Thursday, September 1, 2011

i promise to, sing to you, when all the music dies

Grief is one of those inexplicable things that you can never really wrap your head around, can never really figure out how it happens the way it does or why it happens the way it does. All you know is that you're feeling it, and now you have to deal with it.

This incredible woman from my hometown passed away last night. She was both a friend's mother and my mother's friend. She had a nine-month long battle with an aggressive form of cancer, which was three times the amount of time the doctors had predicted she had left. She was a fighter.

But more than that: Linda was this support system for a lot of the folks in my hometown. See, Linda was one of the town's hairstylists. She did my hair from the time I was just a little thing and hardly had a reason to have my hair cut, right up until I made my big move last October. She lived through all my big moments with me: my graduation from grade 8, my prom, my scary roommate drama, my mom's own diagnosis, my graduation from undergrad, my decision to gtfo of town--Linda was there. She listened, she supported, she encouraged. She cheered with me (and with my own Momma) when I had success and shook her fist at the people who'd done me wrong. She was the first person I ran to when I'd inevitably screwed up my hair on my own: she kept me from doing crazy things to my hair, but always supported what I wanted to do. She made sure I looked good so that I felt good, and always knew just what to do to make it better. She wasn't just my friend's mother, or my mother's friend. She wasn't just a hair dresser. Linda was a friend, a support system and, particularly during her battle, an inspiration to all of us.

So maybe this is why Linda's death is hitting me so hard. Like I said, grief is inexplicable. By all accounts, I knew this was coming and should have better prepared, but I'm an emotional creature (some might say too much sometimes) and all I can do is sit here and think and feel...sad. For me, but also for her family. For her husband, whose world revolved around her. For her daughter, only a few years younger than I, who now has to finish her growing up without her Ma. For the grandkids Linda never got to meet, or the son-in-law she never got to have; for the wedding hair of mine she'll never do, and for all of the people in our town who will miss her more than words can ever explain. I cry for me, for my family, for them, for all of the missed moments yet to come.

But while my town mourns, we need to keep in mind things...Linda taught us all a lot: to love fully, to experience life to the fullest, to appreciate the little moments, to fight. I'm going to take those lessons and live my life that way, because sad as I am, I know that's the best way to honour her and her memory.

So today, everyone: hug a stranger, tell the people who matter that you love them, do something crazy that you've always wanted to do. Laugh until your stomach hurts. Eat that extra piece of cake. Live a lot. Don't ever waste a day.

Rest in peace, Linda. I know you're out there somewhere, cheering us all on, just like you always have. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

it's gettin' lonely livin' upside down

there's this boy with beautiful eyes who breaks my heart everytime he looks at me.

its little by little
piece by piece
but i can't blame him
because he doesn't know

there's this boy with beautiful eyes who sews me back together every time he smiles at me

its little by little
and piece by piece
and i can't thank him
because he doesn't know

there's this boy with beautiful eyes who makes my soul smile every time he talks to me.

it skips and it jumps
it feels understood
and i can't tell him
because he can't know

there's this boy with a beautiful eyes who means the world to me.
it turns out he gets me
but he'll never know

do you know you're unlike any other/ you'll always be my thunder

Remember the time I didn't blog for an entire summer, because I was too busy quitting my old job then trying to get it back for the school year, prepping for my MA, working full-time at a sweet theatre job, acquiring a semi-roommate and then both of us trying to acquire a two-bedroom apartment upstairs and just generally living life? Yeah, me too.

Amidst the madness that is my life and obviously the things I've been up to, blogging has slid away from me the way that books half-finished have slid under my bed: I know that they're there and need paying-attention-to, but I just haven't the time or inclination to do so.

Now, staring down the barrel of my 23rd birthday, and the end of my year off from formal, post-secondary education, I recognize the need to get back to my blog. My brain churns with crazy thoughts, and I want to get them all down, but as it stands, I don't know how to put it all into words. It's almost been a year since I started this thing, and looking back I can see how I've grown. I need to keep growing, and keep recording. Lord knows it keeps me grounded.

So hello again, blogosphere. Let us not be apart for so long ever again.

Monday, May 30, 2011

i'm done with how it feels, spinnin' my wheels, lettin' you drag my heart around

Between busting up my baby toe, battling my new roommates the carpenter ants (I will win this one yet!), working, and getting all kinds of exciting news, May has been one of those crazy months that just flies by.

Part of the reason is that I took a trip up to my hometown in the nord. I celebrated a birthday with one of my oldest and best friends in the world; I belatedly celebrated mother's day and my Gram's birthday with the women who mean most to me; and I got a chance to see my Momma before her shoulder surgery this week.

Overall, it was a great trip. The weather was mostly awesome, and I got loads of good news, including: a) that I got into grad school for September; b) that I got a sweet theatre-related summer job I applied for and c) that the parentals gifted me my birthday present a few months early, in the form of a new laptop, since the old one gave up on the whole living thing (RIP little guy!)

Despite all of this visiting-and-great-news awesomeness, a trip to the north ultimately results in me re-evaluating my life choices and plans. This is a theme that has carried through the remainder of the month.

See, here's the thing: everyone and their uncle seems to have some sort of plan. Whether it be that they want to have kids by the time they're 30, or that they're currently planning to buy a home in the north within the next year, or that they're engaged to their partner and are planning a wedding: it seems like everyone is moving forward with their lives, like everyone has some sort of concrete plan.

And for awhile there, it had me feeling left behind. Here I am, just a girl on her own, floating through life with no real plans at the moment. Yes, there's work, and yes, there's grad school on the horizon, but I haven't got any of those "settle-down" plans set in my brain yet, and seeing so many of my friends, both old and new, have these things plotted out for themselves made me worry. I had about a week where I thought I was doing everything wrong, and that I needed to get this shit sorted out, 'cause clearly everyone else does!

Ah, yes. That freakout. But returning home (my L-dot home, that is), always returns my perspective, and I realized that it's silly of me to be having that freakout. That girl isn't me. I'm not the kind of person who wants to settle down just yet; I'm not the kind of girl who does well with carefully constructed plans. I've always done better flying by the seat of my pants--some of my best life choices have been done that way. I like not knowing what life's going to throw at me. I like letting things happen naturally, organically, the way the universe wants them to. And I love the sense of adventure I get the whole time I'm just going with the flow, living.

With all of that comes the realization that I also am really good at exaggerating. There are a lot of people who have these plans in my life right now, yes, but not everyone is planning their life out in meticulous detail right now. Not everyone is looking to settle down just yet. I've got people around me with the same goals and fly-by-night tendencies that I've got...and that's awesome. We've all got to do our own thing. As long as my friends are happy doing whatever it is they're doing, whatever it is they're planning, I'm a happy girl. And I'm happy with who I am, what I am, and what I choose to do (or plan).

Someone close to me recently called me a "free spirit".

Free. Spirit.

I like the sounds of that.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

we're like fire and gasoline, i'm no good for you, you're no good for me

The title of this post has nothing to do with the post itself. I've just been listening to it on repeat. You're all welcome.

I've recently been plagued with a question that I don't have the answer to, a thought that I just can't seem to get rid of. See, after a series of events, I've started to wonder if I'm kind of a bitch.

...I'm not kidding. I know that I'm loud, and I usually say whatever it is that I'm thinking. I'm aware that I can be a lot to handle or rub people the wrong way and that my honesty about certain scenarios and my intense loyalties can come across as jarring.

But I've always prided myself on also being fun and well, sweet: it would kill me to know that something I said in jest actually hurt someone else. I don't go out of my way to be a jerk, and I don't think of myself as confrontational so much as just honest, so if you've wronged me, you're going to know about it. And lately I've been confronted with the notion that maybe this honesty is just perceived as a penchant to be bitchy. Here's why:

Instance Number 1: I was driving some folks home after an evening of rehearsing for UWO English's Summer Shakespeare production, Antony and Cleopatra (And yes, I just plugged my show. Click the link). As we were putting along in Mia on this incredibly rainy evening (thanks, L-dot, for always raining), one of the guys who I'm only really acquainted with made a remark about if we wanted him to be quiet he could ride in the trunk. I laughed, and replied "Don't worry, if I want you to be quiet I'll tell you". Other passengers, who are close friends of mine, laughed and responded "Yeah, that's about the extent of it". Passenger one says, "Yeah, you struck me as that kind of person. No offence or anything".

And I'm not offended. Not even a little. But I worry that I've offended someone else.

Instance Number 2: I get a text message after a night out from one of my favourite people in the world. She has received a message from an ex of hers, that said something along the lines of "I saw Jess in line at bar X. I was going to say hi, but she'd probably kill me." We laughed about it, but it made me think. Yes, he had wronged her, and yes, I was upset for her when it all happened. I haven't seen him since (shocking, since I run into everyone else's exes). I will let people know when they're douchey, but it's been months. Does he not think I'm capable of being awkwardly polite? (Please see earlier posts for proof that I am!!) Do I really seem like such a bitch that if you hurt my friend I can never, ever just drunkenly say "hi" to you if we happen to bump into each other on the busiest street in the city??

For the record: I said bar X because I don't want you to know where I was actually standing in line. It's embarrassing. For reals.

So there you have it: reasons why I've been pondering how I deal with people and if somehow under my bubbly exterior I actually come across as a huge bitch. Seriously, it's been plaguing me, because I don't want to come across that way.


After several chats with several of my really close friends, I've come to the tentative conclusion that I'm not a bitch, that I am just honest and open with people and comfortable (relatively) with who I am and what I say, in a take-me-or-leave-me-but-I-ain't-changing-for-you-alone kind of way. And that makes up part of who I am, and part of what I like about myself. And that's okay.

But I'll probably still check myself a little when the potential for sarcasm or bitchiness comes up--just in case.

Friday, April 15, 2011

she said, "you make me better, boy, I just mailed you a letter, boy, and oh so you know I'm still in your sweater, boy"

If you read the title of this post and now have this Hedley song playing over and over in your head, I'd like to apologize.

I'd like to, but I won't, because I can't get rid of it either. Misery loves company and all that jazz. Though, sometimes, misery needs its own personal space, a little alone time, too.  For example: have you ever just had one of those nights where you needed to drive? Not anywhere in particular, not with an endgame in mind, but just drive around aimlessly?

I had one of those last night.

I dropped off some friends, with the full intention of heading home. I pointed Mia the Kia in the direction, but when it came time for me to turn down my street, I just didn't. I went the opposite direction, looped around the city about twice, my new playlist of sappy, slow, rainy-day kind of music (including the Hedley song!!!)playing all the while.

I didn't do it to kill the environment with a few more gas fumes. I didn't do it because I can afford to waste gas (lord knows no one can with the prices these days...vom!). I really didn't even do it because I was particularly in need of time killing--who is really?

I did it because I needed to think. And sometimes just trying to get the thoughts out in text form, be it in a notebook or here in this little blog o mine, just isn't enough. Sometimes I need to drive around in the dark and think about the things that are bothering me, til I can formulate them into sentences, enough to put them down on paper or in a blog post.

So here it is:

I've been letting myself down. I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but it's also true.  I made a promise to myself this year that I was going to be braver. I wrote it down on paper, I wrote it in my blog, I labelled it a resolution, and so far, I've done nothing but let myself down and break it altogether. Which is crap. I didn't make it so I could just stare at it and think "Oh, Jess"--I made it to keep it, and yet I haven't. And why?

Because I'm scared. Good Lord, am I scared. It's interesting- I can make big changes and take big risks when it comes to things like moving, or work, or applying for grad school. But make me think about my personal life, and holy henna, it goes to hell in a handbasket.

See, the thing that spawned this entire need-a-drive thought process of mine, aside from there being someone particular in mind, are the two friends I dropped off before I took said drive. They are just one of the cutest couples I have ever known. I knew them pre-their coupledom, and they're easily some of the coolest cats on the planet, and they just make each other smile and laugh and they're so freaking awesome that I realized I want that. I really, really want that, and I'm so freakin' sick of not having it because I'm too scared to take a chance, to risk a friendship; too scared to see that there's possibilities beyond rejection, and far too terrified to put my heart out there just in case. I'm one tough chicka, but it took a lot of hurt to get me that way, and I haven't yet been able to let it go. "Once bitten, twice shy" and all that.

But I'm tired of being a cliche, and I need to take the reins and stop being such a chickenshit.

With big risks come big rewards, and I'll never know until I try.

So here goes.

Wish me luck?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

i can't decide if i'll let you save my life, or if i'll drown

And once again Jmart fails the blogging by only posting one during the entire 31 days of March.

I'd like to lie and say that there's a really good reason, but there isn't. Typing in the medieval torture device that was the wrist brace I ended up in was crappy, and I didn't have a whole lot of anything to ponder.

But now I do.

And instead of being able to sum it all up in my usual verbose way (oh, that was an oxymoronic sentence), I've decided to give you this:

It's "Arms" by Christina Perri, an artist I discovered only recently, though I'm told her "Jar of Hearts" single has been around for quite some time and I've apparently just been hiding myself under a musical rock.


Her words speak everything I want to about my scenario. And yes, there is a boy, and as a result this song has been on repeat for me for days, because it gives me this feeling of just being understood. Her struggle between wanting to be loved and worrying about destroying the one who loves her; between finding her place in their arms and still wanting to run and look for her place; they're me. They're all me right now, they're everything I've wanted to say and everything I can't say. I want to be saved. I want to be caught when I fall. I want all of those things, but I'm more terrified of trying to get those things than I have been of anything else in my life (including an incident in my store with a bird, which, for the record, is really effing terrifying. For me.)

So just listen to the song. Listen to all of her songs. I hope they help you think...of me. Of you. Of your wants and dreams and hopes and fears and how you're going to get those all into one place and ultimately get what you want and who you want and who and what you deserve.

I promise that as it plays over and over, I'm doing the same. For you. For me. For all of us.