Sunday, November 30, 2008

Of Lies and Liars

For five years I worked a Government job. One of the main functions of my job was to determine when “clients” were lying and to figure out if that was problematic enough for us to take action or just let it go. It didn’t take long before I figured out that everyone was lying to me about something or other and I just had to figure out if the particular lie in question was important. It was also around this time that I discovered Mr. Intellectual’s propensity for telling little white lies constantly. It was something I had always noticed and was confused about, but it began to gnaw at me as I became more adept at spotting these obfuscations and catching him in his tall tales.

Over the years as these little white lies piled up I became more and more frustrated and angry at the discovery of each one, particularly because they were so unnecessary. When I bluntly asked him at one point why he felt it was necessary to embellish so much and so often he had an intriguing reply and an answer that gave me some insight into his personality. He said that he wanted to make his life seem more interesting and by extension himself more interesting. That didn’t excuse his behaviour in my eyes. I just wanted him to be honest with me. I didn’t care if he led a normal, ordinary life or his anecdotes were nothing exceptional. As the job started to wear me down more each day I craved honesty from those around me, particularly the man who was supposed to be my biggest emotional support.

The job was starting to change me, and the way I saw people. With each passing day I was becoming more disillusioned with people and I became quite disgusted with humanity. As each lie was uncovered at work I was becoming increasingly hostile towards the white lies I had to face after work. The cumulative toll that these white lies took on me was one of the factors that precipitated the end of our 6-year relationship. It was one of the big things I was thankful to leave behind me. I hated always second guessing the things I was being told and constantly keeping a mental puzzle in play to see if what was said was the truth, white lies or outright falsehoods. It really hurt that he didn’t think enough of me to tell me the truth.

This was all brought home to me again recently through this blog. An anonymous reader who was actually looking for a poem by Catullus uncovered this particular lie of Mr. Intellectuals. It was a brief, sharp and painful reminder of his untruthful nature. I am thankful that this person left the comment and alerted me to the deception. Many years ago Mr. Intellectual had written me a poem and I was under the impression up until now that it was one of his own original works. It was beautiful and I always treasured that poem. I found out that it is basically a word for word copy of the poem “Happiness” by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, 84 BC - 54 BC. Now I’m just thoroughly disgusted by his behaviour and wonder if other poems he wrote me were also deliberate plagiarisms. The sad thing is that if he had just told me it was a work by Catullus and it made him think of me I would have loved it just as much. There was no need to pass it off as his own work since I already thought he was a good writer.

While his brazen behaviour took my breath away it has solidified my disinterest in his life. I no longer care what he’s doing and how he is, or how he is faring with the difficulties in his life. I find him to be ridiculously pompous and disingenuous and do not want those kinds of people in my life. He doesn’t deserve any more of my time or headspace. What this has also done for me is make me even more grateful for the man I’m with right now. From the start Quiet Confidence and I have had an open and honest relationship. I have never had that nagging feeling that what was being said wasn’t quite what it seems. QC respects me enough to tell me the truth, even if it’s not easy, and for that reason alone I love him.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


As a Teaching Assistant at the University one of my responsibilities is the marking of assignments, essays, tutorial participation, midterms and final exams. I have to say that this is one of the least favourite parts of the job for me. I hate judging someone else's work or performance. There is something very distasteful to me in making that call and sticking with my grade. I think sometimes that I agonize over these students grades for more time than they take to study for the exam or to write their term papers. I just want to be fair and impartial to all my students and ensure that they have earned the grade I give them, regardless of whether it's an A or an F.

As an undergraduate I was never the greatest at taking tests and my exams were always somewhat mediocre. I understand that even the brightest student might have difficulties with writing a decent history exam. It's not an easy thing to remember specific dates, names, and places and how they all fit together to make something meaningful. It has only been in the last couple of years of my Doctoral degree that I'm getting even remotely comfortable with the names and dates of history in relation to an event, and that's only when you're talking to me about Canadian history. Give me any other country and I'm as helpless as a frosh. This is largely because I'm TAing the same survey course on Canadian history for the second year in a row, and I've spent the better part of the past 4 years deeply immersed in Canadian history for my thesis work.

So while I'm bogged down with midterms and papers right now I'm dreaming of the day when I'll have a bevy of graduate students to do the marking for me. I think that's one of the best perks of getting a full Doctorate- not having to mark obscene piles of undergraduate work.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Decorations

A couple of years ago I taught myself how to Tat. After some false starts and a lot of time in between I've taken it up again.

Snowflake, Work in Progress

Over the last few days I've begun to make a couple of snowflakes as Christmas decorations. I had originally planned to offer up a set as a prize for completing NaBloPoMo this year.

Snowflakes, completed

I promptly dropped the ball on the NaBlo challenge, and also stalled out on getting back to Eden in regards to this prize. I'm going to try to get it in at the last minute regardless. My apologies on the bad lighting. These were taken at my desk in the late evening with no natural sunlight. The snowflakes are actually made out of a subtle off-white shade of cotton thread, and don't look this dingy in person.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nablopo....oh crap

As I was drifting off to sleep on Friday night I realized I hadn't posted anything that day. I didn't even make it a week before I blew the NaBloPoMo challenge.

I could have chosen to get out of bed to throw up a post, however I thought it would be a bit odd considering that I was at Quiet Confidence's house. I wasn't sure how he'd react to me getting out of bed around midnight to fire up the computer for a blog post. He's been very supportive and accepting of the whole "blog" concept once I let the cat out of the bag. He wasn't all that surprised given the fact that he knew I kept a paper journal and I'm pretty "plugged in" (his words not mine). We still haven't discussed boundaries on what he's comfortable with me posting about our relationship. I'm kind of waiting until he's finished reading through the past couple years worth of posts before delving into that discussion.

I don't consider my lapse on the Nablo challenge to be a failure really. I'm trying not to use that word in an effort to stop seeing my stumbles as failures. I need to really curb the negative self-talk and focus on what is working in my life. I'm going to see how many posts I can create with the time left in the challenge. This was always meant as a challenge to undertake in an effort to help me get over my academic writer's block. Hopefully by the end of the month I'll have succeeded in that.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This weekend Quiet Confidence and I were looking for a board game to play. It's been forever since either one of us had played one and it was perfect weather for staying inside- cold, rainy and plenty of fog. We ended up having to go out to pick up a game since there wasn't anything either of us were digging in his limited supply.

After much debate and browsing of the games at a local toy store we finally settled on Blokus, the duo edition. It appealed to both of us by combining elements of tetris and strategy, as well as looking pretty simple to pick up right away. Plus it looked somewhat addictive and potentially something we could play over and over without getting bored. It ended up being a huge hit and actually hilarious to play. The nice part about the duo edition is that it's compact, easy to travel with and only 2 player, which makes for a faster game than the multi-player edition.

The best part about the whole game was after we started cursing "Blokus!" when our respective opponent made a particularly good play. That alone made this purchase completely worth every penny.

I did a quick search today and found out you can play Blokus online through their website. Not only that but apparently the game has been very well reviewed and quite popular. I think we lucked out in our choice and can't wait for the rematch. He ended up winning our best out of 5 series by 1 game. It was a close game which made it all the more entertaining.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


I'm with someone who is so compatible with me that it seems too good to be true. Why do I keep feeling like something bad is going to happen, or I'll wake up only to discover that it was all a dream. Is there such a thing as perfection in a relationship?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Public vs. Private

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years feeling like my life is out of control. Ever since one asshole came into my life and ripped apart my sense of security and my ability to trust myself I’ve been largely unable to make a decision and stick with it. Normal, everyday things create unexpectedly negative reactions within me. In order to get a brief sense of security back I pack up and move, which is why I’ve moved 3 times in the past 12 months. When I feel threatened I run and hide.

Several weeks ago my boyfriend had flowers delivered to my house. My first reaction was not one of surprise and delight - it was a sickening fear that he’d found me. And anger. I think I slightly frightened the poor delivery guy with my hostile reaction and questions of who they were from. I wanted to know who sent them before I’d accept. As soon as I closed the door and read the card I knew my reaction was wrong and I was upset that I couldn’t experience the normal joy of receiving unexpected gifts without the panic and fear that it was starting all over again.

Finding out that Mr. Intellectual has been to my website has raised that same gut wrenching reaction. It’s not that I begrudge him the curiosity, or that I don’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. I largely feel indifferent towards him and his life. It’s the feelings I have of it being unfair. That yet again I’m an unwilling participant in something I can’t change. It’s the feelings of being utterly powerless and unable to stand up for myself. That I’ve been rendered completely helpless. These are feelings I struggle with on an almost daily basis since the stalking began and again when the post-traumatic stress emerged. This overwhelming sense of vulnerability is a new facet of my personality that I dislike and causes me a lot of distress.

Jaclyn, a kind reader, has suggested that maybe I’d feel more comfortable taking this blog private and requiring people to ask for access in order to read. While this is tempting, it kind of violates the spirit of this blog in a sense. This was supposed to be a safe space for me to work through things that I couldn’t voice anywhere else. To take it private means that it is no longer that safe place and it also means that I’m limiting access. It also feels like I’m running and hiding again. Like I’m giving up a small sliver of the control I feel I have on my life. It’s the feeling that I’m giving him more power and influence over my life than he deserves or should have. Very much the way I feel towards the man who stalked me, and forever changed my life. A lot of the time I do things because of my experience, thereby allowing the stalker to continue to exert a power and influence over me that is wholly undeserved.

I spend a lot of time struggling with these feelings and the resulting anger. I’m trying to take baby steps to stop this cycle of behaviour, which is why Ph.Depressed will continue to be publicly accessible. I will try very hard not to let the fear of unwanted readership dictate what I choose to put here.

"I cannot control how you act. I can only control how I react."
- Jane Canuck

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Rapidly Changing Seasons

Last Wednesday saw our first snowstorm of the year. It was quite a mess because there were still so many leaves on the trees and the snow was so heavy. Lots of downed limbs, power outages and general unpleasantness on the streets. Not to mention sub-zero temperatures and black ice.

This Wednesday the temperatures climbed to 20*C and I wore capri's, sandals and a t-shirt to campus. I also enjoyed a beer out on the patio of the grad club in the late afternoon with some colleagues. It was truly a stolen moment from Summer and felt more like the return of Spring than the end of Fall. If only this coming Winter could pass us by that easily. Sadly, I know that's too much to hope for in this city.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

1288 Days, 298 Posts later

A little over 3 years ago I started a blog. I’m not really sure what it was about the medium that appealed to me, but at the time I was reeling from a couple of big life changes. I was struggling to come to terms with my depression, graduate school and being thrust back into the single life after 6 years of being safely cocooned in a relationship. I have always found that writing has helped me sort out my more complex emotions and crystallize in my mind the problems I was having. While I have friends and acquaintances, I don’t have many people I trust or feel comfortable enough opening up to and sharing the deepest recesses of myself with.

In the past three years, I’ve completed a Masters degree despite some serious difficulties, entered a Ph.D program and floundered, was stalked, developed post traumatic stress, moved 5 times, worked through my 6-year relationship with Mr. Intellectual, dated or had pseudo-relationships with more men than I can remember names for, saw another niece and nephew enter the world, experienced a complete break with reality, went on and off anti-depressants and anxiety medication a handful of times, and met a man who is one of the most honest, emotionally mature and unconditionally loving individuals that I have ever met.

In the past year I’ve struggled with this space and where I’m taking it. I’ve spent a lot of time being disengaged from life and my personal pursuits outside of school and the daily grind of life. I spent several months where I stopped doing just about everything I enjoyed, from reading fiction to going outside or interacting with friends. Some days are easier than others to pick up that book or go out for coffee with a friend. I find myself easily distracted, agitated and restless when I do try to concentrate on my schoolwork or my hobbies- writing in particular.

One of the biggest obstacles I have with this space is that I know that Mr. Intellectual finally found me online. My statcounter alerted me to this fact sometime around my birthday of this year. It disturbs me somewhat to know that he may or may not be reading here. Like why should he give a shit now? On some level it feels like being stalked all over again since it’s an unwanted, secretive observer of my life and he hasn’t told me about it or reached out to me in any way. It also makes me slightly more cautious in what I choose to write about, and I hate that feeling. I hate feeling helpless and that is all I have felt since the day I called 9-1-1 fearing for my life because of the stalkers behaviour at my door. I don’t think it's particularly fair that he can turn his back on my friendship, yet get a front seat into my inner struggles. I’m trying very hard not to let it censor me.

The other big hurdle to my writing here is the fact that my new boyfriend doesn’t know about my blog. I’ve been debating about whether or not to tell him. We have a policy of absolute honesty, which has worked very well for us, and it feels kind of like a breach of his trust not to let him know. I’m scared about how he’ll respond to some of my writing- not that he’ll reject me, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings in some way or cause him to worry unnecessarily about me. Is it possible to share too much with someone? We’ll soon find out because I think it’s finally time to let him in on my last big secret.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Writer's Block, already

This is day 3 of NaBloPoMo and I officially have writers block. It's a tad early to be this hung up on what to write, but given my problems with my academic writing this shouldn't be a huge surprise. I was hoping to make it a full week or more before I really started to feel like I had nothing to say. This certainly bodes ill for the remainder of the exercise.

It's all about baby steps though. Even if it means writing a junk post like this, I'm still putting one foot in front of the other (metaphorically) and trying to overcome my overall writers block in the hopes of improving my academic performance.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Library Graffiti

Library Graffiti, Sept. 25, 2008

I was in the University library a while back collecting a few books for a project I'm supposed to be working on. While heading up the stairwell I spotted this on one of the landings. It's not drawn on, but looked to be more of a silkscreen template. It was fairly innocuous, about the size of my hand, and easily missed if you were in a hurry.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this month. I thought about it for a while before I signed up since I haven't written anything here since July. Which, coincidentally, is around the same time I stopped writing academically and almost completely stopped writing in my paper journal. Writing has become so difficult for me that I've completely turned my back on it, which as you can imagine is a serious problem in a graduate program that involves multiple 30+ page papers and a 350 page thesis as a requirement for graduation. I hoping that by completing 30 days straight of blogging that I will be able to return to my academic work. If I can't write, I can't be here which means finding an alternate career path and giving up on my Ph.d.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Little Touch of Luxury

One of my very best friends lives in England. We chat several times a week over msn and share the occasional joke through text message. We’ve now known each other for about 10 years and have shared the ups and downs of life, including all the details of rotten relationships and anything else that may come up in conversation. I could easily make the argument that the Weasle knows more about me than anyone else I know. He has some family in Canada and comes out every few years to visit and have a vacation.

The Weasle was planning his vacation for this summer a couple of months ago and asked me if there was anything I’d like from the UK that I can’t get here. Last summer while he was visiting he brought me a lovely Manchester United jersey. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted off the top of my head and the conversation drifted off into other realms. I was having difficulties with Candidate #2 at the time and we were discussing the best way for me to break it off without causing unnecessary drama for myself. Weasle brought it up again several weeks later. It was late at night and we were both getting slightly ridiculous making fun of each other (or as he say’s – taking the piss), and having a good time in general. I don’t know why this came out, but I was feeling bold and I really wanted something extraordinary.

Several years ago I read about Agent Provocateur in some magazine. I love beautiful things and my tastes tend towards the expensive. As one of my uncles would say, I have “champagne tastes on a beer budget.” I love taking a peek at their website and all the fabulous lingerie that I can never afford. Much like a pair of Louboutin shoes or a Valentino dress, AP lingerie was one of those things that I enjoy admiring, but never really believed would ever be in the budget. The only Agent Provocateur boutique in Canada just so happens to be in Vancouver, at the opposite end of the country from where I am, further removing it from my realm. I mentioned this to Weasle and he immediately jumped on their UK site and we had a good laugh picking out the more daring ensembles and comparing our tastes in lingerie. By the end of the night we had both settled on the same set as being the best and most appropriate for me. I must say Weasle does have impeccable tastes in clothing and jewellery!

So this year I received an amazing pair of panties and matching bra from the Weasle. It became a great joke between us, but that’s just the relationship we have. I finally received my gift this week and I couldn’t be more pleased. I love how AP names each of their sets with women’s names and weaves a story with their different lines. Mine just so happens to be called “Fanny” which tickled me pink since it reminds me of the notorious Fanny Hill by John Cleland. I adore my new lingerie and have big plans for it in the future, since it really is too good and too pretty to wear for everyday.

It really is a little touch of luxury to slip on a $100 thong and know you are worth every penny of it. The Weasle has become instrumental in reminding me of my value and that I am more than the crappy relationships and the men I thought I deserved. He also knows that I deprive myself so that I can afford to stay in school, so this is his way of treating me for all my hard work. This is why I love him like one of my brothers and value him so much. Sometimes it takes the words of someone else to remind you that you are special and you should be good to yourself.

Monday, June 23, 2008

An Anniversary of a Sort

Ten years ago this month I sat waiting in a park in the dusky twilight, on a bench beside a baseball diamond. I was waiting for Mr. Intellectual to come home from a visit to his Nana’s. This was the night we started dating. The night after we had shared our first kiss. I waited in that park for a couple of hours since I didn’t know when he would be home. A less patient girl would have given up and gone out with her friends instead, but I wanted him. In hindsight that night was to be the first of many where I would wait patiently for him.

Ten years later we’re no longer even speaking to each other. We’ve both sort of moved on. I know he went looking for this blog around the time of my birthday last month and found it. I still keep in touch with his cousin so I know what he is or isn’t up to and that he’s still with the girl he started dating after we broke up. I am finally making peace with the relationship, the issues it created, and the impact it had on my life.

After we broke up 4 years ago, I had planned on mailing him a gift on our 10-year anniversary with a thank-you card. The gift was going to be a leather-bound, Arden’s Playgoers edition of Hamlet. It was a gift I had been trying to source off an on while we were together since that was his favourite Shakespearian play and he absolutely loves beautiful things- books in particular. He had also given me the leather-bound Arden’s Romeo and Juliet years before for Christmas one year, so it was a fitting gift I thought. The card was to say something about the gratitude I have for the 6 years we spent together and the good times we shared. How he was an important part of my life and one of my best friends and for that I will always love him as a friend and think fondly of him. In the end I decided to just leave him be. He made it abundantly clear two years ago that he didn’t want to have anything more to do with me, so I respected that. As much as I would like to reach out to him, given how difficult things are for him at the moment, I know his pride would never allow him to accept my friendship right now. Instead I will leave the past in the past and continue moving forward.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I think...

If you asked me tomorrow, I would say yes.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Ghost of a Memory

Last night I returned to the University town after a very restful month at my parents place on the Farm. While unpacking and listening to music I suddenly remember something from the distant past. I had completely forgotten the night before I left home for University for the first time. It was a bittersweet parting between Mr. Intellectual and I. I don’t really remember what we did that evening, but sometime before midnight saw us dancing slowly to some of our favourite songs, holding each other closely. I can’t remember how long we stayed like that, but it was probably for a few hours. Slowly spinning around room, talking softly with my head resting on his shoulder and nestled up close to his neck. Later he dropped me off at my parent’s house in the early morning hours. I remember being excited for the next morning and all the new things that moving out and starting University would bring. My excitement was tempered with sadness at leaving Mr. Intellectual, who chose to stay at home and begin school at the Hometown University. He was very melancholy at our final parting. Soft kisses and gentle words were shared before he drove away that night.

Now, almost eight years later I think about that night as if it was from another era, and in a sense it was in a different intellectual and emotional era in my life. I’ve been in post-secondary school for 8 years now, earned 2 degrees and experienced more in the past 4 years apart from him than I did in the previous 6 years with him. But I wonder about the feelings I had while with him. I’ve been emotionally stunted in the love department since we parted ways 4 years ago. I wonder if I can be that emotionally open and available to anyone again. So far I have failed miserably and not just because I’ve picked men who were far from desirable partners. Thinking about that last night together I miss the simple sweetness of loving someone in that way- the absolute trust, adoration, and fearlessness of loving without holding back. Have I seen too much and been through too much trauma with men to turn back the clock in my heart to that time?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Alternative Therapy?

Vitia nostra regionum mutatione non fugimus.

- We do not flee our errors by a change of locations. (Anonymous)

I've kind of reached the end of my rope with how I'm feeling and doing. I've struggled for the past couple of years with no meaningful change or relief. I had always hoped that when I moved from my Master's to my Ph.D I could leave behind some of the old issues and start fresh in a new city and a new University. These problems have a way creeping back in eventually though. You may move locations and change jobs or projects, but you bring yourself with you.

I've been medicated off and on for almost 5 years now. The last two years have seen me on medication almost steadily. While it has helped me tremendously at times, I have found other alternative therapies to be as equally effective, if not more so, at times. The yoga study I did last year was really great and I regret not continuing on with yoga after it was over. Talk therapy was perfunctory and incredibly counter productive when I gave it a try 5 years ago. Arguably the doctor I have now engages in a type of talk therapy in addition to dispensing medication and charting my progress. She's a lot better than the first guy I tried, but it's still not making an appreciable difference in my life. There are some things I know I need to figure out on my own and spend time sorting through them in my head.

I'm not the type of person to enjoy talking to a therapist, or some one else necessarily, to help me sort out those things. Verbal diarrhea has never been a problem for me, nor do I feel better after "unburdening" myself on anyone. I keep it all closed up inside and the only time I discuss the mental issues is in my journal or here. I'm an independent learner, and a very closed person, so talk therapy is not helpful for me. I'd say it leaves me worse off then before I started because I'm easily frustrated by seeing the person struggle to help me if they're not properly qualified. I also find empty platitudes annoying and unnecessary. I don't need someone to pat my hand and tell me everything will be better tomorrow.

I ran across an article in Discovery about the use of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of mental disorders after reading Mind Hacks. While I don't condone recreational drug use, nor would I ever advocate using them, I think this is an intensely personal choice. I just want to feel like I used to. I just want to be the person I know I am, free from the Post Traumatic Stress and the depression. I want to feel again. I want to not only remember what love feels like, I want to feel love again. Everything I'm doing right now is not allowing me to overcome the problem or even find a break through and insight on how to proceed. This is not something I'm taking lightly or jumping into blindly. It is something I'm considering very seriously, not as a recreational "high" but as a controlled and deliberate choice.

There is only one person in the world I would trust to do this with- my brother, the World Traveller. While the article discusses the use of MDMA for post traumatic stress I would never consider using it. I'm leaning more towards psilocybin's (magic mushrooms) as a safer option. WT has experience with them and he knows I've never done shrooms before. He also is an incredibly safety oriented person and understands the purpose behind why I want to try them. We discussed it a bit last night, however I still have a few more things to discuss with him about it before I agree to the experience. It also needs to be in a highly controlled environment because a bad trip would probably leave me in a far worse mental state than I am in right now. I know this is not a cure, but merely a tool to help me reach the next step in over coming the PTSD. The depression will probably always be with me, but the PTSD is seriously affecting my daily life and ability to function in society. I know how to cope with the depression, I do not now how to cope with depression and PTSD.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

At a Standstill

Stasis n.- a state in which there is neither motion nor development, often resulting from opposing forces balancing each other.

I am in almost complete stasis right now. I am unable to move forward, unable to complete projects, and unable to untangle my messy emotional state.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Series of Highs & Lows

  • Driving a Backhoe for the first time on the farm
  • Discovering Mr. Intellectual has visited this site for the first time
  • Spending hours talking to a certain some one, losing track of time and not minding
  • Feeling like a huge failure because that paper still isn't done
  • Going for a short run and not being out of breath, despite not having exercised in quite some time
  • Not knowing where you stand with someone
  • Getting a big bear hug from that crazy brother of yours, just when you needed it most
  • Realizing you have to go back to the University town in a couple of days and face the music

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Gift to Myself

Somewhere between this post and today I had a wee little mental breakdown. The weight of school, an incomplete relationship and the fear of failure sent me off the deep end, free-falling into an abyss of mental instability. Many tears later and lots of sleep I’m slowly waking up. I ran away to my parent’s house two weeks ago and I’m trying to find a healthy balance for my life yet again. Being in the middle of my family and seeing my little nieces and nephews really helps to ground me and show me what is important in life. It doesn’t hurt that it is also spring on the farm, which is an incredibly beautiful time of year.

This past weekend I celebrated my 27th birthday. I have heard from several people that being 27 was one of the hardest years of their life for various reasons. I’m not sure if it’s the realization that you’re almost thirty and coming to terms with the end of your supposedly ‘carefree’ 20s, or it’s the feeling that you should be closer to assembling something of an adult career and life path. The thought of having a more difficult year than the past three years combined has steeled me to make some changes in the hopes of preventing a terrible 27th year. I’m trying to make 27 the best year I possibly can under the circumstances.

As a gift to myself for my birthday I broke up with Candidate #2. I knew it was something I should have had the guts to do months ago, but hindsight isn’t always the most helpful. As a semi-professional historian I spend inordinate amounts of time analyzing the past and for once I’d like to think about the future. So, instead of agonizing over the hurt it has caused or replaying over in my head what I should have done differently I am just leaving it alone and not looking back. I’ve severed almost all contact with Candidate #2 and once I return back to the University town and drop off his key I won’t have any more to do with him. It’s not beneficial for either one of us and the last thing I need right now is to become a target for his anger and sadness over yet another failed relationship.

The next couple of weeks I’m going to try to sort out all of my incomplete assignments and put my education back in order. If I have any chance of salvaging this degree I need to make the sacrifices I know are necessary even if they are difficult.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Guessing Game

I’m breaking down. I can feel myself slowly fraying as each additional pressure is squeezed down inside me and I try to prioritize with little success. I wake up everyday questioning what I’m doing with my life. Should I really be in graduate school? Is a Ph.D really what I want from life? Am I only still here because I’ve become institutionalized and I can’t fathom a life outside the walls of academia? I wonder what else I would do as a career and come up empty handed and even more frustrated. This is the only way I can see of being independent.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dangers of the Workplace

I'm in the throes of writing a paper for my course on advertising and consumption. For most of the time it's an uphill struggle but I have experienced brief moments of reprieve, where the words flow easily and writing feels like I've found my voice again. These moments are for a few sentences at a time or maybe a paragraph if I'm particularly fortunate.

This morning I rolled over to the unpleasant discovery that at some point in the night a small, purple post-it note had become attached to my belly. I woke up slightly confused and disoriented to the knowledge that this little piece of paper had burrowed its way under my t-shirt and affixed itself beside my bellybutton for the duration of the night. I'm still puzzled how it made its way upstairs and into bed with me. Perhaps it came from the book I was reading before I fell asleep, or more likely it fell off an article as I straightened up before I called it a night. Either way, its been one of the more unusual consequences of academia that I've experienced- right up there with the time I pulled my shoulder picking up a book off the floor.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Where I'm At

Lost. I feel lost. Somewhere in the past 6 months I’ve allowed myself to be swallowed whole into a relationship that is neither truly beneficial for me nor truly destructive. Much like the way I feel right now it is just sort of there. He’s a decent sort of man who will make some woman very happy in the future. He will love her, care for her and they will be happy with the domestic routine. In the end, he is just not for me. There is no real connection of the mind and I can feel myself slowly eroding emotionally from this.

He needs some one less opinionated, less dominant, less cerebral and consumed with spending time inside her head. He often gets frustrated with my over-intellectualizing and the amount of time I spent inside my head turning things over and gently prodding them for their larger meaning and structure. He would argue the opposite and that we’re great together, but I know I’m not being true to myself. I am not who I am with him and alter my personality to fit more smoothly into his life. I suppress things, alter moods and put aside interests to create a more harmonious relationship. All of which I know are wrong, but I can’t help it.

The problem lies in the fact that he’s a great friend and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. He’s a great guy for hanging out on a patio in the summer sun, drinking beers and sharing casual conversation. But as my brother, the World Traveller, has said he just isn’t cultured enough for my tastes and long-term happiness. There’s nothing wrong with him, he’s just not my type. I also know that when we break up we cannot be friends- he won’t accept that. This relationship is such that he wants all or nothing, and I can’t give him what he desires. With both our birthday’s coming up in the next month I really do need to do something about this. I know I’m not responsible for how he reacts, but I hate hurting other people’s feelings, particularly when it comes to relationship hurts. The worst part about this is that there really isn't an overwhelmingly bad thing about the relationship that makes breaking it off easier.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Six Word Memoir

I recently was introduced to the concept of a six word memoir through an article in the Toronto Star. They had run their own six word memoir contest to highlight the new book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: 6 Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. The concept is to write your own memoir in only 6 words. It's a fun little exercise to think through and I've found myself doing it at odd times during the last week or so- or at least thinking about the book. These little memoirs can be so provocative and addictive. The Amazon preview has a few really intriguing examples from the book:

"After Harvard, had baby with crackhead." - Robin Templeton

"Watching quietly from every doorframe." - Nicole Resseguie

"Painful nerd kid, happy nerd adult." - Linda Williamson

"The Psychic said I'd be richer." - Elizabeth Bernstein

It fits in with my interest in PostSecret and catching little glimpses of other peoples private lives that you may or may not be privy to. Much like PostSecret, these 6 word memoirs are equally eclectic. I'm not really sure what my 6 word memoir would be exactly, but here are a few I did think of:

I think about it every day.

26, Life has yet to happen.

Depressed and withdraw from my life.

Some day I will find myself.

Fell in love once, still waiting.

What would your 6 word memoir say?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Something Lost, Something Gained?

I wish I could say that I stopped writing because something extraordinarily good happened in my life and the depression became a non-issue, but that’s not the case. At first I lost confidence in my ability to write academically and eventually it bled into my ability to write from the heart. I couldn’t even write for myself, not here or in my paper journal. The depression waxed and waned over the last few months, neither crippling me nor abating enough for me to truly enjoy life. It has been one long and interminable winter that cannot be over soon enough. I don’t know if I’ve gained anything over these last few months of silence, but I need to believe that there has been some good. I just don’t see it right now.