An idea?

(Drafty-draft)

“I’ll try my best to be happy…”

Those were the words the mother said as she contorted her hands like snake charmer’s, with eyes that darted chameleon, with feet that sunk like concrete pillars.

Oh no, thinks the daughter, her head bobbing up and down. She will have to snap her head back and forth again until it is over. Like snarfing pills.

It hurts.

Like snarfing pills.

It is the only way.

Like the pills.

~

The girl has been living with her mother like this for many many years and is used to decoding her language for many many years. In fact some might say she is an expert, like Michelangelo was with painting pretty women and Van Gogh was with cutting ears.

Through the scrambler, even anagrams start to make sense.

But she is young, and she might as well occupy her self. She liked to hear electronic voices, like she imagined a real scrambling machine would sound, as her mind jumbled the words. She wasn’t sure if she liked it because she liked it or because she always did that, and thought about it as she waited and waited and eyed her mother out of the corner of her eye lazily like a frog. Even though her mom was actually taller and more voluptuous than her, her sallow skin and parchment presence made her shrink, shrink, shrink, like paper that touches fire.

“To be happy…” she finally heard her mother say through the decoder, as something in her sunk in that clear green pool of confusion that lurked beyond her inky pupils.

“I’ll do anything to make you happy,” she chirped, bright and fresh as the centre of a daisy. The mother brought her face closer to her and kissed it. “I knew you would,” she drawled, back to normal.

The girl the pressure in her head dissipate in relief. Everything would be fine. As it always was. Everyday.

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Snippet

(Written ~December 2014)

You write to me late at night, deliriously emotional. You were my friend’s first post secondary love, and my first measuring stick of her depth of feeling. Drugs race through your body, or, perhaps,it is just alcohol, acting like a drug upon your compromised system. You say drugs with a sssszzz342, adding letters where words don’t suffice. “At least I can type.”  That much you remember. Who am I? You write my name. What else does it make you remember?

I, too, am delirious in a night of emotions. I play an age old song on loop, a song you don’t know I know, a song that acts like alcohol upon compromised emotions. Sounds wriggle on repeat and wrap like white ribbons in the darkness of my mind. It reminds me of when I used to lift big pretty stones to find nests of worms, horrified at finding out the complexity that existed beyond my imagination. Now, as I relive that moment in a grown up context, I reflect on how I can tell you jokes and comfort you even as I plunge my hand into that excruciating bed of worms.

It’s not that simple; nothing is. Back in my first year of university, I would caution my friend against drinking alone; now I laugh with you. I more often than not open that can of worms myself to enjoy, without telling you; but I rarely open that song convincing myself it’s because of what it might do to me in public. Well, I was wrong, as I have always been. You, the potential friend’s boyfriend, stop your talk because I have stopped my talk; were I to have drawn the wry observations and jurassic spelling match a little longer, you might have put that stone back down and walked away. Instead we both grapple that slippery mess all alone in the darkness, losing every head or tail we find, too proud to ask for that lantern we refused the first time.

Feeling my feels, in fiction. First creative writing in half a year!! Sadly, though, all of this actually happened, so I guess it isn’t fiction, but it’s still creative instead of non fiction/journalistic.

08/30/15

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Latter half of my summer while my cousins were here-being a tourist and bonding over girly things, volunteering, and of course one shot hidden in there of my drink in a cafe writing my desperate second to last essay. Two months without camping=two months with the family. 

I’m a year older and it’s weird. I look at snowboarding in a different way. I see it as teenage rebellion rather than rebellious but fun that was just for me. It’s no longer innocent but informed; everything is. I see how awkwardly I toed the line between not caring and not knowing when it came to presentation. I cared so much about clothes but at the same time I differed from others in that I didn’t really reap the benefits of doing so, and was never entirely in touch. I was still inside my own head, and most of the clothes that would have fit me into a box stayed in my closet, because I felt like my inner expression was somehow visible externally already. Alas, I was as poorly dressed as a teenager as I was as a kid.

The way I look back at the things I wrote and how they are so different for me now. I always knew that focussing on internal problems and writing about them was the premature version of great writing. Great writing is able to project itself on external issues but I could never see what the external subjects were last year. Even now, they are illformed shadows emerging from a bluish haze-this is the world, and this is the world you’ve been reading about. Finally, the odd subject choices of books make sense. We don’t just reflect our inner selves with our writing but the outer one. And our reflections of the outer world are never fully without inklings of our inner selves.

You know what? I laugh though. It seems like I had a good time. That angst from not knowing what to do and finding strength through rebellion may have been wayward, but it led to the right place. I wouldn’t have been able to go forward in writing or academics without snowboarding, as weird as that sounds, because snowboarding forced me to be more social. And as for writing, I’ll always enjoy the childish fun of it, and it will always lead me astray.

And as for snowboarding, I think it’s quite a good trade to stop snowboarding as a teenager…and snowboard as an adult.

(Admittedly the adult in me thinks hiking is boring and the teenage me is more excited in it. But the adult me will try to be patient and not think about how life is too short to be doing slow paced things.)

If all things go well too (we’re lacking drivers at the moment) I may be able to have a one year anniversary backpacking trip to Joffre Lakes. The girl there was the first person I connected to as my new autonomous self. I remember feeling so alienated from myself. I was depressed at not knowing how to act (like an angsty teenager) but a year later, I know not to be afraid of muddy steep inclines, coldness, or strangers.

I also never thought I’d keep writing journals as an adult, since it seemed like I had nothing to write about until university, but here I am. Like an introvert who needs to recharge, I can go ages without writing but more often than not I have to write a journal. There are always lots of things to dissect and record and retell and immortalize.

It was a good summer after all

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Helping each other 

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A view the campers were treated toIMG_2576

Crazy table drawings

I bussed 4 hours a day to volunteer with children 10-11 at an outdoor camp. I had to do it. I slept from 3-6 hours but somehow I managed to drag myself to the bus everyday, and inexplicably I felt like something was being filled up by volunteering there.

I had a late teenhood. And I had an even later identity formation. I’m twenty one, and the two years between nineteen and twenty one are as barbarous and poison laced as can be. Age means nothing.

If you think that someone can emotionally mature without being allowed to explore themselves, you’re wrong. Just look at my mom. Flipping over to a new page-fifty-yet still emotionally immature.  How can be it a surprise that I, reared by her, am also emotionally stunted?

It’s not a judgement, it’s a truth. We all need to explore to find our place in our own lives; if we can’t, we are stuck as children, buffeted by fate and clinging onto a dependent love. We won’t learn that the strongest love is co dependent love. We don’t learn that other’s lives are codependent on us. It isn’t just selfishness, it’s a disease.

I’m sick and tired of being on the brink of anxiety or depression because I feel I am worthless or deserve what I get. I’m tired of being someone’s punching bag, someone’s empty affirmation, the disease’s vehicle for transmission into the next generation. It’s already been in our family for at least two generations-I must be the last to pass on this erasable affliction. It’s one thing to be pre disposed to being emotional, and in a related vein, artistic. It’s quite another to abuse the next generation as a means of assuaging that pain.

I get it, there’s some things that we can’t help. The best we can do is commit to taking a step back every day and earnestly incorporating feedback on our flaws. Not spend twenty years rearing a child and pushing every bit of love with a tongue of poison, slowly killing everything the child stands for.

And understand that people who are in this situation have more trouble learning to form supportive relationships because they have to learn it for themselves. And even when they figure out how to, it won’t erase the emptiness that has become a part of their identity. I see that taking years, although the strides by which life will improve will be drastic each year.

These kids have crutches. They are childish on their own and pretend to be fearless around others. They want to fake it until they make it but the truth is they can’t fake it, they have to truly experience it. Help them with those experiences, set up their lives to make up for deficiencies.

I’m happy to say that I’ve put this year behind me. When I think about myself, I no longer feel a hole I will never get out of regarding my abilities as a human being. I have that base feeling of decency for myself that you take for granted under normal circumstances. I feel emotionally mature enough to try to share my life with someone else and give love unselfishlessly and regard each and every person as a potential friend or learning experience. I don’t feel the the need to push people down in my mind in order to find confidence, which was the way I was taught to feel good about myself. I don’t feel the need to grovel in order to feel liked, which was the way I was taught to feel loved. Back when I first volunteered with kids, I didn’t really care about them and did it selfishly. Back when I started camping, I was heady with the new experiences and I felt like I was only pretending to feel the things that I did. Back when I first went to counselling, I never believed that life could change. But now I really feel it. For the first time in my life, I see a future for myself that is realistic and concrete, not the lurid fantasy of a confused child.

Just being able to say, I’m not screwed up and it’s not my fault and that I can make other people feel loved is everything.

Happiness Is…

Finding love in and within people outdoors. Strengthening bonds in fresh air. Re-learning how to see beauty everywhere.

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Whistler/Blackcomb mountain. Sadly we did not pay extra to ride bikes, but as a treat for the kids, my parents invited me, my brother, and my cousin to ride the Peak to Peak Gondola, which none of us had ridden before. WB is actually as stunning as they say because of the grand scale of things, and I recall once again that “there are no friends on a powder day”. There are no alliances and loyalties when it comes to choosing a favourite place, Cypress!  Also, being rich one day would seriously improve my happiness if it involves this kind of expensive but life-improving beauty.IMG_2380

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To make up for not biking on Whistler I signed my cousin and I up for a free beginner mountain trip led by students. I forgot to tell her that students of said outdoor club are a bit crazy to some people, and she was in for a time of her life. Although it was her first time, she had the time of her life, and so I did. I felt bad though because my bike wasn’t the smoothest braker or plushiest suspension but they did say mountain biking is an expensive sport, and hopefully a less cushy bike will encourage me to build skill. All in all, I’m chuffed that a family member actually enjoys adrenaline sports-so it does run in our family.IMG_2332

Like everyone else that drives down the Sea to Sky highway I try to take a shot of the elusive uncluttered glimpse of the Howe Sound and mystical islands unfolding in the background. I captured this shot out of many dozens, and was surprised that I had gotten such an unobstructed view. Patience pays off.IMG_2397

I didn’t want to make the trek out after spending a ridiculous amount of time and money on transit to get to said mountain biking area (I had ended up travelling back and forth by accident, wasting hours) but the scenery turned out its best exuberant jewel-like colours. I was tired and grumpy but no matter; to share experiences with people and collectively enjoy this sort of company and setting put a smile on my face. I think that if we were more open to things when we’re reluctant we might just be happier people, if only because we’re more tolerant. And of course the more open we are to experience the more beauty we are likely to see.

I’m lucky and I thank mother nature when I realize it. To be surrounded by beautiful places and beautiful people that I could spend the rest of my life exploring.

I thought that this summer would suck but actually, it has been alright. I can see a way of managing anxiety; that is, I have an excess of passion and feeling and if I can just reign it in and not let my mind repeat emotions beyond their capacity I could regulate how I feel, instead of just being a passionate and oft useless ball of energy. It is fun to be passionate, but not sleep deprived, failing, or hurting others and yourself.

Alright. I lied…It will nigh impossible for me to reign in any emotions, so best I put them to good use.

Here’s to celebrating anything and everyday. Tomorrow will be boring but I needn’t box myself into a windowless room of work or boredom, when things like this exist just around the corner.

To my summer: I’m sorry, I fucked up, I wanted too many things and was afraid to do all of them.

I wanted to use my remaining money to support a new constructive hobby but instead I pissed it away at destructive compulsive habits.

I met some people but I terminated our relationships before they could ever bloom and was two faces to everybody. Or worse, I was absent.

Every night I succumbed to nightmares that pervaded into my waking day and it’s no surprise, seeing how I deluded myself each day about fulfilling some part of my grand dream. Keeping friendships, self empowerment and improvement…all glittering, substance-less dreams. The only times I succeeded I can count on one hand, but I cherish them so…when I went climbing or hiking again, despite the fear, every true human interaction I had with friends that meant something, going to counselling, finishing my work and being a real person to my book camp group.

Failure hurts but at least it’s something I own. I failed; it’s in my power to succeed, too.

I better admit I failed before I’m older and regret not fixing things.

Being Vulnerable/About Life

I haven’t been this vulnerable probably ever.

My mom says, when I plead her to stop beating me with her words, I can’t help being mean, my mom was that way, too, and I’m the same way. When I get mad, I get out of control.

And I always thought, Why can’t you change? What is so biologically and inherently set that it’s completely beyond your mental control?

But just recently I realized  I’ve been an asshole without even realizing it. I always knew I had a problem with intimacy but I thought it was because I was shy, or afraid but in reality, it was an aspect of my personality that I had been blind to. No one had outright convicted me of being an asshole, since it manifested itself as shyness or frustration rather than short temperedness or a lack of patience and sympathy.

Being an asshole was so an hereunto inconspicuous part of my personality that I had blamed everything except it. And even now, seeing it for the first time is like noticing the exact tint of my eyes or finding a birthmark on the bottom of my foot that I had always thought was a speck of dirt. Something that has been with me forever and is a benign and integral part of me which I was fascinated by the existence of. I had always thought I had no social skills, like thinking my eyes were brown, when in reality they were hazel, and I didn’t lack social skills, I just shut others down with my apparent coldness and shyness.

I met a teenager this week who was a self confessed asshole. I thought, Oh boy, this one was going to be trouble, but instead of a stereotypical emo or broken teenager, she was volatile but more extremely warm than her blunt, angry moods might imply. This was me-I saw it for the first time. She could be difficult, and I was difficult, even though I had always thought I was easy to control. But as I realize more and more, my mood swings are vast, and there is definitely a wrong time to approach me. But unlike more obvious flaws, this was something I could work on, if only I noticed that I was hurting others. It wasn’t for a lack of caring but a lack of observation that I was unable to change myself. I can’t eradicate my mood swings, but I can change their visceral results. What showed as impenetrable shyness in my childhood might be changed to more mellow reflection. I’m also extremely sensitive, but I don’t know if I can change that. Unlike the asshole coldness, I haven’t had enough experience to be confident that I can lessen my sensitivity. But sensitivity can be a gateway for asshole behaviour, so they will feed off each other.

Pushing people away inadvertently without even knowing it makes me depressed because then I believe the real reason no one is beside me is because I’m boring. Ironically, this loneliness attenuated my connection to people. I became more sensitive and loving inside than I seemed outside, until the day I realized that I inexplicably acted like an asshole for no reason. Then I felt more depressed and longed for people more, at the same time elated that I did have the skills necessary to form relationships that could lead to complete comfort rather than always with the edge of discomfort of having to slip away to deal with a mood that makes me hate people. My asshole mood is what prevents me from writing, not a lack of social skill-when I’m in my asshole mood, people seem to be stupid and make no sense, whereas when I’m not in that mood, I write what I love, and that is anyone that is interesting, ie everyone.

Assholeness is not something I decided upon, embraced, discarded, or had a noticeable relationship with at all. Being an asshole makes me feel insecure, but I am confident that I can overcome it, because actually feeling comfortable around people is so rewarding. The hedonism of feeling comfortable is so great it explains why I never wanted to make friends as a kid, because I didn’t derive that sort of pleasure from it. Putting yourself into a relationship makes you so vulnerable and it scares me so much, but I don’t want to not write, and I certainly don’t want to be alone anymore.

Being warm and vulnerable makes me so uncomfortable I can only stand so much before I have to walk away and be by myself and a paranoid, depressed mood at being unable to stand it for longer. But it’s improved my life and my relationships more than I could have ever asked for, and I’m more unhappy and scared at seeing my flaws, but I feel less like an actor stuck in a role I don’t want and more loved.

Whatever the way you are, it’s cool. As long as you work towards understanding yourself and using that knowledge to improve your relationships with the world and others, you have a place in a world of no judgement. Find out who you are and then accept it, and your world will change. My friends aren’t perfect either, and I have always judged their flaws against their strong points, and their pros always find a way to win.