I threw myself into the sea,
and let the tide take me away,
I let the words and the waves swallow me whole.
If you were the ocean,
I’d roll with you along rocky shores,
and I’d love to be washed out to sea,
if only to be lost with you,
lost in you,
swallowed by you.
I would be glad to drown in your waves and in your words,
never to be happier,
with water-logged lungs.
I threw myself into the sea,
I have spent so much time waiting. While I know I’m only 24, and I have years ahead of me to make a change, if I could go back in time and tell my younger self one thing, it would be to stop waiting for people, for places, and for things. Stop waiting to make the moves you want to make, because you are afraid it won’t work out, or you are afraid you will fail, or you are afraid they won’t reciprocate. So many times I have watched opportunity pass me by because I have been too scared to be honest about how I really feel, and about where my passion lies. And while I know passion cannot drive everything, and often times my instincts will kick in, and I know when to trust my head over my heart.
If I could tell my younger self one thing. It would be to take the offer from the school further away. To study what she wanted to study all along, instead of what was closest to him. To never, ever sacrifice her self respect for his needs. To never pass up an opportunity to see the ones she loved the most, because you never know when they will be gone. To always let people in, because she had a bad habit of closing herself off, and she shut so many good people out for fear of being let down or let go.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to write. To always write. To write on napkins, and receipts. In the pages of journals, and notebooks, and the scrap piece of paper on the subway car. That no matter how much she wanted to impress him with her intellectual prowess, words are where her heart will always lay. That she will never love him as much as she will love words, and that she is only with him for a good story, and not because she truly cares. That good stories are wonderful on paper, but they have broken down her soul. That the situations she puts herself into in the name of a good story will wear down her sense of being. That she will lose herself in all the men she’s ever known, but that soon she will know better.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it’s would be to always go. Take the trains, the planes, the long car rides. Take the journeys across the city, across the country, and across the world. These trips you take, or failed to take, will forever change you; even in the smallest of ways. That the people she has met along the way, they will get into every fibre of her being, and the things they teach her will stay with her for life. Every moment spent soaking up the scenery instead of looking through a lens will change the way she see’s herself, and see’s the world. These are lessons she will not get from a textbook, or from her parents, these are lessons she will learn on her own. That she must learn on her own.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to stop. To stop thinking that an eating disorder is the answer to all her problems. That the path that she is taking will forever alter her body, and her mind, and that she will have to live with the consequences of these actions, however heartbreaking. That there is nothing she will find with her fingers down her throat, that she wouldn’t find with her pen to a page, or with her nose in a book. That altering herself physically will not alter the way she truly sees herself, and that this is something she will never grow out of. This is something that will linger for a lifetime.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to leave him when she knows it’s not right. That staying with someone because you love them, or because they love you, is not the answer. Loving someone is not the answer, that loving herself is. I would tell her not to let him convince her to take her dreams and squander them, because they are too big, and she is not ready. That she should focus on something more attainable, more concrete. That happiness, not salary, is the answer.
Or maybe, I would never tell her anything at all, because these are lessons which she needed to learn. No matter how relentlessly we try to fight the ebb and flow of the people, places, and things in our lives, these lessons are necessary evils, and the irreparable damages caused have lead me to conquer so much more than I thought I ever could. So instead I will sit quiet, and write letters to myself, and pray that I will never, ever read them.
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He reminded me of what carelessness felt like. Closing your eyes and driving blind. He reminded me that heavy things will always be heavy if you let them and that often times it is just easier to let things go and breathe easy, than to hold onto something that you cannot change. The only way to find yourself is sometimes to completely lose yourself in every moment . I never thought the most stressful thing I could ever do would be to try to move on, or move forward – or that it would leave me feeling more free and at ease than I could ever remember feeling.
Love me two times, he seemed to say with his eyes as he walked into the room, and from that moment I knew that I was in over my head. After feeling so lost for so long, the excitement itself was dizzying and made me weak in the knees. So I pursued him, or maybe he pursued me, but it all seemed to happen so fast that I knew I never had a chance.
Love me two times, he said, in a way that made me believe that he may have actually meant it. While I knew that he would be gone in a week, and I was certain that I would never have the chance to love him again, I let him in anyways. It was like a match to a flame, the way that he lit me up. His words had the capacity to swallow me whole. The men that came before him only seemed to talk to fill the silence, but with him it was although every word had been carefully selected, each telling a story of passion, and freedom, and the art of letting go.
Love me two times, he sang in my ear, as his fingers traced every inch of me. A strange combination of lust and fear that I don’t think I felt since I was sixteen. But he was all hips, and lips, and he taught me that time is fleeting, and that those moments that we spent together, with limbs intertwined between the sheets were numbered - so I let go, and I let him have almost all of me, only if for a night.
And now I find myself on a plane softly humming Jim Morrison lyrics, and with butterflies in my stomach. And each passing hour, I get more uncomfortable knowing that soon I will be faced with him again. Months had gone by, and so much had changed, but when I saw him it was like the very first time. I don’t remember ever being so nervous, and as always he pointed out my shaking hands and my awkward stance, but at this point I had learned to breathe – and learned to let myself be free.
Those nineteen days I spent with him were some of the best I’ve ever had. To learn to be myself, to learn to forget the past and be more present today. I learned to let people in, and to let myself in. And while he would never believe how much he affected me, or how much I learned while I was there, I know these days have changed me.
I have loved him two times, and I can only hope I will love him again.
Let’s talk again about my trip again, just because I can. Let’s talk about how I’ve felt since I’ve been back. One week after I cried through a 9 hour plane ride, and subsequently realized all of the things I had come to terms with over the 19 days prior had all been dashed and divided. I have slowly been adjusting to real life. I have never had to experience the post-trip depression that comes along with going from some of the most beautiful places I have ever been, with some of the most wonderful people I have ever met, and a great friend - to being trapped in the Canadian cold with a wanderlust I never imagined could exist.
Having a taste of something so new and so different changed me in a way I don’t think I could ever explain. I am already in the process of planning my next trip, and trying to find a way to work abroad with my company. While I would love to go back to Buenos Aires immediately, I know that there is so much more world to see - and while I know I have time, and that I am young, I have a voice in my head telling me that I need to stop procrastinating and just get out before I find another excuse to lay low, and accept life as it stands.
Travel changed me. It wasn’t simply about getting on a plane, and spending a week on a resort with strangers, being unable to leave the grounds, and spending my days exactly like I would if I were home. It was pushing myself out of my comfort zone, which is something I have always had trouble doing. He was correct when he said I need to grow up. I need to learn to let things go, and to get out of my own head. And while I don’t have any regrets for my time in South America, I learned a lot about what I need to do with my time now to stop myself from wishing I had made different choices in the past. I need to follow my head and my heart - and stop doing what I think other people will think is right. Because the other people have been wrong my whole life. Taking this trip was for me, and I did it even though I knew the repercussions. I did it knowing that it could change everything - that it could ruin the romantic idea I had in my head of what would happen if I went. And even though it did not turn out exactly as I had envisioned, and I learned more than I planned to about certain individuals, I am so grateful to have taken the risk.
It is easy to sit at home, and plan. It is easy to talk big of things, or people who you wish you could see - or of places you want to go but never can. But I did it. I went to a place I never thought I could go, with an individual I assumed I would never see again. And while it was not all sunshine and roses, and it was not perfect - knowing that I won’t spend the rest of my life guessing how it could have been is a priceless lesson.
My memories of my trip are my own. They are not in pictures, or posted on Facebook. They are scribbled on napkins and receipts from dinner and drinks. They are tucked away neatly in a notebook, for when I want to reminisce about my late nights and early mornings, about my sunsets and sunrises, and the tiny moments that made my knees go weak.
I am hungry for more. I am hungry for passion and fear, and the unknown. I am more excited for life than I think I have ever been. I have spent 24 years trying to find this moment, and it is as refreshing and liberating as I had hoped it would be. The only question now is, where to next?
And I watched him walk away,
and I wondered why, like so many times,
I couldn’t follow,
as some stories were meant to be told,
and others left hidden.
Often times I find it easier to sit with my eyes wide shut and watch the world pass me by.
And I watched him walk away,
and I knew I couldn’t follow,
because there are some things people will never understand,
and others we wish they wouldn’t.
And it’s not cowardice, and it’s not loneliness,
but it’s more the fear of people knowing not only how you feel,
It has been said that strength comes from having accepted those things we cannot change - as well as knowing how to fight against those we can.
Sometimes all it takes is one big storm to make you realize how far you’ve come.
And so I’ll sit, and watch the rain.
I’ll watch him walk away, unable to accept the fact that he could not change me.
Sitting in an apartment in Buenos Aires.
He left about 15 minutes ago. I am crying my eyes out. Crying harder than I could ever remember crying in my entire life. I can’t breathe. My chest is heavy and I’m trying to talk myself down, but really I know I have screwed up. My cell phone has no service, with the exception of some awful internet, I have little to no money left to my name, and I need to find my way back to Canada.
This moment on that white couch, in a small apartment in Buenos Aires, was the moment everything changed for me. Not only did I have to say goodbye to someone I really grew to care about, but I was finally subjected to find my own way out of a hole I had dug. I have always been used to people cleaning up my messes for me, but this time I had fucked up royally, and there was no one around to offer a helping hand.
But I did it. And this surprised me more. I was able to get a ticket home, for free. Able to find my way to the airport. Able to teach myself a really hard lesson; a lesson about how living in the moment and living for the moment are two very, very different things. The 19 days I spent in South America opened my eyes to the idea that the world is a larger than I could ever understand. That I have lived in a bubble for 24 years, with other people always cleaning up my messes and telling me where to go. But when I was alone, afraid that I would potentially be stuck for cash, and uncertain of when I would get home, I realized that it was more exhilarating than anything I had ever experience anywhere else.
This girl went away, and it was the most utterly life changing experience of her life.
I won’t bore you with the itinerary details; which cities I visited, the monuments I saw, or the food I ate. These to me, they are all just the little details, as always, I am more interested in how I felt.
To put it all into words feels nearly impossible. As soon as I walked off the plane, and into the airport in Brazil, I knew something felt different. I had made the decision to fly halfway across the world in order to find something I knew I would never be able to find at home. It wasn’t just about finding myself, it was about a new chapter for myself. The last few years have been so hard for me, in learning to adapt to being on my own. And I’ll be the first to admit I am absolutely terrible at it, or I was. But South America sparked something in me I never thought I had. It taught me that we can be so comfortable in our nine to five grind, but comfort isn’t what I need anymore. Comfort is what lets me exist without living. Comfort is what has lead me to depression, to an eating disorder, to abusive relationships and to breaking my body down.
I am sick of comfort, and I am sick of being afraid to be independent for the fear of drowning. I am sick of waking up every morning wondering WHY I am here. I am sick of putting myself second, in the hopes of finding someone who will take care of me, instead of learning to deal with things on my own. South America, and notably Tomas, taught me that even when I think I am putting myself out there and enjoying every moment, I am always still holding myself back. I’m not who I want to be, but now I have the tools to take the steps to make it happen.
My next six months will be spent saving money, and planning the next year of my life. Because I need to get out, and I need to stop making excuses. I’ve gotten this far, and I’ve proved to myself I can do it. Now I just need to make it happen.
There will come a time when you want to cut off all your hair. Do it. Realise that the thing you want rid of doesn’t lie in the long curls that frame your face so perfectly. Live with short hair for a while. It’ll grow.
You won’t always want to talk to people. That’s okay. When it’s late and you hear your friends talking in the next room, you don’t have to join them. You’re allowed your solitude. It makes company sweeter and it teaches you how to survive alone. You will need that skill.
In the winter, you’ll believe that nothing will ever grow again. You’re wrong. Every year, London looks like it’s on its last legs, wheezing through those last cold days in March. Every year, spring comes like an explosion and the city shakes off its sleep.
Mundane problems will get the better of you sometimes. Don’t worry. Try as you might, life cannot be an endless, beautiful, intense moment. Find comfort in money worries and late trains; they’re a welcome rest in between heartbreaks and breakdowns.
People will call you a cynic, a wry smile on their faces. Pay them no mind. You alone know that you are capable of a love greater than anything they can comprehend. You alone know that you are not willing to sell your identity and respect to the first smirking halfwit to pass by. It is not cynicism. It is reverence for your own vast and fathomless heart, and it makes sense only to love someone who understands that and is awed by it.
You will not always get what you want when you want it. Accept it. Your goals are not set in stone and you are not on a fixed trajectory. Sometimes, life will take its time and you will have to play the long, interminable game. Play it well and with as much grace as you can muster. Live at your own pace.
At night, you will occasionally wake up afraid, wanting to die. Don’t give in. Night plays its tricks, but you are not so easily fooled. Your mind will play its tricks, too. It will make you believe that you’re not who you are, but you must not give in. You take a breath and you tell yourself that you are here. That you always were.
Let’s not mess around here, I know we all tell them. And I know we all have our reasons - maybe we’re trying to protect ourselves, or maybe we’re trying to protect other people, but we’re all lying a little more if we say it never happens. If I don’t get asked a question directly, I’ll often do my best to avoid the truth in order to avoid the awkwardness of it. But if someone asks you an uncomfortable question, straight - no chaser, do you answer honestly, or do you lie to avoid further explanation?
And what happens when you catch someone one of these little white lies? Is it worth it to call them out on it? It’s impossible to know the persons motives beyond why they told them at all - and sometimes you just wind up champing at the bit - festering on this one little thing. And it starts to build up, and you wonder what else they’re been telling these little half truths about. I mean, realistically it could be nothing, but it also could be a thousand other little white lies. How much do we REALLY know about each other, anyways?
I can probably only name one person in my life who is completely and totally honest with me, and vice versa. One of those relationships where we both know that no matter what kind of fucked up shit we have, or will, get ourselves into, the other person will always understand. But I can list also think about a million situations where I told these little lies in order to avoid conflict, or just just avoid having an awkward conversation.
There is, though, nothing worse than feeling duped, especially when you feel like you gave the person multiple chances to just be upfront and honest. I look back at my situation with C. How I tried my so hard to cover my tracks, and pretend my little love affair with S never happened. I learned the hard way though, that these things always come out eventually. It’s impossible to keep anything a secret forever. Little white lies, or those huge earth shakers, someone always lets the truth slip - whether you want it to or not.
I’ve always tried to live by the whole ideal that I would rather be honest than impressive (yes, yes, I know. Prior to the last eight months, I was doing a shit job), but when it comes to relationships how do you decide which parts of your past are worth sharing, and which are better kept under lock and key?
I’ve found myself in a bit of a tricky situation. Well - I don’t think it’s tricky at all. It seems to be more geared towards the awkward and uncomfortable truths that people don’t want to be shared - that have somehow been unearthed (completely unintentionally.) Is it worth it to confront, or do you just let it go?
This will always be my problem. This over-thinking bullshit. I’ve been told time and time again by people in healthy relationships, that the little white lies we tell every now and then are OK. I mean, I guess you always need to ask yourself whether or not this is something you would want to know the truth about if you were in this persons shoes?
Well, the truth is, yes. I did want to know, but what happens when the truth comes from someone else. And now you’re stuck with two different renditions of a situation. People are so quick to judge people who keep secrets in order to maintain relationships - but what happens when it’s your turn in the hot seat? What if you knew the secret you were keeping (small or not) could affect, in some way, your current relationship? Whether a recent development or not, would you share it, or would you keep it to yourself? And if you came across the truth by accident, would you question the other person on it, or let it go?
What would you do, my little tumblies? Would you call the person out, knowing it could change things? Or would you hold your tongue and assume this little half truth was in your best interest, and pretend you never heard it at all?
I have heard a million times over, situations where friends have made the wrong choice. They’ve lied about the number of people they’ve slept with, they’ve lied about people they’ve fooled around with, they’ve made mistakes they’re not proud of - but they know it’s not in their character - so they decide to keep them to themselves rather than to share them with their significant other. I personally always feel like unless these situations are unearthed in some sort of natural fashion, it’s not my place to step in. The last time I found myself in a situation where I came across a friends unfaithful boyfriend, I was tossed the curb by someone I considered a close friend. As good as it felt to tell the truth, the repercussions almost seemed not even worth letting her figure it all out on her own.
While I know this is not the case now, I know I’m not allowed to care either way, and that’s what makes this situation feel so frustrating. If you’re not involved enough to get the truth about something, are you allowed to confront when you come across it?
My gut tells me yes, but I’d be silly if I didn’t say I already know how that situation ends.
Oi, these first world problems, they’ll get ya every time.
So my roommate and I decided tonight we are going to start a new reality show where we ask the same dude from Plenty of Fish on a date, for the same night, and we will invite them over to our house. The girl who he is supposed to go on the second date with will answer the door, and the confusion on his face when she tells him “She’ll be ready in a few hours, enjoy your date with _______” would be priceless.
I think it’s a million dollar bit.