why

Now that I’m on the other side of my long battle with anxiety, I can look back on my university career and ask myself: why?

Why did this happen? 
Why me?

But within all the why’s, the worst feeling of all is the how: how did I let this happen to myself? Most of all, is it my fault?

How can’t it be my fault if I can:

  • sustain a relationship now.
  • count on myself to show up to work on time?
  • How I essentially so different from the past me that I can now do what was once unthinkable?

There’s so much to be mined from what I write: from how my syntax unravels when I don’t read Great English Literature to how I fumble to express myself yet I still try to write.
And again I find myself asking myself that question: why? Why go through all that trouble when you’ll never be the best, or find your voice? 

I just want to be understood. And why would it matter that I’d never be the best? As long as I am most authentic to my own voice.

How did I do it?

I did the opposite of what I always do: think.

I stopped writing. I stopped reading. Am I supporting not reading and writing? No, that’s just the form my break took. Sitting for long periods of time exacerbated by anxiety. I mourn all the things I didn’t write, but really, I shouldn’t. I should look forward to all the things I will write and am writing, right now.

I took medication. I went to counselling. I missed counselling for a long time. I went back to it. I took it out on the people who loved me and loved them back when they did the same.

I still want to snowboard down that ravine on the way to Cypress Mountain Resort. I still want to be a man. Nothing will ever take that away.

That pain will always be there. But now I know it’s not all my fault. I know that if I try, something will become of me. Not of this, the struggle, but me, the person.

That struggle is worth something. It’s worth me.

And that’s why.

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flashbacks

Georgia Straight

I Saw You

w4w

did the plaid factory do a recall for all ur clothes? cause im plaid for u. ditch those flowery ornaments n come tote vinyls with me. ur always mad typing away at ur macbook. u shared a link for ubc pride n i liked it.  show me ur plaid collection and ill show u mine.

where: ubc student union building

when: too late

 

Georgia Straight

I Saw You

w4w

saw u scribblin, not notes but snowboarding drawings. short boyish haircut plaid n white skateboard helmet. I showed u the i saw you section and joked that i wished someone would write about me. u shrugged and went back to shading ur drawing. u turned me from georgia straight to queer. im the girl with the long dark hair shading my eyes n snowboard. if u want me, write back here.  where: ubc english class when: too late, again

 

Yelp Review  Grouse Mountain, Vancouver                   1/20/2015 Rating: *****

The Y2Play season’s pass is a great deal, especially if you’ve bought tickets full price in the past (3X last year, even though I already had a season’s pass at Cypress, just so I could snowboard with you.) If you can work it into your schedule, you’ll get your full money’s worth (once a week, Tuesdays, when we both have school off). The snow is usually hard and sparse, but that’s the only place I can find you. There’s a lot of crowds and the food is overpriced, but I can always count on your plaid to pop out from the sea of strangers. The runs: trees border the sides the way you border my vision when we sit on the chairlift together. It’s always cold on the chairlift and drafts are prone to snake under your collar. Skiers visiting the mountain would benefit from tube scarf, and an extra layer, or a warm hug.  Bring goggles, because they spray artificial snow that catch on your eyelashes like fairy dust. Don’t joke about how those with perfect vision are lucky not to have to wear glasses underneath their goggles. Assume and dress for worsening conditions as storms often pass midday. Call lunch break when it gets too cold and scarf down the cheapest menu item. Later during the day is a good time to venture into the park, when the sun has softened the snow. There are a lot of beginner features for those who have never tried any park features, like miniature metal topped boxes. You had your game face on, but you recounted the times you had fallen and slammed this body part or another. The tops of the boxes were like ice rinks. I followed even though I was scared because I knew you were watching.  Insert: One picture of your jacket, splayed on the couch, taken after you had gone to the washroom. One picture of a half eaten egg salad sandwich, receipt crumpled up beside it. One picture of myself, with a trail of crumbs down my chin, grinning.

 

Yelp Review: A&W, UBC Campus, Vancouver         15/12/2015 Rating: ****

The A&W is nice and quiet on weekday nights when everyone else is in the pub. That was our plans after, but the food was cheaper here, so we decided to fuel up on artifical calories first. The apple pie, for $1.29, is a great choice. You had a large order of fries and burger and was swiping on your phone with your non greasy hand. I asked you what you were doing. You told me about Her, a lesbian dating app. You had a match and were waiting for her at the pub. Dark haired, blurry photo, just gotten off a flight from Malaysia and definitely gay. The food in front of you disappeared as quickly as you swiped. Later that night I downloaded the app so I could find you on it. I had to make my own profile, so I did. I imagined you sitting there, at the A&W, swiping before I came, fist pumping when you got a match with a girl you didn’t even know. I nibbled on my pie. The words I’m gay stuck in my throat like a stubborn crumb.

 

Yelp Review: Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 04/03/2016 Rating: *

We decided to try Cypress Mountain because it was the top rated resort on the North Shore. I hate to rate it badly, so hear me out.  We left the city just as dawn was cracking and spilling over the city. We were at the base of the mountain by 8:45 AM, so we didn’t have to boot it up from the lower parking lot.  By the time we pulled in it was 9 AM but the mountain still hadn’t opened. We waited nervously in the lodge. The operators told us they couldn’t operate the lift if the winds were above 45 km/hr. I asked if our tickets were transferable. They said no. We traded happy birthdays (yours today, mine three days later.) I asked for hot water and shook in bitter particles of instant coffee while chatting about snowboarding. (You said hadn’t been snowboarding for a while, to focus on your studies. I nodded, even though the inedible flavor of the instant coffee was threatening my ability to concentrate.) Forests of tables and chairs surrounded us. We were the only ones inhabiting it.  9:30 AM came and passed. Sun burnished surface of the freshly fallen snow, but gale force winds wracked the air just above it. The minutes piled up and threatened to avalanche. You cracked a strained smile but failed to hide the crack. You thanked me for the vinyl I found on craigslist and I sat back on my chair, balancing it on two legs, saying it was nothing. Wow, what bad luck, I said. You bit your lip and glanced out the window. Wind whipped snow violently against the panes, vibrating in a painful shudder. You didn’t say anything.  At 10 AM we were sitting in the car, watching our breaths fog the windows. It obscured the gale outside, but we could still hear it. We drove down in silence.