There is a whole lot of me yet to express

I have so much to say

But the words refuse to come out

Or maybe they aren’t in me yet

They aren’t formed

Need time to grow.

So I’ll wait,

Until the time is right.

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Clouds

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People hate on clouds too much.

This one girl had her nose stuck in story books all day long, and everyone kept telling her that she had her head up in the clouds like it was a bad thing.

Stories reveal so much about our world.

For example, the original oral fairtytale tradition was started as a way to entertain, yes, but it also revealed so many different social issues of the time and some can even relate to today’s world. Look it up. And then the Harry Potter series is probably the best example of how fantasy, fiction, and storytelling can blend perfectly with social issues and therefore teaching its readers the various issues of racism, slavery, “ethnic cleansing”, war, politics, and sexism amongst countless others.

So when this girl was reading these story books, she might have had her head amongst the clouds, but who said clouds don’t have anything to offer? Well, whoever first started that saying “She has her head up in the clouds” and applied a negative connotation to it… is a numbnuts. 

I think, therefore I am.

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I think too much.

Or at least, that’s what everybody’s telling her. But does that stop her? No. She continues to think, to ponder, to wonder about the world around her. And in this way, she learns, she opens her mind, and she opens her heart. To the different kinds of people she meets, she opens her arms. Through thinking, reflecting, and seeking different perspectives she is able to fully wrap herself around the different issues of the world.

Through thinking, she discovers.

Through thinking, she solves.

Through thinking, she is. 

 

Inner Struggles of Growing Up (and coming into my skin)

             This is a piece I’ve felt like I needed to write for a while now. It’s something I’ve needed to do, as a way of expressing myself and exploring or analyzing my struggles with growing up in my teenage years. I’ve been reminiscing about my high school years, and also wondering about how I got to where I am now, maturity-wise. Recognizing that it takes years and years to mature (and we never stop maturing as people) I decided to really look into my past on a deeper level.

            This is a story about a road to self-discovery.

Guess I should start briefly with my childhood years. As a kid you never really think about the future. Sure, you think about maybe having your own family, and having your own kids (because that’s what your life revolves around, a family unit) but you never really think about what you will actually be doing for a living. At least, that was me when I was a kid. I never thought about my future career, I just played pretend and make-belief with my friends everyday, all day. Life was blissful.

The stress came after, as you’ll see if you keep reading.

There was a point in my life where I really started taking an interest in movies. I think it came around at about the age of ten. I wanted to become an actress. See, back then I wasn’t shy as a kid… at least that’s how I remember it and that’s what my mom says. Looking back on it, that was the first “career” choice that I actively started making decisions on how I was going to achieve it. I started planning my future in a sense, saying that I would take part in acting classes, find an acting agent, and start doing commercials when I was in high school. That clearly didn’t work out as my mother tried knocking some sense into me, as most parents would in similar situations, and told me I should think more practically. Acting was a dream, and ‘dreams don’t come true’ is the motto I was taught early on in life.

So in high school I started planning my future more practically. I liked learning and school in general so I thought maybe a career in teaching was something I would be good at. At first I said I wanted to become a high school teacher. But I’m an extremist, and always want to reach for the highest possible position in a certain area so I eventually changed my mind and said I wanted to become an English Lit. Professor. It was the most peculiar thing I had ever decided on. Sometimes I was forced into teaching my little sister and helping her with her homework and I’d grow so impatient. I hated teaching. But I said I wanted to become a teacher? I hated rituals or set schedules, and even in high school I would hate how every single day was the same shit over and over again, starting at the same time and ending at the same time. But I said I wanted to go into a career with the exact same set schedule? And there were plenty of times where I would imagine myself as a professor, envision myself doing research and going to lecture classes for three hours straight… and I would cringe at the thought of it. I detested the idea. Yet, I was pursuing a career path that would lead me to something I would eventually hate for the rest of my life??? I kept all this to myself because I thought something was wrong with me.

Even though I was thinking practically about my future, that did not stop me from being engrossed or completely immersed in the culture of film. I loved watching movies. I looked forward to movie night on Fridays with my family. I watched movies over and over again in an attempt to analyze them or look deeper into their message/theme. I had this thing where I would watch movies over and over again because I loved analyzing different actors, or just simply loved watching them act (esp. Johnny Depp). And I loved going to movie theatres – everyone in high school knew I went like twice a week if I could manage it. I loved and appreciated the art of film. Simple. But it never really dawned on me that I could pursue some sort of career in the film industry. I was forced at a very young age to believe that it was impossible and I needed to be “practical” about my future.

So this is how it all started. The stress I mean. I kept going back and forth from my “practical” career choice to my love of movies. This will all make sense soon, just bear with me here. (I know this is a really long passage, but trust, it’s taking longer for me to write this then it is for you to read this.)

In grade 11 and 12 I had insomnia. And I’m not referring to the typical “teenage insomnia”. All teenagers stay up late and have to wake up early for school. It happens. It’s normal. But when I mean insomnia, I mean it was the most frustrating thing in the world. I never slept. I would try so hard to go to sleep, I tried every trick in the book but I couldn’t. I would most times fall asleep around 5am and have to wake up at 7:30. Most times I was late for my first period classes ‘cause I would sleep in. I’m sure there are other teenagers who have had serious cases of insomnia. But for me, I just didn’t know what was really bothering me. I went to the doctor and she had asked me to think hard on what was going on inside of my head, what was troubling me. I didn’t know. She suggested maybe I had lost a childhood friend. And that was true. So I thought maybe that was what was subconsciously nagging at me. The fact that I had drifted apart from my childhood best friend of 13 years did hurt me, so for the next couple of years I thought that that was the reason I couldn’t sleep.

Looking back on it now, as a second year university student, I see it differently.

I used to have mental, emotional, and physical breakdowns in grades 11 and 12. They would come right out of left field. And when they came, they controlled me. I remember vividly the day I came home from school and literally just started crying out of nowhere. There was no particular event that caused me to cry. No particular emotion I was feeling that had initiated my act of crying. And I couldn’t stop crying. It sounds really weird, I know. I would think about why I was crying, didn’t know why, would stop for a couple of moments, but then start to cry again. Sounds pathetic. But I couldn’t help it. My mom thought I was depressed. She called my work for me and told them I was sick so I couldn’t come in that day. That’s how serious it was.

From my point of view, looking back on it almost two years later, I can definitely say that it wasn’t just the fact that I lost my childhood best friend. It may have been an accumulation of that, and maybe even the confusion of losing my faith in religion. But now I can say that the main reason for my random breakdowns was the stress, frustration, and confusion of being lost. Being lost about who I was, and who I was to become.

I never felt like I was in my skin. I was insecure in high school, and crazy shy (hence why I stopped taking drama classes after grade 9 even though I secretly loved it).  I kept going back and forth in choosing the kinds of courses I would take, kept going back and forth from taking creative courses to math courses and science courses, etc. I never felt like I could truly be myself in high school.

Now that I can see all of this in a new light, I can see what was inside my head that caused my insomnia. It was the fact that I was being forced into something I wasn’t. It’s weird as fuck. As a kid, all the grown ups are telling you “Dream big! You can do anything you set your mind to!” and then when you start going through the toughest years of your life as a teenager (in terms of figuring out what you’re going to do in life) they turn around on you and do a complete 180 and say “Sorry, no. You’re dreaming too big, come back to reality and think more “practical.” Excuse me, WHAT!? I hate that with a passion, because it caused me a lot of havoc growing up.

I don’t get it. People praise the kids who take the “practical” approach on education. You know what I mean. You know a kid who says he/she wants to become a psychologist, a doctor, a surgeon, an accountant, a mathematician, a lawyer, or who wants to take marketing or business or advertising or architecture in school. They’re all praised for it, they’re all thinking ‘practically.’ Hell, let’s all give them a cookie for being such good boys and girls. Realistically, half of them haven’t even done their research in their field of career choice. In Canada, I read somewhere that to become a psychologist is the hardest thing to do because there aren’t a lot of jobs in Canada for psychologists, it’s like you’re falling into the statistics of the highest unemployment rate in Canada but these kids are thinking “practically???” And just in general, the list of career choices I’ve listed here are really hard to obtain. It’s not easy, and not everyone can be a surgeon or a lawyer or a successful architect. It takes just as much of luck for these “practical” careers as any other creative careers.

So why do adults give such a hard time to the creative kids out there who say they want to go to school for film studies, for dramatic arts, for fashion, for music, etc.? I’m pretty sure other creative people have gone through similar experiences like mine. For example, I’m sure we know at least one person who took school for something that we immediately thought, “Really? THAT? You’re going to school for that? It just doesn’t seem like you’d be into that.” And then when we finally see them change their major into something that is TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY who they are and what they are interested in albeit being super creative and risk-taking, you see many adults question if they’re doing the right and “practical” thing.

The greatest example I can think of is my cousin Kayla. She’s a true inspiration. At one point she was going to school for funeral services and I remember when some people were like “But Kayla is such a fun personality, so lively and outgoing… why is she going to school for that?” But she finally found the courage to do what she truly loves and that is fashion. And now she’s the happiest person I know. She has big dreams and huge plans for her life, and she’s not afraid to do a little risk-taking in order to obtain it all. I enjoy watching her talk about her education in fashion and about her future plans, and her shutting down anyone who tells her she can’t make it. She’s my hero, and it’s a huge comfort knowing I’m not alone in this.

I’m not hating on people who take programs in school that are considered practical, nor am I belittling them or promoting the idea that they don’t have big dreams. Because they most definitely do, and you have to admire the hustle of a college kid. What I’m trying to say is that some people don’t realize the amount of hard work, effort, strategic planning, and luck needed in succeeding in this world,  no matter what career path you take. YOU CAN HAVE JUST AS PRACTICAL AN APPROACH to a creative career path as any other medicinal, political, or business career path. I’m hating on the adults who praise certain career or educational paths and demote others.

Actually no, scratch that.

I don’t hate my mom for shooting down the very first dream I had about becoming an actress. She raised me the only way she knew how, and I’m sure that’s just how she was raised – to think practically. Society has had some contribution in telling her how to raise her kids, I’m sure. But I’m proud of her. Because although she started out as someone who was telling me to think “realistically” about my future, and she was the person who’s opinions I valued the most and ultimately and consequently caused my stress, frustration and confusion over finding myself, her mind was open and she learned quickly. Now she is my biggest supporter, and encourages me to follow my dreams no matter what.

I’m extremely lucky to have her as my mother and biggest supporter. It gives me great comfort in knowing that if I ever decide to take a risk and move to LA and everything turns to shot and I fail miserably, I can come back to my parents and they’ll accept me back with open arms. That is what you call a true support system. I can fail, but they will continue to support me even when everything goes wrong. And in this way, I know no matter what happens I will be able to pick myself back up. And try again. It’s a whole trial and error process until you get your major breakthrough.

My final words on this topic… guess I’m just trying to say it’s not easy. Nothing is. This life is one big struggle. I think more parents need to sit back and watch their kids grow, let them do their own thing. Trust that they will find their paths in life on their own. If you start controlling them too much, it can only cause destruction and it slows down their development as young adults.

Some food for thought: Why should some kids have to go through what I had to go through and be told that their chosen path isn’t realistic enough while other kids are praised for choosing theirs?

Thoughts of a Girl at a Shadow Party

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Why am I here? I don’t belong here. I don’t want to be here. So why am I here? Fucking Amber had to go and drag me along to this damn party. And there she is, dancing away like a slut with that guy. I wonder if he even knows her name. Does she know his? Why do people like to come to these parties? I know what the guys are here for. Aw crap, here she comes…

 

“Hey! Why don’t you get off that butt of yours and come dance?”

“Nah, I’m having a lot of fun sitting here watching you act like a slut.”

She’s laughing but that joke held some truth to it…

“Oh, come on. We came to party didn’t we?”

No actually, you came to party, I was forced into this…

“Yeah, but I’m not much of a dancer.”

“Bull. Shit. I’ve seen you dance.”

“Just not with horny male strangers.”

“Oh you’re no fun. I’m gonna get back out there and have a drink. You coming or what?”

“Nah, I’m good. Go forth my slutty friend.”

“Bite me.”

“Nah, I’d rather not.”

Why am I here? Should I just leave? Aw, are you serious?! Did anyone else just see that? These guys have no idea how to treat ladies… Then again, these girls don’t really know how to act like ladies. Damn. What am I doing here? I don’t fit in here. I don’t want to fit in here. Oh shit. Oh shit. Ohshitohshitohshitohshit…

 

“Hey there.”

No I don’t want to dance with you…

“Hi.”

“I’m Dave.”

“Cool.”

“So you wanna dance?”

Are you serious?

“Not really.”

“Not really eh? Not really could be translated as ‘sorta but not really’. So maybe I can convince you?”

“No. I’m good, thanks though.”

“Aw come on. You’ve been sitting around this whole time. You’re at a party, so come and party!”

He’s been watching me? Creep.

“I don’t want to dance with you, sorry.”

“Aw okay, I see how it is.”

Finally. Now I think it’s time for me to get outta here before… Nope. Nevermind.

 

“Hey, guess what.”

“What is it Amber?”

“I think I might be heading back home with this guy I’ve just met at the bar.”

“What’s his name?”

“He’s so cute, you have to come see him.”

“And what’s his name?”

“So, have you met anyone yet? I saw that guy talking to you.”

“He wanted to dance.”

“So why didn’t you dance with him?”

“I didn’t want to.”

“Why not?”

“Because.”

“Because what? He’s a horny male stranger? Who cares! We’re here to party, and dance. So loosen up already!”

Why is she storming off though? I don’t get how someone can get so mad over someone else not wanting to dance with horny male strangers. You do you. Let me be me.

 

“Hi again!”

Holy fucking shit. Can’t a girl get a break? Why is he here again… with his friend???

“Um hi…”

“Let me introduce you to my friend Matt. You said you didn’t want to dance with me, so I thought you meant maybe you’d prefer to dance with someone else. So here you go. Have fun you two.”

Okay, why is this Dave guy winking at his friend? … And why is his friend smirking at me?

“Hey, I’m Matt.”

“So I’ve heard.”

“Can I buy you a drink?”

“Can’t drink. I’m driving.”

“Aw, that’s cool. Designated driver. I respect that.”

Yeah… this dude is definitely drunk, he reeks of booze. And why is my being simply responsible and not wanting to die of drunk driving all of a sudden worthy of respect? Driving while drunk is stupid, I thought everyone knew that but nope. People these days… I swear.

“If you came here to get me to dance with you, you’re wasting your time.”

“Alright alright. So you don’t like dancing. We can do something else.”

He’s smirking at me again. Why is he leaning in closer? I feel like hurling.

“I’m leaving. See ya.”

Why am I here? I don’t know. But I’m sure as hell not staying.

 

“Where are you going?”

“I’m leaving Amber. You’re going home with that guy anyway, right?”

“Well, yeah. But you don’t have to leave. I don’t get you. You love dancing. What’s the difference if you’re dancing with guys?”

“You don’t get it. I’m just not like that.”

“Like what? A slut? Just because I dance with guys doesn’t mean I’m a slut!”

It’s not the fact you dance with guys, it’s the way you dance with guys. Guys who couldn’t give two shits about you and only want you for one thing tonight.

“I know.”

“And just because you’re such a virgin-goodie-two-shoes doesn’t mean you’re better than me!”

But you know I’m not a virgin.

“I know.”

“So then why are you leaving? … Hello! I’m talking to you! Answer me! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING?!”

Because I don’t want to dance with horny male strangers who don’t even care to know my name.

 

Was looking through my journal and came across a passage that got me thinking

Excerpt from my journal:

August 13, 2012

“And I felt a huge sense of  relief when it was over. I think it’s because I realized I was looking for something he could never give me. And he was never a man I could see myself falling in love with. There was always something about him that threw me off. He just wasn’t for me.”

This passage from my journal means a lot to me. And if you keep reading, I promise this isn’t all lovey dovey shit.

Long story short, I was seeing this guy for about 3 months over the summer. As you can see, our summer romance ended short. But unlike most girls infatuated with a handsome guy, I took the breakup better than most. That’s because I always felt like something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. He was great. A respectful and admirable young man. We rarely fought, and things seemed to be going well. Nonetheless our relationship was subtly off-putting.

Reflecting on it now, I realize why.  He never inspired me. And although he did encourage my writing and push me in the direction towards conquering my fears, which I will forever be thankful for, he never let me do the things he spoke about. He dominated my time, he demanded attention, and in a metaphorical sense sucked the creativity out of me. It’s a really hard concept to explain, but I promise you it makes sense in my head. During the time I was with him, I never wrote. Not one single piece of writing (minus my journal entries, which was ridiculously mostly about him and the times we had, so it wasn’t all that creative).

When it was all over, I instantly felt better. I felt a sense of independence.

OK, OK. Before it was officially over, there was the fight, and that got me depressed, I can’t lie. He told me he was seeing another girl and that he didn’t know who he liked better, me or this girl. In a roundabout way, he was telling me he kept us both around for his convenience until he could decide. Either way, he wins, and one or both of us would lose out when he made his decision to be with one of us or remain single. The son of a bitch dominated my thoughts for the next few days. I kept thinking, “what does this girl have over me?” After a while, it dawned on me how stupid and immature I was being.

The guy barely knew me. We were seeing each other for little over 3 months, not giving either of us enough time to get to know each other truly. So, I stopped being so insecure, realized my great qualities, and moved on. Just like that. I knew I didn’t deserve to be just another option for this selfish guy, so I took myself out of the situation. I told him I was making his life easier by making his decision for him. He could either be with the other girl, or stay single, because I needed to start focusing on improving myself as a person and as a writer. I needed to move on to bigger and better things, and direct my attention towards things that mattered – my education, writing, and future.

I was proud of myself for doing what was best for me, and not giving into infatuation and irrational decisions based purely on emotions that wouldn’t last.

Romance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe I’m being cynical, but it’s my opinion. That being said I haven’t given up hope about finding love. It’ll happen eventually, I know it. For right now though, it’s not all that necessary. I’m still young, and I personally find the road to success much more exciting.