2016: A Blank Canvas.

narnia street light
via Pinterest

Well here we are, rolling into 2016.

I had such high hopes for how things would be by now. Some things seems clearer, but life isn’t glamorous.

Today was spent going to all three of “my” houses, working a little, blocked out of Facebook, head mildly sore from last night’s gin and tonics over beautiful warm improv jazz. We did a shot of whiskey with the bartender, because Dawn is…well, Dawn. And that’s what happens in Montreal.

It’s his birthday, so I can’t help but think of him. But he’s just another person I need to not have in my life anymore.

I messaged J earlier to let her know that I’m still riding the amazingness that was 2013 and 2014 — not in an overly-nostalgic way, it’s just that those two nights will be hard to top, ever. I miss them — the times, the people. Everything.

Those were the most perfect nights.

I still haven’t found community here and it wears on me a little every day. I try to focus on how much beautiful space there is instead, but it’s hard.

So it’s 650p on NYE and I’m sitting in my new kitchen having just finished a salami sandwich with fresh Portuguese bun, drinking Scarlett’s leftover vodka with Orangina. Later I’ll try out my new teeny tub — it’s not much, but enough for me, for now.

I’m in one of the most amazing cities in the world, but with no desire to go out.

I just left the fabulous Esplanade ladies for the last time. It was nice to say goodbye to them properly, but it still feels like another failed relationship. They didn’t find anyone to take my place. Mr. Boo (the cat) returned after a day or two away, and I was glad that I got to give him a little love too.

I forgot to return the keys on the way out, then felt like an ass when I read the text but didn’t turn around — bad etiquette for the last day of the year, I know. But I promise(d) to drop them first thing tomorrow.

Trudging through the snow on the way home, awkwardly carrying the last remnants of that place, I stopped to look at an old style street light and thought of the Narnia books.

It was then that I felt the cold weight of my new alone-ness.

I’m in a fresh new space for myself: white walls, white snow outside. It’s new, it’s bright, it’s clear. This is my first time ever living alone without even a cat to come home to. It feels more intense than I expected.

I can finally unpack, unload.

I can breathe here. And that’s why I’m here…to breathe.

I have one white plate, one white bowl, a few glasses, and bits and pieces of cutlery…I like it like this. I’ll have to buy a few more dishes, but not much.

There’s a spot for everything, I’m not in anyone’s way (nor me in theirs) and I have exactly what I need. The bed is comfortable and the walls are stark…there is so much space to play with.

I’ve always been scared of a blank canvas; I tend to get indecisive sometimes if there’s no guidance. I see the joy in it too. This is the test for now.

I’m scared that I will be this alone forever. I really do not want to, but I’m also finding myself less and less able to offer energy to others. I guess I wasn’t ever that good at it. But the thing is that I want to be good at it. I want to share my life with another / others in a real way.

It just doesn’t seem to work. So I embrace it (again) in the hopes that this is (again) only a temporary and healing respite. And there’s work to do.

There’s color to add, food to cook, people to drop by.

Basically my resolution is to fill in the blanks in a way that is fulfilling. Like, I don’t want to have days that I want to end. There have been too many of those lately. That’s no way to live, feeling like that.

Will I do it, for real, this time?

Will I fill in my life with actual, proper, full on joy in a way that I never have?

~

“Trouble
Oh trouble please be kind
I don’t want no fight
And I haven’t got a lot of time.” ~ Cat Stevens


 
~

“Oh take me home
Let me go all day
Just be here til I know
Til I know that the riot’s gone, the riot’s gone away .”  ~ Santigold

 

June: 9 months in.

IMG_2501 (random photo taken at Vendome metro station)

Today’s weather is Vancouver-like. Last week’s was sunny and lovely. I spent a few hours here and there wandering and lounging in the sun.

I miss some people terribly right now. I’m craving a life thick with passion and experiences. I miss that thing. I miss a certain closeness. I have friends here and it’s getting easier with summer coming on but still struggle with how to find it/make it happen here.

I’ve been reconsidering how my time is spent.

I want to connect but I know that the present “here and now” (for me and anyone) is more important. I can’t keep grasping at those things and people that aren’t a part of my presence.

It should be that way and besides, I don’t know what to say.

How to connect without grasping? How to collectively relate?

Last weekend I had the best massage ever and started back at yoga after a brief hiatus. It’s hard.

Three days out this weekend: a queer dance party night thing Friday where I was happy and didn’t drink much. It felt good to get out, B. there w/his roommate. We didn’t go crazy but it was just nice. And the cover went to a good cause.

Sat eve was Jeff’s 50th-also nice to see some folks and be there with him.

Sunday w/Jac at NDQ, Karaoke. That was a blast. I smiled a lot and chatted with new folks. I felt honoured to be invited into her circle a little. We walked through the city at 2am and everywhere I turned there were new things to see.

Still, I drank too much and stayed up too late and ended up feeling strange and disappointed.

My new place is cute enough and…well, dirty. Finally connected with my roommate over there. She’d just moved in and we had a beer and set up the couch and laughed at the state of it all. There is so much work to do and I don’t have any furniture and I’m just not sure how it will all work out.

I’m sad/happy about the camper van. Mom sent me a photo of my best friends buying it from them and it made my heart pang. I haven’t heard from them.

I will head to Toronto at the end of the month and then to Boulder, Austin in July. I need to keep travelling like this to stay sane.

Last week had some days where I was eating pretty clean and not drinking. The sun was out and I felt engaged, energized, clear, empowered and more deeply into focus with work.

So there’s the focus now, to not let my mind wander.

One of my favourite edits of late describes the necessary sacrifice(s) well and reminded me really of what needs to be worked on:

8 Ways Women can Create Space for Creativity.

Grand Delusions or Just Plain Faith?

delusaional unicorn woman

Yesterday I woke heavy, sore, fuzzy-headed. After dragging myself out of bed, I walked into my living room and over to my paper-and-book-mess ‘desk’ (which is really a crappy wooden dining table) and picked up the Hillberg & Berk catalogue that I had gotten in Regina recently.

My best friend had bought me a pair of emerald sparkle balls from the jewellery store when I was visiting her for her wedding. She told me the story of Hillberg & Berk, how the (female) owner of the small business now sells jewellery to the stars, was on the Dragon’s Den and has even been on Oprah…all a pretty big deal.

I’ve never really considered myself a fancy jewellery person; owning a bunch of it is not high on my list of priorities. These earrings are probably the fanciest ones I’ve ever owned, and it was so kind of her to gift them to me.

I love jewellery, I want to look good, but the priority has always been ‘cheap.’ And besides that, in my attempt to be fairly non-materialistic, I’ve never aspired to real diamonds, whether I buy them for myself or not.

For my entire adult life, I’ve worked full-time (and gone to school) but still have been in debt and living mostly paycheck-to-paycheck. This is what is normal to me. I also tend to buy cheap crappy things because (even though I realize it’s not the most ethical thing), that is ‘all I can afford.’

My mom did her best to teach me how to manage my money, and conceptually I understand this. Yet I find myself caught in a cycle of scarcity, a situation which runs much deeper than just ‘how’ we manage our money. I accept some of the responsibility for not being as good with money as I could be.

But there are deeper issues to consider… like quality.

Lately I’ve been getting more and more frustrated about my crappy furniture, the fact that I can’t really afford to replace my good quality boots, the fact that just getting a new (cheap) laptop to work on is a big huge expense.

It’s hard to have lived single for so long in an expensive city. No partners to split the rent, to take vacations with, to even split the chores. Not even enough leeway to do a car co-op thing. My friends are endlessly generous, and sometimes a date will pick up the dinner bill, which is a huge treat.

Mostly it’s just me, and I want to treat myself and my friends/dates too. I would like for it to not feel like a struggle to spend a little money on self-care, or get someone a special (local/handmade) gift.

After a brunch out and a small grocery shop yesterday, I walked home in the hard November rain. Carrying too-heavy groceries that were making my arms ache, feet soaked and cold, breathing heavier than I should be after only two short flights of stairs, I almost broke down.

Being this independent is simultaneously glorious and exhausting.

I’ve known for a long time that I have to start doing things differently in order to change this feeling of constantly being stuck, and for a while now I’ve believed that I can. I realized a few months ago how much the job that supposedly keeps me sustained is actually what’s keeping me down.

But it’s almost like I feel guilty for wanting something ‘more’; I mean in the end, who cares how much money my earrings cost? I feel like if I say that I want to be able to afford (somewhat) expensive things, I will sound like a pretentious boob, or like I have a (false) sense of entitlement. I will sound superficial, which is not me at all.

Or if I talk about how Oprah (writing for her website/magazine at least) is on my life ‘goal’ list, I would sound delusional. People would think I was crazy.

It’s just a pipe dream, they’d say. It will probably never happen. And besides, they’d say, why would you quit a job that has such great benefits? How are you going to support yourself? Do you have a plan? What about retirement?

What hit me yesterday as I was looking through that pretty catalogue, and wishing that I at least had the choice to purchase something a little bit luxurious for myself is that it’s about the choice, not the stuff.

The choice is about noticing those moments of feeling inspired yet tingly-terrified. When my heart is beating a little bit faster and my tummy feels butterflies because someone tells me that my writing has made their day better. Or that I’ve made them think about things a little bit differently. Or I’ve helped them to remember what makes them cry out of relief, or shine a little bit brighter.

And the choice is about choosing the quality work-the work that makes you happy and the world better-and not worrying so much about the cash flow.

Most real diamonds aren’t even ethical purchases so they are not important to my life. But what they do represent is (not romance!) quality, longevity, authenticity.

I may not have an exact plan, but I have a feeling. A really strong one-like, I actually believe that I will design an even more authentic, quality, free life.

And the more I feel like this, the more light I have to reflect back into the world.

So now when I wear those sparkle ball earrings, I’m going to remember that it’s about giving myself permission to want a more comfortable life. It will probably come in the form of joy, flow and freedom.

Kinda-sorta-maybe living the dream.

So my plan, really, is to go with the momentum, the feeling that I’m moving in the right direction. Because in the end that’s all we’ve got.