Thursday, December 17, 2015

"It costs nothing to encourage an artist."

"Oh sure, you can be an artist, if you want to starve," my parents told me. As I remember it, I was 6 years old, sitting in the back of the car. We were in Calgary, driving around, and I mentioned again that I wanted to be an artist. At 6, I thought painting was the most fun thing in the world. It was all I ever wanted to do. I wasn't particularly good at it, it was just fun. I'm sure my mom hated it because painting with a 6 year old and her 4 year old sister couldn't have been anything but messy, but at 6, it was all I wanted.
Of course, at 6, I also did not like the idea of starving. My parents went on to inform me that it was very hard to be an artist, that they didn't make a lot of money, so they never had enough money for food. I sighed and it was in that moment that I gave up. After all, I wanted to eat, and I wasn't good at painting to begin with.

After that, I took up writing. My parents seemed to be more okay with this. I wrote endless, endless stories, about everything. Some of them were a little off kilter, and those I kept hidden or destroyed when I found them years later. My love of writing was encouraged, and I became mildly famous for it at school. I wrote every chance I got. Once I got a computer of my own, I wrote even more. My mom told me about NaNoWriMo, and I participated with glee. I finished my very novel, at 150 pages and 180,000 words. To this day, I have never edited it. I wrote two more novels as sequels to that one. I made cover art. I daydreamed about what it might be like to have my novel become a hollywood movie, who I might cast as the actors, how it might inspire people quietly everywhere as many other books have done, how nice it might look in print, a real book with my name on the cover.

This was after my parents had also informed me that being a writer was very hard. It was no better than being an artist. "Hey, [swegan], I heard a joke today. 'What's the difference between a writer and a park bench? A park bench can support a family!'" and I laughed along because at that point, I had accepted it was true. Writing was just something people did as a hobby. Sometimes they got good enough at it that they made money on books, but writing was just a hobby. I should get a good job so that I could have time to write, they said to me.

In 12th grade, in the midst of taking piano lessons, volunteering, 5 diploma-level courses, 2 history research papers, and applying for schools, November came again. I went into it as I always did, with the ideal that I could do it if I just tried hard enough. After all, it had been just a year prior I had gotten in trouble for staying up too late writing on my computer and told to go to bed.... and I had simply waited for the light to go off in the hallway before pulling my computer back out and writing an hour more. If I had that kind of pluck, that kind of spirit, why couldn't I do it this time around?

Most of what I remember from that month is crying. I was so stressed. At 17, I had 5 things going on at all times, constantly, and I felt I had to perform well at all of them. Volunteering was important to me, and I needed it to graduate with my IB diploma. My courses were important, because I wanted to get into school. Piano was important because my parents were paying for lessons, so I shouldn't be slacking off. My research papers were important, and I couldn't leave them all to the last minute. And my writing was important. I wanted to get to 50,000 words. I wanted to win.

It was sometime in this month that my parents sat me down and explained that I could write at any time! It didn't have to be now. Right now I should just focus on the important things, like school and piano. I could write over christmas break! (I spent it doing a lab report we had been assigned to do specifically over the break). I could write in May, once I'd finished my world exams! But what happened was that I quit, and it was like shutting a book on the way I'd been before.

Grade 12 was hard. I don't really recognize the girl who completed it, that empty shell of a person who existed only to perform, at everything she did. I had friends with me, and they helped me along more than they'll ever know, but once all of it was done, I realized I had nothing else. May 17, 2013, was the day of my last IB exam. I had only one class after that, and getting an excellent grade in it wasn't important (not that that stopped me). I went home, I stayed home, and I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself. I began spending more and more time on the internet, on my computer, alone in my room, because I had been alone in my room on my computer before for the entire two years prior, and I didn't know what else to do.

Maybe I quit too easily. I know that the fault of this can't lie with my parents, but it can't be entirely in me, either. I feel like before that year, I was a different girl... I would stay up late at night when it was summer, often until 4 AM, writing. I would write in class when I had spare time. I would write at lunch. On graph paper, on the backs of old tests, in notebooks. I wrote endless stories. I carried notebooks with me everywhere. I kept journals. I doodled bad poetry in the margins of my history and math notes. Writing was the one thing I could not stop doing. Now it is the one thing I cannot start.

I trace that back to November 2012. I tried NaNoWriMo the next year, in my first year at university, away from home, and got tantalizingly close, around 40K. I don't remember if I even tried last year. This year, I spent one day putting in 2000 words, and then quit. I had too much other stuff going on.

I carry this with me everywhere. It feels like a piece of my soul is still dead, but hanging around, refusing to leave. I haven't lost the will to live, just the will to write, but it feels the same way. People around me have stopped mentioning writing things, finally. I like it better this way. Being reminded of something that once brought you so much joy so easily, so naturally, all the time, is very painful. Trust me when I say that nothing hurts more than being reminded of an old identity that no longer describes you or brings you joy.

If there is one regret I have in my life, it is quitting. If I'd just kept going, if I'd just said "I can't win, but I can still write," maybe I wouldn't have stopped. Starting writing when I was 8 and everything was wonderful was easy. Starting writing when I'm 20 and scared about grad school every waking moment is a lot harder.

I don't really know why I'm writing this. I've written this a thousand times before. But if you have something that brings you joy, no matter how impractical it is, no matter how foolish or frivolous, please do not stop. I'm not saying it has to be your job. I'm not saying it has to trump other things. Maybe now and then you have to pass up an opportunity to do this thing, maybe you must do less of it when other things are present. But please, please, do not quit. Quitting seems easier, but the cost I have paid in the long run has never once been worth it.

I am still happy. I have many things going for me. I started dancing again. I volunteered to give science demos to kids in elementary schools. I pursued a degree I wanted above classes that would have kept me on a med-school track. There is so much light in my life, please don't get me wrong. But this thing, this one thing, haunts me to this day. It is never overpowering, but that almost makes it worse. Maybe if it was, I'd get it back.

yer pal,

P.S. I also don't mean to villainize my parents in this. I may not agree with everything they do or did when raising me, but their love and support means the world to me to this day. And look how much writing I did when they encouraged that.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


So, on the weekends I get really lazy about eating. Also about leaving my room, showering, and putting clothes on. Unless I'm expecting to see people, it doesn't really matter, and I mean, I guess most of that is fine, except for the eating thing.

And it's not even that I'm intentionally not eating, I just get distracted by other things and then think "shit I should do homework" and only when my stomach is like "swegan, food" am I like "oh shit right" and head into the kitchen to make a bowl of oatmeal and today that is what happened but then I went down for dinner. I ate a good amount, wanted to eat more, and suddenly I just felt ill. Like, if I took another bite, I was going to gag. Which usually happens when the texture of food is off, but this was beef stew, and it was really fucking good, and I wanted to eat more but at the same time my brain was just not having any of it. So I ate what was left of my rice, debated dessert before hearing my parents' voices in my head saying "If you're hungry enough for dessert, you're hungry enough to keep eating" and realized I didn't want dessert either because the thought of eating any food at all just made me feel nauseous. So I quit and came back upstairs.

But like,the sick thing is, I know I don't eat a lot, but there's still some fucked up logic in my brain of "this keeps you skinny." Like, whenever I see a body positivity thing, I'm like hell yeah good for you and see all these women loving their bodies, whether they are fat or chubby or whatever, and I am proud of them and happy for them but still on some level, glad I am not them, and afraid of becoming them. Which is really, really unfair to everybody, those women and myself.

It's almost like... I'm happy about body positivity, but glad it doesn't have to apply to me? Like oh thank god I don't have to struggle. But then there's a little voice in the back of my head saying yeah, but if you eat a certain way, you might. People might make mean comments about you in public or look at you in a judgy way if you dare to do something as shocking as eat in public. And don't forget the criticism about how you let yourself go. You were so skinny once. What happened?

It's this paranoia, this fear, that's always at the back of my mind. I worry sometimes it drives more of my decisions than it should. And I buy candy a lot (not recently since I've been so busy), but whenever I do I have to tell myself so much that it's ok, and I still feel guilty about it. Like, first of all, this isn't healthy for you, second of all, it's going to lead to this condition you are afraid of. For no good reason. It's not like if I wasn't this skinny I'd be any less smart or kind or loved or capable, but I'm still afraid of it.

And it makes me so jealous of boys. Do they even get this shit? Maybe now they do, I don't know, but when I'm around boys and men they just seem to... eat. And like, not make comments about what they're eating. I watch the girls in my building and notice how they often comment on their food, or their general eating habits, even when they generally like to eat a bunch of food. The girls are all aware of how they interact with food: how much they eat, when they tend to want to eat, whether they're always hungry or always full. Boys don't comment on that nearly as much as the girls do. And I feel like some part of that is just because they're not really aware, they don't really think about it too much.

And then even with my boyfriend, we have a class together around lunch three times a week, and his lunches look good but I know there's no nutritional value in a lot of them and so even though I want to make myself lunches like that, I can't let myself. And he always just says "food is important" and eats and I'm left there trying to make myself feel not-guilty because hey, there's vegetables in my soup, and those are good for you.

I know some of this must be from getting raised by a mother who was once a dietitian, but it's hard to draw the line between where I'm concerned about the nutritional requirements of my diet and where I'm just concerned about how much food there is at all. Like there shouldn't be guilt associated with eating, should there? I've never wanted to be one of those women who says "oh, I'm so naughty, I had a whole piece of cake at lunch!" or who just orders a salad with dressing on the side or who won't order dessert unless someone splits it with her or who will refuse cake at a party or who says things like "I've been so good today that I deserve to eat this cookie/bag of chips/piece of cake/other kind of junk food" but like that attitude is so tempting when it is surrounded in the language of "oh, but it's about health- I still eat, I just eat healthy" except now the guilt is about making unhealthy choices rather than just making choices. Which I guess is better because it means people are eating, but... it still sounds so fucked up that people should feel guilty for eating something. And then that last comment gets into vegetarianism/veganism which is not the issue here.

All I know is that I wish I could just exist without devoting so much brainpower to worrying about what goes in my body. I mean, maybe there is an advantage to that- I will feel better if I try to eat better- but I wish you could have that mindset without the guilt. And I wish I wasn't so afraid of becoming fat, even a little bit.

Which is the most fucked up thing of all, because on these weekends when I don't eat, some part of me says that's better, because it's better for me to lose weight than to gain it. Like that me losing any weight at all is a good thing because it's always better to be smaller, if possible. Like how little I eat is something I get to brag about, how small I am is something that is just how life works for me, aren't I so lucky. It's better for me to be tiny, tinier than I am now, than it is for me to dare get any bigger. And that is the part that worries me. I don't even really know what a healthy weight is anymore. Does my BMI even matter? How is it that at the size I'm at, my BMI is closer to overweight than it is to underweight? Why am I so hyperaware of this? Why do I care?

I don't really have any answers. I just know that I have to keep eating to live and function properly. So I will, and I'll try not to beat myself up about it. And try to work through all my fears that are so unfair, but that I don't really think are my fault.

yer pal,

Monday, October 26, 2015

you stupid, stupid girl

It is exhausting to not get things. Trust me, i am the world's leading expert.

I don't get when people are joking. Like not when they're like "okay, I'm gonna tell a joke" kind of joking, but when they tease me. I mean, I guess maybe I am, but it happens a lot. I don't know, maybe it happens a lot to everybody, maybe I'm just a big sensitive baby who's making up all her being upset with this. All I know is that I figured out one day long ago that the boys who were mean to me did so because I reacted. I still react. And it just bugs me when one of my family members says something annoying and I don't catch on that they're kidding and my first instinct is to defend myself and nothing is worse than looking up and seeing that they're smiling and everyone else at the dinner table is smiling and I've become the butt of the joke because ha ha swegan takes everything seriously.

I don't know, maybe I am too sensitive. I like that my dad does this thing now, where he'll put on this dramatic voice when he says something blatantly wrong, and he'll make sure to make it really, really wrong, and then I look over at him and he's grinning at me like "eh? eh?" and I get it, and that makes it easier. But what really bums me out is that one thing earlier this year when I was at my grandparents' arguing back about something and someone was like "it's just so fun to bug you because you react" and i'm like great, how does that make this any different from when I was 12?

But then if I start reacting too much then I'm being the big fat too-sensitive crybaby who took it to far and it's like what, do I just take nothing personally? ever? ha ha everything is a joke ha ha swegan is short and opinionated and thinks she knows everything about the world and in reality she is just a little baby lamb who knows nothing about anything ha ha guys we can't talk about this around swegan, she is too innocent/she'll get offended by it because she's politically correct and it's like can you stop being an asshole OH WAIT BUT YOU WEREN'T BEING AN ASSHOLE AND I'M TOO STUPID TO TELL.

I know people love me, but I know I'm a pain in the ass to put up with. I really hate that I get teased all the time but I hate that I can't handle it, everyone else on the planet can handle it swegan, why can't you? You're just being too sensitive. And it's like yeah, you know what, I probably am. And I can't tease anyone else because I am too worried about hurting them and maybe that's because I know how much teasing bugs me and I only know what it's like to be me and not to be someone else.

You worry too much, you worry too much. Yes, yes, yes I do but are you really surprised given that my mother came up here to deal with what happened on tuesday by forcing me to go to the police who can't do anything because no crime was committed? I regret that. I wish I had never gone to the police because it turns out the whole deal was a big fat fucking nothing that, again, they couldn't do anything about in the first place. My parents worry. My parents worry so much, they always have, my mom still does, she'll make these little comments that sound like she's considering a reasonable bad alternative to a situation when in reality she is just worrying and it's like yeah, ok, my parents are overprotective, are you really surprised that I worry about everything? that i'm scared of life? like, literally everything about it? are you really surprised?

I get that I am a naive idealistic baby sheep, okay, I got it. I get it. It sucks because it means constantly going through life being treated like a child who doesn't know what she's talking about, even when she's writing something like this, because I know I'm making a big deal out of nothing and god forbid any member of my family sees this because they will talk to me like "swegan you know we are just teasing right" YES YES I KNOW THAT OKAY I AM NOT THAT FUCKING STUPID i am just upset just let me be upset. why is it that i am always overreacting when i am upset. why.

I know it is hard to deal with me because I am so sensitive you can't treat me like a normal person. I know real life is going to slap me in the face, it already did when some guy asked me for $80 at 7:30 AM and I gave it to him without once considering he might not be a good person. I still think he is because his story lines up, but I'm still out $80 and having to tell that story to the police 500000 times did not help because they always ask why. Why? he didn't seem threatening. I just wanted him to go away so I just went along with him. You are a big scary police man you don't understand what it's like to be this short and young and female. which implies that i felt threatened but i didn't, just wary, just not sure what to do but continue on like nothing was wrong and at least it was only $80 that got taken from me. I don't care that he promised to repay me, I just want everything to go away, I just wish I could wipe this whole mess away with a big whiteboard marker.

I'm just upset and procrastinating. I'll be fine. I'm always fine. I'll go home for christmas and get teased some more. Which makes me sound like a victim and I'm not. everything is fine. everything is fine. I am just upset right now everything is fine, i will be fine, I always am, I always am. This is hardly the first time I have written a crazy post on here that concerned people but trust me when I say that this too will pass, it is just me being sad and being sad is ok, everyone is sad and I will be ok.

yer pal,

Monday, October 5, 2015


When I was about 7 or 8 (as far as I can remember), I wondered why, just because I was a girl, I would have to change my name if I got married someday. I wasn't really set up to critique yet that maybe I wouldn't get married, maybe I'd like girls, etc, but I did latch onto that one point. Why did I have to change my name? It seemed so arbitrary. And yet it was all around me, within my own family, within the families of everyone I knew. And I decided, probably when I was about 9, that I would keep my name forever. I didn't bother thinking about the logistics, I just vowed to do it.

To this day, I'm still pretty dead set on that promise.

I mean, we all know where this came from, right? When women were property, they'd change their name once they changed families and the "ownership" changed. Having the father's name was a way to prove that those children were his and not another man's. And this is still around because...? I'd like to think people don't care about that as much now, and furthermore, women haven't been property for a long-ass time now. So why does this continue? Just because? It seems harmless enough, I guess, but it pisses me off.

Furthermore, why is it so revolutionary that someone should take my name? Just because I have a vagina? It's ridiculous. And, this is the one that really gets me- if women do all (yes, all, if you disagree with me here you can literally go to hell) the hard work of childbearing and giving birth, why the everliving FUCK don't their children at least get the chance to have their mother's name? If I'm gonna go through hell, possibly risk my own life, to bring these children into the world, you bet your ass they're going to have my last name. If you disagree? I'm not having children with you. The end.

But. But. I know that hoping for someone to take my last name and agree that our children should have my name is never going to happen, and it pisses me off so much. It's like being tied to a chair. I can't do anything about it. Any of the boys I come into contact with will have been raised with the expectation that they'll never have to give up their identity, and they won't part lightly with that (and I can't blame them, given how little I want to part with mine). They grow up with the knowledge, somewhere in the back of their mind, that someday, should they marry and have kids, those kids and their wife will have their name. And it's such bullshit. Even the nicest boys I meet have never even stopped to second guess this, to think "you know, maybe that's unfair." Which is how privilege works, I guess: when you have it good, you don't want to question it.

There are many, many reasons I dislike being female. The blame for all of them lies in other people (with the exception of periods, which are just unfortunate). This is near the top of the list (along with the idea that I'm more likely to be sexually assaulted, that some people view me as an incubator, and that I'm less likely to be taken seriously, especially when emotional, etc). And that bothers me, because I shouldn't live in a society where I dislike how I was born. And then that gets into a lot of issues with disability that I am definitely not informed enough to talk about, so I'll leave that there.

It just... ugh. I'm not totally naive, I know that I'm never going to get what I want by virtue of living where and when I do. But I still hold out a lot of hope for some kind of compromise, like whomever I marry keeping their name and me keeping mine, or both of us changing to some agreed upon different surname, and then finding some way to compromise in terms of kids. Honestly, I'd still be pretty happy with that- it's still nontraditional and is very balanced. And I'm not willing to be with someone if they aren't willing to compromise with me on that- either I don't change my last name, or we both do. That's it. That's the line. I will not cross it.

As for now, I just got riled up about this for reasons I can't remember, but it's late and I have a midterm in the morning.

yer pal,

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I'm pretty sure that when it comes to the ideal child, I hit it pretty close.

I know how vain that sounds, I get it. But I'm starting to think there's a great deal of evidence for it. When my parents made rules, I obeyed them, no matter how much my friends insisted it was unfair or wrong. There may have been times when I was tempted to rebel, in simple, tiny ways, but I never did. I was always too afraid.

Hearing the stories of other kids who grew up with strict parents is always interesting. Most of them are online, a few are real life, and all of them make me think that my parents weren't nearly that bad. I was allowed to have friends over if I wanted. When I got a car (and hey,  I got a car), I was allowed to go places as long as I told my parents where I'd be going, who would be there, and when I'd be back, and gave them the address of where it was. Which I guess seems reasonable. I know they were just worried. It wasn't like they never allowed me to go out. Freckles and I got bothered about practicing piano a bunch, but we were never forced to practice, though my mom tried several reward techniques. After a certain age, we were allowed to monitor our own junk food intake- not that there was much in the house to begin with. We were allowed to have friends over and sleepovers and eventually, to walk to the corner store alone. When I became a teenager, my mom finally let me ride my bike further than just up and down the street in front of the house. When I graduated, my mom let me go to a grad party at the last minute, despite the fact that a month earlier she and my dad had barely let me out for a different one. I got a cell phone in high school. I had a very decent allowance. We were allowed to hang out at the mall unsupervised with friends. As I got older, they got much more lenient.

But then I think about how I'm so scared of life now. Being here, being away from home, has helped so much; I'm not afraid to get on the bus for an hour to go get my skates sharpened (that was a bad choice of location on my part). I'm not afraid to just walk down my own street and window shop. I'm not afraid to be out when I please. But I'm still afraid. More so of big adult things, like getting a credit card on my own, or spending large amounts of money, or making my own travel plans, but still.

I'm not really sure if that comes from me or my parents. On the one hand, big adult things are scary for a lot of people, even those who had really lenient parents. Some people just don't like to go out and explore much, that's just how they are. On the other hand, I do know people who just... for them, trying new things or giving themselves permission to do something they love or even just find something they love- it's easier for them. I can tell.

I just wonder- because there were so many things I wasn't allowed to do because my parents were concerned, am I forever destined to be the annoying person who worries about everything? "Let's go out drinking! Swegan, do you want to come?" Sure, but I don't want to drink, and how are you guys getting home? Does anyone need a ride? Okay, but no puking in my car. Where is this place? Are you sure that part of town is safe? "Just order something new, like I'm ordering this drink and I've never had it before." Yeah, but what if I hate it? Then I've spent money on something I don't even like. And it's wasted on me. It just goes down the drain, or in the trash. "In order to participate in this, you're gonna need to have [things I do not currently own]." Okay, but I don't really know if I like this yet. Am I sure I want to buy all this stuff? What if I hate it? Then I've wasted a bunch of money and now I have crap I don't need and will never use taking up space. "So just sell it online." How? Don't you have to make an account somewhere? How do I meet up with people? How do I decide on a price? What if they're creepy? It's better just to not bother, then I don't have to worry at all. "Just get a credit card." Okay, but I look really young and naive. How am I supposed to know if the bank is pulling a fast one over me? How do I know if I'm getting a shitty deal that will end up costing me money? And how do I pay that off? Isn't it time consuming? I'd have to go to the bank... I'll just do it later. "Skating hours are Sunday from 3-4:45." Okay, but those hours are prime homework time for me. I really want to skate, but... school's gotta come first. I'll see how it looks next Sunday... ooh, but wait, I won't be here. Well, maybe the Sunday after? (Then I consequently forget). "Come hang out." But I have all this stuff I want to get done so I'm not up working until 11. I need to get enough sleep. If I don't, I get dizzy and grumpy and it's no fun at all. Plus I want to make sure I study adequately for this exam. I have to get these things done. I have to get SOMETHING done, I haven't done anything all day.

Do you see what I mean? I never let myself do anything. And it sounds a bit like my worries are overwhelming the way I've phrased it, but they're really not. This is just how I think. This is how I operate. Unless I can completely justify doing something 100%, unless I'm completely (or reasonably) sure it's a good idea, unless I'm totally convinced there's really no chance of it messing my life up or ME messing my life up, I just won't do it. And sometimes it doesn't really matter, like when I order my favourite thing at a restaurant all the time, but other times it does, like when I can't get a credit card and thus still haven't built up any credit at all.

Sometimes I think it helps to think of all the things I just do now that my parents are none the wiser about. They don't know my study habits, or my eating habits. They don't know that sometimes I leave my building at 10:30 and walk down the dark alley to Safeway. They don't know that sometimes I go for walks in the river valley and get lost. They don't know that I rode the bus into the north end of town for an hour, maybe into a questionable area, just to get my skates sharpened. They... well, okay, they know I took the bus home from the airport instead of just calling a cab. I just... I know these are stupid, tiny little things. I do. But to be able to live my life, at least in part, like it's really mine, like I get to decide how I spend my time, is incredibly freeing. Which is what makes me think my upbringing was "strict" in any way at all.

I know I'm still a stick in the mud, despite the fact that I know people don't hate me. People like me, but they also find me amusing. I worry about everything. Constantly. I can't stop it. I don't really want to. I didn't spend my teenage years running about, doing what I wanted to. I spent a lot of them at home, in my room, doing homework (there's the other thing- I was and remain a very boringly good student. In science, no less).

This may explain why I found it so wonderful when I was finally allowed to drive myself to school, even though I was still late. For some reason, being late when it was my fault didn't give me nearly as much anxiety as when I was late and exactly who was at fault was less clear. Because driving myself to school allowed me, in some small way, to control my own life. Not to mention I got home a hell of a lot earlier, and my parents didn't have to deal with having to come pick me up.

I'm still not good at this. I think maybe it's just that a lot of other people I know had to grow up much sooner than I did. I was given the luxury of remaining a child when I was still a child. Now I have to grow up, and when it seems like everyone around me is just unafraid to do simple things because they want to do them, I feel very, very lame. Sometimes it feels like I'll never catch up, like I'll forever be a step behind my friends as we progress into our adult lives. Sometimes I wonder if I'm only so intensely self-aware of this because I'm growing up now, rather than at 11 or 13 or 16.

The other thing that I know to be true is that one day I won't have my parents to lean upon. I won't have them around to tell me what to do, even when I want them to tell me. I've gotta have my shit figured out by then if I have any hope of coping.

As for my parents being strict... the issue is best summarized by explaining the facebook rule: I wasn't allowed to make an account until they said so. This is a weird rule; it's pretty hard to enforce (and was considering neither of my parents were on facebook at the time) or police, and yet I never even thought about going against it. And I didn't. Perhaps this says something about my parents' ability to trust me (and I am glad now that I wasn't permitted access to something that permanent when I was 13, oh my god), but I also think it says a lot about me. Or the time my parents forced me to write all my grade 10 exams, even though I was exempt due to my grades (they argued that there weren't going to be exemptions later and I should learn how to study now). Everyone (including my teachers) thought that was insanely unfair, and asked why I didn't just... not do it. And I could have, too; my mom never followed me into the school when she dropped me off. I could have just sat in the hallways or a bathroom for a long enough time that it would make it seem like I had finished the test, and called them to pick me up, and lied through my teeth. "How was the exam?" "Fine." But no, I went and wrote them all anyway.

Long story short: I don't have an ounce of rebellion in me, at least not when it comes to my parents, and I still don't know if that's because of me or them.

yer pal,

Saturday, September 26, 2015


It bothers me to no end when friends I have say that they're not going to vote. They offer up excuses- the most common of which is "I just don't care"- and it is so infuriating. To hear that so little of the population votes is even more so. THERE IS NO EXCUSE NOT TO VOTE. NONE. Canadians living in other countries are figuring out how to vote. There is no excuse for you to be lazy and irresponsible.

Don't care? Too bad. Democracy only works if you take the time to figure out who you think should be making our country's big decisions. If democracy isn't working, it's your fault. I'm not even kidding. It's not the fault of the politicians, it is the fault of people who did (or didn't!) vote them in. So don't bitch to me about how the government sucks when you didn't take the time to fucking vote.

"I don't have time to get informed" too bad, it is your goddamn responsibility, take half an hour to skim through the platforms and make a decision about what matters to you. Pay attention to the news. Decide what issues matter to you personally and which person, or party, or whatever, is going to best represent those. You have no excuse for being lazy, I'm just... augh. AUGH. VOTE. PLEASE.

This isn't even because I want Harper out (which I do, but if you wanna vote for Harper, you have every right to do so and I will not stop you). This is just because democracy only works if people fucking participate. Your voice matters. Your vote matters. It's not even hard. You stand in line, you mark a circle, you hand in a slip of paper. Done. Boom. You are legally required to get time off work. There are advanced polls. You can mail in a ballot. Figure out how you're going to do it, and then do it.

Apathy is no excuse. Being ill informed is no excuse. "But my vote is just one of millions!" is no excuse. You are lucky, you are privileged to be born in a country in which you are able to have a say in who governs you. I will smack you with a fish if you try to tell me otherwise. There are people in the world who can't vote. There have been suffrage movements to get certain types of people to vote.

The only honest-to-god excuses I can think of are if you're living in Canada and haven't gotten your citizenship yet (I honestly do not know how that works, but you probably do), or if you're under 18. If you're a citizen over 18, you have to vote. Why? I said so. Democracy says so. Just do it. Don't make me smack you with a fish.

It's a privilege, a right, and a goddamn responsibility. Please, fellow Canadians- and, what the hey, anyone living in a democratic country- FUCKING VOTE.

yer pal,

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I can't do this anymore

I am taking 15 minutes to write this before my cell biology class, because having this blog has honestly been such a godsend the past 2 years and Ptarckas, if you're reading this, don't. You asked me not to speak to you, I have honoured that wish (and will continue to do so), and why you'd continue to read my blog when you clearly hate me so much is beyond me. Please, please, please, just move on and leave me behind.

I have become the proverbial loser with no friends.

Which isn't even true, to be fair, I still have Carina and Redbeard and all my lovely friends that are far away, but when it comes to people in the building, it kind of feels like everyone's left.

I hardly ever see people I knew and was friends with last year at dinner anymore. The RA isn't even a thing this year, so I won't get to see them then either. The only table full of people downstairs now is the Party Krew, and I've tried sitting with them and some of the girls have been nice, but they never ask me to sit with them the same way they ask people who are new in the building, and I'm quiet and weird and never have anything to say. So much of my friend-making process depends on being able to be accepted by someone who gets that I don't talk much UNTIL I get to know them well.

And it's not like I'm not trying, too. I signed up for some dance lessons and a volunteering thing, and they keep promising "you'll make friends!!" and I keep waiting for it to be true and I am exhausted, because making friends and meeting people is so much fucking WORK and I just

I am in my third year. How do I not have a good group of friends? How did I let this happen?

This is what I hate about big schools, is that there's so many people that it makes it so hard to meet anyone. Which is kind of my favourite thing about my WGS class, it's small and the prof is trying to teach in a way that involves lots of discussion and knowing everybody, and everyone in there is so nice, so I hope some good will come of that. And I guess I finally talked to this one guy who's been in like 5 of my classes over the past couple years- apparently we both recognized each other and now I sit by him in genetics and after class I walk and talk with him for a bit, so that's nice. And my microbio lab partner is in my cell bio class- in fact, I'm supposed to sit with her today- so that's nice.

I just have to keep reminding myself of that all the time- that these things take time and you came here all alone and not from high school with an already established friend group (my jealousy of the fact that Redbeard has that is endless- he is always running into people he knows on campus).

I think it's possible that ending my relationship has had something to do with this. Not that I want that relationship back, but going over to Ptarckas' house every weekend for dinner was something I got used to (and I loved his family, and it sickens me to think of how much they must hate me now). EPASS, too, that was something I got used to. This year is so different, it's like I took away things that were comfortable and familiar. It's kind of like starting my first year all over again, minus the complete lack of knowledge of how to university.

There's just that thing about how you don't want to be the girl whose only friend is her boyfriend, and I am trying very very hard not to let that be true. But at the same time. I'm trying to be patient and also appreciate the fact that I DO STILL HAVE FRIENDS, and furthermore, there's nothing wrong with not having a giant social circle. There's nothing wrong with not seeing a lot of people every day, nothing wrong with not constantly having plans.

My birthday is coming up, and that's another can of worms. Kind of just want to spend some time with Carina and Redbeard (separately- not that they don't get along, just want to do different things with each of them) and chill and study (I have a lot of midterms around that time; my microbiology midterm is actually ON my birthday which is super lame). I know that isn't quite what some people would want, but the idea of trying to organize something stresses me out and I'd kinda just rather spend time with the people I AM close to up here and eat some cake. Maybe someday I'll have a birthday party for myself again, but right now it's just not really an option, and that is fine.

I just wish I could stop having this disaster. This is the second time today already I've talked myself down from this, but I do feel better now.

yer pal,

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Honest Update

I don't know if writing on here anymore is wise, given some messy breakup circumstances I'd rather not get into. I don't know if I will return here. I want to, and it seems unfair that I should feel that I have to leave, but if that is the case, then that is the case.

We'll see how things go this first semester.

yer pal,

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


A long time ago, an aunt of mine shared an article on facebook. I don't remember exactly what the title was, but I do remember that the jist of the article was about "don't do so much! Slow down and enjoy life!" I remember feeling incredibly bitter about that. How in the fuck, I thought, am I supposed to slow down and yet compete with everyone my age for the same scholarships and jobs??

Of course, the article's intended audience was obviously people around my aunt's age: people who have already done any post-secondary they might intend to do, people who are no longer young, people who have had kids and gotten married and worked for quite a while. You know, like, real adults. People with established careers and nice houses and cars, shit like that. I am not one of those people, obviously.

A lot of my insecurity about the stuff in the last post revolves around this. I'm happy not doing a lot, for the most part. I feel like I ought to be more well-rounded, but a lot of the worry there comes from the fact that I'm painfully aware of how well other people my own age are doing. This, coupled with the fact that I've always felt like I'm in the bottom of the top of the heap, gives me quite a bit of anxiety. I've never had a leadership position in my life. I'm not one of those kids who gets Really Good Holy Shit Amazing grades (and I get pissed whenever a character in a book that is depicted as Smart has a 4.0, because I know literally nobody with a 4.0 (or if they have one, they're not telling me)), I'm just one of those kids who gets Grades That Are Good. Like, my GPA isn't bad, but I'm always so aware of the fact that it could be better by it being LITERALLY 0.1 BELOW WHAT I'D NEED TO GET ON THE HONOR ROLL (I am so mad about this, in case you couldn't tell). I have some volunteer experience, but I'm always aware of the fact that I could have more (and the bulk of mine is from high school, anyway).

The other issue is that I tend to befriend people and like people who, at least in my eyes, can successfully do this- volunteer in things, get actually really good grades, maintain a group of friends. Win scholarships. That sort of shit. Some of them excel in certain categories more than others, but that's just the thing: they excel. I've never really felt like I excelled at anything. The only time I remember being the best was in 7th grade when the unofficial class appointed #1 smart kid left for four months, and I, as the unofficial class appointed #2 smart kid, became #1 for a brief and glorious period of time. I was never the best at piano. I was never the best at dance. I was never the best at writing (though, I suppose, I was the most prolific of anyone I knew for quite some time).

I still feel that way, that I'm this weird kind of Good Mediocre, that I'm doing okay, but I could still be doing better. And I feel that I can't just sit there, complacent, and accept that I'll probably get somewhere being Good Mediocre, because I feel like- and this is compounded by the fact that I attend a large university- there are literally hundreds of thousands of my peers who are competing for the same stuff I am. I know that's not quite accurate; my university isn't that big, nor is my faculty (though it is the biggest), nor is my specialty, nor is the group of people interested in my field of interest (medical research, at the moment). But there are still other kids out there, and they are studying harder and volunteering more and winning more awards than I am, and they are always out there.

I know I should strive to do better, all that, but honestly, sometimes I feel like I'm already doing as much as I can reasonably expect of myself, and other times I look at the amount of effort other kids put into assignments I decided were not worth that much stress, and I think there's your problem. While other kids are doing shit like going to the prof and the TAs and spending hours working over some god-awful what-the-fuck-is-this genetics problem set, I said "this is worth 5% of my grade and my biochem midterm next week is worth 40%" (and yet I still did not study hard enough for that biochem midterm) and consequently put in about 8 times less effort into the problem set. Unless those kids are lying (which, if you are, literally go fuck yourselves I hate you), it feels like I'm not doing enough. Constantly. Which is annoying, because I know how to fix some of those problems, but not all of them, and all of it stresses me out probably more than the aspect of getting a degree and having to venture off into the real world.

Then, I think, there are still heaps of students who say things like "I don't feel like going to class today, let's go get lattes" or who sit in class and look at tumblr and facebook and youtube instead of paying attention. I am definitely doing better than those kids: I save my tumblr and facebook and youtube for when I'm at home and supposed to be reading some stupidly boring chapter in my chemistry textbook (guess what, I barely did any of the reading for all 4 chem courses, and I've passed them all with varying kinds of Bs), or for after the hour of 8 (or 9, or even 10, depending on the point of the semester) when I know I'm not productive anymore and can't get anything done. But I don't really care about those kids. They're not even good competition.

And in that, I think- maybe those kids who are trying that hard are good to have around, because they make me try harder. Wouldn't I just get lazy if I knew I was already at the top? Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe I should just accept that I'm not the best- certainly not at everything, maybe not at anything right now. I'm still good enough to get a few awards, I still push myself enough to participate in a few things outside of class, I still have a pretty decent social circle. And maybe, because it's August and this is probably one of the last summers of my life during which I get to be this lazy, I should go and watch TV with my sister.

yer pal,

Thursday, August 6, 2015


I seriously, seriously have no life.

This is what I realized the other day, sitting with friends in Dairy Queen, discussing various things. I hadn't seen any of them in a month, which was awful, but I did see them then. Omnia and I (and omnia, this is not meant to reflect on you in any way, since I still don't know what you do with the rest of your time, it was just this one bit of conversation that led to me realizing stuff about myself) started up about stuff on the internet, and I realized that's kind of all I've been up to. For a whole entire month.

Sure, I complain all I want about how boring it is to sit in with my parents night after night (especially without Freckles there, god it was awful) but I never actually do anything about it. I mean, not that there's much to do here, but I could still fucking try a little harder. I didn't have any life stories to recount, unless one counted my fainting spell that eventually led to the doctor telling me I probably have vertigo, or the time I went for a bike ride for two hours. I'm just a real shut in.

I'm starting to wonder if that's necessarily a bad thing. I mean, yes, I'm young, I should try to go out and do things, but at the end of the day I still always need an hour or so to myself, where I might talk to people, but always via text- like, actual texting, or skype, or whatever. My mom zones out in TV all the time to escape the stress of her job, I zone out in the internet.

I used to zone out in writing, but that's so much work. I mean, I still write, yes, but it's always introspective non fiction stuff like this, now. Maybe that's not the worst thing ever, but I don't know how to get back to fiction, and I'm starting to think maybe I won't. At least, not now. I don't know. I like writing this way. Maybe once I stop being a self-centered young adult (like we all are, trying to find ourselves and all that shit), my writing will shift again, but for the time being it helps me figure things out.

Anyway... I mean, I know I need to see my friends more than once a fucking month, and I need to stop with the leaving early because I don't want to wake my parents up, because I'm starting to think they don't care. And I know it sounds like a flimsy excuse and that I'm full of shit, but I do want to stay later. I always do (though the last night I tried to stay out was the day before Freckles left early in the morning, and like hell I was missing her send-off). Want that, I mean.

I'm just sort of worried this will make other people think less of me. Like, I'm not interesting. I'm a really boring person. I suppose I can be chatted with easily enough, I've got an arsenal of opinions, and I have some experiences (some of which I was lucky to be able to have), so it's not like I think I actively bore people, it's just... I keep searching for something by which to define myself, and coming up with nothing. Writer? Not really. Dancer? Not anymore. Volunteer? Rarely. Member of any sort of group? Not since I quit EPASS. So what do I do? Internet. And this. And I watch a lot of netflix. God, like, do you see what I mean? I don't do shit. That bothers me, about myself, and I don't know how to change it.

I suppose some people could just go out and try on labels like new clothes, seeing which ones fit and which ones don't. The problem with that is that I'm stupidly shy around new people, completely afraid of trying anything that requires doing anything I'm not 100% sure how to do by myself (and being responsible for it), and despite my loyal-to-a-fault nature, I have trouble sticking with things when I don't really genuinely like them. Plus, I never want to spend money. Like, on anything. I always feel like I'm wasting it unless it's a necessity or something for someone else (and even then...). I'm not just frugal, I'm a fucking cheapskate, and honestly, I'm not sure how to fix that one.

But it's just like... Is this really a problem? So what I don't go out all the time? I mean, I'd like to see friends more just because friends, and I know that school now wants you to be involved in stuff in addition to doing well in school (and I have a whole swack of other insecurities about the fact that I still feel like the bottom of the Smart Kids, if that makes any sense)... so maybe it is a problem? I don't know.

My least favourite feeling is when I have to tackle a problem and I have absolutely zero idea how to go about it. It's even worse when I don't understand what the problem is (hello, Chem 102 problem sets!). This time, I suppose I get it, and I do have a couple ideas that might be enough... but, like, I keep feeling like I should be "developing leadership qualities" or something. Does anybody else get that? I can't possibly be the only one. Not because I have some inner need to be a leader but because I just get the feeling that that's what people want to see, that's what people expect from me? For christ's sake, I got put in my school district's weird "leadership-seminar-help-us-improve-the-district" thing, and I still have no idea why. Like, oh, I don't volunteer enough to get asked to go to We Day, but you're going to send me to do this thing...? Okay..??? I probably have a certificate for that somewhere, actually. I should brag about it more. Do you see what I mean. Leadership skills. Why is this such a bother to me.

I suppose the one thing I do have going well for me that I should cling to is Lab Stuff. My... boss? supervisor? I dunno- anyway, she said to me at our end-of-work-for-the-summer (yes, I get to take August off, lucky me) meeting that they'd love to have me back next year (for a fifth summer? uhhhh... not that I hate the work, but I feel like I need to work somewhere else) because I do good work, and that my confidence really improved this summer, which was probably the result of my lab partner who did not know how to do anything (it was her first time) following me around and me having to teach her. Apparently I also have more than one person who can write me reference letters now, though, so... yay!

But... academically, I'm doing fine, I guess, and it seems I already have at least one offer of employment for next summer, which is a good thing and something I feel very lucky about (though I know that I shouldn't entirely feel lucky since it was my dedication and hard work that got me that, luck just got me the opportunity to try). It's just that I'm still a horribly boring person who contributes nothing to the world and has like -1 hobbies. What's so great about me if all I do is homework and real work? Like... god, this is the IB talking, isn't it, this desire to feel well rounded. Too bad the IB was what rid me of the ability to actually try (though without having it forced on me I probably would have just spent more time on the internet in high school so I'm more to blame).

This is- sidenote- also why it bugs me that people seem to think that young women are all like the young women in romantic comedies, only concerned about how lonely they are (despite the fact that they have lots of friends...) and how empty their lives are without that Special Someone (despite the fact that they all have jobs and hobbies and shit) and I love me a romantic comedy, don't get me wrong, and it's not like I don't have my fair share of romance at the moment, but like... I can think about starting a new relationship and I can have an identity crisis and still be excelling at school (kinda) and work (definitely) all at the same time! Because I am a person who is real and that means I can be and think about and manage more than one thing at a time.

Unfortunately I cannot blog and have a facetime conversation with the most ridiculously adorable and wonderful boy I've ever met at the same time, so... this seems like as good a place as any to end.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

It's late and I don't know what I'm doing

All of this is weird to navigate.

I told Ptarckas we could still be friends, and I want that to be a reality, but somehow I don't know if that's even possible. I trusted him with a lot of stuff, and I'm wondering now if that was a bit naive. Not because I think he'll betray my trust, but just... I don't know.

I think the thing is that trusting other people feels false now. Like oh, hey, you know this bond we're developing, this relationship, this feeling that's growing between us? I've felt this with someone else. Someone else has meant this to me. I've said this to people before, and I've meant it. I've told other people this story. There is still an interesting element of Oh, so this is what that's like, but I feel really phony about it.

Which is ridiculous. People get involved in multiple relationships all the time! People date varying numbers of people! Some people don't date much because they think carefully about what they want and what they can offer, and other people, like me, apparently have to learn that from experience. I know now that I want something serious. I want someone who wants something serious. I want to be romanced- I want someone to just get me some fucking flowers and I don't want to have to ask for them. I want someone to take me out on fun dates sometimes- not just always sitting at home (which, don't get me wrong, is also nice, especially after a long week of classes, particularly ones with midterms). I want someone to feel crazy about me, tell me stupidly sweet things, feel the same way I feel about them. I want someone who doesn't need to fully understand what's happening, but embraces it anyway. I want someone who wants me back, just the way I want them.

I also want someone who doesn't like to go away for long lengths of time, particularly long lengths of time where I can't contact them, and I want someone who doesn't have stupid, life-threatening hobbies. So not everything is perfect- although I seem to have found someone who can give me everything I asked for up there in that last paragraph.

I just keep comparing backwards. I keep saying god, I really hated that one thing or man, I really can't date somebody who does this or Wow, I really need that out of a relationship, I'm glad I know that now. But I know I can't keep looking back forever, and yet I feel I need to be allowed to--for at least a little longer--because things have happened very fast.

I just can't help but feel like to someone out there this must look like Oh, there she goes, already on to the next boy and it does bother me that some of this feels the same as my last relationship. It's different, but some parts are the same, and that makes me feel totally ... like I'm not being genuine. It also makes me worry that this one won't work out either.

I know these thoughts are silly. I know that, because of who I am, some element of any relationship I get into is always going to be the same. And that's not because I don't recognize the ... I don't know. I don't really know what I'm getting at. I just don't want to feel- I don't want him to feel- like he's just another boy. Like he's just some passing fad. I don't want to treat people like passing fads. And yet I feel that, by feeling in any way similar to how I felt about the last boy, I am doing just that. This is a different person, ergo you must treat them completely differently is the fucked up logic swirling around my head. And I know, I know it is stupid. Trust me.

I mean... it is different, it is going to be different, because he is a different person, after all. But I'm still the same person. Not entirely, obviously, but... mostly. So it's reasonable to expect me to do some of the same things, right? Like the sweetie thing? God, I just...

I think maybe it's just wanting to give something unique of myself. Wanting them to have something special and personal, just for them, some part of me, some version of me. I don't think that's totally stupid. But I think there's only really one version of me, and that might be the version I give to people. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate that different people are special, right? Unique? Each their own person?

It's probably just a result of this happening so fast. I went from one person to the next faster than I thought I would be comfortable with. I keep underestimating how comfortable I'll be with things. I keep thinking it will take me so long to adjust. And I keep being wrong. I don't know how these feelings snuck up on me so fast and so strong, and I feel awful about it still. Isn't something wrong with me? I just broke up with someone! Two months ago, not even! And now I'm saying these things to someone else? What's wrong with me?

Is it possible my last relationship had begun to fall apart as this one started to begin, without my knowing it? Is it possible that that comment that made it clear there was no future was when I started to pull away? And someone else was there to ... to what, distract me? Make me wonder about what it might be like with someone different? Make me aware of the fact that I didn't have to stay in a relationship I wasn't sure about?

I think maybe I'm too loyal. I stick around, not wanting to hurt people, when really I should be taking care of myself. This isn't the first time I've done this, and I think I handled it better the second time around, but... still. I have to look out for myself. I've only got one life, and once I realize I'm doing something I don't really want to be doing, and that feeling sticks, I think I need more courage to act. But perhaps one day my loyalty will come in handy, too, when I do want to make a more serious commitment. And then it will be good. For now, I need to be realistic.

Speaking of realistic, it's 1:36 AM and I have work in the morning. So, I should probably end this here.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Sunday, July 12, 2015


This whole boy fiasco, lovely as it has been, has forced me to confront a rather unfortunate way of thinking. It seems I picked it up about 8 years ago, and despite how far I've come since then, I still can't get rid of it.

See, I told the boy that he was the first normal boy to like me. Which is, of course, ridiculous, as normal is a stupid concept with no meaning and no clear definition and one that is used to make people feel like outsiders. You're not normal. The reason I said it was because he is the first boy to like me who isn't incredibly nerdy. You know, the video game playing, slightly antisocial, obsessed-with-things-like-star-wars kind of boys. Nerds. Geeks. And I had decided oh, okay, these are the only kinds of boys that I'm ever going to get to be with, and that's okay, they're not so bad, and I guess I'm pretty nerdy too. Only the thing is, there's a lot of girls out there way nerdier than me, and they fit with those boys a hell of a lot better than I do.

But some part of my brain is still 12 years old, because I was phrasing this to myself in the way of normal boys don't like me. They never will. That's ok. Which is fucked up, because what I was really saying was I would really like to date a boy who isn't obsessed with video games but I am convinced that that is never going to happen based on extremely limited past experience.

Those boys that I would be able to date, from what I can tell, were not popular in school. They're the stereotypical losers, the ones that always get teased in movies, the ones that get told no girl will ever like them. My mom used to say that the boys that liked me probably did because I was nice to them, and nobody is ever nice to them, much less any girl, was the unspoken end of the sentence. This was probably true then, but it's an incredibly fucked up way to think now. And through this, I thought, this makes sense: I am a loser like them, I am not normal, I don't fit in. I always wanted to have one of the boys who did fit in, but I had convinced myself that that was never going to happen because I didn't fit in and that didn't happen and it's really amazing how I only spent three years of my life being classified as a loser and yet how badly I internalized it.

If there's anything high school and subsequently university and the real world have taught me, it's that thinking of people in this way gets you nowhere. You miss out on opportunities to get to know really cool people by being a judgemental asshole who looks down at people who are different. And the people I admired, the people I really liked, never seemed to care. They'd befriend anybody, no matter what they looked like or what their hobbies were or how weird or abnormal or whatever they might be. And when I first got to high school, I was still trying to look down on people who might be weirder than me, still trying to convince myself that I wasn't at the very bottom, and I met people who didn't think that way and accepted me as I was and that was a big shift for me.

Now this is happening. I'm thrilled that it's happening, and I'm trying very hard to work through this shit, because I feel awful for thinking this about people- thinking there are normal people and losers- and thinking it about myself- that I'm still not one of the normal ones. Now it comes through when I realize I don't know how to be a girl "correctly", I never did, I never naturally went to makeup and fashion, I never got that. I still don't. So I stand behind these girls in the elevator of my building, with their perfect hair in cute hairstyles they somehow picked up, their flawless makeup done with skills they somehow picked up, their artfully matched clothes, popular yet their own, done in a style that they somehow picked up, and I know girls like that can be perfectly nice but some of them still give me looks like I got when I was 12 and it just sucks because I'm standing there in jeans and a t-shirt and big ugly boots and my bangs are stuck to my forehead, which is covered with zits I don't know how to hide because I never learned how, and my hair is pulled back in a shitty braid because I keep it long and never know what to do with it. And I feel like a loser all over again, and I think, he must like girls like this, girls who know how to be girls, girls who know what they are doing, and then it turns out that no, no, people aren't as fake as I think they always are, people are capable of liking people like me because there's nothing wrong with me in the first place, and people are better than I give them credit for most of the time.

I don't know why unlearning this is so hard. I don't know why I still act this way, like I have to put myself above people who are even more "loserly" than me in an effort to get up with the girls who know how to be girls. Because it's mean, and petty, and stupid, and costs me a lot of meaningful relationships. But it is effort for me still to live in the real world and not look at their world as pretty and perfect and beautiful. Even if it is, I have to not care. My life will not be any better if I figure out how to apply eyeliner and wear those long, layered necklaces, and learn to french braid my hair. My life will not be any better if I go out drinking with them, and party with them, and study the way they do. My life doesn't necessarily improve if I learn how to "be a girl" better.

My life is already filled with real and interesting people, who aren't just pretty pictures. They are their own people, they are kind and smart and generous, and they are real and warm and loving. I don't live on a magazine cover. I don't know why I keep feeling like my life is empty when it's so full.

But this is what's behind all that, behind me just saying "He's normal, and he likes me." He's not normal, neither am I, and yet we both are. We're human. We're people. We're falling in love with each other. I need to let that be enough.

Maybe, though, just maybe, this is what finally gets me over this way of thinking. The boys I dated before were perfectly good boys, they were kind and caring and sweet and didn't wish me harm, we just didn't work. For both of them, I wish only the best, and the nicest, kindest, nerdiest girls who will love all the shit they do.

yer pal,

Edit: I should probably give those girls in the elevator more credit, too. The nastiest they've been to me so far is just the looks, nobody's ever said anything mean to my face, and they did welcome me into their group at one point. I don't know what kind of people they are, I just know that they look at me like people who were nasty to me once.

And they're still there getting degrees alongside me, they have just as much a chance as greatness as me. The universe doesn't owe me anything for all the shit I put up with, and despite how much they tell you the popular kids won't succeed- oh, they will. They'll be right there next to you. And that kind of sucks to think about.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I am at peace

Yes, it is true, I have actually died. Well, obviously not, but I've been saying that a lot lately for very boy-related reasons, but that's not what this is about.

I realized today, as I finished reading a book I've already read like 3 times before, that I was happy. And I looked at myself in the mirror and just said that- "I'm so happy." But it's not an ecstatic kind of happy. It's more a sort of... content.

I'm used to my job now. Work is slow and easy this week, none of those days where we run around doing thing after endless thing, staying until 4 PM (which is good since both my lab partner and I seem a little ill at the moment). I've reached some kind of... something with my lab partner- she seems to accept that there are certain times of the day that might just coincide with someone else's break times at their job during which I am very preoccupied by my phone. She tells me things now and then and I enjoy hearing them. I've stopped telling her what to do all the time- she knows what she's doing. Not as much as I do, because I've been there forever, but she does. The brilliant part about this is that she knows all the theory behind the techniques we're using, while I know how to do the actual work required. We make a good team.

I've seen friends several times in the last few weeks, and that makes me feel very normal. All through my childhood my mom was always telling me to just call people, invite friends over, throw a birthday party, and I was always too nervous to do it. I don't know why high school was what got me over my phone anxiety, but it was. I'd still rather text to arrange things, but I can call people now, and hang out with them, and since I can drive and I'm an adult and have a job and pay for my own gas and all that, I feel more like I'm allowed to. It's my car, I'm driving it, if I want to go to a movie with friends and then hang out at one of their houses afterwards, I don't have to call and ask my parents for permission. It's very freeing. But the best part is that I get to see my friends. Actually really see them, because I am forcing myself to make the effort this summer. And it's great.

And the weirdest thing was that I started running. Not very regularly, mind you- the combination of getting my period with weirdly awful pre-cramps and cramp-cramps AND getting sick this week kinda meant that I was out for this week- but still. Running. What the hell? I hate running. Well, I did. And I'm not letting myself feel guilty about the irregularity of these workouts, either. All that fitness inspiration crap all over the internet keeps saying that you have to stick with it and there's no excuses and never miss a workout and it's like GOD, GET OUT OF MY FACE, jesus FUCKING christ. I'll work out if I feel like it because I like doing it and if I don't want to then I won't. I have an exuse this week: I'm fucking sick. And that's OK, because I can just start running again next week. Besides, I've rapidly learned that nobody fucking cares if my stomach is a little soft or if I have cellulite on my thighs, so the only person who really cared in the first place was me. So why care? I'm fine. I'm fine. I mean, I am sick (it's ok that I can't run, my nose is doing it for me! *drum kit*) but I'm fine.

I don't even know what this post is, it's such a big rambly mess. But I feel very at peace with my life right now. I don't really have any problems- I got my relationshit sorted out earlier. The chips fell where they did, and I like where they fell, and I'm really really happy about it. And Ptarckas seems ok too, and that means a lot to me, because he really deserves that. I see my friends regularly. I work out sometimes. I've started making myself food (I don't really know what happened to my family's way of existing while I was away, but it apparently involves a lot more cheap crap fast food pizza-and-hot-dogs than it used to), because I get the sense that my parents are tired from work because their jobs are way harder than mine.

But I have to end this post now. As good as it felt to write it, I have a call I need to make, and I want to be able to get it in before getting a good night's rest (before I inevitably wake up at like 6 anyway because of this fucking skylight in my room... okay, so maybe I have ONE problem, but that's a small problem to have).

yer pal,
swegan :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Things made a weird amount of sense this morning

I have since chilled, which is what tends to happen when you spend two hours learning about radiation safety (which is now done, woo!). Yesterday was probably one of the more emotionally intense days of my life, but the result of the conversation I had was that I have one more reason to be absurdly excited to start next semester.

I can't stop listening to music, either. Every. Single. Song. Makes. More. Sense. I don't even know what's happening to me. I'm staying up until 1:30 AM on the phone even though it makes me sleep deprived and I'm making plans to do a million cute things which I never thought I'd get to do with someone I liked this much and I keep catching myself idly smiling when my mind wanders. I'm so far gone, it's not even funny.

I no longer care if I should wait some required amount of time before jumping into another relationship. If people are going to judge me for that, they obviously don't know what the situation is. I don't plan on changing anything until the end of the summer, just because I feel like that's a good idea and something I want to do. But in the meantime, my phone is full of cute messages I read and reread when I'm bored and tumblr has stopped updating.

The other weird thing is that I feel like I have all this energy all the time. The fact that I started running this summer was weird enough (I have hated running until now), but now I find myself wanting to do it because I have all this pent-up energy and I just GAH I have to get it out and singing along to the radio in my car is no longer enough.

I feel completely crazy. I'm scared out of my mind because of that. This entire situation makes me beyond insanely happy, and that's weird, and I'm terrified and excited all at the same time. And yet there's still things I keep to myself because I feel like they are too much, too soon, and I can't ruin this.

I also have nothing more interesting to blog about because, as of late, I have become a COMPLETE and total pathetic loser with no life, but then again, he has too, and we're self aware of it, and the fact that I can say we is making me weirdly happy right now, so that should be an indication of how much this is messing with my head. It's just a pronoun, swegan, calm the fuck down.

yer pal,

Monday, June 8, 2015

This blog is slowly degrading back into public journal entries

My mom, the other day, said to me that she doesn't think I've ever really been in love before. Her qualifications required that losing that person would tear my life apart, and I was stumped. I couldn't argue- not because I felt like she was right, but because I felt like she might be wrong and I didn't know why.

It's not like I haven't told people I love them before. I tell friends all the time, but that's not what my mom was talking about. I love my family, but again, I still don't think that's what she was getting at (despite the fact that losing either of my parents or siblings or any extended family to whom I am close would obviously tear my life apart). I told Ptarckas I loved him, and I meant it, because at the time it seemed like the only thing there was to say, and I felt like that meant it must be real.

Obviously, I'm still sorting out how I feel about Ptarckas. I broke up with him just a couple days ago, but to be honest, nothing feels super different. It feels like I can't talk to him as much, not that we were talking much anymore. It's just... weird. I'm OK, which I didn't expect, but this is weird. But more in the sense that I was just used to having him around, which I think is expected of any relationship. And now I don't really "have him around", and it's weird for me.

Fortunately, we both seem OK, but that raises the issue of whether or not our relationship was ever really serious to begin with. I haven't cried about this since it happened (although crying while our relationship kinda fell apart was standard). I remember one time standing in my apartment, and getting so upset at the thought of breaking up with him that I had to remind myself that I didn't have to do that. Now, I've done it, and I think the distance is acting as a buffer.

I don't know what it's going to be like once I get back to school. Seeing him has become such a part of my life, and I was dating him basically for the entirety of my university experience thus far. What's troubling me isn't that I don't know how to university without him, per se, but that I don't know what it's like to university without being that close to someone and having that kind of relationship. I'm more than certain it will be fine. I mean, yeah, it was really great while it lasted. Our relationship didn't end because it was toxic and twisted and bitter, or because either of us no longer cared about the other (nor did it end because I developed feelings for someone else, despite how it may look that way). Our relationship ended because he made it very clear that he didn't feel like this was going to last in the long-term, and that sucked all the serious out of it. It also made me realize that I didn't want to stay with someone if I knew it was going to end.

I'm not interested in casual dating, not interested in having flings with people that I fully expect to end at some point. I'm not the kind of person to keep myself from getting emotionally invested (I get emotionally invested in everything). And I guess that's the good that came out of this relationship, is that I understand more of what I want now. Maybe not much, but something. So maybe that means mom was right, and I've never been in love (on her terms, anyway). It sounds terrifying, but then, so do plenty of other things, like Being Financially Responsible and Acting Like an Adult, and I'm still game for those.

The other problem I'm having is that I still feel guilty about having feelings for someone else, even though it literally no longer matters. There's still a sense of I can't do anything about those yet, I have to deal with this first that was there the past few months, and I don't know how to get rid of it. I don't know what there is to get over here, just that there's something, and I owe it to myself- and to Ptarckas- to at least wait until I feel like I'm fully done. Furthermore, I don't want to try and go after someone else if there's a risk that I'm not done here, and that because of that I might fuck it up with that someone else. That's not fair to anyone.

It just feels stupid to be thinking about this, like how can you possibly like someone else?? you just broke up two days ago!! What's wrong with you? and the answer, of course, is nothing, nothing is wrong with me, forgive me for being human and liking people in a way that makes me want to date them, heaven forbid I do something like that. (I'd like to take a moment here to apologize to the guy on the receiving end of said feelings, since he reads this- I really don't want to weird you out, but this is my blog, and I'm not trying to weird you out).

So I guess I am a little troubled since I broke up with Ptarckas- just not the kind of troubled I expected to be. I was expected melancholy, weeping, that awful, awful feeling of heartbreak... but no. I just feel overwhelmed with guilt, and apparently stressed out enough by that that my back is fucking itself up again.

I'm just not really sure how to navigate feelings at the moment. I'm trying to enjoy the fact that at least some of this makes me happy (I mean, come on, learning someone you like reciprocates those feelings at least a little weensy bit is a pretty good feeling), and I'm trying to be reasonable with myself. Is it normal to feel guilty? Probably. Should that stop me from living my life forever? No, but at the moment, I am living my life, and I'm fine. I have the whole rest of the summer before I even have to run the risk of bumping into either boy involved in this situation, which makes everything easier. Hopefully by then, I'll feel a bit more OK about all of this.

Sometimes I'd like to think that people are right when they say I seem mature for my age, even though it still feels arrogant to think that.

yer pal,

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Here again

Ptarckas and I are a couple no more.

This had been a long time coming, to be honest. Yesterday we had a very tear-filled Skype conversation, and after that I asked for some space. Which I was given, and during which I had four conversations which all came to the same conclusion. The one with my mom was the longest, and more complex than I had initially thought. It's no secret that my parents didn't like Ptarckas (not as a person, they just had concerns about where he was headed, which I can't lie and say I didn't share), so I was expecting the conversations to be pretty blunt and one-sided, but they were much better than I expected. I guess I didn't give my parents enough credit.

Of course, all but one of those conversations ended with the same question which was a totally ridiculous question to be asking, because of course the answer was not now. I am weirdly fine about the whole thing; I think I worked myself up to it for a long time. I'm waiting for it to hit me. I don't know if it ever will, not in the same way the last one hit me right away like a sledgehammer to the chest.

I still worry about Ptarckas. I didn't want to do this, and I'm sure he's taking it a lot harder than I am, and I'm endlessly sorry that I had to hurt him by doing this. The last thing he deserves is to be hurt.

Currently, I just sort of want to blast music really loudly and run until I fall over, or dance, or do SOMETHING. I feel like I have all this pent up energy and I want to get out of my own head. Work will help with that, as work always has, by being an interesting distraction. I might get my name on a paper yet...

Things are gonna be ok. Of this I am certain. I was ok last time, I'll be ok this time.

yer pal,

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I'm willingly listening to One Direction. I don't know what's happening to me. I have told everyone I know.

I tried to fix my relationship problems last night, and it turned out differently than I expected. In fact, I think everything is about the same as it was, only worse. I've been a mess all day. I can't concentrate on anything. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do, and I've exhausted the only option I thought I had.

I'm starting to wonder if I should just let go. If I should just let the chips fall where they may, and wait until I have a better plan of action than nothing at all. Part of me is tempted to just run away from all of this and just be alone. The rest of me knows that that's not possible.

So instead, I'm sitting here listening to the fourth album of my sister's favourite boy band, because the title is relevant to all of this. Also, because this one is distinctly less pop-y than the rest, and I find that I actually like it more than I thought I would.

Still not entirely sure how this is the problem I am having, of all the problems I could be having in my life. This feels too weird and stupid and ugh. Like, seriously? This is like a bad teenage novel, or an even worse rom-com.

At least I'm writing again, even if it's just angsty journal-like blog entries that I have recently learned are less subtle than a gun. I'm going to make a bunch of little heart badges and just sew them onto the sleeves of everything I own, because that's about where I'm at right now.

yer pal,

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I want to leave this behind

Work ended early today, like before-the-end-of-the-school-day-early. Consequently, I decided to try and go visit some teachers. I had two that I wanted to visit- both at different schools, unfortunately. I decided to try and visit my favourite teacher from middle school, one of very few good teachers that I had during that time. Unfortunately, she wasn't in, so I left a message with the receptionist (without a phone number or email god dammit oops) and walked back outside.

Coming at that time of day was probably a bad idea, but I didn't even stop to think of it. Leaving was much harder than going in. It was just that the din of voices was exactly the same as it was back when I was that age, all the kids shouting stupid stuff and going off in their different directions. The worst part was that getting back to my car required me to walk past a group of boys who looked to be about 12 and athletic.

As much as I've moved on from the specific people who used to bother me, that type- 12 year old athletic boys- still makes me nervous. And I've had people telling me that it's not healthy to still be wallowing in this, and that makes me so mad- I know it's not healthy. You think I like this? You think I like being unsettled by 12 year old boys in gym shorts? I have literally never met a 12 year old boy who is good at sports who isn't the worst kind of person. I don't want to feel that way, I don't want to have to make that judgement, but my experiences with 12 year old boys when I was 12 were the fucking worst and as a result I just can't handle being around 12 year old boys, apparently.

Driving away was therapeutic. I tend to talk to myself a lot- out loud; not the kind of talking where I'm having a conversation with myself, but more that I like voicing my train of thought when I'm alone. Doing it in the car is even better for some reason, probably because I'm definitely alone and not wondering if someone else can hear me. But I talked, and the closer I got to my high school, the more and more I realized how happy I was that I made the choices that I did.

Eventually I started crying. Because I was driving farther and farther away, because with every passing day, every passing second I get farther away from fucking middle school. I know it's ridiculous to be upset about this, especially because so many other kids had it so much worse than I did. But when lots of people tell you that you're a loser for three straight years as a kid, I guess some of that kind of sticks with you forever.

And this is why I thank the universe every goddamn day that my sister didn't go through that. She had her own group in middle school, she did her own thing, worked hard, made friends, and had fun, and I am so, so, so unbelievably glad that she was spared my experience of being a short nerdy loser. I know that to some extent, that experience made me who I am today, bla bla bla. But I still wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I had to take a few seconds to compose myself when I finally reached my old high school, because I was still crying about how happy I was. I never have to go back. I never have to go back. I went to a good high school and met people who just genuinely liked me for who I was and I think I have finally unlearned all the nastiness I was starting to adopt as a mechanism for trying to appear normal. I'm finally freeing myself of the idea that being normal matters, that I have to be a girl in a certain kind of way for people to like and accept me, or for my life to be rich and full and happy. To my friends in high school: I don't exaggerate when I say that you all rescued me from a potential future of me being nasty and bitchy and lonely.

I remember distinctly a moment near the end of 9th grade when I thought, so this is what it feels like to be happy, really happy, right at your core.

And university's even better, because I finally start to expect that people will be pretty decent and nice to me and even stupid stuff, like that boys will like me and not look at me and call me ugly and faggot and shove me into lockers and call me fucking bitch and that girls won't be nice to my face and compare me to the boys who talked about eating worms and worshipping noodles when they thought I wasn't listening. God, middle school was petty.

I know it sounds stupid. It really, really does. But I'm the only one who's allowed to feel that way, because when other people say it I'm like do you think I like this? Do you think I like that I'm still upset by things that happened 10 years ago? It's the fucking worst and I feel ridiculous any day that it bothers me. But it just gets smaller and smaller as time goes on and life keeps going up, up, up and I keep meeting more and more people who treat me nicely and I keep doing more and more and more of the things that I love. It doesn't feel like I've finally reached some place where my life is perfect, it feels like my life is good and it's going to stay that way and continue to be filled with genuine people and happiness forever and every day that I realize that is the best day of my life.

I don't spend all my time thinking about this, no. I have bigger things to worry about. But sometimes it gets to me and I get all emotional about it. It's probably also ridiculous to be so happy about the quality of the friends that I have, but I don't care. I've done more happy crying this year than I ever have before and that is fine with me.

As a closing note, before I start happy crying again: my dear, dear friends, you mean more to me than words can say.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Plot twist

CAMP NANO IS IN JULY I LIED oh well might as well write next month, or at least spend the month working on filling out that character creation form.

I did some writing today. I got a book a few years ago called "The Little Red Writing Book" which is about, well, writing, and had some exercises in there to do. After getting halfway through the second chapter I started to wonder if the book really would help me get better at writing, but I kinda liked what I wrote today, and so I thought I'd put it here.

First exercise: Take a walk. Come back home and write what you encountered. Try to write so that your sentences feel the way the walking felt.

(Disclaimer: I am shit at writing descriptive stuff. Dialogue is more my alley. Excessive amounts of dialogue)

The walk began a half hour after a thunderstorm had sailed through. The realty sign boasted that the lot was 22.43 acres, and waterfront to boot. Blocked off by a tiny red chain, our only option to see the lot was to walk. So we did.
It quickly became clear that walking was the wiser choice. The road, invaded by the nature that surrounded it, had become bumpy, uneven, even soft from the rain. Edged by tire tracks nonetheless, the centre had become a tiny river carved from the spring runoff. In other places, baby trees with soft needles reached to the sky, relishing in the room for growth.
The road curved invitingly; we wanted to see what was around the bend. For five minutes we walked until we reached the cabin, disappointingly lackluster considering the $2.7 million price tag. The water was accessible only by a steep grassy path down a rocky slope, an adventure for another time. Yet despite our height, I could still smell the lake, carried up the mountain on the breeze.
The return journey was muggy, the sun having returned to suck the water from everything around us. It was the kind of heat we weren't accustomed to; our hometown was desperately dry. Dry heat doesn't seep into one's face the same way heat does after a good rain.

That was as far as I got. I didn't really like the bit at the end, it's not super relevant, and I'd probably cut it out if I were going to edit it. But it's not like this is a piece of writing into which I poured my soul. I sat down and wrote it in probably 15 minutes. Lucky for me dad and I decided to go on that walk. I forgot to describe the giant, out-of-place rock, though, and the deer, and the density of the trees. Dammit.

Second exercise: What do you get anxious about when you write? Looking like a fool; making some egregrious mistake of grammar or fact or argument; getting yourself sued; causing problems for your family? Make a personal list. Sometimes giving names to the things that trouble us can strip them of their power.

That my writing is bad. That there are people out there who write a million times better than I ever could. That people won't like my story, or the way I wrote it, that they will say it is bad.
That I haven't done enough to improve my writing, and by this alone, I am not a real writer.
I worry that I am getting proud of something terrible, that people will question my judgement because I think something I wrote is good when in actuality, it's terrible.
That my writing isn't good, that it never moves people, that something I write will never stick with them, become their favourite.
That when I say I am good at writing, I'm lying.
It's made all the worse when I don't get a good grade on something like an essay. I hold that up as proof that I'm lying when I say I'm good at writing. At this point, writing is about the only thing I feel confident in saying I'm good at.
But when I was 12 and wrote "Nations", when I was 14 and wrote "Camp Lame-o", I was proud of those stories. They were crappy and I was proud anyway. maybe there was a certain kind of wisdom in that- or at least a certain kind of joy.

I realize how repetitive and bad this is now, of course, but again, I wrote this in like 15 minutes. It's still true, though. It never used to bother me that I might not be good, because everyone said I was, and my writing was of great quality... when I was 10, and 12, and 14, for the age I was at. Except now I'm an adult, and I'm expected to write like one- and I have no idea what I'm doing.

There was one time when I was considering entering a CBC writing contest. You had to write a short story- something I don't enjoy- about a particular theme, and there were past examples of winners on the site. Reading those past examples convinced me that I had no chance of winning. I can't write like that, with hidden meanings and people being dramatic and stuff meaning things, I can't do that. I don't know how. I don't know how to be that obtuse. I don't get it. I didn't like the stuff that was up there, either. Like, it was well written, and interesting, but I didn't like it. Maybe because it felt inaccessible to me, maybe because it intimidated me, I don't know.

Was that the first time I'd felt that my writing wasn't any good? Hardly. But it still stuck with me. That was probably also the same year I had to quit nano for school, and the same year I stopped writing. That's when all this doubt crept in and set up camp. And try as I might, I can't get back what I had once.

This is where I should cut in with some anecdote about how I'm still trying and it'll be fine, but honestly I'm just not up for that kind of positivity today. Thinking about this makes me sad. Thinking that I gave up something I loved so much- something that brought me so much joy, something that gave me an identity- for school makes me so unbelievably sad. There aren't a lot of things I regret in life, but that is one of them.

That's also tied up with the fact that when I was in high school, I spent so much of my time working and studying that that became the entirety of who I was, my entire identity was "IB student" and nothing else. And now I come to university, and people have all these hobbies and interests and the question "What do you do for fun?" is far more tied up in what I gave up in high school than I'd like to admit. I used to have an answer to that question. It's like other people spent high school, y'know, doing school but also having fun, and finding out things they enjoyed, and spending time developing a personality. Sometimes I just feel like yeah, maybe I developed better study habits and ways to deal with stress, but god, I'm so boring. What do I do for fun? Nothing. I sit around in my room on the internet. There's your answer.

I know I'm trying, but I feel like I shouldn't have to be. I just want to be interesting. I just want to be able to say I'm good at something and know that I can prove it. I just want to have stuff to do that isn't schoolwork. I'm great at doing homework (ha! there's one thing). That's about it.

I dunno. It does feel good to want to write something, to have even some sloppy things to be able to share and not feel self conscious about (like, those are rough drafts. If I were to hand them in for anything, I'd edit the shit out of both of them at least 3 times). Also, at this point everyone who knew that I once liked to write has basically stopped asking how my writing is going, because they all know it isn't, so I can stop explaining myself all the damn time.

yer pal,

P.S. oh and hey, writing friends- because I know both of you (Omnia and Redbeard, that is) read this blog- try the writing exercises, if you want. Just make sure to tell me how it goes, because you are both excellent at writing and I'd want to read what you wrote.