My favourite place on the island

My favourite place on the island is somewhere I’ve only been once.

A place we stumbled across on my birthday. It absolutely reeked of fish, but the red rocks more than made up for it.

A place where seagulls dropped the claws of crabs they had gnawed on for lunch. My brother picking them up and chasing us around.

A place where a beautiful ruby floated among the sea of sapphires. We were only a running leap away.

My favourite place on the island is one I haven’t found again.

A place just off the highway, away from the popular beaches and past a “no trespassing” sign. I’ve driven along the highway; I can’t find it.

A place where you can walk up to the edge of the cliff – but that’s not it. You have to jump over the rope marking danger, teeter along the edge of the cliff, and look back to see if your mom is following her children.

A place where it was quiet. There was no one else around.

My favourite place on the island is the best kept secret.

A place of treasure buried so well even the map doesn’t help. Google searches and calls to my mother led me to the wrong place.

A place where I have great memories. Of laughter and spreading the red clay over my hands.

A place that I cannot find again. I tried to bring my new friends there, ended up lost, and smiled to myself because keeping the place to myself it what makes it my favourite.

My favourite place on the island is forever remembered as the place where I fell in love with my new home with just my family beside me.

faveplaceonisland

-Red Hot

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Don’t Let Me Marry Someone Who Paints Pumpkins

Don’t Let Me Marry Someone Who Paints Pumpkins

Anyone who knows me knows that Halloween is my favourite holiday.

Yes, I realize I’m a few days late on this post – bite me.

As I sit here finishing off all my roasted pumpkin seeds and feeling a little sad that I’ll have to wait another year before I can make the tasty snack again, I realized something. I cannot, under any circumstances, marry into a family that paints pumpkins instead of carving.

I just can’t do it.

One of my favourite things about Halloween is carving pumpkins and making jack-o-laterns.

“But painting your pumpkins is less messy,” you say.

Okay well sure, but so what? Yes carving pumpkins is messy and I turn it into a day-long affair, but at the end of it I get a glowing pumpkin and tons of pumpkin seeds (and honestly that’s the best part about pumpkins). What do you get? A pretty, yet sad, pumpkin sitting there waiting for you to carve it so it can be like all the other pumpkins. Oh, and no seeds.

I’m actually friends with a few people who paint instead of carve, and I’ll be honest, I don’t get it but I’ve also mostly ignored it.

Until I realized they don’t get pumpkin seeds! Why even bother?

What can I say? I come from a carving family and I’m stubborn as hell.

Maybe this is all just a way for me to rant and still feel like I’ve contributed the bare minimum to this blog (remember, grad school is hard y’all).

Or maybe I’ve just finally found my ultimate deal-breaker.

Painting pumpkins – *shudders*

-Red Hot

 

I am a writer.

Fall in love with a writer.

You’ll be preserved for forever.

Every little thing you do – the things you don’t even think about – will be written down for everyone to read. How you duck your chin into your neck when you feel shy; how your laugh sounds like little bells chiming together; how the sunlight caught your eyelashes just right that one late Sunday morning.

A writer will take the little things and show the world – and you – your beauty.

Fall in love with a writer.

They hide behind their words, but once you speak the language, my god.

You’ll be introduced into a world of emotions deeper than you could ever imagine. You’ll see right into their core, their heart, their soul. Once you speak the language, nothing is hidden.

Fall in love with a writer.

And watch them cut themeselves open to bleed for you.

Words on a page are not just words on a page. These are the deepest secrets, truths, and thoughts of your writer. This is pure blood, raw emotion. It’s overwhelming and intimidating and oh so real.

Fall in love with a writer and you’ll never be the same again.

Don’t fall in love with a writer.

Everything is a fantasy.

Even their written down version of you. It is not you, but the you they wish you could be. You will never live up to their version; you will never follow their script.

Don’t fall in love with a writer.

They’re experts at manipulating words. You’ll find yourself tangled in webs of emotions that they made you feel just with a few well chosen words and points of emphasis. There are lies and exaggerations down every hall, and a laughing writer around every corner.

Don’t fall in love with a writer.

Especially if you don’t plan on staying.

You’ll be preserved forever. In between the pages of their book. Everyone will know it’s you because writers don’t forget, and writers like chaos.

Fall in love with a writer and you’ll never be the same again.

I am a writer.

I mince words. I am a fan of manipulation.

I tell lies.

I will make you feel things.

I will make you hate me and yourself.

I create your wildest fantasies and can tear them all down with a few lines.

I am a writer.

I will love you more than anyone else.

I will bleed.

I will hide my feelings in subtext. I will show everyone you’re beautiful.

I will notice the things no one else does and will treasure them for always.

I will make you love yourself and me.

I am a writer.

Fear me.

Love me.

Wonder

I wonder if anyone thinks about me; I wonder who thinks about me.

I wonder who thinks about me slinging a leg over their hips, pressing down, hands flat against their chest, my hair falling over bare shoulders.

Do they think I’m loud? Head thrown back, cries and moans falling out of my open mouth?

Do they think I’m quiet? Breaths and gasps whispering past my lips?

(I don’t know who wonders, but I know who’s right.)

Do they picture me like that? Raw and exposed? Soft and wanting?

Do they picture me like this? Fiery and demanding. Fucking in charge.

What do they think about? When they hear my name, my voice? When they see my lips, my eyes (my shoulders that I constantly bare)?

I wonder who thinks about me?

Do you wonder about me?

Like I do you?

 

Live with it

The worst part about living with anxiety is that you’re living with anxiety.

It doesn’t go away.

No matter how many exercises I do, or how well I progressed in therapy; no matter how many friends tell me not to worry about things, anxiety doesn’t go away.

I can learn to manage. I can learn to accept all of my anxieties, but it’s still there.

My anxiety is a part of me that I am slowly learning to live with. I’m even getting better at it. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t times where it flares up.

I’m writing this while on an airplane – only my third flight, and my first flight I’ve done on my own. I’m proud of myself because I lived through another anxiety attack.

I struggled and wanted to cry and my tips and tricks could only do so much, but I lived through it.

As I calmly sit through some turbulence, I’ve realized my anxiety isn’t with flying. I actually kinda like flying – it reminds me of rollercoasters, and surprisingly, my claustrophobia has yet to act up on a plane. My real anxiety comes with waiting to board.

I could not tell you why. I don’t understand it myself, but waiting to board the plane sends me into a paralyzed fear.

I worried for days about my taxi coming, checking in, going through security, and the possibility of a lengthy delay. I brought books, snacks and music. I was prepared as I could be. I made it through. Everything was easy, quick and painless (thank you smaller airports!) I was nervous, of course, but it was easy to ignore.

Then I sat down in the lounge, opened my book and promptly felt like vomiting.

I had a panic attack.

Silently and by myself.

My face felt numb and itchy. My whole body was hot. When I experience panic attacks I immediately need to seek out fresh air. Not really an ideal situation for an airport.

My point is, anxiety is hard. It doesn’t go away just because I’m prepared. It doesn’t go away just because I know logically there is nothing to worry about.

Anxiety is always there. It sucks. It’s hard. It’s made me very sick, it’s made me cry. I get shaky and every instinct in my body tells me to run.

But we manage.

We live with it. Because we have to.

-Red Hot

Grad School is Hella Hard

It’s hard y’all.

It’s busy, stressful, overwhelming, chaotic.

There are readings and then more readings: required readings, supplementary readings, readings for your own research, and readings you should be doing just in order to stay relevant. There are so many emails!! Emails about classes, about scholarships, about supervisory committees, about upcoming conferences, about workshops, about get togethers because if we’re all on the edge of a breakdown at least we’re here together. There are opportunities: for scholarships, outside research, work, projects to contribute to, conferences to present at.

On any given day I am at my desk responding to emails, doing the readings, asking professors for tips about class discussions because I don’t know how to talk over the baby boomer who likes the sound of her own voice, and trying to remember that I’m here for an experience – not just to add another degree to my name. More than anything, I need to remember that right now, these two years are to push me as far from my comfort zone as possible. I need to travel. I need to relearn how to make friends again. I need to learn how to make friends my own age when I am the youngest in my class by a decade, and I have a job that allows me to work independently and from home. I need to learn how to have fun. I need to learn how to let myself go exploring on weekends, plays during the week, dinners and clubbing when I just want to watch Netflix in bed for the 9th night in a row. I need to learn how to be on my own. I need to learn to cook for myself, keep myself occupied, and how to be sick on my own when there’s no one to hold my hair back as I sob-vomit into the toilet. I need to learn what it means to be putting my wishes and needs ahead of those of my friends and family. I need to learn how to do things I want to do, and not because I think others want me to do them. I talk about being independent a lot, but the truth is I don’t think I’ve ever fully been myself. Even now, I’m resorting back to safe study habits and what I should do because I’m too overwhelmed to experiment with my new individuality.

This is all my long-winded, kinda disoriented way of saying it’s hard. It’s a lot of work. There is so much being thrown my way.

But I love it.

The readings are (mostly) interesting and when they aren’t I just don’t do them (sorry profs!) The emails are from my professor who is determined to learn about me as a person and wants to make sure I feel welcomed. They’re emails that invite me over for dinner because he knows I’m far from my family. They’re emails that tell me of an upcoming scholarship just because he thinks I can be competitive for it. The opportunities are ways I’m meeting new people, and getting involved in ways that still let me stay away from Undergrads on most occasions. The extra hours at my computer are because I’ve been approached by 5 professors who want to be part of my supervisory committee and I’m trying to figure out what questions I can ask that will allow me to find the best fit. The sticky notes all over my room remind me of due dates, sure, but also of things like “book that Halifax trip”, “look into cruises leaving from the island”, and “get business cards made.”

Everything is changing so fucking fast. Everything is being thrown my way all at once and I’m struggling to catch it all. But at the end of the day, I’m proud of what got me here. I’m proud of where I seem to be going. And even though I struggle on a weekly basis with feeling like an impostor, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

-Red Hot

Red Sands

My feet sink into the red sand beneath me. I’m watching the tide go out. Slowly – pulling the red along with it.

I want to go with the red sand. I want to go with the ocean.

I’ve never stood here before.

The waves are still rocking past my ankles. Running towards me, a teasing splash, a little further, and then a small tug as they retreat back to the sea.

I close my eyes and just listen.

Splsssh, splssh, splssh.

I want to follow the red sand so badly that I imagine the waves tugging at my ankles.

Another tug.

It feels like the ocean has wrapped its fingers around my ankles – whispering for me to join them.

I look down and can no longer see the red sand. My feet are buried under seaweed that has wrapped itself around me.

The ocean’s fingers.

Another tug.

I take a step forward as the waves move further down the shore.

Every time the waves reach my ankles, more seaweed joins in the pull.

Water running, splash up, cold grab, sharp tug, and a step forward.

Whoosh, up, grab, tug, forward.

Up, grab, tug, forward.

Up, tug, deeper.

The waves are bouncing along my neck now.

I’m splashed in the face – up.

The seaweed wraps around my hips – grab.

Join us – a whisper.

The rush of water filling my ears, my nose, every pore on my body – tug.

I can’t see the red sand anymore.

Deeper.