Thursday, May 28

birthdays make you old.

I am realizing more and more how much I appreciate reliability. Among the many other things I always associated with the desires of a much older, much more mature person.

I am approaching my birthday, and with it, the middle of my twenties. The exact middle, and i feel old. (technically the DEAD centre was 6 months ago, but for all intents and purposes, this is it)
I guess thats the point of birthdays, to remind us that time is passing. To make us stop and recollect our composure and reevaluate where we are heading. Otherwise it would just be a big forward hurl into forever with no direction or keeping track. It would be quite chaotic.

I use to romanticize spontaneity. I want to be wild and free and attached to no one and no thing. But there is a back fall to this kind of behaviour, and I am realizing that I have grown to expect people to be flaky, and frankly it is starting to piss me off. Our culture and this specific generation is suffering from the fear of missing out in a major way. We are willing to bail on anything and anyone for something better, no matter how last minute. The worst part, is that we don't even realize that we are doing it, and we don't understand that it is hurtful. It is natural for us. We've accepted it as natural in a society that pushes "self" more than "other" and that values doing what is best for you, no matter the cost.

But there has to come a point in the discussion where we bring up the other. Where we counter the cost of being flaky. I know people with pure gold hearts, that love and care about the world more than they have the capacity to. People who would live and die to support you and love you and make sure that you know they are on your side. But this passion gets distorted in those moments before a commitment, when the world is screaming at you to take your chance and do yourself a solid and ensure that you do in the moment what is best for you. Don't get me wrong, I am all about self love and am learning more and more what it looks like to assure i don't neglect my needs, be it a meal or an afternoon or in a relationship. But when did it become okay to step over others to fulfil these needs.

If often feels like we have once again adopted the mindset of those ancestors we too readily don't want to talk about. It often feels as though "self love" and "a focus on my needs" translates well with "me before you" and "my needs before your needs" and when it comes down to it "my worth before your worth".

Its not on the same scale, but selfishness is a word that we use positively in this culture and it's sad that that isn't shocking.

What happened to community and support and your needs before mine and commitment to the greater good. What happened to sacrifice and being a person of your word and living as a human on which other humans could depend on.

Im talking about consistent reliable behaviour. I'm talking about living out of love. Im talking about saying you will do or be something and then doing it or being it. Because the first is empty without the latter. The thought doesn't count anymore.

Self love and self care are so so so important. but they should not be our 100%. They should not take the place of caring for one another. If we all only look out for ourselves and we only care as far as is convenient to us and we start turning inward instead of outward; if we put all of our efforts in to bettering ourselves and our egos and our comfort levels, when we finally feel confident and ready enough to look out, we will only be faced by the backs of those strangers with whom we coexist, and thats not a world worth being your best self in.

Tuesday, November 4

regret no[every]thing

People always talk about experience as if it were the best thing you could seek. In seeing new things, feeling new things, learning, growing, being different versions of yourself in different contexts. We push this. Go get the experience, go stretch your mind, go and experience change. We encourage experience, but we never give a warning. We do not talk about how you can never un-experience something, about how there are things not worth experiencing. There are things I wish I had never seen, never felt and never endured. With difficult experience comes change and growth and these are good things, but sometimes parts of us change in ways that we don't want them to. Sometimes we lose parts ourselves that were good. But we don't talk about this, because to talk about it would be to expose the facade that our generation has so delicately constructed. That life is out there for you to obtain. That the world wants to experience you exactly how you are. But it doesn't. Life has its secret standards and restrictions and it will always be holding you accountable. These standards follow us around, lurking the the shadows of our mistakes. mocking us for trying to hard, shaming us for not trying at all. never pleased, never loving. Because life doesn't love you. Its a one way street. And its not a bad thing as long as you recognize it and prevent yourself from being misled into thinking that life wants to give you good things. God does, but life, life is indifferent. And it will allow you to experience some terrible things if you go out looking for them and sometimes even when you don't. Im not saying that all experience is bad. I have seen and felt many beautiful things by taking risks. I think there is so much freedom in being fearless and being authentic with the world and learning as good things happen and growing when bad things happen. Its not black and white. It's grey, and grey has always been dangerous. This is no reason not to open yourself up to the world. Just understand that when you do, and when life throws experience at you all at once and all over the place, you will never be the same. And you will gain, but you will also lose. And with each new thing that attempts to break you and mould you, fight for the things you don't want to lose. Don't compromise what your not willing to live without for the sake of experience. 

Wednesday, October 1

I Don't Know Where to Buy Apples//Also Known as Letting Honesty Get The Best Of Me

Here I am in a new city, completely and wholly lost. This place is foreign to me and these people are foreign to me. I don't have routine, or a schedule. I don't have a regular spot or a frequented coffee shop. I don't have people that I should make time for, or catch up with. I don't know where to buy apples. I am at a loss to know what to do with myself.

Being 24 is weird. Im not sure if everyone else has it figured out and if I just missed that day in school, that day where they tell you what you are supposed to do with your life, but I feel pretty aimless.

I know about the bigger picture things. I know about loving God and loving people and letting that be my purpose in all that I do, but what exactly is "all that I do." I know about the idea of life. To live in intimacy with Christ, to strive to know him more, to grow in that experience, to fail and try again and accept grace and develop self control. I understand that this is what I am to achieve throughout my life and in my everyday. But I don't know what my everyday is supposed to be. I don't know whether I am to wake up early and achieve goals that I set or to wake up leisurely and enjoy the rest that I never allow myself to have. But it's even more fundamental than that. It's not that I wouldn't know how to achieve my goals if I set them, its that I wouldn't know what goals to set. I go to work and try new things and I try to get to know people and appreciate them for how beautiful and crazy and authentic they can be, ideally in the form of multiple group hangs, but I just feel aimless. I didn't move with a specific purpose, I just moved because it was time. Time for a new city and new job and a new purpose. Because I graduated and only initially lived in my previous city for the school. But I was so focused on the leaving, on it being different from what it was, on how I wouldn't be doing certain things anymore, I never thought about where I was going, or what it would be like, or what i would be doing. And the whole thing has caught me quite off guard. Im not depressed, at least I do not think that I am, based on my simple understanding of it, but I don't feel excited. I don't feel ambitious.

There was a period of a couple of months while I was in university where I got sad. I didn't know why and I didn't have an explanation for it, and the university offered free therapy so I went to try to find the answers to the questions I didn't have. It didn't help and I did't really learn anything except that I had somehow lost my ability to want for things in the shortish-longish term. She kept asking what I wanted for my summer, or my next year, or my life. She kept asking me if I could do anything with the next 4 months what would it be? And I had nothing. I didn't have any desire to come up with anything, not because I didn't want to do things, but because I didn't know what I wanted to do. I obviously have huge, hard to break down into practical steps, want for things. I want to live in a big city apartment with ridiculous wall art and write everyday, preferably for a coffee table magazine featuring articles about how beautiful space is and about the funny shit that goes down in the life of astronaut Dan. I want marry someone who is equal parts funny and hygienic and who motivates me to be a better version of myself while accepting me for all of the ways in which I'm psychotic. I also have super small immediate want for things. I want to buy tickets to Mother Mother, I want to wake up to the sound of my alarm tomorrow and not the sound of my phone ringing because I am late. I want to watch the newest episode of The Mindy Project and I want to eat this avocado without having to wait for it ripen. But I don't know how to want for things in the not so distant future. I don't know how to think about what I'm going to do with my life for the next couple of years and now this inability is posing a huge problem for my life.

People are busy. People are running around, working at building careers and taking care of families and setting goals and living their lives and I'm 24 and I don't know what that looks like. I don't know how to do that. I don't even know how to go to the grocery store, buy ingredients and make food out of them on a regular basis. It's like a big ordeal every time I do it and its always a disaster. I'm not good at it. This life thing. I'm not good at being a human.

Moving away more than ever has made me aware of my aimlessness. I thought that I was uncomfortable with the change that occurred last year, but I had no idea how the same everything was, and no idea of how unprepared I was to actually change anything. I have removed my self from my surroundings, my pointless routines, my acquaintances, my family, the places where I went to think, the places where I went to cry, the places where I went with people to have fun, the places where I went to get my car fixed, and the places where I went to buy apples. All the things I used to do to fill my time. Working to pay the bills, finishing a degree to get a different job to pay different bills, filling my time with people and music and things that I love. Is that what we we are supposed to do, just love people and love things and fill our lives with those people and those things? Because now I have less that I love in my day to day. I have more strangers and more free time and more sitting around wondering when somebody is going to tell me how to do this right. Wondering how to have confidence in my ability to do this right.

Maybe there is no supposed to. Maybe everybody else is just faking their way through as well. Maybe we all don't know how to be human. Maybe thats okay.

I just wish I could muster up the strength to care enough about something to do something about it.

Thursday, July 24

Change is Hard or Healthy or Whatever.


The other day I went to the park in my old neighbourhood to swing on the swing set. By "old" I'm not referring to the neighbourhood I grew up in, nor the neighbourhood I spent my teen years running around the streets in. By old, I mean most recently left behind. Some days you just need a swing set. Some days are hard and some days you feel lost and you don't know why. Sometimes you just need to get your feet off the ground and let the rhythm of swinging calm you down, but sometimes you don't know where the closest swing set is. Change will do that to a person.

I don't like change. I don't like that I spent the day alone by choice. I don't like how the fear of people was strong enough to prevent me from trying.

People never used to scare me like that. People used to excite me and energize me. Show me sides of their complex, beautiful personalities that would reveal to me more of how I wanted to live my life, or more of how I didn't want to, but they never used to scare me. Its different and its new and I don't like it.

This year has been all about change. I moved into a new house and though its nicer, and cleaner, and quieter, it also takes me an extra 10 minutes to get everywhere and I don't know where the nearby park is, and the daylight comes in at all different angles and its weird. This year I also graduated from university, and I'm not going to camp for the first time in a long time and apparently now I am afraid of people. Change freaks me out. I like things to be what I expect and for people to be who they say they are and for them not to reserve the right to change their minds about anything. But its a double standard I hold because I refuse not to reserve the right to change my mind about everything and everyone all of the time. When things change around me, I don't know what to expect and therefore how to react or feel. And when I don't know what to feel, I get lost. I feel lost and unsure and different. I need to be able to embrace change so that I can change. I need to learn not to avoid the things that scare me. Like love or one day having a family to fuck up, or being an adult, or accepting short hair. Change is healthy, but that doesn't make me appreciate it any more. It doesn't make me miss knowing where the swing set within walking distance is. It doesn't make me less scared of it.

Monday, July 14

An Open Letter to Hairdressers: It's All About Trust

Dear hairdressers,

I have a confession to make, I haven't had a professional hair cut in over 2 years.

In 2012 my relationship with hairdressers came to an end due to a terrible breach of trust. My explanations were ignored, my examples not considered, my authority over my own head of hair, denied.

I understand that hairdressing is an art, and that as a professional there is a lot about hair that I could learn from you. So please, share. I have been obsessed with hair for as long as I can remember. When I was five I used to put these red tights on my head with an elastic around the legs and wear them for hours pretending that my hair was long. I currently invest a lot of time and money into learning about how to care for my hair, how to cut my hair and most importantly how to get my hair to grow faster, or to grow at all. So I am all ears if you want to explain to me why a certain cut would look better, or why I should stop using certain products, or why you think setting my curls free is a good idea (hint: its not). But please do so with your words before the cut, not with your actions during the cut. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to have a certain decision made by a hairdresser, against my previous wishes, defended to me while I stare in the mirror debating whether to scream or cry or both.

please stop breaking my trust.

I believed in you. I thought, you know what, this person has great hair. This person looks like they know what they are doing. This person is listening to my requests very attentively, finally someone who will give me the cut I want. But then its all, "surprise bangs"

I wish that I could trust that as my hairdresser you would have my best interest in mind. You are so good at acting like you care. You ask me what I want, and how I want it. You ask for inspiration you want me to show you pictures. But the thing about bringing in photographs and detailed instructions about what type of hair cut I want is, it's useless. In my experience, a hairdresser will politely listen to my "not to short, not too choppy" but full on know that once they get in there, they are going to do as they see fit, even if what they see is an opportunity to try out this new thing they have been thinking about, on my head, without permission. You may feel as though you need to be on the cutting edge of hair technology and that you need to be taking more risks and trying new things, but I am the one that has to wake up everyday to what you did.

I do take responsibility for the times when it was my fault. Like the time I decided to drastically change my hair colour and how I decided to save dollars by going to the sketchy hair dressing school in my neighbourhood. Ya, that one's on me, okay? I know that I am to blame for all of the hair that fell out. I know that I make bad choices. I also take responsibility for the times when I've felt impulsive and became crazy, less responsible Emily and told the hairdresser to chop all the inches off because why not, I was bored and needed a change.

But most of the time, it's not my fault. I have been very clear in the past about what I wanted. I have always been particular. I have always done my own hair, unafraid to offend my aunt who just spent the better part of the morning braiding my "I'm 7 and my hair is crazy tangled" locks. I will always rip it out because I always know what I want and I have always been skeptical of others attempts at inserting their own agenda.

In 2012, my hairdresser broke my trust and it resulted in the shortest haircut I have had since like grade 2. To say that I went into shock would be an understatement. From that moment on, I vowed to never let anyone cut my hair again. Then I cried. An embarrassing amount.

I have since bought a pair of hair cutting scissors and have been making due on my own. But I would love to be able to make-up with hairdressers. I would love to be able to go to them with my questions and crawl to them when I know what I've done (heat heat and more heat). I would love to go and chat about my day and not feel like they were out to get me, analyzing my instructions, searching for the loophole. But I cannot. Trust is a tough thing to build. And I'm kind of a grudge holder. Myyyy bad.

Thursday, June 5

On Acknowledging the Dark


She liked driving with the windows down even when it was cold outside. Because it reminded her of summer and of warm nights in her old neighbourhood and of friendships with people that you didn't understand until they were over.

She didn't mind being sad. Sadness was something familiar, something real, something to remind her that she was human and to remind her to do the things she enjoyed with more reckless abandon. It wasn't a heavy sadness, just a light one. A comfortable sadness that was needed every once and a while. Like rainy days and naps. She understood that allowing yourself to be sad was just as important as allowing yourself to be happy. 

She fell in love with everything. It wasn't enough to be interested in something. She had to let it consume her until the passion inspired or irritated everyone she came into contact with. It was this way with everything, books, coffee, a band, the boys she could not have. She was either apathetic or immersed, always. 

She drove people away and attracted them at the same time. People showed interest in her, in the way that people show interest in everyone. In their lives and in the curious ways by which they live them. But once people came close, once she let them in, her affection for them would drive them out. She needed it to be everything or be nothing. She could not handle being "sort of" anything. Yet she was sort of a lot of things. Sort of a good person. Sort of a recycler. Sort of into art. Sort of bad at math. She sort of liked sports. And sort of liked tea. But she didn't talk about these things. Being "sort of" isn't romantic. And anything not romantic was not worth talking about. 

She lived in fear of the dark. Of the all consuming ache of brokenness. The mean reds Audrey warned us of. They come without warning. While you're driving home from work, while you're out for lunch, when you wake up in the middle of the night and you don't know why but you're overwhelmed. By your life, by your friends, by your human need for sleep. The most dangerous thing about the dark is acknowledging it. If you don't pay it any attention, it won't bother you. But once you're aware of it, there is no escaping. Just like the mean reds, she lived in fearful anticipation for it.

Sunday, December 1

It Just Means That You're Human.

Why do we feel embarrassed when we fall for somebody.
As if it were this thing that other people have figured out how to control, and that because you chose someone that didn't choose you back, you've gone and done something ridiculous.

First of all, I don't think that we choose who to fall for. I think that we choose who we allow ourselves to think about and that we have the power to exert self control and that an unhealthy thought life will produce an unhealthy obsession. But I do not think that we ever choose who is going to steal our heart away. I think that people can have that effect on us without our permission. I think that when you appreciate someone, the little things about who they are. When you want to be close to someone even if you don't understand why. If their hurts and struggles kinda tear you up inside. If you fall for someone, even though they don't fall back, thats nothing to be ashamed about. That just means that you're human babe.

and being human is hard, so good job.