Sunday, 17 September 2017

Cohabitation

Total number of times I have written and opening line, and then erased it: 479*

*As I have no hard data regarding my writing habits and can only go on retrospective analysis, I assume/it feels like it’s been at least that many times. I hope I’m not underestimating, because that would mean (having been in Calgary for six months, roughly 180 days) I would have sat down to write at least 2.66 times a day…with nothing to show for it.

Here we are six months after the big move, finally starting to settle into YYC life, and having recently embarked on cohabitation with my boyfriend (the first few weeks are up and while I suspect we’ll be fine, there are certainly adjustments to be made). Yes, this is a big step. Of course I have been passive aggressively pestering my boyfriend about this for six months since I moved to Calgary. I am a spectacularly impatient person - while I am aware that our conscious decision to (initially) live apart was the right way to go, I also grew increasingly tired of packing up two days’ worth of work clothes, lunches, and gym clothes just to spend a night or two together. Petty, I know. But I digress.

The pros and cons of cohabitation.
When we last spoke (and let’s not dwell on the fact that it’s been over six months), I hinted I may not be the most stellar at navigating life changes. I can say with 200% certainty that I entirely underestimated my inability to navigate a huge life event without having some sort of tear-filled, spectacular meltdown. Looking back, I realize it’s my M.O.. I remember times growing up when my mom would leave me in the front porch when I was spinning out over an insignificant issue, and would only let me back into the house when I was calm and could handle a level-headed conversation. This little tidbit is something I likely should have passed on to my boyfriend before trucking my shit 600 km into Alberta and arriving at his proverbial doorstep (insert emoji of an awkward/hopeful smile here).

There have been many, many tears. The evening before my first day of work, after my parents drove off in their newly-spacious half-ton, I slunk downstairs into my chaotic new bedroom and had myself a good, solid, ugly cry. There have been moments where I have simply sent my boyfriend a message saying no more than “I need you to come over” - only to find April curled up in bed uncontrollably sobbing after yoga because she’s infertile (of all the shit to get caught up in, you’d think I could leave well enough alone when dealing with one life-altering situation, but nooooo, I unearth another life-altering shit storm and dump it at my boyfriend’s feet). One time, after failing the second time to insert an IV in a patient, I cried in the parking lot at work because everything still feels so different - and still not like home.

Just as I have started to feel ever so slightly more settled; despite being the most hectic, ridiculous, busy six months of my life (as a new auntie it is obviously imperative that I frequently travel home to make sure my niece has plenty of auntie snuggles), I’ve tossed a little more stress on the pile and moved in with my man friend. Why not?

If it wasn’t meant to be rhetorical, I could answer that question from both sides and likely provide convincing arguments either way. Despite impatiently waiting for this moment to come for what feels like years, I have flashes of doubt and fear. I can say that out loud because my boyfriend knows, and I’m sure has his own moments of paralyzing nervousness - like when I messaged him a countdown of “Ten more days until we move in together!!!” and never received a message back. He later admitted he was freaking the fuck out. Which, being a seasoned veteran of love, I can understand and accept (since I occasionally find myself sitting on the couch and saying “holy shit, we’re really doing this”). It no longer makes me instantly lose my mind with anxiety. We’re both human, and as I’ve just learned from listening to Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday conversations, we tend to shy away from vulnerability in favour of self-protection (whatever misguided form that may take).

Each time I re-read that last paragraph I wonder if I have been trying to convince myself not to go ahead with the move. It wasn’t a rash decision, we waited a decent period of time since my move to Calgary, and in terms of furthering our relationship this is exactly what needed to happen. We’re also both nervous - this is a massive adjustment in our lives, and we each have our own reasons to freak out when it comes to the concept of meshing our respective bodies and things into one home. He’s never been down this road before, and I have…but I hit a spectacular dead end. We’ve got reason to be a little weary.

As I sit on my couch in our new living room, I’m realizing this is life. This is opening up, allowing another person into your bubble, and embracing your fear - this is what I’ve spent the larger part of nine single years avoiding, and yet it is one of the most exciting adventures I’ve ever embarked on. I may not love navigating the jungle of man hairs that litter my bathroom floor every day; it may drive me nearly insane that there is a physical trail of my boyfriend through the house whenever he is working on something (for fuck sakes, put shit back in the fridge after you take it out); and I may occasionally cringe as he navigates a recipe (which, to his credit, turns out delicious even though he fried the chicken before the garlic). But it is amazing to be vulnerable and love someone, and have them love you back, despite whatever ugliness may spew out of you in the form of tantrums rooted in impatience and type-A bullshit.

Let the adventure begin!

A

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Procrastination Nation

So listen, when I said I’m not great at handling change, I may have been underestimating my ability to avoid dealing with the looming presence of change in my life. I’ve made some strides in getting myself ready, physically, for this move. I’ve sold things, purged my closet, and partially dismantled my cozy little home in this wee downtown apartment. Emotionally, I have no clue what the fuck to do.

I’ve spent the majority of today taking procrastination to new heights. I mean, I made one semi-productive phone call to ensure my casual status at my current job remains, at least for the foreseeable future. I have also, however, made my way through at least two seasons of The Mindy Project, ordered thai food (because the 60 km/h winds outside are deterring me from becoming presentable to the public and venturing outside), and sat here on my couch surveying the remnants of my furniture. I’ve also tried on four pairs of shoes that were on the chopping block, only to strut themselves convincingly right back into my closet (I can’t really part with studded blue suede platform heels, now can I).

I’m supposed to be packing. There are boxes waiting to be assembled and filled in my entryway, and numerous items requiring my attention. Instead, I have spent the day on my couch avoiding emotions. As I fired up my laptop to write and clicked play in iTunes to distract my brain, cheesy songs have made me stop in my typing tracks and commence in a full-on ugly cry. Damn Celine Dion and her ability to pull at my heart strings with such favourites as ‘Because You Loved Me.’

The reality of this whole leave-your-family-and-friends-behind thing is landing heavily on my heart and settling in, and it’s increasingly difficult to reconcile that with the nervous excitement coursing through me. On the one hand, I’m leaving so much behind in Saskatoon. On the other hand, I get my beloved non-lesbian life partner, former roomie (but not so former anymore!) back as I’m squatting in her basement for a while (not sure her boyfriend is quite aware of what he signed up for). I get to explore life in a bigger city and everything it has to offer. I GET TO SNOWBOARD MORE (definitely a positive motivating factor). And then of course, (save the best for last, right?) the prospect of a legit relationship with regular interaction not requiring a six hour drive across provinces…incredibly awesomely thrilling.

Except now there’s only ten days left. Five more shifts at work, and ten days total to pack up, hit the storage facility known as my brother’s basement, and drive caravan-style with my parents to Calgary. Maybe it’s reality sinking in, maybe it’s the first of many farewells I said last night to some friends, and maybe it’s the homemade wine I started drinking as I assembled boxes and stared at their vast emptiness…but this shit is feeling real, and it makes me want to spend all day on my couch avoiding it.

Guess I can knock complete and utter procrastination off the list of things to do. Now, let’s fill those boxes and get down to business. Right after this episode…

A

P.S. - This:

“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Friday, 17 February 2017

Going the Distance

I’m trying to find a way to succinctly present the past five days in the life of April to you. This whole long-distance relationship thing reached peak frustration, and prior to arriving in Calgary earlier this week my nerves were on edge. There was a conversation last weekend…dredging up our worst fears about the realities of loving from 600 kilometres away. So much of our ability to move forward together depended on my ability to secure a job, and that fact was weighing heavily on my mind. I had written a post all about it, or at least, a post trying to figure out how one actually sustains a long-distance relationship. Fast-forward a few days, and all the nerves and dread are now entirely mute.

After eight months of constant driving back and forth and four months of applying to nearly every nursing job I could possibly muster the qualifications for, I’m finally moving!! In the span of 48 hours, after sending an email to a contact I acquired from a former co-worker, I had an interview and a job offer and everything changed. The weight of uncertainty lifted, and I walked out of the interview with an ear-to-ear grin I could not erase from my face. Not only did I feel excited for my boyfriend and I - for us to have the chance to see this thing through - but I was elated for myself as well. I have this warm, fuzzy feeling telling me this is good (and that's not just the wine I cracked while making chilli this afternoon - that's right, detox is done!). It’s the right choice, the right place, the right job, and the right man. Finally, right?

You’d think my emotional rollercoaster might stop there, but you’re wrong. I mean, I’m over the moon excited about this - but as I sit here looking at my schedule for the next thirty days, knowing I have a shit ton of packing, kijiji-posting, purging, visits, and tears to look forward to…well the elation is giving way to the very bitter part of this bittersweet transition.

On one hand, I have Lady Gaga singing repeatedly in my head “I’m on the edge of glory” (if you are like me, you’ve just belted this line out at the top of your lungs and likely thrown in some solid dance moves). On the other hand, there is a montage of sad bastard songs, setting the stage for what are sure to be some incredibly difficult ‘see you laters.’ I have decided, in the lead up to this monumental self-change, I will not say goodbye to anyone when I finally make the trek back to Calgary with my shit in tow (after some serious purging, I watched the Netflix documentary Minimalism and its inspiring me to be more conscious of what I choose to hang onto in terms of material possessions; but I still can't part ways with the blue suede, studded, platform pumps I haven't worn in two years). The thing of it is, and I shit you not: Saskatoon is home, in nearly every possible sense of the word. It houses the majority of my favourite humans, and to think I would never return is downright silly. Ludicrous, even.

So there it is. This prairie girl is pulling up her roots and heading west, like so many before her. And given her propensity for dealing with change horribly (i.e. ignoring emotions until they fester enough to be blurted out after a glass or two of wine), this little adventure should be rather interesting.

A

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Amore

Um, about that whole “I’m going to join this daily blogging challenge (in November) and post something every day for the whole month!” (After one week…three months ago).

Oops. Follow-through is not my strong suit.

This may actually be the first time since early December I’ve had the luxury of sitting on my couch and staring at a blank computer screen. For serious. I’ve had three trips to Calgary, one round of introducing my boyfriend to my entire family and many of my friends, and a bloody shit ton of shifts in between. Life, as they say, has gotten in the way. (Do they say that? Am I making shit up right now? I’ve been on a detox for two weeks and I haven’t had wine, maybe you shouldn’t believe me at the moment. I miss wine.)

Specifically, life’s gotten in the way of this whole writing thing. I’m living in long-distance limbo - constantly going back and forth to Calgary, planning visits, and sending resum├ęs into the online abyss of the healthcare field in Alberta (to no avail as of yet, le sigh), and I’ve not thought for a second of writing.

I feel speechless, in every way possible.

My life is full of exciting change right now - a niece on the way, a baby room to paint and decorate (as self-appointed baby room decorator this I take this responsibility very seriously and only once has my mother told me to make sure my one-day sister-in-law has input), a boyfriend to love (and who conveniently loves me back, go figure), and a move to plan. I’m nervous and thrilled for it all, and sometimes all the love overwhelms me and I find myself speechless (weird, I know, since I keep typing and words keep making their way to the page).

On the other hand…there is so much change (say that with a heavy, morose accent) not only in our world, but in our own beautiful country. It’s exhausting and heart-breaking to read the news, and I’m thankful I don’t have cable - I can escape from the bullshit just a little bit easier (but I can’t watch Super Bowl, there is a trade off). Except, I’m feeling as though to escape is to silently acquiesce to this violence and hateful vomitus. And that seems like a wretched option. I have plans and ideas for all of the lovely things in my life mentioned above…I have no clue just yet how to play my part in this fight to uphold morality, justice, and equality. But I do have one teensy idea.

I can, and I will, choose love over hate, every time. That may be all I can muster at this point, it may be minuscule in the face of seemingly overwhelming venomous politicians and political agendas. But I will continue to choose love, I will not let these people shake my belief in humankind and its propensity to overcome hatred and let love reign.

With all my love, especially to the victims and families affected by the horrendous shooting in Quebec...
A

P.S. - I was recently gifted a print by a lovely soul which says "life should have background music," and I couldn't agree more. Because I always have a song playing in my mind, and because this one seems all too appropriate for humankind right now.