Romantic Musings in New Zealand

I dreamed about him last night.

Not him but the last him, “the one that got away.”

Since I’ve come here I’ve slept well and deeply (surprising since I share a double ‘bed’ in the back of a small van.)  Because I’ve had no access to weed and barely any money to spend on drinks I’ve been recalling my dreams in vivd detail.  Every morning I wake up astounded and quickly relay them to Kennedy before they’re gone forever.  I’ve even started writing them down for fear they’ll slip away.
When I woke up this morning I did not write this dream down.  In fact, I shook my head and released my mental grasp on it, letting it fade away into the recesses of my memory.  Because when I woke up the feeling that lingered was pain.
The details are non-consequential: he was there with me and it felt good, great.  Then he was gone with no explanation, no goodbye and the hurt came on loud and strong.
This is the second time I’ve dreamt of him since I got to NZ and both times were the same.  It’s funny that I don’t dream of him in a romantic or sexual way, its just these melancholy memories.  I can’t help but laugh and say: I get it subconscious, just let him go already.  He’s not for me.
And for the most part I have, I just wish I had closure.  Maybe someday…

I’ve been reflecting a lot on relationships these days.
I read Susan Miller’s predictions for me for the month of December and she reiterates what she’s been saying for a while:

Saturn, the tough taskmaster planet that seems to have been causing you frustration in terms of your love life, will move out of Scorpio and your fifth house of love on December 23 . . . [Y]ou have been coping with Saturn since October 2012, a planet that limited your enjoyment of love, but relief is finally in sight. . . .  [I]f you are single, meeting someone new was hard to do. . . . Think back to all you learned in the 2 years starting October 2012 and pat yourself on the back.

Basically my love struggles are coming to an end and it’s true that I have felt Saturn’s presence.  I spent the last year unable to really meet anyone new and those I did meet (all two of them) acted so selfishly and disappointed me so completely.  I spent the previous year plus fighting for a relationship that seemed doomed and wondering whether or not I should throw in the towel.  Susan predicts that I’ll feel that changed after the new year or after September.  Little-Miss-Hopeless-Romantic should be jumping for joy, contemplating who this new love interest might be, but instead I feel myself shrugging, Meh.

I don’t feel it, I can’t see it even in my wildest imagination and truthfully, I don’t want it.
Maybe last summer hardened me, maybe my last sexual encounter was so disappointing that it left me defeated, I don’t know what it is but something inside of me has changed.  I’m not the love sick little puppy I was months ago and that scares me, because when you’re truly happy, when you genuinely want to be single that is when a too good to pass up guy falling into your lap and fucks up your life.

It’s crazy, I’ve been without him for one year now.  In no time at all I’ll have beaten my personal record for singledom (One and a half years, but I was desperately looking and sleeping around the entire time.)  It feels good, it feels right.  Finally I feel complete and satisfied in myself, finally I realize all the freedom I have and how to focus my love on myself.  I have to ability to walk away from a bad situation and leave it in the past.  Have I looked back?  Sure, I am, if nothing, nostalgic but I haven’t turned back and haven’t even really considered it even in my lowest, drunkest states.

It’s weird, here I am at 27 years old and I feel like my life is just beginning.  Most people my age have done the “travel thing.”  They’ve seen what they want of the world and long to settle down, get married, have kids yet I’m the complete opposite.  I’ve had a taste of domesticity and I never want to go back.  I want to be free and experience the world.  I don’t mean just travelling and sight-seeing, I want to be a part of it all, I want a different life every year. I want to live and chill out in NZ.  I want to teach English in SE Asia.  I want to live in Italy and FINALLY learn Italian.  I want so many things.  It’s all finally happening.

It’s funny, when I first moved to the Resort Town I wrote about seeking independence and freedom and confidence.  This week, Kennedy went to Australia to visit some friends.  I navigated across the South Island to the most beautiful camping spot overlooking a surf beach.  I’m driving across a foreign country alone and without any doubts or hesitations.  How’s that for independence?

So much has changed in such a short time and yet here I am, sitting on the beach watching a mess of surfers fight for waves.  So much has changed in me and yet the scenery is much the same.  Nothing but good things, coming my way.


The Hippy Flip

Bloggers Note:  I do not condone the use of drugs, but I personally find they are incredible tools for self discovery.  Please keep any judgement to yourself.

I’d been having the greatest time of my life, but I was really missing my closest girlfriends.  So when Suki and her boyfriend Paul came up for an impromptu visit, I was over the moon.  The three of us went into town and met up with my two favourite girlfriends here, Violet and Kennedy.  We all sat on a patio pounding back margaritas and discussing various options on how to spend our night.  I mentioned that Paul had brought an endless supply of MDMA.  Violet squealed that she had just received a huge amount of mushrooms, “We HAVE to hippy flip you guys!  Tonight is THE NIGHT!” (Hippy flipping is combining MDMA and mushrooms to get the ecstasy of the M with the visual stimulant of the mush.)
Suki and Paul looked hesitant, I was totally on board.  A bunch of us headed to my house and began barbecuing and drinking.  As it got later we all took the M and started feeling its effects immediately.  We decided to cab to staff accom so we might have a fire on the beach.  Once down at the fire with our huge group of co-workers, Paul and Violet started handing out party favours freely and before long there was 15 or so of us waiting for the effects of the combination to hit us.  And boy, did they ever hit us hard!  We were all cuddling and holding each other around the fire while intermittently running and splashing in the ocean waves.  The sand was rippled with water and the orange crescent moon reflected off the smooth surface, bouncing and dancing with every step we took.  The phosphoresce glowed in the crashing white wash.  Violet, Kennedy and I held each other closely as the water lapped at our ankles.
“Can you believe this is our life?” Violet whispered.  “We get to live here and see this every day.”
We held hands while spinning in circles while screaming, “I love my life!”
Throughout the night I would stare up at the sky, arms raised above my headed and opened towards the heavens and would let out the heaviest sigh.  There was so much beauty, I couldn’t handle it.  I felt overwhelmed by my own insignificance.  I could see every constellation in the sky, the animals jumped out from every direction.  The stars were all webbed, linking together like the ceiling of a circus tent and all the light in the sky, all the energy seemed to be focused on the cluster of stars directly above us.  My mind cried over and over again, “This is for you.  This is all for you.”  Looking up at the night sky I knew, that something big, something great was coming for me.  I didn’t know what and I didn’t know when, but I could feel it in my soul.  As the sun started rising, we all began coming down and began our trecks back to our respective beds.  After a 2 hour nap, we were all back on my patio, sprawled across blankets, still tripping over the swaying tree tops and watching eagles and falcons circulate overhead.  We smoked doobies and drank beer in the hopes of evening out.  I had spent the entire night enthralled with feelings of love and friendship for all of those around me, but now that the fun was over I craved a cuddle session with a beautiful man named Dan.  I texted him, he responded, I fell asleep, we didn’t meet up.  The next day I felt better but still a bit “off.”  I set to work baking a cake for my roommates birthday when I realized I had no milk.  I sauntered down the road to my brothers house to borrow a cup, but with no one home and nothing in view except almond milk, I went next door to ask Dan.  He greeted me with a  huge hug, gave me the milk and asked if I wanted to hangout.
“I’ll come by around 10” he said.
“You better text first, I might be in bed,” I responded.
The man showed up within 10 minutes.
After amazing cake and amazing sex I finally felt like things were starting to go my way, like I was in control of our relationship for once and that I could handle being just friends with benefits.  I went to bed late, but feeling fantastic.

When I woke up the next morning my attitude had done a 180.  I was sick.  Really sick.  Like, can’t-get-out-of-bed sick and totally miserable.  I cried out loud when I thought about my half-marathon in a mere 2 days, I couldn’t believe that after all my training I may not even be able to run it.  I wanted to be babied and considered texting Dan (after all, I’d been so nice to him when he was sick, didn’t he owe me the same?) but my pride wouldn’t let me.  I didn’t need him, I had plenty of doting friends.  Kennedy brought me a joint and some munchies in the hopes of cheering me up.

My race day arrived and I felt miserable while running the course.  The entire time my mind kept returning to Dan.  Could I be okay with only a physical relationship?  Could I handle him sleeping with other women?  Could I do without the emotional support?  Did he even care about me at all?  I made up my mind that the true test would be if Dan texted me to say “Good luck” or “Hey, how’d the race go?” I had been talking about it for weeks, if he remember then maybe he really did care.  The race day came and went and nothing.  I felt disappointed but not entirely surprised.  My disappointment turned to anger and humiliation and all night long my idle mind thought up various terrible scenarios in which he was using me.  I began overanalyzing everything he’d ever said and done and coming to the most negative conclusions.  The next morning, before I headed home, I walked out onto the black jagged rocks and meditated to the sound of crashing waves.  When my eyes opened, most of my anger had dissipated and I knew what I had to do.  I needed to swear off men…


I Don’t Need a Man

I need a man!
That was the mantra circulating in my brain when I first arrived.  Maybe not so clearly, maybe not in so many words, but subconsciously, over and over again, “I need a man, I need a man, I need a man!”
I wanted so badly to believe that true love would find me here.  That I would finally feel certainty in a relationship and that everything else would just fall into place.  My first few days in staff accom, I scouted out every potential suitor, but no one came close to meeting my criteria.  I considered settling just to have someone who was bound to me, someone to show me the ropes rather than me having to stake out my own space.  The psychics words rang constantly in my ears.  It’s spring, where is he!?  I wondered, exasperated.  I went to every party, every social event hoping he would be there, but no one I met held my interest, yet still I felt like there was someone out there, trying to find me.

After one particularly vexing day I went out to my favourite thinking spot: a small island attached to a nearby beach whose twisted trails lead to a perfect vantage point atop a rocky bluff, overlooking nothing but sparkling sea and crashing whitewash.  There I sat and meditated, surrounding myself with positivity and love.  I chanelled adoration from friends, family, people I hadn’t even met yet.  I told myself that I needed nothing in this world and was already so blessed.  As I wandered back home I felt content, like nothing could hurt me and that only good things could happen.  That very night I met Dan.

I had planned to meet up with my brother and attend a Cinco di Mayo party in our neighbourhood, but I was considering bailing.  I was just about to text him and say that I wouldn’t be making it, but at that moment he texted me, urging me to stop by for some pre-drinks.  I decided that I needed to venture out of my comfort zone and meet some new people and told myself that only good things could come from saying “Yes!” to life.  I grabbed a bottle of wine, a poncho and headed down the road.
“Come in!” my brother shouted when I knocked. I walked through the door and he was sitting with two guys I’d never seen before.  One was blonde, one was brunette, both were cute.  I was introduced to the brunette as Dan, my brother’s neighbour, and thought nothing more of it.
As the night grew hazier and more people began to arrive, Dan made a tasteless joke that launched us into a ridiculous discussion.  The two of us were laughing hysterically, deep in our own conversation and ignoring everyone else. Eventually we all headed to the party and I lost sight of him.  I was feeling pretty awkward and out of place, Dan had resurfaced but was in the midst of what looked like an intense conversation with a good-looking girl.  I was just about to leave and start walking home when he struck up another conversation with me.
“Man, I really wanna smoke some weed right now.”
“Me too,” I responded, “I was just thinking about walking to my house and rolling a joint.”
So he joined me and the two of us sat in my room rolling doobies and laughing over some obscure joke.
When we got back to the party everyone had cleared out.
“Shit, I still really wanna some this joint,” I muttered.
“We could go to my house,” he suggested. “Maybe watch a movie?”

At his house we perched awkwardly at either end of the couch.
What am I thinking, coming to this strange man’s house? I wondered
“I should get going, it’s getting late,” I started up.
“I’ll walk you,” he insisted.  “Don’t want you to get snatched up by a cougar.”
At my door, I felt overwhelmed by nerves.  I was scared he would try to kiss me and I barely even knew him.
“You’re really cool,” I began “let’s hangout sometime.”
We exchanged numbers.  Still nervous, I leaned in and gave him a hug.  His strong body engulfed mine, it was one of the most sensual hugs I’ve ever received.
I climbed into bed, grinning from ear to ear, heart pounding.

A full day passed and I didn’t hear from him.
I had just convinced myself that I’d imagined the entire encounter when my phone lit up with a text from him.  We bantered back and forth and he asked me if I wanted to hangout and blaze again.  I was nervous to see him as I was having trouble recalling what he looked like and I prayed my beer goggles weren’t too thick.  When he showed up, I breathed a sigh of relief: tall, muscular, tanned and bearded with piercing blue eyes and a winning smile.  Stoned shenanigans and movie watching followed and once again he walked me home, but this time we leaned into each other and locked lips.  It felt slightly forced and awkward and I retreated into my house feeling disappointed, but hopeful.  We made plans for a sober beach day, aka “a real date.”

When I showed up at his house he opened the door and immediately stated, “I have some bad news.”
Uh oh.
“I just got back from the doctor’s and I have tonsillitis.  I’ll be contagious for the next 48 hours, soooo I can’t kiss you.  No matter what.”
We still had our beach day, but he began to look under the weather so we cut it short.  I offered to bring him some tylenol from my house and stopped to buy him ice cream.  The store only had Haagen-dazs and I forked up the $15 for a pint.  He expressed his delight when I dropped it off, but all the way home I felt bad, really bad, incredibly low.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d been played for a fool.  I enjoy doing nice things for other people, but this time it felt wrong, like he didn’t deserve my kindness and I wasn’t sure why.  I was slightly relieved when he sent me a huge thank you text message, but still something didn’t quite feel right.

I asked around about him, but could dig up no dirt.  Everyone I talked to simply said he was a good guy.
He texted me to say he was feeling way better and wanted to take me out for lunch.  We spent hours talking about anything and everything and barely touched our food.  By the end of the day we were in my bed making out and it didn’t feel wrong at all.  When he took off his shirt to reveal his Greek God-like body, I practically drooled at the sight.  We finally came up for air; it was 9 pm and I was late for a party.  We made plans for the following night and I hurried to staff accom in my makeshift toga, lips red and swollen from the night’s activities.  At the party, a few friends I’d seen while out on my date complimented me on what a beautiful pair we made.  I felt giddy.  Could this really be it?  Could it really be that easy?  Of course, it wasn’t…
The next night we slept together and I stayed over at his house.  The sex was outstanding and although I was disappointed by some *ahem* short-comings, the man more than made up for it.  I left early for work and fantasized about him all day.  Little did I know that would be the first and only time I would sleep in his bed.

We met up again the next day and spent the entire afternoon lying out on his deck, soaking up the sun and smoking weed.  We went out for food and then indulged in some afternoon delight.  After we finished, he went for a surf, I went home and didn’t see him again for 5 days.  In those days we texted back and forth, he invited me to some concert, but I opted out.  I was dying to see him again, but tried to remain patient and aloof.  When I finally did see him, things weren’t quite right… He immediately began talking about the concert, “You should have been there to protect me,” he began.  “This annoying girl latched onto me and wouldn’t go away.  Then she made me ride home with her, then she got locked out of her house and begged to crash at my house.  I set her up on the couch and she just kept trying to get with me, it was so annoying!”
Ummm… What?! Are you telling me this because you’re being honest or because you fucked some chick and you think it might get back to me?  Either option left me feeling uneasy.
Post-coitus, he asked if I wanted to go out for a smoke.
After we did, he put on his shoes, quickly kissed me, said “I’ll be in touch” and left. I’LL BE IN TOUCH?!  WTF IS GOING ON?!?!? And so began my descent into over-analytical chaos as I tried (unsuccessfully) to decipher his actions and words.

The next morning I felt like an absolute asshole.  I ran for 2 and 1/2 hours to try and clear my head, but it didn’t help.  I bitched on the phone to my girlfriends who suggested I chill the fuck out.  I drank an entire bottle of wine and cried.
That night marked the beginning of my internal battle.  Was Dan the greatest person I’d ever met or was he the worst?  Could I keep up a sexual relationship with nothing more or did I need the emotional support as well?  Was I crazy about him or just plain crazy?  I avoided the “where is this going?” conversation because I didn’t want to know the answer.  If he wanted a relationship, I wasn’t ready and if he wanted no strings attached, well, that hurt just as badly.  I encouraged myself to stop overthinking it and take it day by day until I could at least sort out my own feelings.

On one particularly sunny day we walked down to the beach.  On the way he turned to me and started, “So, you’re roommate has been talking to some of the girls at work” (as my new roommate worked at the some resort as Dan) “and she told them that you and I are seeing each other.”
“Umm… okay?”
“I just don’t want them knowing my business, they get so nosey especially when it comes to who I’m dating.”
“Umm… sorry?”
“It’s not your fault, it’s hers.”
He sounded thoroughly annoyed and I was too shocked to know how to respond.  This wasn’t the first time he’d mentioned keeping things discreet, this is a small town after all and he is a “local” or more local than my seasonal self.  After the conversation, I couldn’t get his words out of my head.  Why would he try to hide me?  Why would he be ashamed?  When we got back to my house he declined sex because he was “too tired.”  I felt the sting of rejection.  Later, he texted me to apologize, but the damage was done.

The next day when I woke up I felt mad, irrationally angry and just all round pissed off.  I wanted to punch him in the face.  I agonized over the situation all day.  When my mom got into town that afternoon to visit, I rehashed the issue to her over several glasses of wine.
“I don’t know what to do, he’s just soooo beautiful,” I whined.
“Listen to me,” my mom slurred, “Good looking guys are the BIGGEST assholes, you’re better off without him.”
“Yeah you’re right,” I admitted, but that didn’t stop me from booty-calling him the second I got home.

On the day of my half-marathon I resolved to let fate make my decision for me.  I’d talked non-stop over the past couple weeks about my upcoming race, if Dan texted or called at any point during the day to say “Good luck!” or “How’d it go?” that meant he genuinely cared.  The day came and went and nothing; radio silence.  I was disappointed, but not entirely surprised.  That’s when I realized something substantial.  Ever since I’d gotten out of my relationship I’d been falling into my old habit of replacing self-love with self-depricating relationships.  Rather than following my dreams and reaching my goals, I’d sought out relationships and pushed everything else aside.  It was the easy way out.  I wasn’t trying to find my own happiness, I was looking for someone, anyone to give it to me.  In barely 6 months I’d dated 4 different men!  It was as if I was swinging from vine to vine, not quite letting go of the last man until the next one was in my grasp.  I knew I had to let not only Dan go, but needed to shift my focus away from dating.  I had made up my mind and I stopped responding to his texts of “What’s up good looking? ;)”  But still, I felt the mature thing was to talk to him about the situation, let him know that I could only be his friend now.  He had left his toque at my house and I texted him to say I wanted to meet up and return it, he thanked me and asked if I wanted to hangout and blaze.  I decided that would be a good time to say my peace.  We sat out on my deck smoking, my heart was pounding as I tried to decide how to begin, but he got the ball rolling.

“I wanted to talk to you about us,” he began.  “Lately I don’t feel like we’ve been connecting the same way.”
My heart pounded faster.
“This has been feeling like its headed towards a relationship and that’s not something I want, I just got out of a relationship and I’m not ready for a new one.” I felt shocked and slightly rejected.  I didn’t know how to adjust my perfectly thought out speech.  A million things rushed through my head, but all I said was: “I don’t want a relationship either.  I think you’re a really cool person and I think it would be best if you and I were just friends.”
“Yes,” he agreed, “but actual friends who hangout.  You’re a rad girl, we always have fun.”
I nodded in agreement, “Actual friends, who hangout.”
“Give me a a hug.” I didn’t want to hug him, it felt wrong when he wrapped his arms around me.  I held on a little too long.  After our talk I longed to be alone with my thoughts but he hung around for another hour before finally leaving.  “Keep in touch” we both promised. Finally alone, I felt relieved albeit slightly melancholy.  I knew I’d made the right decision and I knew things would be okay.  I began to reflect on our short-lived time together and realized something else.  Never had he given me any indication that he wanted to date me.  It was ME who had sought him out at the party and actively pursued him.  It was ME who had suggested hanging out and it was ME who made the first cuddle moves on our various movie nights.  Never had he shown any indication that he wanted to be more than friends, I was the one pressuring him.  I put so much pressure on myself and the situation, I wanted so badly to believe that this was it, that I had found the “one” that I convinced myself it was true.  What was simply a casual interaction I made out to be some grand love affair.  And really, when it came down to it, what did I really like about him anyway?  The fact that he was tall and muscular?  The fact we liked the same stupid TV shows and had a similar sense of humour?  That was where our connection ended.  Everything else I had created in my head. I felt proud that I had escaped the clutch of such self-depricating behaviour and had recognized things for what they were.  I felt proud that I had been mature and ended things instead of clinging on and causing drama.  I realized that I had come a long way from the girl I once was. I resolved to focus on only myself and let everything else fall into place.


A Lesson in Independence

As I sit here writing this, 5 months have passed since I decided to take control of my life and leave him.  In that time a tremendous amount has changed in my life.  I did finally do it: I moved to the resort town on my own, unsure where I would be living, what to expect, or when I’d be starting work.  The main adjective that continues to flash in my mind is “independent.”  I wanted to thrive as my own person and do it entirely alone and I’ve begun the process.  Sure I need to rely on my brother or my father here and there but I’m beginning to finally look inward and reflect on the person I am and the person I want to be.  I got set up in my lodgings, staff accommodations, and couldn’t believe my eyes.  There were maybe seven of us living there at the time, but the place was in shambles.  Garbage piled sky high, concrete floors that looked as if they’d never been cleaned, holes punctured the drywall and stickers covered every surface.  The sheets they provided us with to cover our single bunk beds were the reject lodge sheets, often stained or ripped and way too big for the beds.  Don’t even get me started on the kitchen… and the stench, oh the stench.  Needless to say I rarely left my bedroom those first couple weeks.  That first day in my new digs I walked over to my brothers where he informed me that he had (through word of mouth) already procured me a potential home and bike so that I could get into town and get out of staff accom.  Both worked out marvellously.  When we went to look at the potential bike the seller suggested I jump on and take it for a test drive.  It has been over 10 years since I’d last rode a bike, the seat was too high, the back breaks non-existent and it had only 1st gear.  I teetered down the steep gravel driveway, my brother became concerned that I wouldn’t be able to ride it home.

“You know the expression ‘like riding a bike’?” I asked him, he nodded.  “There’s a reason people say it.”
I rode home on my bike feeling increasingly optimistic.

As more and more people began to move into staff accom, I began to feel more and more alone.  I felt left out when everyone would head down to the bay to surf, but without any gear (or money to buy gear) I felt helpless and too proud to admit I’d never surfed and was terrified of the ocean.  All my housemates knew each other and were young and hopeful, meanwhile I felt like a den mother.  I longed to go hiking and explore some different local spots, but without a car, any friends, or reliable local transportation service, I was relatively stranded.  Suddenly, being independent felt like more of a curse than a gift.  I became depressed and when an old co-worker visited and brought an 8-bak of cocaine, I fell into some familiar habits which sent me further into my self-loathing.  I yearned for a boyfriend, someone who was from the area and could introduce me to some cool people, teach me to surf and show me the sights.  I scoffed at myself for even entertaining such thoughts, but they wouldn’t stop.  A week later, some other friends from back home came to visit and we spent the night in their cabin smoking doobies and drinking wine.  When I jumped on my bike to head home I immediately fell sideways into a bush.
After all the horror stories I’d heard about people breaking their collarbones or jaws while drunk on the bike path, I made the executive decision to walk my bike home despite the fact it would take me that much longer.  Cars whizzed by as I stumbled along the dimly lit path, my arms grew sore with the effort of holding my bike straight and I felt foolish so I resolved to ditch it in a bush and retrieve it the following day.  I found a good-looking spot with a large landmark and pushed it as far into the brush as I could before carrying on.  About 10 minutes into my walk I heard excited shouts and saw, in the distance, a bunch of people running into the bushes near my hiding spot.  I couldn’t make out the exact words but thought I heard something about “it must have just got left here.”  I froze and began to contemplate.  Did I run back and try to re-claim my bike, while looking like a total idiot?  I could barely even walk let alone run and the odds of catching up with them were not in my favour.  I continued to stumble home, silently mourning the loss of my bike.

The next morning I awoke to the sound of pounding on my door, “Time to wake up!” my brother’s voice echoed, “You’re late for work.”  I had slept through my alarm and was now an hour and a half late for work.  Things felt like they couldn’t get any worst, I was on the verge of tears for the entire day.  I made up my mind that I would at least try and look for my lost my bike, perhaps the culprits had ditched it a little further down the road?  Or perhaps they had never even found it to begin with?  I started the long walk to my hiding spot and that’s when the rain started pouring, and pouring, and pouring.
I called Sendal and began crying hysterically, “I don’t know what I was thinking moving out here, did I honestly think I could come into this world and belong?” I moaned into my phone.
Sendal tried her best to calm me down, “It’s always hard when you move to a new place, it can only get better!”
I cried and sniffled into the phone, but continued to walk in the pouring rain, silently praying I would find my bike.  I rounded the corner and there it was!  My bike, right where I had left it.  I breathed a sigh of relief and swore to myself I would forever treat my bicycle with the kindness and respect she deserved.  Suddenly, things didn’t seem that bad.
That afternoon when I found my bike, I found myself.

Amazing things began to happen.  I started making friends and feeling comfortable in my surroundings.  I began getting invited to outings and parties and relished my time hanging out in the common area.  No longer was I just my brother’s sister, I was finally my own person with my own identity.  After a month passed and it came time for me to move into my new digs, I began to get bummed out.  I had just begun to get comfortable in my surroundings and now I would have to go through the process all over again.  I thought back to the book I recently read by Martha Beck entitled Guiding by Starlight and remembered her words that anything scary and unknown is a true “shackles off” experience that can only lead to good things.  I’m still working to find the confidence to follow my own true path and I’m getting closer.  People keep asking me if I’ve met any interesting men out here but I just shake my head no.  I can’t be tied down and there’s no one worth my precious time, yet I still hear the psychic’s words in my head “you’ll feel him coming to you.”  I’m not entirely sure that’s true but there is something great in the works, I know that in my heart.  It’s simply a matter of taking life day by day and finding joy in the little things and letting the universe unravel as it should.  Until then, I’ll be here, waiting.


It Can’t Be Like Last Time

When I was going through those early stages of my breakup, one word kept coming to mind: karma.

I couldn’t stop thinking about my ex, Roland and the shit I put him through when he left me.  I made his life miserable.  The works: 3 am drunken phone calls, showing up at his friends parties and the inevitable crying fits that would ensue after too many drinks.  I even convinced him we should sleep together a couple more times (and was subsequently mortified when he showed remorse.)  The entire time I couldn’t wrap my head around how his feelings for me could just disappear and how he could just move on with his life after leaving me.  Now that I myself have flipped the switch on my emotions, (literally overnight) I realize that it’s just something that happens.  Knowing you have to break someone’s heart in order to be happy is one of the hardest feelings in the world.  During those first days I contemplated leaving him I felt so much remorse at my crazy ex behaviour.  I now know firsthand how painful it is to make the decision to end a relationship let alone actually taking the steps to end it.  I longed to re-connect with my MIA ex, if only to apologize.  Unfortunately his engagement to an insanely jealous and insecure woman eliminated this option.  Still, I hope that one day I can look him in the eye and tell him how sorry I am.


When Roland left me, I found myself single and actually alone for the first time in 2 years.  At first I felt liberated, the way I do now.  Yeah sure I was hurt, but I felt kind of relieved and soon after I met Anderson.  He was gorgeous, tall, dark, handsome and athletic.  He was inked up, but came from a respected local family.  He was so good on paper it wasn’t even fair to any other contenders.  When we connected in our Philosophy 101 class we vowed to become study buddies.  Rather than study, we would stay up until the wee hours of the morning just talking about love, life, friends, family, relationships, basically anything besides early philosophers.  Turns out Anderson was still very much in love with his high school sweetheart and had the ED to prove it.  He gradually began to blow me off while I, in turn, proceeded to become needier and needier.  The end of this “relationship” propelled me into a very dark time in my life.

Enter the Darkness
And so I was launched into a world of drunken debauchery and poor life choices.  A world where sluttiness always prevailed over reason and where I would stay for a good portion of a year.  Rather than continuing to embrace my freedom, I chose instead to desperately seek out a new boyfriend at any cost.  I honestly believed that if I could secure a boyfriend I could a) Get over Roland and b) Simultaneously make Roland jealous to the point where he would beg for me back.  A solid plan, all in all.  The only problem was, I had never been a single adult and hadn’t the slightest idea how to approach dating.  My self-esteem was at an all time low and so I began bar hopping and bed hopping in hopes of attracting any kind of male attention and relaying that attention into a relationship.  Pathetic, I know, but I kept at this stupid shit until I started up with him.


Cut to a drunken night out after my latest breakup – a newly single me out with my best girlfriends.  Sendal’s best (and totally platonic) guy friend Dylan had met up with us for a few drinks.  We had already teased him mercilessly about recently becoming roommates with his ex.  We all agreed it was pretty clear that she wanted more than a residential tenancy agreement with him and he did his best to deny it.  As the drinks continued flowing the two of us became very hands on and I declared to all my fiends that before the night was through, we were going to make out.  Maybe I just wanted to prove that I could, maybe I wanted to move on, maybe I wanted to show my friends that I was over him, but for whatever reason I had made my mind up.  After all, he was my type: tall, athletic, tanned, blonde, familiar, safe.  Sendal encouraged me wholeheartedly (my friends love to live their slut fantasies vicariously through me.)  After an impromptu make out at the bar we were rudely interrupted by my giggling and nosey friends who insisted we go get pizza.  Even still, we continued to cling to each other like a couple of school kids and it felt so good to know in that moment that I wasn’t entirely alone.  In the cab home, Sendal and I began to discreetly conspire.  She and Suki were going to suggest we all stay at Dylan’s.  The two of of them would insist on sharing the futon while he and I took his bed.  When I insisted I just wanted to fool around, she assured me that he would never pressure me for anything else.  We snickered over our slyness all the way to his house.  Imagine my surprise when we returned to his house to find his ex-girlfriend/current roommate “asleep” on the futon!  He mumbled something about her always passing out while watching tv (the television was turned off) while we all exchanged awkward glances.  She did her best fake sleepy face and rolled over; it was pretty clear she had no intention of letting Dylan out of her sight.  So I bid him adieu and have the unfortunate memory of aggressively biting his neck.  Before retiring to bed I began plotting to eventually seduce him if only for the pure enjoyment of sticking it to his meddling ex.  In the morning I felt the full sting of my hangover and instant regret for my behaviour and pettiness.  Why the fuck did I publicly pounce on this dude I’m not even interested in?  Why did I try to take his affections away from someone who actually wanted them?  I felt hugely relieved that his roommate was such a cockblock or who knows what would have happened.  On top of everything, Sendal invited Dylan to come for breakfast so I had to make awkward smalltalk while obsessively trying to decode his feelings.  All the while I was scolding myself and thinking “It can’t be like last time.  I’m smarter now, I know better.”

The next time I kiss a man I want to be sure he’s worth my time.


Who Am I? (Other Than Someone’s Girlfriend)

When I began to seek the answer to “Who am I?” I came to a disturbing realization.
Looking back, I don’t think there was ever a time that I ever knew myself at all.  I’ve always been a reflection of the man I was with and I never took the time to get to know myself.
In high school I was boy crazy.  In grade 12 I fell for an older guy with a kid on the way, a probation officer and a side job hustling crack.  This sociopath won me over with gifts and affection and I was thoroughly impressed that he had his own apartment.  He was experienced and showed me a side to my sexuality that I never knew existed.  Shortly after I fell, he put his boot on my face and tried with all his might to suffocate me.  He started cheating, but adamantly denied it.  He was aggressive, controlling and alarmingly bipolar.  He picked fights with my loved ones until I was kicked out of my parents home and alienated from friends.  We would break up and make up on a daily basis and the pain was so substantial that any ounce of kindness he threw my way left me in the the throws of ecstasy.  My friends gave me ultimatums, but I couldn’t stay away so they all cut me out.  I understood their concerns, but I was addicted to the pain.  I tried many times to leave, but threats of suicide and rash actions followed me out the door.  No amount of pleas from loved ones could help me, I had to finally realize on my own: realize that I was good enough and I did deserve better and that I had the strength to walk away.
Finally, after another round of lies, I had enough and told him to rot in Hell.  He threatened to kill himself, I replied that he deserved to die for what he had done to me and really meant it.  Even after I walked away from the relationship I continued to allow him in my life and to allow his presence to taint my next relationship.

After my emancipation I felt amazing, powerful.  I reconnected with old friends and began to have a social life again.  I promised myself it would be a long time before I allowed myself to get involved in another relationship.
It wasn’t even a month later when I met the next one.
He was blonde, exceptionally tall with an athletic build and a strong jawline.  I spotted him from across the party and made a point of introducing myself.  After all, I was deserving of a hot fling, right?  When leaving the party I saw him climb into his huge black truck and wave to my best and totally platonic guy friend, Dillon.
“Who is that beautiful creature?” I gasped.
“My cousin,” he replied with a scowl.
I wanted him in my bed more than anything, so I made a point of showing up at the same New Years Eve party as he and positioned myself next to him at midnight so that we would inevitably kiss.  The kiss continued long into 2006.
We started hanging out immediately, so imagine my horror when I discovered he was a kind and sweet virgin who invited me on a weekend getaway to meet his childhood best friends.
He begged me again and again to be his girlfriend and how could I say no?  He was gorgeous and sweet, and the exact opposite of my last boyfriend.  I eventually consented and tried to leave my emotional baggage behind and for a while it worked.  I taught him a thing or two in the bedroom and he showed me what it was to be part of a healthy relationship.  I felt I was finally getting the love and affection I deserved, but there was still the little voice in the back of my head that told me we wouldn’t be together in the end. His presence made me a different person, a better person.  I tried harder in school, hit the gym with him on a daily basis and even gave up smoking weed (one of my favourite pastimes).  One day, out of the blue, he told me it was over; he gave me no reason and completely cut me out of his life.  I fell apart and quickly sailed off the deep end.

The next year of my life was a blur of regrettable chaos.
I firmly believed I would find happiness once I found a new boyfriend, and quickly got to work seeking one.
I found the best way to get male attention was by sleeping around and proceeded to fall in love with any man who showed me any affection.  I was entirely desperate and had no real standards.
After a year of heartbreak and bad decisions, I decided to take a chance with my best friend.  I knew he loved me and believe he would make a good partner, and so began Act III.

The point I’m trying to make is that my entire adult life I jumped from relationship to relationship never allowing myself to be alone.  I’m finally in a place in my life where not only am I okay with being alone, but I eagerly embrace it as the most liberating feeling in the world.  Even if the highly unattainable “dream man” were to try and sweep me off my feet, I would tell him, “Yeah, you’re okay, but I have some bigger things going on in my life than love.” I may still not know myself, but I am on my way and that’s pretty satisfying.


Nothing Was the Same

The moment I first recognized the light forming within me was the night of the Drake concert. That’s not to say it wasn’t present long before, but I pushed it to the back of my mind and concealed it with darkness. I refused to let it shine and tried everything to suffocate it, but that night it finally escaped. He and I were at the Drake concert, in box seats with some friends. My friend had gotten tickets through a former co-worker and we somehow got invited along. It was an open bar, top shelf liquor kind of night so naturally disaster followed. He is a bartender and as luck would have it we were in the box directly beside his attractive female co-workers. Naturally, he got shit-faced and spent the entire night with his arm draped around various women in the adjoining box. This was a pretty normal scenario in my world, in his line of work he tends to be one of few men and surrounded by girls. Most of his close friends are of the female variety and by nature he is very flirtatious. Now most girlfriends reading this are cringing at the thought, but rarely did it bother me, despite the fact I have been cheated on in the past, because I trusted him and I’ve learned to recognize the signs and can pick up on shady behaviour. When your live-in boyfriend is having an affair, it should be obvious it’s just a matter of whether or not you acknowledge these signs or choose to continue in denial. But I digress… The night of the concert his behaviour was getting under my skin, because as much as I put up with his flirting, I will not tolerate it when it reflects poorly on me. When strangers look at me with pity and view me as a pathetic pushover, those are things I can’t allow. I’ve been that ignorant naive girlfriend before and I’ve come too far to go back to feeling like a walking punchline. So, in my typical drunk girlfriend fashion I chose to resolve this issue by sitting in the corner, pouting, while simultaneously stuffing my face with nachos and beer. When he caught on to my antics and I refused to budge an inch, he immediately went on the defensive. He told me I was ruining everyones fun and that I was making others uncomfortable. I suggested having the discussion (read: argument) in the hall. As we were bickering I noticed in the peripheral of my hazy vision, one of the corporate ex-coworkers striding towards us at an alarming pace. His back was turned so he didn’t see it coming and I prepared myself for the inevitable lecture about how we were making a scene and needed to take our domestic dispute elsewhere. I could never expect what happened instead. This guy halted right behind him and open hand slapped the argumentative tone right out of his mouth. My jaw dropped. This guy looked him in the eyes and said “I just met you two, but I can see that you have a good girl here and you need to show her more respect.” With that, he turned on his heals and sauntered off. A part of me wanted to high five my new supporter, but the rest of me was bracing myself for the unavoidable aftermath. He turned back to me, eyes burning with anger and my breath caught in my throat. Then the accusations began flying: how I set him up for this, how I was poisoning everyone against himHe stormed off in anger, I called for him to stop and talk to me, but he just shouted back something about talking to my “new boyfriend.” Ashamed and dejected, I discreetly grabbed my coat and walked out alone into the cold winter night, all the while Drake crooned “Started from the bottom now we’re here.”


I walked slowly amongst the departing concert goers and began texting every contact in my phone hoping someone would be free to console me. I looked up to realize I was at the train station.
How very convenient.
I talked a group of guys into giving me a cigarette and a transit ticket. As I boarded, my phone started ringing, it was my brother responding with concern to my vague text. I took my seat on the train and fell apart. It was like a waterfall, not just of tears, but an outpouring of emotions. Everything rushed out: worries, fears, insecurities, some of which I never realized existed. Others which I had never before admitted out loud. As I mulled it over, it became very obvious that I needed to change my current situation, but how? My brother advised me that I needed to go home, pack my car with my worldly possessions and make the eleven hour drive back to the west coast, to the support of my friends and family.
“But what about my job?” I moaned.
“Fuck your job,” he replied, “You hate it anyway.”
“But all my stuff, I’d have to leave my furniture”
“They’re just things, they can be replaced.”
“But what about…”
“Look, it’s clear you’re unhappy where you are now, so you need to make a change.”
Suddenly the light was glowing bright and I wondered how I had managed to ignore it for so long. The answer was so obvious, the solution so simple and it had been in front of my nose the entire time. I got off at my stop and started towards home with determination in every stride.


Once home I sat him down and recapped the confessions I had made to my brother; I lay it all on the line. A lot of tears were shed, but there was an understanding and a plan was in motion. I declared that I would leave the following day, first thing in the morning. When the sun finally rose, he left for wok and I lay in bed crying. I called my mother and my best friend, both disregarded me as being over dramatic and advised me to think it over once I had sobered up. After all, I had never let on to my growing doubts, I acted the part of happy girlfriend and they had no reason to think otherwise. That afternoon the blizzard rolled in and the snow started falling, leaving me trapped like a rat, frantic and scared. He returned home an absolute wreck.
Tears streamed down his face while he whimpered, “You’re not really going to leave are you? I know I’ve been an asshole and I need to make some changes, I swear I’ll treat you better, please.”
I looked into his shining eyes, so full of pain and whispered, “No, I’ll stay… it’s okay.”
He embraced me and collapsed into my arms while I stared off into the distance, cold, unmoving.

Because the light had been turned on, and nothing was the same.