A Review of Last Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! Here’s a review of my 2016 resolutions:

  1. Finish the first draft of my novel
    I am definitely not even close to finishing the first draft, but I am working toward finishing the chapter summaries/outline. If I’m reading my productivity report correctly, I wrote for 31 hours this year, which really isn’t a lot. I’m learning a lot more about the techniques of novel writing and I know the outline will be quite useful in giving my story the structure it needs. I hope to finish the outline within a few months, and then I’ll have a much clearer vision for the first draft.
  2. Make more time for working out (at least 3 times a week)
    My workout schedule was terrible (rarely once a week, if at all) until it started picking up in August, near the end of my job contract. I did go to the gym a few times with my boyfriend and tried to get used to working out that way (with mixed results). Who knows what I was doing the rest of those months. I know in the summer months I was definitely outside a lot more, going on walks, doing stuff that didn’t get recorded in my calendar. There was definitely a commitment issue, though.
    During my three-month period of unemployment, my workouts multiplied to at least once a week, sometimes as much as four times a week. I’m trying to stay consistent in December, but with a full-time job now, it’s definitely going to be more of a challenge.
  3. Get my left and right splits
    Nope. After completing the Pop Pilates #JourneytoSplits challenge, I realized that getting my splits requires so much daily effort and needs to be a constant commitment. I would rather use that time to work on total body fitness (which didn’t work out so well either! See above). The splits are cool to have, but it’s not really a range of motion I need (to that extent) in my everyday life. I did notice progress in the splits challenge, and by the end of it I almost had my left splits. But it turned out to be too much effort for not enough pay-off.
  4. Get a permanent position at the library
    This was the most challenging goal, because it didn’t rely solely on my will power to achieve it. The library job market is been particularly dismal right now, and ongoing, entry-level positions are scarce. I’ve broadened my job search to other provinces and I finally managed to acquire a short-term contract close to home. Hopefully diversifying my experience will help! This is the one resolution I’m quite motivated to achieve because I don’t have much choice.
  5. Find new strategies of coping with anxiety and moodiness
    I really should have kept better track of this, because I can’t recall all the strategies I’ve used (if I was consciously using any at all) and which ones were effective or ineffective. I still throw tantrums sometimes, but I try to make sure they’re private. I think I’m becoming more aware of whether my mood is caused by some internal hormonal shift or by external circumstances (such as stress or an argument). One thing that definitely heightens my anger is when I know I’m not being listened to, so part of handling this issue is making sure I’m understood by the person I’m fighting with.
    I’m more aware now that there are consequences when I don’t keep my mood in check. If I’m frustrated or upset, I have to be careful about how I release it. More often than not, people don’t mean to hurt me, and if it’s not a persistent issue, it’s easier in the long run to just let it go.
  6. Make more time for self-care
    I’m not completely sure what I meant by this, but being unemployed certainly left me with a lot of time to look after myself! I established a loose routine to keep up my good habits. I started volunteering so I could add purpose to my days and get to know the city. This year, I was overall in a good place emotionally and physically.
  7. Read at least one book every month
    I’m not 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t achieve this pathetically easy goal. I wasn’t even keeping track. I’m trying to start reading before bed again, but that involves going to bed early, another good habit I’ve been struggling with. Now that I’ve got a job again, I’m getting a bit better at it, and being around books all the time gives me more incentive to read!
  8. Be a good neighbour to those around me (which means being patient, friendly, considerate, instead of shy and withdrawn)
    I’m trying my best to be more aware of how I come across to people and to reign in my emotions when necessary. I try to catch myself when I’m being anxious about something that’s not a big deal, such as replying to texts or making plans with someone I’m not close to. I’ve learned strategies to suspend judgement of people and expel negative thoughts from me, although I’m still working on becoming a more positive, accepting person.
  9. Set limits for my time on Facebook and find something more productive to do
    I didn’t set a limit for my time on Facebook, but I don’t think it’s as much of a problem as it used to be; I’m finding it less interesting. I go on news sites a lot more now; I hope to increase my political awareness.

2016 Resolutions

I’ll Feel For You – Semisonic

  1. Finish the first draft of my novel
  2. Make more time for working out (at least 3 times a week)
  3. Get my left and right splits
  4. Get a permanent position at the library
  5. Find new strategies of coping with anxiety and moodiness
  6. Make more time for self-care
  7. Read at least one book every month
  8. Be a good neighbour to those around me (which means being patient,  friendly, considerate, instead of shy and withdrawn)
  9. Set limits for my time on Facebook and find something more productive to do

Hello from the other side

I suppose I should write about this. It would feel wrong not to. So much has changed over the summer, with getting a job(!!), getting a boyfriend(!!!), becoming financially self-sufficient(!!!!) but I haven’t written about any of that. This blog was once a very intimate place, but now that I’ve been doing a lot more experiencing and a lot less reflecting, I  feel awfully disconnected from it. My goal is to work on my novel for at least an hour each day, which sometimes doesn’t happen (I’m striving to say ‘but usually it does’). So my musings and my songs and poems must be sacrificed for a while.

Anyway, what I came here to say is this: my grandmother passed away yesterday, after a week in the hospital. I can’t believe I can write that with such calmness. When I first heard the news, I was sobbing. When I came to visit and sat beside her hospital bed, I was dry-eyed and distant. I don’t know how I can be so out of touch. I still knew her as my grandma, even though she didn’t act like herself. Through it all, I felt her loving and sweet personality. I remember fondly the summer when I lived with her in her apartment. Sometimes she wouldn’t hear the alarm to wake up and I would go into her room and be a little nervous that something was wrong.

I’m predicting the loss will really strike me when I see her things again; the possessions always around her that she’ll never touch again.

I was worried that her hazy mind was going to cause her more suffering, to the point where we couldn’t communicate anymore. I think this way is better.

I have stitches in my scarf that I can’t get back again, and she isn’t here to fix them. Last time I saw her, I asked her if she could please fix it for me again, and she simply ripped out the rows until the mistakes were gone. I wonder if she still knew how to do it. I’m going to have to learn by myself now. It’s tough, even with all the books and videos showing me how.

Grandma, I love you so much. I was content when we spent time together. I’m glad you’re not in pain anymore. I’m glad you’re not worried.



Maybe I should tell you that I finally found your seam
Stitched along the heart line
Now you’re finally real to me

My body’s splitting at the tears
Threads still holding by the hairs
You don’t have to touch to care
You’ve brought me here to see

I was never meant to solve you
But you’re still pieces to me

I wonder what tomorrow this will be
The reality of you tints my untasted fantasies
I’ve been burning for a kiss
But in the space between I flinch
And I wish you knew how tightly,
and how rightly, and what for

It’s just me, my shadow and the wall
Staring at the open door

This infrastructure can’t support 
The cracks that we’ve ignored
And the tension buckles beams
Until the ceiling hits the floor
In this chaotic dream I flee toward
The foundation of our course
Of our course…

I don’t trust myself to perceive you exactly as you are
But the story’s so spellbinding
It’s a fiction I’ll believe when we’re apart

I close an eye, you shift the other way
I stutter, slip, and fail to say
I miss you more, the more I wait inside myself, so let me wake
My heart

Your voice keeps me steady and sane
Breaks up the static that drowns my brain

This infrastructure can’t support 
The cracks that we’ve ignored
And the tension buckles beams
Until the ceiling hits the floor
In this chaotic dream I flee toward
The foundation of our course
Of our course…


I still pretend that you’re holding my hand
But I know I’m just playing the game again
I’m the lover, you’re the Other
Stop me if you understand
I’m the lover, you’re the Other
Hold me if you comprehend
And let’s repair the tears [rips] again
Let’s prepare the tears [cry] again

I see your light on in the hall
And it tells me most of all

This infrastructure can’t support 
The cracks that we’ve ignored
And the tension buckles beams
Until the ceiling hits the floor
In this chaotic dream I flee toward
The foundation of our course
Of our course…

I’m the lover, you’re the Other
let’s repair the tears again
I’m the lover, you’re the Other
let’s prepare the tears again
Retreat back to the foundation

Love and Truth

Sex and religion have become really touchy subjects for me. I can’t entirely decide how I feel about either of them. This has me feeling really lost and alone. There have been times when I pushed the important questions away and other times when I’ve obsessed about them. I used to be so joyful with lesser knowledge. The only conclusion I’ve drawn is that I need to be by myself for the time being. How can I be in a loving, committed relationship when I don’t even know if we’re compatible in these basic areas? I worry that if I get a boyfriend, I’ll just base my opinions around his own, so we can get along and I’ll have my easy answers. It seems like people around my age are figuring this stuff out when they’re teens, and now they’re getting married and settling into the life they want. I’ve just been loving people and hurting myself for it. I put my guard up, I arm myself with assumptions and judgements, and I try my hardest to protect my heart. I’ve always been a very principled person, but it can be a real struggle to go against the crowd. I feel like the divide is widening between me and my friends who have found their soul mates.

Statement of Purpose

I’ve really got to think about where I’m at now in my life and what values I stake my faith in. My frame of mind is still skipping over a track that’s small-time, insular and selfish. This isn’t to say that I haven’t achieved wonderful things, or that I’ve made no progress. I have personal struggles that reflect on the way I act when I’m out in the world and these have to be dealt with so I can be a stronger, more confident person. While I’m working on my political/environmental/religious standpoints, overcoming my inner obstacles will give me the freedom to raise my voice. Here is my statement of purpose:

1.  It’s okay to be critical and it’s okay to criticize. There are issues that need to be called out. We have people in government behaving irresponsibly, whose eyes aren’t on the citizens they promise to serve, but on the power and privilege that accompanies their influence.

2.  Sometimes I’m going to feel like I have no friends. Other times, I’ll remember all the joy and warmth my friends have given me. I’ll encounter those who dislike me, and I’ll make mistakes, and I’ll hurt other people. I’ll carry on, trying to know better, but inevitably I’ll be confronted with similar situations again. Such is the nature of being with people and without them.

3. But I can’t stop dreaming. I’ve worked so hard, though not hard enough yet. I may not see a definite publishing deal or a “dream job” in my future, but it’s time to visualize success.

4. Everyone has value, even if I can’t see it at first. Sometimes I’m not meant to be the person who sees it.

5. People will always be happier and more successful than I am. There’s no point in trying to cast a shadow over them, belittling their achievements or their life choices. I should strive to share in their celebration of life, and believe that we can all be successful on our own terms. We all grow from different circumstances, and their life is in a completely alternate context from mine.

6.  Much of my inner conflict and resentment toward people comes from my inability to express myself articulately. I really need to work on having these important conversations with people where I can communicate what’s bothering me. Otherwise, I’ll just internalize and blame myself for negative feelings that could’ve just been remedied if I were better understood.

Now I just need a plan of action.


I’m so worn out by this.

Some friends don’t even reply when I’m upset, or they’ll change the subject when I’ve got an issue to address. I can understand people being busy, but when I don’t hear from them for days or months, it stays on my mind and I feel hung out to dry just waiting for a message.

If I bother them too much, I feel desperate and whiny. If I leave them alone, they don’t know about it. So why is it so hard to say something, even to simply acknowledge that I’ve been heard? Just speak and let it not be nothing.

It’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve opened myself up, written love notes, attempted to stay involved. I’ve listened hard; I’ve obsessed about us. What more can I bring to the table?

I went to a job interview today where half of it felt like a therapy session. I feel a bit drained right now and I don’t know how to let it out.

Why is it such a struggle to communicate? It can’t always be my fault.

I’ve tried so hard to make this work. YOU try. You’ve got so many friends you rely on when you’re having a tough time, but when I come to you, it’s because I really need you.

And there’s only so much dead air I can handle.

Sleeping On It.

I know it seems that I’ve been sleeping on this blog, but I don’t update it haphazardly. I want to find the most suitable thing to say, with the best way of saying it. I’ve been writing a few unfinished songs, and it’s a real challenge to get a song all the way out of me. So I have a ton of drafts that have been me interrupting myself, thinking “this isn’t a good idea, I probably shouldn’t take it any farther” or “this started out great, but where do we go from here?”.

I’ve also been working on a novel. I’m about eighty pages in, and I’m still unsure of what the major action is going to be. I mean, I have no idea how everything is going to turn out. I worry that I’ve put my characters in a room without a door, that I’ve created something I can’t coherently and eloquently write my way out of. I have to remind myself that it doesn’t have to be amazing; it just needs to work. Writers use the most basic tropes because they work, but they put their own original spin on it to make it fresh. I’ve got to keep trying though; I’ve done so much research and really done a lot to put it together at the back end. So what if it starts out slow? It’s not a final draft!

But I’ve gotten a bit scared. I didn’t write as much over the winter holidays — when I could have spent a couple full days doing it — because I was afraid the plot was stupid and going nowhere. I have to get accustomed to that feeling.

Good, pure and loving thoughts in which you truly believe can build you up, while negative, prejudiced thoughts can break you down. Get in a positive headspace. It makes such a huge difference to speak and act through a soft heart.


It feels so good and amazing to be alive. Being back in my hometown reminds me of how far I’ve come, how I’ve been doing things I never even imagined I could (achieving high marks, moving to a new city, maintaining steady employment, exercising more than once a week). I’m learning that I can never really guess what the future holds.

But I know I can be kinder, more dedicated. I can strive to live with a pure heart and a clear head. I’m pretty much stuck in my ways, but I don’t want to be too judgemental or morally superior. Sometimes I get annoyed and feel like I can’t handle things anymore. I feel like when I’m in a crowd, I always have the right of way — so if someone gets in my way, I have a right to be annoyed at them and to express my annoyance. I try to suppress it, but I worry that it shows through sometimes.

This year, I learned that it is in my advantage to be patient with people and to step away from trying to control everything. I’m especially grateful for my friends, parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I value their presence; they don’t have to show up, but they do! I suppose I’ve healed a lot more from losing friendships and having to make new friends in a new place. I’m more confident in myself.

If anyone is reading this, know that I have an open heart and there’s love enough for you. I’m shy and I’m scared, and I don’t trust easily, but I’m willing to give it time. I think about the people out there struggling and I’m weak for them. I sympathize. I’m trying to be brave while there’s still time. I’m trying to stand up while the social justice warriors are taking roll call. If not now, when?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, lovelies. Goodbye 2014, you beautiful number attached to a beautiful year.

I’m so proud

…that I’m hanging out with the people in grad school I’ve wanted to hang out with since first semester. They are the cool, cultured, intellectual, tasteful friends I’ve always aspired to know and they’ve made me feel so welcome as part of their group. They invite me to the bar with them and wait for me to get ready to go, with the door held open. When I talk, they listen to what I say, and when they talk, I learn so much about cultural influences and the interpersonal relationships going on in the program and in our professional world. I feel free to share my opinions and debate in a safe space. We can exchange small talk comfortably and they’ll tell me about their day-to-day lives. We even follow each other on Twitter! I’m so grateful and delighted to be included, and I feel a lot less alone.

This experience has opened up so many doors for me. Sometimes, when I feel so afraid of my public perception, I look at them, at how relaxed and accepting they are, and I feel alright. I’m learning about so many different lives through being in this program. People who have recently had kids, people planning their weddings, people who are constantly juggling family responsibilities, a job and high marks in school. It’s so amazing to get a glimpse of these worlds that I feel light years away from.

But I’m still me, and people seem to respect and accept that, even if I have no roots here. It’s wonderful to feel myself opening up again, making conversation and expanding my network of diverse friends.