I am terribly out of writing shape these days. With the last semester of University and graduation flying by I haven't had time to think let alone put fingers to keyboard and yet here I am. Twenty-two, back living at home, essentially without job, a moderate amount of prospects, changing my mind multiple times daily about what I want to do with the rest of my life. The rest of my life? Lord. It seems unfair to ask a twenty-two year old to make such a decision, it takes me ten minutes in the morning to pick out shoes.

What is it about our society that makes everything into such a big rush? It's such a big production these days. To get what you want you must be the best. Have the best degree, with the best transcript, the best list of extracurriculars, the best attitude, the best plan. I don't have any of those by the way. I have sort of, run-of-the-mill degree, marks, lists, attitude, plans. Maybe slightly better than that, I guess I have to give myself a little more credit. The point is, I thought it would be much easier to just start living my life after graduating. It isn't. It is competative, and it is draining. I am constantly feeling like I need to 'be' something, though I'm not sure what that is really. Better, I am expected to be better.

I guess I could look at this two ways. Pushing myself to be better, that's very positive. Includes aspects of constant growth and self-evaluation leading to a self-appreciation. Or, I could do what comes naturally, and live in disgust with the fact that being asked to be better than everyone else is a cruel joke played on me by humanity, which has bestowed upon me a flawed character that supplies me with enough head trash to keep me constantly struggling to catch up to everyone else. Yes, decisions will be made on this subject of being better, and I am inclined to think that choosing the former would be in everyone's best interest, not just my own. Cause honestly, I'm moody.

I've not been particularily proud of myself lately. Usually in school I could finish an assignment (then talk my way out of a late penalty), or accomplish something in a society I was a part of, and feel like I had done something constructive and worth my time. In the past months, I have become mentally exhausted: trying to sell myself to so many companies, formally begging for the opportunity to be added to payroll, explaining why I should be hired over someone who honestly, has the same level of education and training as I do. There are no victories, and the more frustrated I get, the more I begin to lack the motivation to keep on follow-ups and networking. I know that the only slight edge I will have over competition is a positive attitude, but sometimes, I would rather just tell them to piss off and then find Jess and go get some beer and quesidillas.

I find myself wondering what kind illusions I was under in University. I felt like a grown up, I did grown up things and had grown up conversations with my friends... I think. Now, I think, I really am I grown up. I have a credit card bill with no option of calling my parents and asking for money. I have to get up in the mornings because although my classes started at noon, apparently the working world starts being productive before that. I have to talk to people in my big girl voice with my big girl vocabulary and trade in my tapered sweats for tailered trousers. Life is no longer a party. I don't live two hours from my parents, I live across the hall. I can't hang up when they're asking annoying questions, cause they are two feet from me. They talk. A lot. I don't live with seven girls anymore. I live 20 minutes driving from anyone my age. Just writing this, my ass is beginning to twitch.

I can't feel too sorry for myself, I know how lucky I am to have an education and a place to live and the means to maintain the sort of lifestyle I am accustomed to. I am just trying to say, in a rather whiny manner, because that is how I sound these days, that I am not adapting well to change. I miss my school. I miss my friends. I miss keg parties. I miss laughing all the time. I miss the safety of being in university and knowing what was expected of me and what was coming next. And now I am just floating. Alone.

I want to go to the SPCA and get a reject dog to be my friend. It's forbidden though, cause I live with my parents. I would have named him Remington Steele.



Significant Objects

I came home one night to an empty desk and my heart sank. Only now do I realize that ‘significant objects’ seems like an odd pairing, almost and oxymoron. Sometimes you might think an object is significant until all of a sudden it’s gone and you’re left with only the memory of it. The memory of the computer taken from your room two weeks ago by someone you’ve never met. Someone with no concern for the fact that the item they stole held many of these supposed ‘significant objects’. Someone who will never know that their selfish and juvenile act may in fact turn out to be a gift to their victim, whose eyes were opened to the world upon discovering her possession was missing.

Two weeks ago I would have addressed this question with an irritating confidence and declared that a museum holding my most significant objects would contain my photographs. I get so easily attached to people, places and times that I know will eventually slip through my hands that I inherently bring my camera everywhere, imprisoning every expression and scene in the small, silver holding cell. After obsessively organizing my memories onto my laptop I spend hours deciding which ones to frame and which ones to safely store in my computer for future nostalgic reminiscing.

Then one night, four years of people, places and times were stolen. Four thousand expressions and scenes were whisked away from my dark, empty house. My personal museum taken right out from underneath me. The computer, replaceable… its contents of significant objects- lost forever.

Between trips to the police station and trying to forge through my fourth year of University lacking the papers and assignments also lost, there have been times when I found myself in a daze, sitting on my bed staring at walls covered with those images printed before the robbery. A sunny day, sitting on hay bales with my sister in the field by our cottage. Laughing, icing-covered faces of my childhood friends after a spontaneous cake fight. Classmates graduated and moved on, suddenly older and wiser than in the images before me. Roommates who I can hear stirring through the thin walls of our nineteenth century house.

Then it finally dawns on me. Objects aren’t significant. The images of friends and family on my computer and my walls aren’t significant. These people are significant. The times I spent with these people are significant. The relationships I have with these people are significant. A picture on my computer doesn’t hug back and I can’t confide in a matte or glossy print. I didn’t lose any of these people when I lost the pictures of them.

So I present to you my museum, an empty room. Filled with nothing, because no object I own is significant enough to put on display. No material thing in my possession is significant enough to show what really matters: the people I love, and the memories of them, safely stored in my head.


Every September, the wind that left with the arrival of the muggy summer comes back with a vengeance as the students return. The dead air of the summer is hot and humid, and the quiet melting streets of August become chaotic and cool with the heavy steps of the returning undergrads. September creeps up with angry gusts blowing so hard that our summer clothes are covered with sweaters and coats, as if this small town knows that for the next eight months it will have no peace. It doesn’t matter how strong the winds are, or how difficult a time it makes for the students to walk to class comfortably… they will not leave. They will stay as they do every year, and despite their complaints of the same bars and the same mall, the same small town gossip and the same rules to break, they cannot abandon it here.

After busy months of papers and finals, the summer arrives and they happily escape for four months. Taking their belongings but leaving pieces of themselves here. They leave them here because it is safe. Not safe from caddy girls or deceitful boys or unreasonable professors. Not safe from the pressures of classes and grades, not safe from the stress of tuition and loans. Not even safe from the pressure to conform, to judge, to pry. But safe from the real world.

Safe from true independence and from the inevitability of what our lives will be. Safe in the sense that it is all familiar, whether we like it or not. Whether we like the people we see on campus or the places we must pass everyday, there is safety, and maybe even comfort, in this familiarity. Safety in the predictability of it all. Safe because we know it here so well, because this is the first place our lives became really ours. Our decision to go to class. Our decision to sleep through the alarm. Our decision to drag ourselves to the pub. Our decision to make friends or enemies, our mistakes. Our triumphs and victories, our tragedies and failures. Our darkest nights and our happiest days were all here. So it is our town. It holds our memories and keeps them for us until we return.

The wind will blow for months. Eagerly blustering in hopes that it will slow us down. It will squall until the spring comes and it realizes that we aren’t capable of being calmed. The winds will eventually become still with the new season, as if all along, deep down, this town of ours knew how we really felt about it. Beneath the hurtful words of the students about the banality of this place, our complaints and dramatized speeches of its ordinariness, our town knows how we hold it in great esteem. After the broken bottles on its grounds and our drunken footprints on its grasses, it knows the simplicity of our love for it.

It is as if this town knows that it holds our dearest friends and the admired establishment where our knowledge blossomed. It knows when our time has passed we will look back fondly and smile, knowing that it was our time. Before we hand this place over to a new crop of naïve freshmen who will make it their own, it is our time. It is when we are truly entitled to call it ours, so we must make the most of it. This is where we become who we are, where we learn how to leap out of the safety of its quaintness, and into the reality of the world. Out of the bubble of Antigonish and into the unknown. We have leaned on this school for years, all the while without us knowing, it has taught us to stand upright on our own.

So every summer when the students leave the wind in the town ceases, its Jekyll-like serenity reappearing. It grasps tightly onto the lingering memories of the students who love this place so much, despite their grumblings. Until the Autumn season approaches, and our beloved town becomes enraged once more with the thought of the mayhem that comes with September, and the winds of Hyde blow strong through the streets, lasting until it can forget the disorder we have caused.

It is a cyclical ritual, only truly known by those who are fortunate enough to nomadically live here. A gift given to us by this town that is hard to explain and not easily shared with outsiders, as they can never understand the beauty and intricacies of this small town and its quirks. It is a gift that will be carried within every student for the rest of our lives, that will put a sly smile on our face, because we know something that everyone else doesn’t. This gift will be not only the X’s on our fingers, but the warmth in our hearts that can only come from this place, knowing that even when it is no longer our time, it will still be home.


There is a sort of calmness that arrived with my 21st birthday that I did not expect. It is a milestone that for many young adults brings erratic excitement. Along with the responsibility of moving further into your twenties, the birthday brings also opportunity, privilege and freedom. I kind of thought I would be freaking out… feeling as if I was getting old and wishing I could stop time right where it is and be twenty and care free forever. I didn’t though. I was totally calm all day, despite recent events that previously would have caused me to react otherwise. It’s funny because a few weeks ago I had a conversation with someone about how I wished I could stay this age forever. It would be so easy, to be in school where it is safe and predictable… to not have to worry about where I’ll be in ten years.

It makes me think of where I was a year ago. I know exactly where I was. I was having brunch with my parents and my sister, on the verge of tears, because I felt lost and misunderstood and as if I failed at everything. I hated my birthday and I hated where I was in my life. It is amazing to me to think that in only a year I have come so far. So far that now someone I love is feeling this way, and the old me would have broken down with them. The old me would have lost composure, would have needed to be consoled and comforted. The old me would have been a victim, someone who was pitied.

That was the old me though. Now I am just me. Not the new me, there is no “new me”. Now I’m just the me that was always inside, who couldn’t step up and face reality, who never had the courage to shine through. I no longer have to be the one who depends on everyone else to get through. I can be the rock. I can be the consistency. I can be the strength for the people I love who have been there for me so many times. This person that I love has hit their rock bottom, just as I did. I will be all of those things for them until they can go through what I went through… the lows, the sleepless nights, the tears and frustration, the constant feeling of hopelessness, the complete and utter desperation. They will go through every rotten feeling before they realize that they have a choice.

They can choose to feel like shit. They can choose to feel sorry for themselves, to waste days and time wishing that things were different. They can choose to do those things, or they can actually do something constructive. They can choose optimism. They can choose independence. They can choose happiness. They can wake up and see the light. I felt like I was in darkness for so long… and every corner I turned I made a discovery or a friend or a mistake that made my path a little brighter, until finally one day I woke up and saw everything so clearly. A light turned on, and I realized that everything is not about me. Once I learned that, I could finally be me… really be me. A happy me. A happy me that made other people happy, because that’s what life is really about, bringing happiness to the people you love the most. When those people are happy, so am I.

I feel like today was my day. They day everything finally made sense. The day I finally made sense to myself. And that’s really all that matters… that you understand what you want and who you are and where you’re going. Nobody else has to know because nobody else can make your choices for you. Nobody can tell you to be happy; it has to come from the desire within yourself. To do that, you have to learn to love yourself. Good and bad, all or nothing… every habitual downfall and imperfection. Love yourself, and other people will have a much easier time loving you. Trust me, I have much experience with it.

There is somebody who means the entire world to me right now who is in the position I was in a year ago. When I think about how I got to where I am, I have to give myself credit, because it was a journey I carried myself through, and now I am so much stronger for it. It was also the people along my journey though, who stood by my side, who encouraged me to take one more step, who lightened my load, who never left my side. Those are the people I cherish the most. They made me strong, and now I can be strong for them, and that is the best feeling in the world.

Us ‘Rock-Bottomers’ are a special breed. We must try the most. We must push the hardest. We must yell the loudest. We must fall so hard that we feel like we could never pick ourselves up again. We must hurt the people we care about the most. We must break our own hearts until we feel so undeserving of love that we push everyone away. We must be so confused that we don’t know which way is up. We must deny until we cannot deny it anymore. We hit our rock bottom, and everybody sees.

But we Rock-Bottomers are the lucky ones. We are lucky because just as everybody sees us hit that bottom, everybody sees us get up again. Everybody sees that we overdid, and pushed, and yelled and fell. We denied, and were broken and were lost… and then we found the courage. The courage to own up to everything, and to come through it. We looked around and found our way up. We didn’t stay at the bottom, despite our doubts and fears and embarrassment. We are lucky because everybody sees that in the end, the bottom made us stronger, because our journey back up to the top was so much longer. We are lucky because on our long journey, we learn what truly matters.

Hitting my rock bottom was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it made me who I am today. And now I know that no matter where you are on your journey, in the pitch black or in a fog… there is light. There is a way up from the bottom, a way to escape from what you thought you never could. There is hope, even when you feel like there isn’t any. There is a light at the end of your journey if you choose to believe you will find one, and you will, because it comes from inside of yourself. And you cannot escape from yourself, you can only accept yourself. I did, and even on today, my 21st birthday, with the clouds in the sky and the raindrops falling; it was the sunniest day of my whole life.


So my sister is mad at me right now because I don't say enough, and my best friend is mad at me because I say too much. So whether I'm not calling enough or talking about things when I shouldn't, it's my mouth that has been getting me in trouble lately, and of course by lately, I mean my entire life. I think pissing people off is just an art form for some people... like, how many ways are there to disappoint the people you care about the most in one lifetime? And that's always it; it's always the people you care about the most that you hurt the most, for me anyways. God forbid you should be insensitive to the pizza delivery guy or fuck up your plumber's life, no. You hurt the people you love the most. The people you confide in, the people you would do anything for. Yet somehow, for many like me, when the time comes to pick up the phone or just plain shut the hole in your face there's that missing connection in your brain that says, "Call your sister" or "inappropriate... shut the fuck up." For all the talking I do, I sure don't do a whole lot of thinking.

Why is it that when you're in a fight with someone they are the exact person who you want to call to ask what to do? You go to pick up the phone or type a message and realize that they're the ones you need to talk about? They're the ones you need help with to figure out how to make it right? It's fucking depressing. When they're mad at you there's this constant knot in your stomach and you know there is nothing you can do about it except try to go to sleep and pray that tomorrow they've cooled off. You lie in bed terrified of the next time you talk to them... or terrified that they're mad enough to not talk to you for God knows how long. Terrified of the consequences of your carelessness. And you don't know how to act, and you don't know what to say. After all the talking that got you in trouble, you're speechless.

It's funny what we become afraid of as we get older. My biggest fears are not heights or needles or performing in front of crowds. I eagerly jumped out of a plane last summer without hesitation. Last week I let someone shoot a metal pin through my nose without flinching and I have been in my prime as the centre of attention since I was 3 years old. What I’m actually most afraid of losing people. More than gravy. Even more so now that I've experienced it as an adult. I'm not talking about death, though that is a fear; I'm talking about losing friends. Something about death just seems more natural, like it is something that is intended for all of us... no matter how sad or unexpected, it is an actuality that no one escapes.

To me losing friends seems unnatural. Like there shouldn't be anything so great that it means you stop being close with someone, that you just give up on someone, or let someone go. But there is... there are things that happen that mean that we lose people forever. Those are the things that scare me. The uncertainty scares me. Where are the lines drawn that say what constitutes the loss of a friendship? How much do you have to hurt someone for them to lose their trust and confidence in you? Why do some of us seem to cross those lines more than others? What is it about us select few, that we cannot make the connection between right and wrong? Where is that little voice in our heads that whispers, “Danger… not good… hurting people in progress…”? I have no such voice. At the time it is always unintentional... but nothing you can do makes up for lost intentions. Nothing you can say can make up for having said too much, or too little, or for doing something hurtful, or for letting someone down.

The worst part isn't even how awful I feel right now. It's knowing that they feel awful, and it's my fault. It's knowing that the people I hate to see sad, or angry, or disappointed, are sitting at home feeling that way because of me. Whether it is hours later, or days later, or months later. And there you have it. Nothing left to say. All of a sudden everything on my mind is out. Another public confessional… bordering pathetic, crossing into pitiable territory, though I don’t deserve it. Yet again, feeling no better, and feeling every inch of justified guilt. The motor mouth, the tactless, the queen of foot-in-mouth, the girl who’s every report card politely asked her to shut up, the unimaginably verbose- speechless. How she should have been all along. The saddest part is that it no longer shocks people; I actually don’t think it ever did.



So it’s midnight and I’m crying. I don’t know if it’s a girl thing or a period thing, or the fact that I just caught the last few minutes of Forrest Gump but there they are, the tears. It’s not uncommon for this to happen, especially when I know that I have to be up early in the morning. The lights go out and the TV goes off, and there I am alone in the dark with nothing to do but think about everything that currently sucks. Last year was a big year for crying, but it also was the year I marked as when I really found myself, so there must be some relation there. I lost a lot of people… and a beloved dog, who I still find myself crying over frequently. I lost my grandmother, who I see more and more of in myself everyday, which scares me sometimes because she was basically senile. I lost a few friends, which ended up being the worst loss of all I think. I take responsibility for this, but that was never the hard part. I never had trouble owning up to the mess I made, but I still have trouble dealing with the consequences. I have trouble knowing that I let someone down and there’s nothing I can do about it. I have trouble trying to get myself to stop thinking about it all the time, and with how much my heart hurts, because I still love them.

I once wrote a piece about my dad, about how different we are, about how differently we react when it comes to people and relationships. It didn’t quite get the response from him I would have hoped; he was angry and defensive. Actually I think he was hurt by it, which is something that still bothers me everyday. His reaction hurt me. I told him my truth, and how I felt about our relationship. Heart on a platter, honesty never before seen… backfire. It wasn’t supposed to be about what I observed or what I assumed or portrayed him as because in the end I could be wrong about all that. What I wanted him to see was how I felt. How much I wished we had an understanding about us, between us. I wanted him to see how I had seen him my whole life, and I wanted him to prove me wrong. I wanted him to say that despite appearances, he really did understand me, or that he wanted to try to understand me.

He didn’t say those things though, and I spent months thinking that that wasn’t good enough. I spent nights like this, crying, and wishing that by some miracle someday I would hear what I wanted to hear. Lately though, I can feel him changing his mannerisms around me. Not all the time, mostly things are the same as they have always been. Sometimes I think though, maybe he’s silently making an effort to do what I wanted him to say. I’ll never really know, but if he is, that’s beyond good enough for me, it’s my miracle. I'm still waiting for my other miracles to come. I don’t know if I deserve them, but I can only hope that I can see them if they do.

On nights like this I’m afraid my roommates will hear my sobs and nose-blowing through the thin walls of our nineteenth century farm house. My worst fear is for one of them to knock on the door and say something supportive and ask if I’m ok. I’m like a dog that crawls into the woods to die alone. I must write alone, and right now I must cry alone. I don’t want to be pitied; I just want to be in control. I want to be left with some dignity in my state of vulnerability.

As I read over what I just wrote a light goes off in my head about what to continue on with, and the crying stops. I immediately go from helpless to fearless in two minutes time.

There is one thing I refuse to cry over tonight, perhaps because I am too pissed off to cry. Tonight, this entire column will be dedicated to an unnamed English professor whom three days ago pissed me off in a way no human being has ever done before. Without ever reading anything I have ever written, without ever observing me in a class, without so much as holding a substantial five minute conversation with me, this professor has insulted my intelligence by sending the following email, in response to a request to switch into one of their English classes for the semester:

The course is full and has been for some time. Besides I am not sure that you would enjoy the course or find it tolerable, given that it is entirely about theory; it is more about the philosophy of literature and not literature itself. Not easy to read. Sorry I could not be of more help."

No doubt he looked at my less that impressive transcript from my first two years here at X which might as well just have “Reformed irresponsible drunk" stamped across the fucking thing, but you can take what you like from that email. If somebody reads it and finds an innocent denial of admission to a class with no hint of insult or injury, please correct my initial reactions. I however read this rejection as the following:

Even though I have only a vague recollection of who you are and am unaware of any of your intentions for your path in life, you are far too stupid to be in this class. A third year English major such as yourself could not possibly handle the philosophy behind literature, considering that’s what you’ve been learning and searching for in almost every other English class of your university career. Having never taught you before, I feel as though I am well qualified to assess your capabilities of handling a challenging class in addition to your will and desire to do so. My apologies for be arrogant, haughty, and assuming."

It’s like when people say something awful or inappropriate to you but their delivery is so nice that you can’t say anything about it. They say it so kindly that their ridiculous request or preposterous comment leaves you with nothing to say but, “Yeah sure, sounds good." But after the initial shock and outrage of receiving such a message where a simple, ‘sorry the class is full’, would have been sufficient, there was no way anyone was getting a “Yeah sure, sounds good" out of me. I responded accordingly and sent the following email:

While I appreciate your concern for my scholastic abilities, perhaps you should not assume to know what I would or would not enjoy. I look forward to entering the class next year before it is full.
Thank you for your consideration,
Megan MacKeigan

If that professor thinks for one second that I won’t get into that class next year purely to spite them, then they really don’t know me. The upside I suppose is that I will be so motivated to do well in that class and make them eat their words I may very well produce some of my finest work. Perhaps this is a new angle professors can follow: insult students to increase productivity. The point is though; I wanted to be in that class because I was interested in learning what it had to offer. I wanted to be in that class because I have become a student who cares about what they’re learning about, and that has been a major step for me. I wanted to be in that class because I thought it would help contribute to what I am producing and accomplishing as a writer (which by the way is more than these angst ridden diatribes about life and society).

I worked harder last semester than any other semester I have been here. I am by no means a model student, and I have a long way to go to catch up to the numbers that my colleagues have previously produced. But for the first time in my life I have found something that I’m passionate about. I’ve found something that I truly grasp and embrace and love. I’m sorry, and I mean no disrespect, but I have never been so unimpressed and disgusted at the words of a person who is supposed to be guiding me in the subject I have chosen to be my life’s work. This is a person who is supposed to inspire me to set goals and reach achievements and challenge myself in a field that I find interesting and meaningful. This is a person, whose salary is paid by my tuition, and I’m sorry but I don’t pay ridiculous amounts of money to be told that I’m not capable of learning what this professor has to teach.

The conclusion I have come to tonight, is that whether I’m disappointing those close to me or disappointing someone who hasn’t even given me a chance to disappoint them, I must never be disappointed with myself. Anger, regret, heartache, and sheer stupidity… those things I can handle living inside me and about me. But the minute I allow feelings of disappointment myself, that’s when I lose my belief in myself. When nobody else believes in you, you can always believe in yourself. Believe that you can get past being angry with what you’ve done, believe that you can go on living with regret, believe that eventually your heart will stop hurting, and believe that no matter how much you screw up, you’re not what everyone says you are. I can’t be disappointed with myself when I know, that when the tears stop, I will pick myself up, and keep on going. It’s what we all do everyday.


I really should be sleeping. After seven hours sitting uncomfortably on a bus with a severe case of nausea and an aching tailbone, nothing seems more sensible than to lie down and revel in a state of blissful unconsciousness. Have you ever been so physically uncomfortable in a situation that you can’t imagine your body ever feeling pleasant again? Then when you finally reach a state of comfort, it seems surreal that you were ever uncomfortable? Like it was all an out of body experience, and that maybe you were just watching yourself from outside of your body from the extremely satisfying and contented location that you currently hold? That’s how I feel right now- like the seven hours of hell was all just a bad dream. I also feel that I could float off to dreamland at any moment, but of course, after seven hours with nothing to do but sit and think I could not possibly go to sleep without properly documenting every thought and experience I’ve had during the last three days. It is against all my better judgment as a writer to do what seems logical rather than to write. So I write.

Now that I’m safe and warm in my bed, listening to my parents laugh at Jay Leno and flip through every commercial with the exception of the Canadian heritage commercials, I am thankful for the chance to finally be able to quietly reflect on the events that have taken place over the last 72 hours of my life- the first of 2007. It started when I decided to make the trek to Cape Breton to spend New Year’s with Shauna. I think I ruined my whole weekend before I even arrived, having such high expectations for the New Years celebrations we had planned. On the bus ride up, I squirmed in my seat trying to reach some level of ease though failing miserably. My fall down a flight of stairs three weeks earlier now meant that sitting for more than an hour made my tailbone feel as though it were going to violently shoot out my ass and then eat my body. It’s not a pleasant feeling. I started to question my decision to travel by bus almost immediately.

We put ourselves in awkward positions and situations with the expectation or hope that our destination will be worth the troubles and sacrifice along the way. It is all part of the human condition. To have faith, to believe, that by enduring tough times and rough patches, we will be rewarded in the future. That by taking a shitty bus ride to Cape Breton, the parties and celebrations will outweigh the crappiness that was the voyage to get there. But what if you get to the end of the rainbow, and instead of a pot of gold, there’s only Sydney?

I arrived at dinnertime and after trudging off the bus with my oversized purse in tow I waited in the endless lineup for my over-packed duffle bag clearly indicating my affection for Molson Canadian. I felt the embrace of a little gremlin from behind and knew immediately it was the Caper roommate I had traveled to meet. There’s something about the accent of a Caper that automatically makes me smile, especially Shauna’s. It doesn’t matter what she says, it just makes me laugh. We got into her friend’s cousin’s car and I got my first look at what Shauna likes to call the Cape Breton ghetto. The thing I love the most about the Cape Breton folk, is that when they talk about people it’s always somebody’s aunt, or somebody’s cousin, or somebody’s neighbor… or somebody’s dealer. Anytime they see someone skinny they tell me they’re on the Cape Breton diet, which consists of booze and cocaine… charming. But nonetheless, Cape Breton seemed to have a small town appeal about it that made the sharp cold and dreary weather that much more pleasant.

After a few stops to cousin’s and friend’s houses, we arrived at Shauna’s and immediately started to prepare for the evening ahead. Even after I messed with my over processed curls and plastered on an obscene amount of makeup, I still did not feel like I was ready to go out. I hated how I looked, I hated what I had on, and I hated that I felt like a needed to get drunk in order to have fun and to forget that I hated those things. It is amazing to me how an entire night can be ruined by ones own lack of confidence and extreme self consciousness. On a much larger scale, it was an indication to myself that my journey to really being comfortable with who I am was not yet finished, no matter how far I feel like I’ve come in the last years of my life.

But back to the story at hand, after stops at friend’s houses, we reached our pre-drinking destination. Immediately there was a tension in the room, another contribution to my disastrous night of epic proportions. Through no fault of her own, someone’s presence made me feel incredibly awkward. Through random connections I found myself in a room with the roommate of someone who clearly despises me, thanks to that past of mine that always seems to find me in one way or another. Luckily, she was seriously friendly, and I over compensated my awkwardness by being loud and obnoxious and laughing at everything everyone said or did. I hate being that person who makes others uncomfortable; as I’m sure it was awkward for her too. She had always seemed very nice to me though and not surprisingly she made it very easy for us to be in each other’s presence. I think that a demeanor such as that says a lot about a person and the journey that they are on in life; when they make a conscience effort to be pleasant and make the best of a situation when they really don’t have to.

No matter how pleasant she was, I still felt like I was the elephant in the room, in more ways than one, and for some reason my alcohol choice of beer, coolers and tequila was not making me feel any better about the situation. Nonetheless, I tried to have as much fun as I could and by the time we left for the Curling Club I was in a moderately good mood. When we arrived I couldn’t help but smile at the how stereotypical this party was. A hall with some tables and a dance floor, some finger food and a few streamers. Just what I would have imagined a Cape Breton party to look like: two hundred Cape Breton twenty- something’s who cared about nothing except the fact that there was a DJ and a bar, which we headed straight for. Only moments earlier I had put mine and Shauna’s coat in the coat room, and I still have the image of the last place I saw my coat burned into my memory.

After the countdown and a few drinks, we decided to head out to the bar that everyone was going to for the rest of the night. We walked to the coat room to find only mayhem, and no coat. I immediately had a sinking feeling, and despite Shauna’s encouraging words that “it must be in here somewhere?, I knew that it was gone forever. After flinging through people’s coats and muttering every curse word I could think of, Shauna and I finally decided to give up and leave. More than I was pissed off that I had to walk to the bar and spend the rest of the weekend with no coat, I was livid at the fact that somebody was stupid or ignorant enough to take someone else’s coat. While standing in the middle of the coat room, displeased and on the verge of tears, the always helpful and resourceful Shauna drunkenly managed to slur out the suggestion of taking someone else’s coat. I’m not going to lie, I considered it. In the end though, I would just be making someone else feel as horrible as I did at the time. Making someone else unhappy wouldn’t bring my coat back, and perhaps somewhere along my journey, karma or God or whatever anyone believes in will repay me for walking two blocks in the freezing cold with no coat yielding questions from drunken people as to why I wasn’t wearing one.

We arrived at the bar and Shauna and I went again, straight for drinks. It didn’t matter though, by this time, I was in no mood to drink. Shauna got herself her usual and I decided to save my money and sulk instead. I was trying my best to stick it out for the night, but in all honestly all I wanted to do was go home and go to bed. I followed Shauna around for about a half an hour pouting and trying to convince myself that I was going to have fun soon. I left her for a moment and ventured to the bathroom, holding back the tears I knew I couldn’t cry in the middle of the bar on New Years. When leaving another bump in to someone who seriously dislikes me pretty much pushed me over the edge. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Between the loss of my coat and the constant reminder that I was a terrible person I made up my mind that it was time to go. Shauna walked me to the door after an argument about her coming with me, which I won. I would have just felt guilty if she had left her friends to take me home. I was perfectly capable of going alone and truthfully I preferred it. I needed to go to bed and decompress.

I walked outside in the cold and called every cab company the operator could give me, and got only busy signals. After thirty minutes with no progress, I was freezing and desperate. I walked up to a car and knocked on the driver’s window. She and her passenger side friend looked confused but nevertheless she rolled her window down to hear what I had to say.
“I will pay you twenty dollars to drive me home,? I begged.
“Get in.?
I will admit this may have not been the safest move on my part but I didn’t care. It was 3 am and I was going to bed at any cost. That night we were supposed to stay at Tasha’s, but my makeshift cab driver had no idea where her street was, so I resolved to just go to Shauna’s alone for the night. We drove around looking for my destination for quite some time until I recognized Shauna’s neighbor’s Christmas lights and sobbed quietly with joy. The couple, who turned out to be very nice and talked me through my drunken breakdown, refused my money and waited until I got to the door and made sure I was in alright. I did have to ring the doorbell and wake Shauna’s mom up, but she didn’t mind and the evening was over and that’s all that mattered.

I stayed for another two days, wearing Shauna’s mother’s coat and being overfed by everyone’s aunt and mother and friend’s friend. Hearing the Cape Breton gossip about who it was that got shot down the street and sitting in the back seat of Tasha’s car fearing for my life, as she is the only driver I know who is worse than me. Shauna and I watched a six episode Flavor of Love Marathon, and Jackass 2, which may have killed brain cells I couldn’t afford to lose. What’s done is done though, and I will always look back on my Cape Breton New Years as a tragic evening, but something I learned from.

Maybe when it comes to journeys, the bus ride wasn’t the important one at all. Perhaps the real journey began when I arrived. It was a journey of having to learn that not everything is going to turn out the way you expected, and that loss is a part of life- whether it is only a coat or something much larger, like pride. It was about learning that if you’re going to have a shitty time; it is best had by the side of your true friends, and being thankful for them even when you’re not thankful for your night. It was about learning that you cannot run from your past, because sure enough no matter where you go you will always be reminded of it. More importantly though, it was about learning that getting to where you’re going isn’t half as important as what you do when you get there.

Looking Back

When my dog Jake died in September I thought that I would never love again- a pet that is. Jake was one of those rare loves in my life who can never be replaced. He left me four months ago, and I still cry myself to sleep sometimes. When nothing was going right in my life and when I felt like I had the whole world against me, Jake had an unconditional love for me that made everything alright again. I miss him everyday. Sometimes when I have Justin’s dog Hailey for a few days I feel guilty for loving her, but I know that Jake wouldn’t mind. I don’t know if he would have liked Hailey all that much, since Jake was a pretty chill dog and Hailey is, well, completely psychotic. She has more energy than any other living thing on the planet. I don’t take her for walks, it’s more like she takes me- but we seem to manage just fine. The point is, Jake would have wanted me to be happy, and Hailey makes me happy.

I don’t think I’m ready to leave Jake in my past yet. I’m still grieving, and that’s ok. I’m going to take my time with him, and let myself really miss him for a while longer. That’s what it’s going to take for me to accept that he’s really gone, though I’ll never stop missing him. The whole idea about grieving and moving on became very clear to me when I went downtown last night to see Gloryhound and the Seahawks play. It was a crazy night. So many people from my high school were there, some people I hadn’t seen in almost three years. Some people had not changed at all, neither in their looks nor in their demeanor. For some people that was a good thing. There are some people from high school I haven’t really kept in touch with, but that I think about sometimes. Sometimes I just take a moment to remember how funny or kind they always were. Not just to me, but to everybody. I was glad to see last night that they retained their exceptional attributes.

I can’t speak so highly for everybody. I’m sure that not everyone was real impressed with me either, but it seemed like some people were still stuck in high school. Walking around like they knew better, like they were better. I actually felt belittled at one point. I am now a twenty year old adult, and I let the petty people from high school make me feel like I was sixteen again. I snapped out of that quick. Why do I even care what these people think? I sure as hell didn’t care about what they thought of me in high school and I am certain that I don’t care now. They don’t know me, at all. Three years is a long time to find yourself and by God, I did it. I most defiantly have gone through some major changes; I am no longer the girl that they once knew. People see what they want to see though, and some people saw me exactly as they wanted.

What I sometimes think is paranoia, the staring and the talking, was nothing but reality last night. I’m sure word from Bedford and Antigonish travels fast to Halifax, no doubt from some class act mouth that I can’t point any finger at, being no class act myself. It most defiantly happened last night though, and it makes me laugh this morning. From the dance floor I could see the male and female in question make me their topic of conversation, not discreetly by the way. You would think after three years if they’re still going to talk about people they would have learned to be a bit more tactful. How funny it is that these people still have nothing better to do than give dirty looks and to gossip about people they don’t even really know. It was probably something really good too. Maybe I’ve gotten into bestiality or funneled a Texas Mickey or something. I wouldn’t even care about the latter. That’s impressive, go ahead and start that rumor I’d go along with it- the former, not so much. I left the bar alone, missing my friends from X, but glad to get out of there. The people I wanted to see I saw, and the rest- I don’t ever have to see them again if I don’t want to. Even if I do, I am completely unaffected by them. I sincerely hope they are happy with the lives that they have chosen and I wish them the best.

Driving home from Halifax the next morning along the Waverley road, I caught myself looking back at Flat Rock. Our group’s little camping site, hidden away by the lake and the woods, where we spent so many of our high school nights drinking and swimming and making mistakes. Coming from that direction, you can only see it by turning your head behind you. I could only look back for a moment, before I had to bring my eyes back to the curves of the road home. Then I realized, I couldn’t spend my life looking over my shoulder to the past without losing sight of what’s in front of me, my future. I mourned for high school when I graduated, and last night made me see that I’m done. I am in such a better place right now, and even though I will keep my high school memories close to my heart, I don’t need to hold onto it anymore. I don’t think I have had a hold on it for quite some time, but just like that, it was completely gone. In it’s place was the confirmation that I am my own person, undefined by who I know or what people say about me. I don’t care about what those people think, because they don’t know me. The people who do are ahead of me, and they keep my eyes on the road.

Accepted Advice

While scrolling down my MSN list the other day reading all the away messages: the lyrics, the drunken ramblings, the inside jokes… one in particular caught my eye. It simply said, “Accepted advice?. I took a week or two and really thought about this, because I think that they’re two words that are worth thinking about, especially together. When you really break it down, advice is not so much about the actual advice people are giving to you; it is about the person who is giving you that advice. What makes us follow advice from one person and not from another? Is your choice to follow advice largely based on who is giving it to you rather than the advice itself? What does it say about you and your advice-giver about whether or not you choose to accept it?

When I think about all the advice I’ve received over the years I really try and think about the type of people I ended up listening to. Looking back, I think everyone’s first thought would be their parents. My parents always were and remain my biggest influences; whether I took their advice or not is questionable. I think what happened is this: my adolescent mind turned their good, sound advice into the barking command of a generation too old to understand what my life was like, allowing the advice to go right in one ear and out the other. Now that I am older, and dare I say more mature, I realize that my adolescent mind neglected to toy with the thought that they had already gone through what I was experiencing, and were actually trying to make life easier for me. Each day I silently apologize to them in my mind. I’ll say it out loud someday, but not while I’m in school. I can’t let them know they were right while I’m still financially dependent on them- it’s too much information to hold over my head.

Now when my parents give me advice, I really listen to it. As hard as it is for me to admit, they’re generally right. I give my parents a lot more credit nowadays, because I feel like they give me a lot more credit. We’re almost to that level playing field where we’re all adults; the conversations get more serious and they start asking all the hard questions. I like this time though, because now I’m ready to answer them. For the first time this year, I saw my parents as their own individual people, and not just “mom and dad?. I feel like now is a late time to realize that and it makes me feel sheltered, but better late than never. Their advice is no longer being thrown down upon me; it is now an exchange between adults who see eye to eye. Now that they consider me an adult and I find myself giving them advice, I find their suggestions have become easier to accept.

With my friends, it was always that level playing field, which was always a major contributor to the “blatantly ignore my parents? days. I always find that the advice I take without hesitation comes from my two best friends, Derek and Jessica. Even as a 20 year old, I find it difficult to pick out a shirt without the ok from Jess. It’s not because she is so fashionable herself, which she totally is, but she could be a terrible dresser and her opinion would still matter more then whoever was working at the store. Her advice matters because she is so sincere with me. It is because she knows me so well. She knows that as soon as I get it home I’m going to start loving it even though I hate it in the store. It is because she knows the first time I wear it out I’m going to spill something on it, or that no matter how much I tug at it I’m never going to be comfortable in it. I know that if I go shopping with her, I’m going to end up with something that I love… then I will drive her crazy by wearing it right away and then throwing it on my floor.
This summer was a constant battle with my parents, and from day one Derek was always there to put things into perspective for me. Even when he wasn’t intentionally giving me advice, just hearing what he had to say helped me come to rational conclusions about the decisions I was being pressured to make. Even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, it was the truth. It was never demeaning, it was always honest. Sometimes rather than just some good old fashioned advice, we need a good swift kick in the ass to get ourselves going. By no means have I known Derek as long as most of my other close friends, but in spending so much time with him, he has learned everything about me: what a like and dislike, what sets me off and what makes me crazy. The best part is he doesn’t care about that crap. He’s not afraid to tell me when I’m being ridiculous or over reacting, and it’s so much better that way. I always take his advice because I know that by not caring about the stupid stuff, he cares about the big stuff. He doesn’t let me get away with being melodramatic, and the best advice always comes from the people who keep you grounded, and that’s exactly what he has always done for me.

Advice from Jess and Derek is always best because they just know. Not just about the little things, but about the big things. They have seen me through my worst times, and when I think back now the advice that they gave me was always the right thing. I took it because I trusted them, and I knew that they always had my best interest at heart. They always have that same unconditional love that my family has. Sometimes I wonder what I could have possibly done to deserve them, or how I ever lived without them.

When it comes to giving advice, my first thought is my sister. She is of course always there for me, but I find there is an odd role reversal between us as I am the younger sister, constantly stepping into the older sister position to offer advice to her on everything imaginable. Kate’s a funny one, because when we were younger she mostly did listen to our parents more than her friends, and I fear it socially retarded her a year or two. When she calls to ask about stuff, I always wonder if I’ve said the right thing. Offering your opinion to someone you care about is scary because you don’t want to screw them up, and more often than not, it’s the people you care about the most who want your advice. I don’t know how much of my advice she actually takes, but I think the point is that she knows I cared enough about her to really think about what she was telling me to form an opinion of my own. She calls me because she knows how much I love her.

Advice is a funny thing, considering how much you can learn from giving it or receiving it, or the choice you have to make about accepting it. I can’t come to any definite conclusions, but I think what I’m getting at here is that before I really thought about it, advice was fragile thing. It was always something that was sketchy, because I thought it was about an internal struggle between what you thought and what someone else was telling you to think. Now after some careful consideration, advice is what clearly defines all the important relationships in my life. When I sat down to think about advice, all the most important people in my life came to mind, all the people I trusted the most. Advice is about trust, and about how it is always best to accept it from the people who accept you, just as you are.

Two quickies... they make me laugh. What are sisters for?

A conversation between my sister and I this summer...

Megan: I don't think I've ever really liked any guy I've ever slept with. All the guys I like have girlfriends that are pretty and smart and skinny and gorgeous and funny.

Kate: You're funny.

Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat's great.

Another fun sister tidbit from Christmas break...

After telling my sister I got a $400 speeding ticket:
Kate: "$400? If you were a prostitute it would take you like, a month to work that off."

I don't know if that's an indication that my sister thinks I am too unattractive to be a hooker, or that her knowledge of prostitution rates is seriously lacking.

I'm hoping it's the latter.


One of my favourite quotes reads: “If you’re going to doubt anything, doubt your limits.? Life should be about testing yourself. It should be about breaking through your limits. I have been thinking a lot about limits lately and how my future may be limited due to my career path of choice. There is always this lingering notion of whether or not my writing will ever be good enough. Is it only enough to keep a few campus readers impressed and entertained? I don’t enjoy scholastic research, and I don’t want to write papers for academic journals or dive into the hectic world of fast paced reporting. While I respect the quality of writing which caters to readers of a certain intellectual level, it is not the audience I want to attract, or the kind of writing I want to do. I am looking to reach people on a more personal level. Maybe it seems selfish to only write what I have to say, without putting any effort into backing up my theories. They are completely my own opinions. The thing is, everybody is more alike than different. No matter where we are from or who we know we all end up having the same feelings, the same insecurities and the same troubles, in one way or another. My hope is that I could speak on behalf of others through my own experiences.

Regardless of whether or not I can achieve that, the real question is: will this writing of mine cut it in the real world? Will it cut it if the people who read it have no idea what kind of person I am? How much of my personality contributes to the success of my work? Writers work for years drudging through endless academia papers and paying their dues before anyone gives a crap about what they themselves have to say. Is it ambitious or just naive that I think I can skip the uninteresting parts? I can see it now, walking into a New York publisher fresh off the plane from back home in the cow pasture, with editors laughing at me and doors slammed in my face. What if in the end, my expectations for myself exceeded anything resembling reality?

I think there is this desire to cut through the red tape for all students, no matter what profession they’re studying to be. What it comes down to is whether or not we have it in ourselves to persevere through all the unpleasantness before we can really start to apply ourselves to what interests us most. For example, I should be writing a term paper right now, but I’m not. I’m writing this. In order to have a solid career doing this I have to get my degree first. In order to get my degree I have to graduate. In order to graduate I have to pass my classes, and in order to pass my classes I need to do my term papers. In theory, this is very simple and straightforward. In reality, I find it difficult to force myself into the necessary stuff, which is in fact the boring stuff. I will assume this is true for everyone, not just me.

I have decided there are two ways to look at this. One, is the ‘just scraping by’ theory, my present theory of choice. This mostly consists of complaining to friends and professors about how much work I have to do, getting extensions, wasting time and procrastinating, staying up all hours to throw papers together and generally not having an enjoyable academic experience. I can justify most of my procrastination in my mind though, because I am putting to good use the skills I will use in my future career. In reality, I can’t completely eradicate myself of these justifications because I feel like I have produced some substantial pieces while wasting my highly priced time in university.

This now leaves me with my second theory, which is the ‘just buck up and do it’, theory. Instead of looking at the mind-numbing essays as burdens, I could try and look at them as aiding in my ever evolving style and technique of writing. I will admit that when it gets right down to it and I put effort into an essay it becomes moderately or even very interesting, depending on the topic of course. In the end though, there is this sense of pride and accomplishment in knowing that I put effort into something and tried my best. This theory would allegedly leave me less stressed and aid in my terrible time management skills.

The tricky part for me is getting started. There’s a motivation behind what I chose to do that I seem to lack with things I am required to do. It’s the emergence of that little part of me that automatically rebels against anything I am told to do and anyone who tells me to do it. It is so strange to me that this university is the place I feel trapped in the most, with obligations and requirements, yet it is also the place that will ultimately give me my freedom, and make it easier for me survive in the real world. I know that that is possible if I can only channel my energy and follow the rules for the next year and a half, and then I can make whatever decisions I want, I can do anything I want. I think my greatest fear, perhaps the greatest fear of all soon-to-be alumni, is not knowing what you want to do next. Or worse, knowing what you want to do, but being unsure of how to achieve it.

In the end, whether we know or not isn’t the issue. Maybe in the end we won’t be doing what we initially planned. Maybe we will achieve something beyond our expectations; maybe we will never make it as far as we once dreamed we would. Last year my mom told me that she still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. She is 53. I think what she was trying to tell me, was that the important thing is, to know that it’s never too late. It’s never too late to have a dream and choose to follow it. Whether you’re 21 or 51, if you don’t limit yourself you can be or do whatever you decide. Because ultimately, it is your decision, and in the end, only you decide what your true limits are.

"Phone Calls", written February 12, 2006

People get them everyday.
I usually get them as wake up calls, or from drunk friends. Friday I got one from my mom, not unusual.
Except this time it wasn't, "How's school? How drunk did you get last night? How much money do you need now?"
It was, "Come home, they don't think Grandma's going to make it through the night."
It's an odd thing driving somewhere knowing you're going to see someone for the last time.
Going to talk to them for the last time, going to touch them for the last time, going to tell them how much you love them for the last time.
I sat next to my mom at the nursing home while she held my Grandmother's hand and stroked her head. We would watch her inhale, and exhale, then lay motionless and breathless for what seemed like an eternity, then watch the quilt rise and fall again and finally exhale ourselves. Watching every move wondering if it would be her last.
I looked at my Grandmother all night and saw an 88 year old woman in her last days of life. And I cried, as all Parker women do, hysterically. Not out of sadness for her, because this is the way you're supposed to go. Old, surrounded by family, having seen the world, having loved and been loved. I cried for my mom. I cried thinking that in thirty-five years that might be me sitting next to my mom, and I cried thinking that that's not fair. I'm not ready. I don't know how anyone can be ready for that.
My Grandmother met my grandfather in Ontario while he was on leave during the war. They were engaged a week later, and married and moved to Nova Scotia poppin out kids within a year.
They were married until my Grampie died in 1993.
They produced some of the loudest, rudest, drunkest children on the planet I am happy to call my Uncles, my Aunt and my Mother.
My uncles Ted, John and Glen are three of the funniest, strongest men I know. Especially Glen, who lost a son in 2002, who didn't go the right way. He went alone and he went scared. And my only comfort now is that my Grandma is going to be with him, and the family will finally be together in some sense.
My Aunt Barbie has taught me more about acceptance, standing up for what you believe in and true beauty than anyone else in the whole world. I am truly blessed to have her in my life, and my sister Kate and I are hers as much as we are our own parents.
My mother, with one touch, one word, one look, can take any wrong in my life and make my world perfect again. She is my everything. She gets me through my day. She makes me believe in myself. She is my whole universe.
My Grandmother gave these gifts to me, and I stared at her all night and saw all of these people in her face. And I saw myself in her face.
Mom and I sat there all night while she told me stories. About Grammie's life and about her own. And stuff about mine I was too young to remember.
Before I fell asleep, I looked at my Grandma, a woman who has been such a huge part of my life for almost twenty years. Who was the source of so many laughs, so many horrible meals. So many mornings I woke up to hear her singing Danny Boy in the kithcen and wished I would just go deaf. A woman who I have never known life without. And I prayed. I begged God to just take her. No more morphine, no more tubes, no more shots, no more restless nights, no more tears.
And I was mad. I was mad when I woke up in the morning and she was still lying there. Fighting to breathe, wanting to die.
And now we wait. Hours. Days. For the inevitable. For her life to end, and for ours to go on without her, but knowing, the life she had was amazing. And knowing that she made me a better person, and made me who I am today.
So I'm waiting.

"Therapy", written June 7th, 2006

I was sitting in the waiting room at my therapist's office yesterday after looking at all the books she had on the shelf: "Grief Unseen", "The Out of Sync Child", "Pathways to Competence", "Down With Gloom", "Getting Out of Your Own Way".... then I had an anxiety attack.

I thought, "Holy Shit. I'm a total freak."

Then I really thought about it.

Then I thought, "I don't care. What's so wrong with being a freak?"

It's totally ok to be a freak. I laugh everytime I think about how worried I get about what other people think. I always used to say, "I don't care what other people think about me." Sometimes I think that's completely true, other days I break down if I think someone looked at me the wrong way. I think what I'm getting at, is that I may say something one day and feel completely different about it the next. I realize this makes it hard for anyone to ever take me seriously or to truly believe anything I say. It really depends on the situation for me to instill a certain mindset or value. I will say with complete confidence that anything I do say I mean whole-heartedly at the time, whether I contradict myself the next day or not is comeletly irrelevant to me. Many would say this makes me flaky, or irratic or impulsive. That's true then I guess.

So I have accepted a few things:

I AM flaky, irratic and impulsive.
I say stupid things without thinking about them first.
I over react, exaggerate everything and am melo-dramatic.
I interrupt people without noticing.
I say "oops" and "sorry" five times as many times as any normal human being would.
I overuse "lol" "omg" and "brb" in msn conversations.
I talk too much during movies and tv shows.
I abbreviate words that don't need to be abbreviated even though I know it irritates people.
I tell the same stories over and over again.
While writing this blog, I listened to the same song 3 times. The same song I had already listened to 10 times today. I do that.

And I'm ok with it. Because lots of other people do those things too.
Everyone is a freak, not just me.

Monday Mornings

Every couple of weeks I when I force myself to go to my Monday morning 8:15, I leave the classroom very proud of myself for breaking away from my very warm and incredibly comfortable bed, though sometimes no more learned than when I arrived to class. Shakespeare, I fear, is better understood when I have had time to process my weekend and its usual eventful memories. This morning however I was delighted when the professor love of my life Jimmy Taylor presented me with some unintentional humor that I have come to know and love. He makes me laugh, only because he’s not trying to and he has no idea how funny he is. So of course when he very seriously tried to explain to our third year class the difference between Plato, Pluto and play dough, I pretty much lost my mind. This being an inappropriate time to laugh combined with that fact that no one else in my class thought it was quite as funny, meant that I shook uncontrollably for about 10 minutes, being a general disturbance and cracking up those around me. I finally calmed down until he started talking about ‘the technological marvel that is the word processor’ and how lucky we are to be able to cut and paste our essays when we’re typing. That’s not really funny but it was hysterical when he started telling us that he literally used to cut and paste his essays, “It’s true… I had scissors? he says. So I lost it. Not quietly by the way.

I pretty much laughed the entire walk home. As I hurried towards the village by myself, heeding stares of baffled strangers as to why I was alone and uncontrollably giddy, I started to think about a conversation I had with Shauna a few weeks ago. I find that people stare at me a lot. Maybe I am just paranoid or a little self involved, most likely a little of both. I feel like they’re either staring at my because as an extremely vocal and 6 foot tall female I realize I am an oddity (though sometimes I forget how tall and loud I actually am), or it must be the fact that they know who I am for that pesky past of mine that seems to get me into trouble, even in the present. A nickname like ‘Drunk RA’ is something I feel like might travel around, and the other unmentionables which have taken over my day to day life and basically my every thought lead me to believe that I am some kind of pariah on campus. This may just be the paranoia, but there’s really no way to tell. I stare at people a lot too so I feel like I shouldn’t be offended because I don’t mean anything by it. I just do it because I have nothing better to do. I’m always thinking and my mind is always racing with ideas and my eyes kind of take off and do their own thing.

The only thing that really makes me feel like I’m connected to the real world in any way without immediate judgment or awkward stares in writing. In a way it is so safe, like right now. I’m not walking down the street wondering who is thinking bad things about me. I’m not speculating if someone is staring because I’m weird or loud or whatever, or if their own eyes are just wandering as mine often do. I am sitting comfortably on my bed saying exactly what I want to say without any fear of what anyone thinks. I am alone, and I my only critic. It’s like as soon as I close my door I am in some protected fantasy world where no one is really going to read what I am posting.

On the other hand, I want people to read what I’m writing. I can’t live some banal life where everything is always the same and nothing ever changes. My inner Fanny Brice forces me to be, let’s face is, a total drama queen. Ugh, the two words I dread hearing and make me resent whoever’s mouth they just left. Not a drama queen in the sense that I want to attack somebody or make a giant deal out of nothing, but in a sense that, as I have previously stated, I refuse to be quiet, about anything. I am far too vocal and far too opinionated not to be a writer. As pretentious and ostentatious as it seems, I really feel like there is a lot of respectable things about writing. While there is that aspect of it being so safe, I feel like the art of writing, for me at least, is the scariest form of expression.

You have one shot. One shot to say your piece and get it right. When someone else reads what you've written you're not there to defend it. You aren’t present to exchange facial expressions. There’s no body language, no voice to retort ridicule and reword your argument. You get it all out at once, and there's no going back. It is a matter of taste, I suppose, how people will receive what you write. People are going to take from your writing exactly what they want, whether it’s what you intended to say or not. I like being that scared, the feeling of not knowing. It’s like you're free falling, with no way of knowing when you're going to hit the ground. I like not knowing how people are going to respond to my words. It is my drama.

That's the beauty of writing though, being scared. You let go of all your inhibitions, knowing that not everybody is going to like it or accept it, or even appreciate it. It’s all worth it though, knowing that some people do appreciate it, although lately it is not needed. Lately I have been writing for me. Yes, I am glad my comical misfortunes generally amuse people; I would be upset if they didn’t, because then they would be totally pathetic, rather than just partially. I also hope that people can relate my experiences to their own lives on some level, and in a twisted yet accommodating way I offer some sort of support or far be it, rationality for them. (I just couldn’t force myself to throw ‘wisdom’ in there, I laughed too hard and I’m far too adolescent to use the ‘W’ word quite yet.) Oh my, how I entertain myself.

As a general rule though, I think I write to validate myself. I write to convince myself that everything I’m afraid of is going to work itself out. It makes me walk a little taller. Sometimes I feel like I’m traveling through life just waiting for the other shoe to drop. There’s always that tension, that worry that I’m going to make the same mistakes, that I’m not getting it right. That’s the part I love though. If I didn’t fuck up so much I would have nothing to write about. If I didn’t over think everything, I would have no future career. Isn’t it amazing what the mention of play dough before 9am can spark? Thanks Jimmy.

Dear Life

Dear Gone Away,
As unclear as it is why you left, it is just as unclear why I miss you. I shouldn't, because you shouldn't still be gone. At the very least, you shouldn't have left without an explination. But I can't live with shouldn't haves, and after all this time that you have been gone, I'm finally letting go- not of what you were to me, but of what you are to me now, because I have a feeling, that you're never coming back, and it makes me sad.

Dear Not Yet,
I think about you all the time, wondering when you'll happen, and who or what you will be. There is always a heavy weight on my chest, as I am impatient waiting for you. It's scary to think that you might not be what I expect, or have longed for, but fear is a whole other letter. So for now, I will do my best and only dream about you, knowing when we finally meet, you will be the present.

Dear Present,
I think you and I have been getting along pretty well lately. We had our rough patches, but everyone does. I have stopped wishing that you didn't exist, or that I could leave you and magically go back and change everything. I've learned to appreciate you, and always take advantage of your precious gifts, because as soon as I show you a hint of hesitation, all of a sudden you have become my past.

Dear Past,
You are my everyday challenge. You are my biggest battle, my internal struggle, my mental downfall. I see you in the face of every friend and every stranger. I wonder how many people know you, and resent me for making you. I want you to know that I've let you get the best of me before, but I'm not going to let you win anymore. You do not define me. When I look at you I see so many things, and I'm keeping all of the good with me, and leaving the rest. How funny life is, how strange it is to think that not so very long ago you were my future, and I had so much control, and in an instance, it was lost. I can't change what is behind me, but I can learn from you, and for that I thank you.

Dear Regret,
You walk hand in hand with my past, sometimes violently stealing my breath the more I think about you. You used to leave me feeling so helpless, so vulnerable, so ashamed, that it took everything in me to get out of bed, to walk down the stairs, and to face the day. So many people say that I should live without you, but I don't want to. You humble me. You have made me stronger, and I don't want to see you as something negative, I just want to you to be the voice in the back of my mind, reminding me of the promises I have made to myself.

Dear Promise,
I have broken you before. I have betrayed you and done things I am not proud of. I have shamed loyalty. I have degraded trust. I have made mistakes. I have done this because I am human, and nobody is perfect. All I can do is have hope, that I will stay true to you in the future, and be true to the promises I have made to myself.

Dear Hope,
I know I depend on you a lot, but I need you more than ever right now. I need you in my life to get me to another day. I need you to help me believe that I can be the kind of person that I want to be, and that you can help me to keep writing letters. There are some I can't find it in me to write right now. But I know that if I keep you with me, I will find the right words. The right words for myself, and nobody else. I go to sleep with you every night, and wake up with you every morning.

Dear Dreams,
You are never far from my mind, and you are never gone away. Sometimes you seem out of reach, and sometimes you come to me at inconvenient times, but I don't care. I would rather have too many of you than none at all. I would rather have you be impossible than have nothing to reach for. You keep me laughing, you keep me believing in myself, you make me try harder, and write longer, and be braver, in hopes that some day you will no longer be my dreams, you will be my life.

Dear Life,
The best is yet to come.

"A Nice Evening at the MacKeigan Residence", written April 30th, 2006

I don't know if it is even possible to accurately describe the day I had today, but I'm going to attempt to do so as vividly as I can, within reason.
I woke up to Cyle crawling in my bed around 9am after a night of drinking with some boys, which was fine until he said, "Now would be the time when other people would have to puke, but not me, I hold it in." Thus followed by him hauling ass to the washroom and vomiting. Twice.
After waking him up around 12pm, I decided it would be nice if I made him some breakfast. I think things started to go downhill when he asked for scrambled eggs and I said, "I don't really know how to make them but I'll just guess as I go along". He threw them out. I guess they're not supposed to be brown and taste like burnt playdough. Or have shells in them.
After he left, Kate and I got ready to go to dinner at my parents place. I don't know why I was so eager to go, because I knew it was going to be a disaster. Which it was. Kate and I fought on the way there, when we arrived, during dinner and after dinner. Of course all of this is my fault.
Let me explain to everyone something about my family (and Kate has openly acknowledged that this is basically how it goes...) If I say something mean or give a dirty look, it's :"Megan, stop being so patronizing and bitchy to your sister." If Kate was to say or do the EXACT same thing, it would go "Megan, stop provoking your sister and grow up you selfish little bitch". Well, basically. I don't want to put words in anyones mouth.
I don't know if it's a younger sister thing or what, but it makes me cranky. Because I'm always wrong. I'm always the bad guy and I always start everything (apparently). So yeah, I get cranky. And rightfully so I believe. But can I say anything? NO. then I'm just furthering the proof that I'm being a bitch. So then I don't want to see anyone. So I leave. Apparently, this desire to be by onesself so one is not scrutinized or yelled at is NOT a simple act of wanting to keep to oneself. Oh no, this is 'sulking' and 'pouting', and 'not wanting to be a part of the family'. I'm SORRY if I don't want to sit downstairs in the basement with the 3 other freakshows and watch shows about people getting hit by trains and listen to my dad say things like, "Your mother is unhappy. And when your mother is unhappy, everyone is unhappy. Let's watch a funny movie", while waiting for dinner, but if I did, they would find some reason to blame me for my mother BEING unhappy, and perhaps even for people being hit by trains.
This is all just leading up to dinner, we haven't even gotten to the meal part yet, which believe me, is just as much a treat as the formentioned activities.
There is a reason why the four of us don't sit down to the dinner table together anymore, and I guess it just took this extended period of time apart to forget why, and about 5 minutes to remember. Let me paint you a pretty picture: Three obsessive compulsive idiots, one of which who is emotionally unstable (me) and one of which whom is intent on saying things that provoke those who are unstable (my father) and one who with one look can irritate even the most patient and loving of the human race (Kate), plus one emotional woman with hot flashes who ran out of barbecue propane in the middle of cooking steaks, plus one dog who will not shut up and stop begging but if you feed him meat he shits santan.
We almost made it, we did, until mom mentioned my cousins University graduation ceremony in May and asked if I was going. I rolled my eyes, because there's no way in hell that will be anything less than excrutiatingly tedious, and then my dad drops, "You better go Meg, it might be the only University graduation you ever get to go to."
Waterworks. In the middle of my steak and corn on the cob, I sobbed uncontrollably for the rest of the meal. Which made my mother sob (because once one Parker woman goes the rest of them do) which made my sister and my dad laugh, which made me cry harder. But was I comforted? No. I was made fun of. The emotional angst and guilt and confusion I have been carrying about school for months and months, the worrying and fear and wondering all came out at that fucking dinner table. And they just sat there. And kept eating, and took every opportunity to make a crack at the fact that I was having an emotional breakdown right in front of them.
Then my dad gave the dog steak. I hope he shits in his goddaamn slippers.
Then for some reason, my dad starts telling this fucking story about how last weekend he got really drunk and his friend Frank pants him, like full monty, in front of our Martha-Stuart-esque God-fearing neighbour Susan. Sadly, he doesn't remember if it actually happened, but Susan swears it did. Fortunately, Susan said she "didn't look". Mom says it wasn't that she didn't 'look', it's probably that she "didn't see", which then brought on a conversation about the size of my dad's manlihood no child should ever have to endure. Especially not at the dinner table while she's crying over a half cooked steak with a bow-legged yorkshire terrier scratching at her leg.
Therapy. I'm going to need much more of it that previosuly anticipated I think.
But as bad as the night was, I keep seeing signs everywhere. It sounds stupid, but I watched 'Inside the Actor's Studio' with Dave Chappelle and a lot of stuff he said helped me make sense of some stuff in my own life. About crossing lines, about being yourself, about not giving a shit about what other people think. About Africa. He's one of the most honest people I have ever heard speak, and it made me realize a lot of stuff.
Anyways, no matter how much clarity the guy who shouts, "I'm Rick James bitch!' gave me, I still need therapy. It really just can't come soon enough.