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My Darling Parka – An Ode

Though cold, biting winter approaches once more

Gusting gusts of wind, swirling swirls of snow

No longer do I cringe at what is in store

For I abide by my infallible parka.

 

While the biting frost can cut right to the quick

Freezing noses, numbing toes, chilling fingers

While slipping, sliding, skidding on the ice so slick

Through it all I remain in my parka

 

Bundled and cozy, covered up to my chin

With my hat and my boots and my scarves

I turn my face to great winter and welcome him in

For I wait safe and snug in my parka

 

Dearest parka, without you I know not what I’d do

In years past I have frozen and fretted

Now in your arms I face winter anew

With spark and real thirst for adventure

 

Come what may this cold winter we’ll face it together

With true vitality, great vim and vigor

Gallivant through this season and all of the weather

For with you, darling parka, I go forth with pleasure

 

- K

Why I Won’t Be Shopping On Black Friday

Don’t get me wrong, I like buying things on sale as much as anyone else. Well, actually, that’s definitely not true, since I won’t go to extreme lengths in order to buy things on sale. For example, I’ve never participated in Boxing Day shopping, partly because I hate the crowds and partly because I’ve just participated in a holiday where I spent hundreds of dollars buying things for others that they don’t actually need, and they in turn spent hundreds of dollars buying me things I don’t really need.

But Black Friday, much like its name, seems a lot darker and more sinister to me. It always reminds me of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 that kickstarted the Great Depression, which was dubbed “Black Tuesday” – perhaps appropriate as they’re both days on which capitalism has careened totally out of control.

Here are my own personal reasons for not participating in Black Friday sales:

  1. I don’t want to die. If you think this sounds a tad dramatic, let me refer you to a website called “Black Friday Death Count” that helpfully reminds us that the casualties from shopping on this day total seven deaths and ninety four injuries. SEVEN DEATHS. Wtf? How does this happen? I’ll tell you: several dozen people trampling a fallen man to get twenty dollars off a PS3. These scenarios sound so completely absurd that it sounds more like a dark satire commenting on consumer capitalism than actual reality. But this is where consumer capitalism has brought us: valuing deals on goods over human life. Which brings me to:
  2. I’m already too consumer-driven in my day-to-day life. I already have too much stuff and spend too much money on things I don’t need, while others in the world and in my very city lack the basic necessities. I already spend too much time caring about things rather than focusing on what’s really important in life. This is something I’m trying to reduce. We should all be trying to reduce our society-wide obsession with material goods, not dedicating a day to all-out binge on it.

Also, doesn’t it seem totally counterintuitive that Black Friday happens the day after American Thanksgiving? (We Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving back in October.) The day after a holiday supposedly completely dedicated to giving thanks for what we already have, people go out and aggressively buy a whole bunch more things… cognitive dissonance, anyone? My city got about thirty centimetres of snow in the past two days, and the temperature hit -20 degrees Celsuis. After two days of slipping and sliding and freezing while trying to get around to school and work, I’m just really happy to have a warm house to come home to and not worry about where I’m going to spend the night, as so many in this city are.

I have enough, Black Friday. You can keep your shit.

J

I’m baaack!

And it feels good. I’ve been on a blogging/writing hiatus for a long time while doing some serious soul-searching. I had a big year this past year. I graduated from university, started a new university program in a new field, switched jobs, ended an intense two-year volunteer commitment, moved, took on a mortgage, and tried to figure out what the hell I want to do with my life in a time when young people are receiving unprecedented amounts of information about what they should be doing with their lives. Let me tell you, it has not exactly been an easy ride. Especially since I’m not exactly a person who takes kindly to change. But I’ve learned a few things:

  • There is time. I’m 23. While I’ve taken on way more responsibility this year than I have ever before, I’m still so young. I need to embrace that. I can still wear neon nail polish, eat an entire pizza in one sitting without consequence, pull all nighters, and try out different things to figure out what I want.
  • No one can tell you your life. You can only read so many bullshit Thought Catalog articles about just how much travelling you should be doing in your 20s, or how many people you should date before you can settle on just one, before you lose your mind. If there’s one thing I really don’t need, it’s someone else’s idea of how 20-somethings should live their lives. No one can tell you who you are or what your life is.
  • Sit with the uncertainty. You know, my favourite life stories are never the ones where the person had it all figured out from the beginning. The best ones are where the person really just let themselves live and saw where that took them.
  • Be open. It’s easy to get into a mindset where you view yourself as being a particular way; a person who does certain things and doesn’t do certain things, especially as you get further into adulthood (…said the 23 year old. hehe). It’s easy to close off options for yourself without even really thinking about it. Once you start to let go of those self-imposed limitations, even a little bit, the world starts to open up in a whole new way, and life gets so exciting. Seriously. It’s like being fifteen again. (And say what you want about fifteen year olds, but I doubt I’ll ever be as raw and real as my young teen self.)

It wasn’t my first existential crisis and I’m certain it won’t be my last. Because no matter how much responsibility I take on or how much practical shit I have to deal with, I don’t ever want to lose that part of myself – the dreamer, the wisher, the artist. Living life is an art. I always want to be chasing that life where you can be the best version of yourself, you are always living to your fullest, where you feel like you are doing exactly what you are meant to be doing.

So that’s where I’m at. It feels good to be back! And boy, do I have a lot to say.

J

Ponytails.

Yep.

Yep.

23 questions to stop asking effective immediately

 

  1. Was I annoying last night?
  2. No, seriously, was I?
  3. Can you tell I already wore this article of clothing twice this week?
  4. Do I really need collision coverage on my car insurance? (Um. Yes.)
  5. Should I add guacamole to my order?
  6. At what point am I too old to reread Harry Potter?
  7. How many minutes should I wait to text back?
  8. Am I insane for listening to that one song on repeat for an entire work day because I was sad and it had the right vibe?
  9. Should I really eat that?
  10. Are other people judging me for being perpetually single?
  11. Is there too much garlic in this? (Um. No.)
  12. Am I really allowed to vote now?
  13. What did he/she/they really mean by XYZ?
  14. How many calories are in a glass (bottle) of wine? (Um. None.)
  15. Why am I having an emotional reaction to this commercial?
  16. Am I a loser for wanting to stay home tonight?
  17. Is this an appropriate occasion to drink bubbly?
  18. How can I possibly have spent that much money on novels?
  19. Am I insanely overdressed? (Always, darling.)
  20. What percentage of my income should I really be saving each month?
  21. Is this a socially acceptable place to take off my shoes?
  22. Is my laugh too loud?
  23. Can I have popcorn for dinner?

- K

 

But that’s okay. I was true to myself. Or whatever.

We throw around buzzwords/expressions like “be true to yourself!” and “self love!” and junk a lot. I had an experience over the weekend that really helped me get closer to understanding what being true to yourself really entails.
 

True to yourself means being honest, like reeeeeeally honest, with yourself and with others. True to yourself means taking the time and space to process and integrate and determine, as objectively as possible, where you are and what you want. Then, it means manning-up and asking for what you it. It also means being vulnerable and feeling exposed. It means knowing that you will work for the things of value that you have in life and that sometimes you won’t get them even if you do hope and want and try really hard. It means you do the smart thing rather than the hedonistic thing because you know better. It means knowing your worth and demanding that you are treated accordingly. It also means that nobody is obligated to love you and that you are obligated to love yourself before anyone else should anyway.

Putting yourself “out there” blows. So does honesty and full disclosure and steeling yourself to ask for something you want. Having all your cards on the table sucks because it makes you vulnerable and there’s a massive chance that you will get hurt. Which, hey, welcome to adulthood.

And you can tell yourself things like, “their loss” and try to believe them, if that helps. You can think that someone is wrong for not wanting to be with you or not being ready for a relationship, if that helps too. But only for a little while, okay?

Because, that’s what being a Grown Up is. Asking for what you want and saying what you need and speaking your truth and realizing that nobody is obligated to love you. Standing up and being clear about what you need is hard. But when you’ve given yourself the opportunity to say everything you have to say and ask for whatever that thing is, you are being “true to yourself”. That’s what that means. True to yourself is honesty and conviction.

I often get in too deep. I do it at work and with friends and in relationships. I care a lot and I don’t half-ass anything because partial efforts aren’t worth my time. It’s a wonderful quality and also makes me the source of my own heartbreak more often than not. My highs are amazingly high and my lows are unspeakably low because I am both an extravert and intensely emotional. I had a really hard time getting out of bed and then the shower and then my car this morning because yesterday I asked for something I really wanted from someone I really care for and I don’t think that I’m going to get it. But that’s okay. I was true to myself. Or whatever. Plus I have a dog and a bottle of wine waiting for me so fuck it, right?

-K

Good Intent

 Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of good intent. As a general rule, we enter situations and relationships with the best intentions. We want to grow or have fun or learn or bond. Rarely (I hope) do we enter into something with the aim of damaging ourselves or others. And while this is important and necessary, having good intentions does not excuse us from the outcome of our actions. Sometimes we move forward with positive focus and intent and end up hurt or hurting someone. It’s rarely on purpose but it still happens. And, intentions aside, responsibility must be taken there.

So often we hear “I never meant to hurt them” or “I would never put you at risk.” Of course you feel that way. Of course you had the best intentions. If you had bad ones, then you suck and that’s a whole other conversation. But of course you didn’t waltz in and decide to wreak havoc. You made the best decisions you could at the time and sometimes that ends up hurting in the long run. But your intentions aren’t the point. The outcome is the endgame.

We’re all afraid. And, as humans, we’re all just a huge source of emotional and intellectual liability to one another. All relationships have the potential to hurt and harm because they also have the potential to grow and nourish. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and it is important to move forward even though we’re a little scared of what someone else might do to us.

Good intentions are good. But, as always, actions speak far louder and your motives do not excuse you from the consequences of your behaviour. Continue to strive to do good and continue to take a good hard look at the outcome.

I don’t care that you didn’t mean to and, quite frankly, after a while I don’t really care that you’re sorry. You did anyway. That’s the issue.

- K

“Good Intent” – Kimbra

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