The Right People

Not left people.

That was a bad joke. And not meant to offend any left-handed persons. I have great friends who are left-handed. I think. I don’t know actually.

But I do have great friends. That’s for sure. And I don’t appreciate that enough. I’ve focused too much on the negative, and on myself, and how I feel lonely and unfulfilled, that I haven’t stopped to smell my friends. Okay that sounds bad and not as funny as I meant it to be. It’s more just weird. It was supposed to be a spin on “stop to smell the roses”. I’m over-explaining.

Anyway.

Rebecca, Kyra, Dan, Sarah, Richard, Justine, Tannishtha, Dylan, and Danica. This is a call out post. It’s hard to find real, genuine friends. Or maybe it’s not. But it’s always been a struggle for me, due to self-esteem issues and social anxiety. But this post isn’t about me. It’s about you. You’re all gems. Gems that underestimate their worth and who should know how dear you all are to me. I didn’t want to just write a general post about friendship, I wanted to say your names individually because you deserve to know how special you are. (However, if you’re uncomfortable with your name being up here just let me know and I’ll edit it out).

Each one of you has a distinct personality and something special I’ve never seen in anyone else. And each one of you holds a special place in my heart. Even if we don’t talk or see each other every day. I know that you’re friendship is true. I’ve had deep, thoughtful conversations with each of you, as well as oodles of laughs. None of you are afraid to be your true selves. At least around me. And I feel extremely grateful for that. Every single one of you has changed my life in some way. For the better. And I value all of you for similar yet various reasons.

Rebecca, you are my oldest friend. You know me through and through. All my weird phases, haircuts, and embarrassing moments. There is nothing I can’t tell you. We may not talk every day, but when we do talk or see each other, it’s like no time has passed. You are unique, kind, and a fierce friend. I know I can always count on you.

Kyra, you are my wife. You got me through four hellish years, and have remained my best friend. I’ve loved watching you grow into this smart, determined, confident person. You’re so strong and independent, yet still the goofy free-spirit I met in grade 9 gym class. You’re five thumbs up in my books.

Dan, I am so glad I sparked up conversation with you that day on the bus. You’re individuality is inspiring. You’re extremely smart and so artistically talented it’s jealousy invoking. But I can’t be envious of you, only proud. I’ve always wanted another brother, and even though I’ve only met you this year I consider you one.

Sarah. What can I even say about you. I constantly forget that you’re younger than me. You’re adorable, smart, and absolutely fucking hilarious I can’t believe I’ve never wet myself in your presence. I love hearing about your dreams, and your love for mystery and crime novels. Even though it’s terrifying. I know I can always count on you for an interesting conversation and a laugh.

Richard, you have been my rock lately. Like I’ve said many a time, we are kindred spirits. You have shown me such kindness and friendship in a time that has been very difficult for both of us. You understand me, you listen to me, and you never judge me. I know we’ll be friends forever.

Justine, you are like my older sister. You are so so so incredibly strong, and so loving. You’ve inspired me and helped me during this journey I’m on. You underestimate your worth. Even though we are both going through hard times, we are still able to laugh together. And I cherish that so much.

Tannishtha, I miss you so much. You’re a firecracker, and your intelligence and humour are unmatchable. Our late night adventures at Kintore were the best part of my first year of University. You’re going to the conquer the world one day and I can’t wait to see it happen.

Dylan, we’ve never met. And we don’t talk as much as we used to. I’m at fault for that. Even though you’re an internet friend, that does not mean you are not a real friend. You’re one of the realest friends I’ve ever had. We are so alike, and your friendship means the world to me and always will.

Danica, you are truly one of a kind. You’re sweetness and bubbly personality always makes my day when we hang out. Even if we both get busy and don’t see each other often. You are your own person and don’t give a shit what other people think. It’s inspiring and often hilarious to hear you rant. Answer your cell phone.

Each one of you are a treasure. You’re the right people, and I am so bloody thankful to have you’s in my life.

I love you.

Mental Illness is the Worst Video Game Ever

I’d like to start off with a disclaimer that I am not video game savvy. While I’m using this analogy I’m imagining my favourite video game I played as a kid, which was Crash Bandicoot on Playstation 1. Even still I’m a little rusty on how the rules or the story went, I just remember it being fun but sometimes really freaking hard. So please do not harass me for my lack of knowledge on video game  terminology and whatnot. I’m looking at you, brother.

And now I’m distracted because I found a terrible flash version of the game online and will be playing this for hours. I also just learned that the original game is being remastered and now I need to buy a PS4.

Anyway I’m back now. I got to the snowball level and had to give up. Not that this makes any difference to you.

What was the point of this post? Oh, right, to describe to you how I feel about my own personal struggle with mental illness with an analogy about video games. Hopefully you find it useful or comforting too. Or at least entertaining.

The thing about living with a mental illness, is that sometimes it’s easier to manage than others. You have periods where life is okay; you’re managing fine and day to day activities go by without too much struggle. There are still little obstacles you have to face but you seem to get past them without much difficulty. These are the beginner, or easier, levels. You feel good about yourself for getting through them, and start to feel as if things are coming together and you can face all the next levels of your life without problems.

Then you hit a boss level. Or face a giant ass snowball that keeps crushing you.

And it seems that as hard as you keep trying and as much effort you put in you just can’t beat that boss level. You try over and over again, only to become more discouraged each time. Eventually you give up on the boss level and leave the video game to dust. When talking about real video games this really isn’t such a problem. But when it comes to real life and you hit that boss level and feel defeated, this is where problems arise.

You let that boss defeat you. You see it as a roadblock you can’t get past and you don’t want to try anymore. You let your failure consume you, and it leads you back down negative, dark,  and destructive paths. So you turn to other easier video games to get your mind off of that one difficult level. And it seems to take the failure away and these other video games distract you and give you the false feeling that you’re doing okay. This is the easy way out.

Because really that boss level is still gnawing at you, bugging you, telling you that you can’t get past it, and there’s no point in trying. But you have to. Because if you never beat that one hard boss level, if you never get past that stupid fucking snowball, you won’t get to see how easy the next few levels may be, or get to the reward that is the end of the game.

So keep trying. Even though it may exhaust you. Even though that stupid level may piss you off. When you do finally beat it, get past it, and move on, the feeling of relief and reward will be like no other.

PS- Wouldn’t mental illness be some much easier to deal with if it could take corporeal form and you could fight it like a video game boss? I think so.

 

Fathers Day.

I must admit it hasn’t been the easiest being your daughter.  But I imagine it hasn’t been the easiest being my father.

Your music collection has shaped my taste. Cat Stevens, Tom Petty, Don McLean, Eric Clapton and more. Always music in the house is one thing I remember.

Floor hockey when mom was away. It’s a miracle nothing was broken. Laughter and exhilaration over doing something mom would not approve of.

Movie night. “Tell us a story, a looooove story” your goofy exaggeration when suggesting Snow White always made us groan in exasperation. But secret giggles hid behind.

Why do never see cops on TV go the bathroom? Your obsession with toilets on film is all I need to know to confirm that I’m 100% your daughter.

I haven’t always felt the closest to you. I feel recently we’ve grown apart. I realize now that I’ve just been forgetting everything that makes you you, and that makes you my dad.

You have incredible strength and intelligence. You are kind and considerate and I know you think and worry deeply as I do. You reaching out to me in my recent times of struggle has touched my heart. And made me sad. For I have been a hypocrite.

I love you dad. You mean more to me than you know. Happy Father’s Day.

Quiet Force In The Corner

When I was in high school I took a writer’s craft course in Grade 11. I had the most wonderful, intelligent, absolutely off-her-rocker teacher. Her students were all important to her, and she saw each of their worth and talent individually. She is one of my biggest inspirations for what I write and why I continue to write. While I was in that class she developed a nickname for me, which was her “quiet force in the corner.”

When I was in high school I was shy, awkward, afraid, and pretty invisible. Even more so than now believe it or not. But for some reason she saw something in me, and it always made me feel special and encouraged. Every time I wrote something she was impressed with, or put up my hand in class on the rare occasion, she acknowledged it with a kind smile or word and a twinkle in her eye. And this name has stuck with me ever since.

Now the name has developed even more meaning for me. I chose this as the title of my blog because to me it means that even if you’re quiet, shy, or “beneath the radar”, your voice still matters. If you feel insignificant, unusual, unoriginal, untalented, etc, don’t let that stop you. Use your voice anyway. Write, speak, sing, dance, draw, make macaroni mosaics, do whatever your passion is. Never give up. Even if you feel silly or that doesn’t make sense or what you’re trying to say or create doesn’t matter. It does matter. It matters that you do it. Everything that you do matters, because you do it.

Speak up in anyway that you can, even if that means not speaking. Stand out in your own way. No matter who you are you have worth, and can be your own force.

(This post lacks funnies but it’s late and I’m feeling more inspirational than usual)

 

Shoot Positivity Out of Your Butthole

Not just today. Not just in spite of the horrible events that have recently occurred in Orlando, FL. But because these horrible events keep happening, and there is no plausible way to stop them all together in one giant twitter movement. You know how we can change the world and make it a little better?

By being positive and kind in any little moment we can. Take all your strife and hardships and tackle it and mold it until it resembles something shiny and new and somewhat helpful. Buy a stranger a coffee. Smile at a cat if you don’t like cats. Or if you do like cats. Have a pleasant conversation with someone you don’t always get along with. Spend time with loved ones. Even if you’re both in sour moods– no, especially if you’re both feeling rotten. Take that rottenness and watch a crappy reality TV show or one of those one-star made for Netflix movies together and make fun of it. In a twisted way that is positivity.

It’s nearly impossible to be happy all the time. As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression I know this all too well. We all have moments of ups and downs and honestly the downs seem to impact us far more. So we walk around carrying our shitbuckets (not real shitbuckets, metaphorical ones) dumping shit into everyone we interact with’s shitbuckets creating a whole lot of negativity and a god awful metaphorical smell.

So turn that negative shit into positive shit. Do as the title suggests. Or maybe do it in a more reasonable, less vulgar way. But this is how we can truly change the lives around us. No, this isn’t going to fix outrageous gun laws. And yes, that is a problem that needs to be addressed. But it’s not one we can necessarily do anything about individually. We can spread the word, that is doing something. But lets also look at building up the world around us one smile at a time.