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

 

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

Messy Life Continues

I seemed to have gone on a hiatus without actually telling anyone. Sorry.

At the end of August, my family and I headed to an island for a vacation. After that, I moved in to an apartment building on said island.

I’m here to work on my Master’s degree and it’s my first time living away from home.

I should be excited right? I am.

Sometimes.

Other times, something will go wrong and I just want to pack everything up and head home.

The first few days were so rough. I hadn’t started school yet, and I knew absolutely no one out here. I had multiple panic attacks when moving it because the place felt dirty and a little bit like a prison cell.

I’m very close with my family and watching them leave was so hard. I opened my door and shouted down the hall to them as they were leaving. I waved out the window. I called my mom about an hour later crying because that was the last hug from her I was going to get in months.

It’s been hard.

And then school started, and because of my professors schedules we had one class every night for two weeks before getting a month long break while our other classes start. I was thrown into the whirlwind of adjusting to a graduate program, and one that started at 100% nonetheless.

I had moments where I really missed my family and my friends (remember, I still don’t really know many people out here), but it was getting better because I was so busy. I realized just how responsible I am when cooking and cleaning for myself didn’t seem like a big change. I also realized that I am terrible at grocery shopping, and that the laundry machines are so different from what I’m used to.

It’s getting better and everyone has told me that time will help.

I know that. I do. But I also still kinda want to go home.

I feel a bit like I’m just pretending to be an adult. It was fun for a while, but I miss my bed and my dog (so much!), my friends and my family. I miss being comfortable. I miss having real conversations with people who know me deeper than the front I put up when I have to socialize with an island of strangers. I miss talking to my friends face to face instead of through texts. I miss sitting beside my sister on the couch watching Law and Order reruns. I miss my brother coming into my room to complain about his manager or to tell me a story about his friends. I miss my cat walking across my laptop when I’m writing. I miss my dog following me everywhere and hearing his claws clack against the hardwood floor.

I miss so much.

I know that I have this amazing experience ahead of me. I know that I’m very lucky. I know I’m going to study something I am so passionate about. I know that I had to move out eventually. I know that the good days are starting to outweigh the bad. I know I’ll treasure the time I do spend at home more than I did when I lived there everyday. I know I’ll make more friends eventually. I know that this place will stop feeling like a strange bubble once I’ve been here long enough to make it familiar.

I know it will get better – or at least easier.

I’m getting tired of pretending though. I want to be home.

-Red Hot

My Life Through the Words of Others

  • “Uh oh, here comes the green eyed monster.”
  • “People pay a lot of money for hair like yours. Never dye it.”
  • “You’re offensively delightful.”
  • “You’re like a kinder surprise on the dance floor.”
  • “Dab again and I’m locking you out.”
  • “I love my bi best friend.”
  • “My roommates think you’re really pretty.”
  • “But you take some of the best selfies I’ve ever seen.”
  • “Woah. You have really big eyes.”
  • “You’re pretty too, but you got those ‘fuck-off eyes’ you know?”
  • “I’m a big fan of your Instagram.”
  • “Thanks for the advice, my social media guru.”
  • “You have such interesting encounters.”
  • “Tim Hortons: Canada’s safe haven and match maker.”
  • “I’m pretty sure my ex thinks I’m a lesbian and we’re dating now. He only ever sees my Snapchats where I call you bae.”
  • “Don’t stress; we’ll stay in touch and be friends for a long time.”
  • “Is this even real? It sounds like fanfiction. There’s so much angst!”
  • “And the academy award for my love life goes to…silence” (Cards Against Humanity)
  • “And once again, no one is surprised.”
  • “Sometimes you say things I do not expect.”
  • “You would make a really good slut!”
  • “You have a real wild side, don’t you?”
  • “We should call you Sinamon.”
  • “She’s a light weight.”
  • “That one’s sassy.”
  • “SAVAGE.”
  • “I like that you swear. It makes me feel better about myself.”
  • “We’re back row people.”
  • “I hope to be as petty as you someday.”
  • “I wanna judge students so badly. Can I have your job?”
  • “She’s too smart for me.”
  • “For a smart girl, you’re not very bright.”
  • “If you were used to working this hard maybe you wouldn’t have had an asthma attack.”
  • “Why are you such a stuck up bitch?” (Sent to me anonymously)
  • “I did have feelings for you. I pushed you away, and that is one of the bigger mistakes I made in high school.”
  • “I’m going to have to cut you off. She is feeling threatened to the point of irrationality due to our friendship.”
  • “What did he send you?!”
  • “Remember me?” (Accompanied with a dick picture)
  • “Bitch.”
  • “You’re such a bitch.”
  • “Can someone give her a hug?”
  • “She’s genuine. What you see is what you get.”
  • “I love that you never censor your face. I always know exactly what you’re thinking.”
  • “You should enter this writing contest.”
  • “You’ll never be a writer.”
  • “Please keep writing.”
  • “She’s one of my fav– uh, former students.”
  • “You’re our rock.”
  • “You had to grow up very quick. Don’t forget to be young.”
  • “You work hard and it shows.”
  • “You’re going to make those kids (especially the girls) feel so empowered and inspired to pursue academia.”
  • “You’re perfect.”

 

-Red Hot

The Hard Stuff

The day I came out (God, I still hate that phrase) was the same day I jumped in front of a car.

To be fair, the car was a close friend’s in the parking lot at school. It was, on my part, (supposedly) a joke. She was going really slow, and I just kinda bumped into it. Also, I guess I had technically came out to that same friend two days earlier – though it was an accident.

At the time, coming out and jumping in front of a car seemed worlds apart. It’s looking back now that I realize how connected the two things were.

Since coming out, I’ve been very open about my bisexuality – even when I was warned that talking about it so much would become what everyone knew me for. I didn’t and don’t care. If just one person had told me being bisexual was a thing and was okay before I turned 19, my life could have been very different. For starters, I probably wouldn’t have jumped in front of a car – no matter how slow moving it was.

Coming to terms with my sexuality is not something I discuss very openly. Even before posting this, I debated whether I wanted to share or not, but ultimately the theme of this blog is exposing myself.

I talk about what it means to be bisexual, representation, stereotypes, and everything since I came out, but I don’t talk about how I got there.

I don’t talk about the overwhelming fear I felt on and off since grade 8 that someone would mistake me for a lesbian even though I really like boys. I don’t talk about overcompensating by saying I was so straight it wasn’t even funny. I don’t talk about what it was like to think I might have been in love with a best friend at some point, or how much easier life could have been if she was a boy and I could actually like her. I don’t talk about the quick Google searches in incognito mode so I could figure out what bisexual meant and how to determine that I was one. I don’t talk about how I wished I was a lesbian because at least people “get” that. I don’t talk about the suicidal thoughts I had, or how I thought it’d be so much easier if I just ceased to exist. I don’t talk about how I had a mental break down at a Christmas dinner and to this day my whole family thinks I was just rude and not in the middle of a massive identity crisis. I don’t talk about how even though it’s gotten easier to say offhandedly “I’m bi”, I still cried and forgot all words when I told my parents. I don’t talk about the struggles or hardships, or the very real reality that for a while jumping in front of a car seemed like the preferable option than coming out.

 

I went to my first Pride this past weekend. It was amazing.

I was so nervous before going but it was honestly the most love and support I had ever felt. Everyone was authentically themselves. My best friend came with me and told me she loved her bi best friend.

Between dancing, laughing, and cheering my head off, I didn’t think of the emotional aspect. Not until I saw the group of parent supporters march past me. I don’t even remember any of the signs, or what sent me over the edge. I remember saying (or hearing) “Oh, it’s the parents!” I remember that huge rush of fear from my closeted days surging forward. And then I remember turning to my best friend and asking her why I was crying. I’m still not sure of the answer. I think it was from relief and happiness and an overwhelming sense of love.

The weekend was way more than I could ever imagine and I want to send out a huge thank you to everyone in the community, everyone who made Pride happen and who made me and my friends feel welcome. You made me forget about the hard stuff while I was there, and then gave me the oppourtunity to reflect back on it and appreciate it for getting me here. Thank you.

-Red Hot

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