds outside are deterring me from becoming presentable to the public and venturing outside), and sat here on my couch surveying the remnants of my furniture. I’ve also tried on four pairs of shoes that were on the chopping block, only to strut themselves convincingly right back into my closet (I can’t really part with studded blue suede platform heels, now can I).

I’m supposed to be packing. There are boxes waiting to be assembled and filled in my entryway, and numerous items requiring my attention. Instead, I have spent the day on my couch avoiding emotions. As I fired up my laptop to write and clicked play in iTunes to distract my brain, cheesy songs have made me stop in my typing tracks and commence in a full-on ugly cry. Damn Celine Dion and her ability to pull at my heart strings with such favourites as ‘Because You Loved Me.’

The reality of this whole leave-your-family-and-friends-behind thing is landing heavily on my heart and settling in, and it’s increasingly difficult to reconcile that with the nervous excitement coursing through me. On the one hand, I’m leaving so much behind in Saskatoon. On the other hand, I get my beloved non-lesbian life partner, former roomie (but not so former anymore!) back as I’m squatting in her basement for a while (not sure her boyfriend is quite aware of what he signed up for). I get to explore life in a bigger city and everything it has to offer. I GET TO SNOWBOARD MORE (definitely a positive motivating factor). And then of course, (save the best for last, right?) the prospect of a legit relationship with regular interaction not requiring a six hour drive across provinces…incredibly awesomely thrilling.

Except now there’s only ten days left. Five more shifts at work, and ten days total to pack up, hit the storage facility known as my brother’s basement, and drive caravan-style with my parents to Calgary. Maybe it’s reality sinking in, maybe it’s the first of many farewells I said last night to some friends, and maybe it’s the homemade wine I started drinking as I assembled boxes and stared at their vast emptiness…but this shit is feeling real, and it makes me want to spend all day on my couch avoiding it.

Guess I can knock complete and utter procrastination off the list of things to do. Now, let’s fill those boxes and get down to business. Right after this episode…

A

P.S. - This:

“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Friday, 17 February 2017

Going the Distance

I’m trying to find a way to succinctly present the past five days in the life of April to you. This whole long-distance relationship thing reached peak frustration, and prior to arriving in Calgary earlier this week my nerves were on edge. There was a conversation last weekend…dredging up our worst fears about the realities of loving from 600 kilometres away. So much of our ability to move forward together depended on my ability to secure a job, and that fact was weighing heavily on my mind. I had written a post all about it, or at least, a post trying to figure out how one actually sustains a long-distance relationship. Fast-forward a few days, and all the nerves and dread are now entirely mute.

After eight months of constant driving back and forth and four months of applying to nearly every nursing job I could possibly muster the qualifications for, I’m finally moving!! In the span of 48 hours, after sending an email to a contact I acquired from a former co-worker, I had an interview and a job offer and everything changed. The weight of uncertainty lifted, and I walked out of the interview with an ear-to-ear grin I could not erase from my face. Not only did I feel excited for my boyfriend and I - for us to have the chance to see this thing through - but I was elated for myself as well. I have this warm, fuzzy feeling telling me this is good (and that's not just the wine I cracked while making chilli this afternoon - that's right, detox is done!). It’s the right choice, the right place, the right job, and the right man. Finally, right?

You’d think my emotional rollercoaster might stop there, but you’re wrong. I mean, I’m over the moon excited about this - but as I sit here looking at my schedule for the next thirty days, knowing I have a shit ton of packing, kijiji-posting, purging, visits, and tears to look forward to…well the elation is giving way to the very bitter part of this bittersweet transition.

On one hand, I have Lady Gaga singing repeatedly in my head “I’m on the edge of glory” (if you are like me, you’ve just belted this line out at the top of your lungs and likely thrown in some solid dance moves). On the other hand, there is a montage of sad bastard songs, setting the stage for what are sure to be some incredibly difficult ‘see you laters.’ I have decided, in the lead up to this monumental self-change, I will not say goodbye to anyone when I finally make the trek back to Calgary with my shit in tow (after some serious purging, I watched the Netflix documentary Minimalism and its inspiring me to be more conscious of what I choose to hang onto in terms of material possessions; but I still can't part ways with the blue suede, studded, platform pumps I haven't worn in two years). The thing of it is, and I shit you not: Saskatoon is home, in nearly every possible sense of the word. It houses the majority of my favourite humans, and to think I would never return is downright silly. Ludicrous, even.

So there it is. This prairie girl is pulling up her roots and heading west, like so many before her. And given her propensity for dealing with change horribly (i.e. ignoring emotions until they fester enough to be blurted out after a glass or two of wine), this little adventure should be rather interesting.

A

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Amore

Um, about that whole “I’m going to join this daily blogging challenge (in November) and post something every day for the whole month!” (After one week…three months ago).

Oops. Follow-through is not my strong suit.

This may actually be the first time since early December I’ve had the luxury of sitting on my couch and staring at a blank computer screen. For serious. I’ve had three trips to Calgary, one round of introducing my boyfriend to my entire family and many of my friends, and a bloody shit ton of shifts in between. Life, as they say, has gotten in the way. (Do they say that? Am I making shit up right now? I’ve been on a detox for two weeks and I haven’t had wine, maybe you shouldn’t believe me at the moment. I miss wine.)

Specifically, life’s gotten in the way of this whole writing thing. I’m living in long-distance limbo - constantly going back and forth to Calgary, planning visits, and sending resumés into the online abyss of the healthcare field in Alberta (to no avail as of yet, le sigh), and I’ve not thought for a second of writing.

I feel speechless, in every way possible.

My life is full of exciting change right now - a niece on the way, a baby room to paint and decorate (as self-appointed baby room decorator this I take this responsibility very seriously and only once has my mother told me to make sure my one-day sister-in-law has input), a boyfriend to love (and who conveniently loves me back, go figure), and a move to plan. I’m nervous and thrilled for it all, and sometimes all the love overwhelms me and I find myself speechless (weird, I know, since I keep typing and words keep making their way to the page).

On the other hand…there is so much change (say that with a heavy, morose accent) not only in our world, but in our own beautiful country. It’s exhausting and heart-breaking to read the news, and I’m thankful I don’t have cable - I can escape from the bullshit just a little bit easier (but I can’t watch Super Bowl, there is a trade off). Except, I’m feeling as though to escape is to silently acquiesce to this violence and hateful vomitus. And that seems like a wretched option. I have plans and ideas for all of the lovely things in my life mentioned above…I have no clue just yet how to play my part in this fight to uphold morality, justice, and equality. But I do have one teensy idea.

I can, and I will, choose love over hate, every time. That may be all I can muster at this point, it may be minuscule in the face of seemingly overwhelming venomous politicians and political agendas. But I will continue to choose love, I will not let these people shake my belief in humankind and its propensity to overcome hatred and let love reign.

With all my love, especially to the victims and families affected by the horrendous shooting in Quebec...
A

P.S. - I was recently gifted a print by a lovely soul which says "life should have background music," and I couldn't agree more. Because I always have a song playing in my mind, and because this one seems all too appropriate for humankind right now.















Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Untitled (I'm Too Tired to be Clever)

Here we are. Day seven. One week of (trying to) write every day. And I’m caught up (in manner of speaking). This will be short. Mostly because I’m exhausted and I’ve done a stellar job of procrastinating. Today, writing seems like a chore (yet I’ve done every other chore in my apartment; cleaning, dishes, meal prep, laundry…) and I don’t want to do it. I want to drink my tea and go to bed. But here I sit in front of my laptop, because I told myself to sit down and write. Ugh.

I’ve spent all day thinking about today’s prompt…If you could redo one moment in your life, what would it be and why? How would it change who you are now?

The idea of the past, regrets, and sorely wishing you could do something differently is one I’ve already spent a fair amount of time on. I’m trying to spend as little time on the past as possible moving forward. I could come up with a million tiny moments to change. There’s a few big ones back there I certainly could have handled differently. Maybe delving into them would lead to a good story or two and some salacious reading for you. But here’s the deal.

I’m pretty talented at gripping tightly to the past, and I drag it kicking and screaming into my present, forgetting to relax and enjoy what is happening around me; in whatever moment I find myself. Thing is, I’m not sure I would change a damn thing, and I don’t want to dwell on the past anymore. Every time I let it steep in my thoughts for too long, it limits me. Past hurts cut down my self confidence. Mistakes make me cower from pushing forward with something new. Lost loves bring a debilitating ache to the surface.

So I would not change a thing. Every last shitty experience or terrible choice has landed me right where I am, and I kinda like where I am. Maybe I still have a few things to learn from, and a little bit of work to do (ok, a huge heaping shit-ton of work), but I’m through with letting my past hang over me. I’ve said it before (not so long ago, here) and I’ll say it again. Fuck the past.
I’m standing with my two feet firmly planted in the present; looking forward and embracing the unknown as best I can.

Maybe this quote doesn't fit, or perhaps it doesn't speak to you as it does me. But read it anyway - come back to it one day. It has all kinds of wisdom.

“…be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.” - Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

A

Day Four/Six/Five?

You might have noticed me lagging behind (already) on this daily blogging challenge. I got lazy this past weekend working night shifts and opted to spend more time taking in old episodes of The Office on Netflix than writing. Coupled with my utter lack of motivation to write was the realization that I had the choice of whether or not I write a post on Saturdays and/or Sundays. A divine recipe of procrastination for April.

Technically I owe you three posts. One for Friday, yesterday, and one for today. I suspect if I was truly dedicated to daily blogging, I would also be lacking in providing reading material for Saturday and Sunday. This would mean I should have battled through the post-night shift tired drunk feeling I get to offer up such literary delights as “Celelry is a Useless Vegetable” and “How to Avoid Inciting Road Rage in Night Shift Workers” (mostly, get the fuck out of my way if I’m driving home after a night shift). You can see why I’ve shied away from posting the past few days.

I do not have time for even three posts today, with a multitude of reasons/excuses as to why. At the moment, my mind is racing to combine the prompts for these three days into one concise post that will wow you with my wordsmithing capabilities. How does one roll fall television programming, Thanksgiving food fails, and revamping one moment in my life to ensure a better outcome in the future into one fabulous post?

One does not. One cheats a little, and says fuck it to the Thanksgiving food fail - because I have never made Thanksgiving dinner and thus far my culinary luck has been strong when it’s come to cooking dinner for my family for the past couple of years - I’ve hit it out of the park. I’m skipping that one, delaying the post about what moment in my life I wish I could go back and change (until tomorrow), and bundling up Friday and tomorrow’s prompts in one neat package for you. Here goes.

Friday asked what television programming should be canceled already this fall…and tomorrow is asking what I want to say to Hillary Clinton. Well.

I am not well-versed in politics, in fact I'm perilously close to being an apathetic voter. In Canada's most recent federal election I voted what I have always voted, without much real thought or effort into determining if that was in fact the right choice for me. I know very little about the working of America's government, and even less about their electoral process. I’m not up to date on trade agreements and not incredibly well-informed on pipeline proposals and politics. I’m definitely mystified as to how the results this evening will trickle into Canadian and world politics, but I suspect politics on the whole (obviously and most notably American politics) have been irrevocably changed.

I am Canadian, and I don’t have cable. These do not exempt me from having thoughts and feelings about fall television programming, but they are certainly less directed toward whatever NBC flop has come out this fall, and more directed toward the insanity of this year’s election cycle in the States. Cancel that. Cancel the hateful and frightening diatribe Trump spits out every time he opens his mouth in an advert or speech. Shut down Hillary’s responses turning Trump’s words in favour of her and repeatedly pointing out his short-comings as a presidential candidate. Taking the high road, in my mind, is more about addressing the actual issues and laying out a solid plan for how to take your nation forward, not giving your opponent even more face time. It should all be stopped.

Impossible, I know. The show must go on. The spectacle of everything, and the amount of people devouring every last lick of absurdity, is amazing in the worst possible way. But I suppose, how can we not pay attention? This is the culmination of so much turmoil, unrest, and division. Is it a surprise that a man has managed to bully, lie, bigot and belittle his way to where he is now? Is it really a shock that a historical moment such as a woman running for president should be undermined so persistently?

Does this all feel a little too much like a bad reality television show to anyone else? I’d dearly love to change the channel, but even without cable I can watch the world shifting.

A

P.S. - This is a song by one of my most favourite of Canadian bands, Wintersleep. It seems appropriate right about now.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Best Policy

Ok this whole writing every day thing is fucking hard, and it’s only day three. Maybe I’m not supposed to feel like this on only the third day, maybe I shouldn’t be sitting here staring at my laptop for 20 minutes and wondering exactly how to frame this post. There the question is and I’m not quite sure how to run with it…

…If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?

This could open an honesty shit storm of epic proportions. I’m excited to see not only what other people come up with, but also what spews forth onto my currently empty-ish page. What I’m realizing about my writing process is that I could have an entire post banged out ahead of time, and then sit down to edit, and end up re-writing the entire post, creating some iteration of the original. So really, as I sit here thinking about this whole question of honesty, I have no clue what’s coming next.

I could be brutally honest with several people, mostly unsuspecting figures from my past. I could tell a few people how much their own dishonesty hurt me. There’s a few people whose honesty with me was painful, but cathartic in its own stinging way. There are feelings rumbling in my heart that will eventually need to make their way out of my mouth (or, alternatively, through my fingers and onto the page), but I’m not ready for anyone else to know them, yet.

So today, at this very moment, I’m choosing to be honest with myself.

First off, April, you’ve had some shit judgment when it’s come to members of the opposite sex (as clearly demonstrated in many previous posts). I know you know this, but take a second to realize that even some of the most unfortunate situations you’ve found yourself in have also had a slight tinge of April’s bullshit in them. This is not meant to make you feel bad, quite the contrary. It’s meant for you to realize that for something to genuinely work, you have to stop thinking you’re not worth it. You are fucking worth it. (Thankfully you’ve happened upon someone who shares that sentiment - don’t fuck it up.)

Secondly, you actually can write something EVERY DAY. You have ideas coursing through that brain of yours on the regular, and while not every post is going to be literary gold, you might be surprised with what comes out. Stop being your own worst enemy (your mom has always been right in this matter) and start letting your creative side flourish; the results may be exciting and astonishing.

April (this is an important one) do NOT go and buy those beautiful but completely unneeded boots tomorrow when you get paid. Yes, there really is never a question of need when it comes to shoes. But you’re fucking horrible with money. Really. This is not a strong suit for you, and it certainly won’t get better if you drop $300 on those babies. Wait for a sale. Or realize that your priority right now should be the idea of first/last month’s rent for new digs in the big city. You know for a fact that moving closer to the mountains means snowboarding expenses increase exponentially, what if that pair of boots in your closet actually stops you from hitting the mountains for a weekend!? Unforgivable. Time to grow up and gain some financial responsibility. (Seriously, this is fucking important to wrap your head around, don’t just slyly think you’ll sneak those bad boys into the closet without me noticing…I’ll notice, and I’ll bring the buyer’s remorse down haaaaard.)

And lastly, but certainly not the least…you are allowed to feel afraid right now. There is some big change heading your way; change you have sought out and pursued. You’re moving six hours away from the majority of your support network. You’re leaving the place you’ve called home for 34 years. 34 years! That’s a long time! In my humble opinion (speaking from your common sense, that is) you’re allowed to be nervous, anxious, excited, and cautious. You are not (no matter how many times your mom kind of jokingly says it) abandoning those people who are the core of your people. You will still be there for them, and they for you, albeit usually in an online form. And if much of this change is (at the heart of it, literally) for a man - that’s ok. Especially if it’s a bonafide genuine, handsome, kind-hearted man. That’s definitely ok.


Thanks, self.

A

P.S. - The lovely David Gray came floating through the speakers at the coffee shop I've holed up in to write this post, and something about the melody drifting through the many conversations being had created a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling for me. So, cheers :)

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

And on the second day...

Vulnerable - (adjective) capable or susceptible of being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon; open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.

Vulnerability is not today’s prompt, but it occurs to me…the subject of today’s prompt, bravery, is inextricably linked with vulnerability. When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?

Is it terrible if I can’t remember the last time I did something I would categorize as brave? My fuzzy memory may be due to a lingering cold medicine hangover; or another late night listening to Mr. Upstairs Neighbour trudge around noisily until midnight (just when I gather the courage to go up and give him a piece of my mind, you know, be brave; he quiets down). Or is it because my personal feelings of bravery don’t have much to do with heroic acts (i.e. the super-duper cliché act of saving someone from a burning building) one usually associates with being brave?

In elementary school I was teased a lot, and one day the ringleader of the girls called me a loser. I responded by telling her that just because she was a bitch, it didn’t necessarily follow that I was a loser (stooping to her level of name-calling may not have been the right way to handle things, but she was being a bitch and I call it as I see it). That may have been one of the first times I remember doing something brave. I stood up to her and in the process lay myself open to so much immaturity - more name calling, exclusion, and schoolyard antics. Yet I found myself with a smaller circle of friends who decided to stray from the bitchiness and said bitch didn't much bother with me after that.

Years ago, while traveling in Africa, I called my parents to let them know I changed my flight and would be coming home a week later than my original return date…because I had met a guy (one day I'll give that story the words it deserves and share it with you, it was surreal and kind of amazing). Big ups to my parents for having a calm, rational conversation with me. I’m quite certain when their 25 year old daughter (who had never before left Canada) called to say she would be spending a little better than a week with a 30 year old winemaker from South Africa, they wanted to lose it (and probably hop on a plane to drag me back to Canada on schedule). Just a wee bit of bravery on both fronts there - my very lovely parents who bravely trusted I wasn’t putting myself in the hands of a serial killer, and I made a choice in the name of love. The search for love takes a fuck-ton of bravery to open oneself up to. Genuinely opening yourself up to someone - laying your true self bare - is fucking scary. It takes all kinds of bravery and courage to love.

I once threw myself off a bridge, bungeeing 216 metres into a gorge on the coast of South Africa, all in the name of conquering my fear of heights and spiting the asshole ex-boyfriend who swore I would never go through with it. (I may have sent him a picture of me jumping in an email with the simple subject of “And you said I could never do it.”) Choosing to face one of your greatest fears, all the while leaving yourself open to the possibility that the fear might conquer you instead? Brave.

I’ve spent a lot of time afraid of vulnerability. In relationships, with friends, and definitely when it comes to putting my thoughts to paper and letting anyone (and everyone) read them. But as I’ve sat here and fired off this post, I’ve realize the times I’ve let myself be vulnerable and open are the times when bravery and courage have risen up. And not once have there been negative consequences.

Huh.

A

P.S. - On rotation today (and on repeat a few times) is this little diddy, enjoy.