This week I traveled to my hometown for a 24 hour visit. During that short timespan I felt a lot of “nostalgia”. There’s something about summer in the country that makes you miss growing up in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes I really miss being a kid. Well, not being a kid, but the scenes that stand out from my childhood. In retrospect, memories from my youth seem photoshopped and perfect, a problematic but enjoyable way of remembering my childhood. Everything seems easier but surely, it was not. I miss my old home, but I’ll make a new one. I’ll make it myself, just for me.
Growing up, I was serious loser. And I’m totally not being self-deprecating when I say that. I loved who I was in high school. I didn’t care about what anyone thought of me; I couldn’t be bothered with anything materialistic, and I put more thought into my schoolwork and extracurriculars than I put into my make-up and style. I started a diversity club in grade twelve, beat out the entire school (albeit, a school of merely 600 people) to win a youth optimist award, and I had badass hobbies and a lot of travel experience. I just didn’t fit in with anyone.
My hard work paid off. I got into both of my universities of choice and I’ve been consistently moving in the ‘right direction’. After all of that, I’m currently not ashamed to say that I care more about materialistic things than I did five years ago. But even though I no longer have a slight unibrow, and although I finally learned how to apply foundation and dress myself, I always feel like I’m still navigating the outside world of the social universe. I don’t think that feeling will ever leave me.
I’ve spent so much of my life trying to impress people that I’ve gotten to the point where I realize how superficial it is to put that ‘trying too hard’ effort into relationships that should come naturally. I weeded out a lot of friends in my last year of high school because I realized my relationship to them was always lesser. I was done trying to make them see that I was important.
I am still not a “white teeth teen,” as Lorde eloquently sings. And I’m okay with that. The funny thing is that I would whiten my teeth if I could. But my previous oral surgeries and tooth sensitivity prevent me from being able to do so. I drink a lot of tea so my teeth are a big insecurity for me. Sometimes I panic when I run out of my whitening toothpaste. But it’s obviously important to also question the concept of white teeth. Whitening something does not make it cleaner- it only makes it whiter. And frankly I’m happy with my smile. My high school self would pat me on the back.
Cuddling up in my home away from home. Although it feels like my actual home now, I still get a small feeling of ‘coldness’ whenever I come back to the city. Since I grew up in the country, basically any town with a larger population feels like a stranger to me, no matter how much I warm up to it. I feel this way the most when I visit Toronto (even though I grew up spending a lot of time there). I always ponder this insecure feeling I get when I arrive back from a trip to my hometown. It only lasts for a split second, but it must always be there inside of me. I like forests and quiet streets and I like the fact that in the country, I can go for a walk and see no one. I like not being seen. But in the city, eyes are everywhere. It kind of adds to my anxiety.
I’m glad to be home. :)
If you’re the person behind the camera lens, your life will always appear better in photos. Maybe it’s a narcissistic mentality or a subconscious reality. Either way, here are some photos I took today. It’s my twenty-first birthday.
(Sometimes I attempt to capture reality. Here is a photo of me immediately after waking up. My hair is a mess. But I used a filter to make this picture look better.)
(My favourite tea. I drink this every day. It’s probably staining my teeth.)
(My breakfast. I live off of instant oatmeal.)
(My corner of the shower. It takes a lot of product to be a person (this is satire). I’m not as high-maintenance as this photo makes me look.)
(I try to be clean. But toothpaste squishiness is always a reality.)
(The roses that I posted a few days ago are now dying. I’m drying them out upside-down.)
Today was a really weird day because I thought I wanted to spend my birthday like any other day. I did everything I usually do. Ate breakfast, showered, brushed my teeth, did work, blogged. Now I feel lonely, and I think it’s because of the societal expectation that one’s birthday is supposed to be this ‘huge’ event. My room mates are either working or away for the weekend and I told them (insisted, really) that I didn’t want to do anything special so I don’t blame them. It sort of sucks being alone today though, you know? (I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself, I’m simply just thinking too much.)
Today in my writing class, we had to do a ‘spontaneous combustion’ exercise. Basically, we had to write on a whim for two hours. All my professor gave us was a title and two lines; the first and the last.
At the end of the class, I wasn’t that happy with what I had written, but I was happy with how I handled the situation. I managed to somewhat finish a story in the spur of the moment and I was confident in myself while doing it. This time last year, I would have been a lot more anxious about the task. Today I was focused and I had faith in myself. I definitely feel as if I’ve accomplished something.
A collection of books that moved me into growth. (An on-going list.)
The Awakening – Kate Chopin
I happened upon this gem in high school. I believe I bought it for fifty cents. Life is great when passionate reads are available for under a dollar.
My Garden – Jamaica Kincaid
This book will change the way you think about plants and people. It’s for gardeners and non gardeners, this book is about more than just flowers.
A Lover’s Discourse – Roland Barthes
I haven’t finished this book, but I come back to it from time to time. That’s the beauty of it; it doesn’t read like your average novel. Barthes is known for his post-structuralist thought and that’s why I love him. This book is a dictionary/narrative about love and everything else. Because we all know you can’t have love without the plethora of ‘other’ emotions that exist alongside it.
The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
This book inspired my love of memoirs. This book became my most-loved memoir. This book is everything to me.
When You Are Engulfed In Flames – David Sedaris
Sedaris makes you simultaneously sob and mentally shriek with laughter. WYAEIF is one of my many favourites of his. This book made me feel so hard that I shudder to think of opening it up for a second read.
The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
I read this book in the twelfth grade and I still clearly remember the ending. It made me aware of so many systematic aspects of society and the reality of white privilege. And that was before I hit university/my women’s studies degree.
Tinkers – Paul Harding
I hated this book. Up until the last two pages. The author describes the experience of death and the emotion that goes along with it in a way that seems almost impossible to articulate. Yet articulate it, he does.
Do hearts have good retirement plans? Or are they simply mediocre? I ask this because I would like to know what happens when a heart moves on. (I’ve been feeling more literal aches in my heart and they remind me of the achey people I would like to forget. I’ve been wondering if my chest pains relate to stress.) I don’t know what to do with the plethora of connections that make my heart ache. I would love to ease my heart. To try and soften the connections with some of the people it hangs onto. Do I hold onto them for future reference? Or do I let them go along with some of my favourite memories. Can you really let a memory go? Memories are coping mechanisms. We use them to cope with loneliness. I used to be obsessed with them. Now I think I would like to pack all of my memories in a suitcase and travel with them to a country miles away. I would leave the baggage and return home empty-handed. I’d retire my heart, knowing I could revisit the past if I wanted to; but really I wouldn’t travel there again.