It’s March, readers! Do you know what this means? The celebrated groundhog has predicted us an early spring, the end of the winter season is approaching (at least here in Toronto) and there is MORE sunshine!
… Although that’s not really what the beginning of March typically embodies for me.
March means music festival line-up announcements are being pummelled at us via social media – left, right and center – to help us all map out our summers. I think I can safely say that I’m a self-declared music (festival) enthusiast. And even though I may have moths escaping from my wallet, I will forever have butterflies fluttering around my stomach during line-up announcement season.
I’ve written entries before puttering in the realm of feeling low, picking yourself up, practicing self-care, staying strong, etc., but I don’t know if I’ve ever addressed this issue head on. Because it’s hard. Like really damn hard.
‘… And there will undoubtedly be more fascinating times to come’ – I guess I thought, as I flung myself into my gigantic dream of moving to Toronto last year. And I was right, obviously – and it’s ongoing. Many new tastes and sights and sounds and customs to explore and devour on a daily basis.
I also believed this would all prove to be a distraction from my crippling self-doubt and distorted self-image. Noooope.
So I guess I’d say I’m pretty big into dates / anniversaries / milestones. It’s an obvious way to identify progress and improvement (or sometimes even the opposite) between two dates in your life. If you’ve read my blog before, perhaps you’ve already noticed this as a characteristic of mine.
Guys, today is a big one for me.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the follow through of the biggest decision and most drastic change I’ve made in my life. Today marks one year since I moved away from my friends and family … to the biggest city in Canada .. alone.
January 10th has definitely gotten easier over the past sixteen years, but it hasn’t gotten much easier. Every year I see the date on the calendar approaching, I get the same lump in my throat, the same heaviness in my heart. This year feels a little different – we’re past the fifteen year mark and headed for twenty. Sixteen years ago today, my Baba passed away.
This year, my post comes a few days after the beginning of the New Year. It comes to you with a great amount of thought and careful consideration on how to approach such a clichéd topic – rebirth, renewal, resolution.
I turned 27 today. I found my first two gray hairs this year and I honestly don’t know if they are from growing older or from stress but either way, it’s a daunting thought that ten years ago I was seventeen. I was seventeen when I graduated from high school. When I was seventeen, I had a head chock full of limitless ambition, a wallet (half) full of disposable income and a heart full of naivety.
I remember I used to have a mixed CD with Janis Ian’s At Seventeen on it. Unashamedly, I played it on repeat (ask my Dad) but I have to say, I didn’t learn the truth at 17, Janis. Not even close.
Over a month ago now (maybe two), I met with a dear friend for brunch. It was a rescue brunch of sorts – I was suffering. I was questioning the relationship I was in, the fairness of it, the undercurrents and the mixed messages. I vented. It felt good to vent and I felt more at peace until we left the restaurant and the awful feelings washed over me again.
We walked into a nearby Dollarama. I felt nauseous and hot and like I couldn’t ground myself – like the ground beneath me had transformed into sinking sand. The items in the store were swirling around me and my vision blurred. I was having a full-fledged panic attack. (Dear Lord it had been years since I’d had one – and if you’ve never had one, I would never wish this upon you) I texted my therapist in the most desperate way, ‘I’m having a panic attack. I don’t know what to do.’
It’s a difficult thing when something ends. It doesn’t matter if it was absolutely flawless or completely toxic – when something that you’ve become accustomed to comes to a screeching halt or even a long drawn out halt, you’re left wondering what could have been done to keep that pulse from flatlining. Case in point – relationships.
What could I have done differently? What could I have said? What decisions could I have made?
Hey. It’s been a while.
Let me explain.
I’ve been through some nerve-racking situations in my life. Like you, I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve been broke, and I have broken things and rendered them unfixable. This = uninvited stress. And up until this point, I’ve been able to deal – sometimes not very well, but I’ve been able to pull myself up and regain balance and see brightness where I genuinely thought it was impossible.
In the past, I’ve been able to burn some incense, make an enormous salad, bake, write or run – and the weight of the stress lessened and dissipated. Not this time.
This past month or so has been rocky. And admittedly, for a minute there – I lost myself. (Karma Poliiiiiice …) A stressful and emotional situation got to me and instead of keeping my head above water, I sunk. (This explains the cigarette cravings exactly 1 year, 9 months and 24 days after my quit date)
A quick word on happiness.
For some reason, it’s easier to write about sadness and sorrow and challenges than it is to write about happiness. The greatest songs ever written stem from heartbreak and grief and… longing. And pain. Some of my best and most raw blog entries have come from being hurt. But … there’s a lot to be said for happiness and the feelings that surround it.
I can safely say that right now in my life, I am happy. And it’s been a while since I could honestly say that. It’s because I’m choosing to be.