Heart Like an IKEA Futon

IKEA Futon

 

 

 

If all the stories I write (at least the good ones, in so much as I am even willing to consider any of them good)…

If all the stories I write are really just my stories…

If all the stories that I write are based on what’s happening but absolutely nothing is happening…

How can I justify staying in this city and prolonging this summer?

If I’m not creating any stories (except for one about the kind of sobbing that should be reserved for death but is instead being appropriated for worthlessness and the lonely)…

If you can’t forgive yourself, how can you ever expect your student loan to forgive you?

If all the stories are mine…

If I’m the owner of nothing…

If I have more degrees than men who have ever loved me…

If I have the same amount of tears as number of men who want to fuck me but maybe not openly, not in public, not like I’m worth something, not like a human being, a piece of this earth, a part of our whole, not like I could make them laugh or think or be anything other than something not worth mentioning.

If I was ever more than just a whore on the internet…

This devolution, the spiral like a drill bit, these ants crawling around in my lungs and inside my calves.

How do you not let the disappointment crush you like a bread truck, or a freight train, or the compounding interest on your student loan?

This heart like an IKEA futon. 

If all the stories I write are really just my stories then leaving Montreal a month early won’t change that.  Whether I’m running away or being a financially responsible adult, the result will be the same.  Time will pass.  And somewhere in this lull I will find a way to pull it all back together (I have to find a way to pull it all back together).

The stories after all, if they’re mine, will come with me. (She whispers, “you have to come with me”).

 

All the Way Here: A Story of the Worst and Best Moments of My Life

The Joy of Dating

 

I’ve never liked the idea that one decision or one event can change your entirely life (mostly because it would paralyze me with fear given the pressure this would put on every choice I would ever have to make).

That being said, there is one moment that changed my entire life.  Not on its own.  Not without the other decisions and events that followed.  But like a metaphorical patient zero, I can trace the current trajectory of my life back to one moment, that changed everything for the better.

I won’t bore you with tales of teenage sadness, except to say that teenage sadness bled through the majority of my years.  I was severely, desperately, blindingly depressed from the age of 12 to 26.

14 years.  (cue GnR).  14 years is a long time to be sad.

I used to think that I would never get through it.  Somewhere along the way I convinced myself that I had been born broken, that something in my brain just didn’t work right and that was the reason that I was this way.  I still very vividly remember cutting myself because at least it made sense, if you were upset because your arm was bleeding that was logical.  If life feels hopeless, when surrounded by a family that loves you and your future is (almost inherently) bright, that can seem incomprehensible.  How do you find your way out of something when nothing makes sense?

And then, one simple thing happened…followed by another…and then another…and so on and so on until now.  A string of events, where everything pointed in the right direction.  And it wasn’t just chance, but dammit if I don’t feel lucky.

_________________

It happened the year I turned 26.  I was working at Coast Mountain Bus Company call centre, a union job, making more money than I ever had before and I was absolutely miserable.  I hated answering the phones–less because the people were awful (but just to be clear they were awful) and more because I felt like management didn’t have our backs.  It was probably just a symptom of the union/management dichotomy but the point (for this story, at least) is that I was absolutely fucking miserable.  I had been moved to day shifts (which, as a night owl, sucked big time).  I remember leaving for work at 5am and getting home around 3pm.  I had started going to bed by 5pm.  I couldn’t even pretend that I wasn’t miserable.  I couldn’t hide it.

Which, as it turns out, became a much more literal truth then I was expecting.

One day in February, 2008, I was standing in my parents’ kitchen, with my back to my mother, when she asked if I had been scratching at the back of my head.  I was irritated.  I was cranky.  I was miserable.  It seemed like an insane question.  It felt like she was hassling me.

“No,” I answered sullenly.  But she wouldn’t let it go.  I thought she was just going to give me some motherly advice about how I shouldn’t wear my hair in a ponytail all the time but instead she walked over and tried to examine it.  I went to the bathroom and used the old two-mirror-hairdresser-method until I saw what had her so alarmed.

My hair had fallen out.  In a huge round patch.  Bald.  Disgusting.  Even my own hair couldn’t stand to be around me.  I’m not sure I entirely believe it, but sometimes I like to think that this was my body speaking for me when I couldn’t speak for myself.

The great irony of my life is that the worst job I ever had, turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

I started working at Coast Mountain Bus Company.

On December 25th 2008, I had my last drink of alcohol.

A month and a half later, my hair fell out.

I was lucky enough to get to go on paid medical leave.

I started counselling (that like every other counselor/psychiatrist/etc. that I had been to since I was a preteen wasn’t great – or at the very least, I wasn’t ready to let in).

I went back to work.

It was even worse than before.

One day, on the phone, after a snafu in scheduling, I yelled at my boss (nothing crazy just a raised voice).

The next shift I was fired.

By some miracle, I wasn’t technically “fired” but actually just “let go” (reason K – other) and thus I qualified for unemployment insurance.

The counselor I had been seeing was through my job and since I didn’t work there anymore, I had to find someone else.

My counselor recommended a government-subsidized mental health centre (conveniently located 10 minutes from my house).

And that’s where I found both a psychiatrist and a counselor that would help me to change everything.

I went on anti-depressants and put the CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) techniques I was learning to good use.

 

The way I am listing things here makes it seem so quick and easy but don’t get me wrong–it was a goddamn struggle.  I remember one time, after my psychiatrist was supposed to have upped my dosage again, returning from the drugstore and finding out he had mis-written the Rx and it was the same dose (and the pills were time release so you couldn’t just split them).  I remember flipping the fuck out, falling to the floor in sobs.  I was gutted.  The money it would cost to fill the prescription again.  The wasted pills.  The days it would take until the problem was solved.  Looking back now it seems ridiculous but I remember feeling like I had fallen overboard and just when the life raft was close enough to grasp it sunk.

I remember being so so fucking sad.  I felt like a complete failure.  A burden to my parents (would I ever be anything other than someone they had to worry about?).  I was living at home with my parents, had a degree I felt was useless, I’d been fired (in my mind) for the first time in my life and from a job I hated no less (it felt like getting rejected by someone you didn’t even want in the first place), I was overweight and in debt up to my eyeballs.  I was depressed and everything seemed worthless.  The world was terrifying.  I was ashamed and felt as if my life was meaningless, the only reason not to give up was my family who loved me so deeply (and I them) that regardless of the sad I couldn’t imagine leaving them with the kind of pain that a suicide would create.

When I started CBT, the goal was just to shower.  Just get up, and shower.  If I could do that, the day was a success.  And then it was about doing things.  Make a list.  Accomplish a thing.  Get dressed.  Go out and have a cup of coffee.  It was about not becoming overwhelmed.  It was about not seeing the world as a terrifying place (I don’t always succeed at this one).  I learned that I had to do things that I would eventually love, long before I would love them because when you’re depressed things are backwards and you can’t love anything.  So you just have to do…get out and DO…because it will get better.

And in time, I did get better.  Not quickly.  Not all at once.  But an inch of happiness here, and a moment of peace there, and life was just better.

 

And while all this was going on, I decided to go back to school.  I already had a BA in Psychology (let’s not discuss the irony), but I wanted to go grad school and revive my dream of being an English Professor and writer (something that seemed to have gotten lost along the way).

I had no idea if I could do it.  I needed to get another BA first though, so I applied to UBC and was accepted in.

I sold all the useless material things I owned and, in July and August, went on a 5 week solo trip to Europe (a similar trip I had tried but failed to complete ten years before–coming home after a week, hysterical and traumatized).

This time though, the trip was amazing.  It changed me.  I was stronger, more self-reliant, more durable.  I set out to do a thing and I did it.

September 2009, I went back to school.

I only took a few courses because, honestly, I wasn’t sure at all that I could do this (this being a second BA, this being going to grad school, this being anything but being the failure I felt like I was)

Thanksgiving (Canadian) 2009, my long-distance boyfriend of 6 years and I broke up.

January 2010, I started dating and because I didn’t want to keep telling the same story to different friends, I started the blog Something She Dated.

In the next two years:  I joined Twitter, I got a paid writing gig, I dated several boys, I lost weight, I gained some of it back (this one is still a real struggle for me), I started blogging for The Province Newspaper, I worked hard and got good grades (something I’d never really done up till now–I’d always just coasted).

In my final year, I applied to 6 graduate school programs.  In all honesty, I never really expected to get into any of them.  I got into 5.  I still remember calling my father in tears when the first letter arrived from Georgia State University saying that they wanted me.  Somebody wanted me!

I graduated with my 2nd BA (English Literature).

I ended up choosing Concordia (in Montreal) because they offered me the most funding and Montreal sounded like a great place to live, oui non?

I moved to Montreal.  The first week was brutal but now I feel like I could move anywhere, could do anything.

Grad school was great (even the times when it wasn’t great).  I became a TA in the English Department.  I did some teaching in the Engineering and Computer Science faculty.  And in this last term I even got a job teaching an English course all on my own (part time faculty, yo!).

In September 2013, I took my last anti-depressant. 

After a year in the academic stream of my degree, I decided that I’d rather do my thesis in Creative Writing.  While I have loved my time in grad school, I have realized it is unlikely that I will want to pursue a PhD in English (if anything, I’d be more likely to apply to law school but that’s another story).  I applied to the Creative stream, was accepted, and on March 26th my thesis was accepted.  I finished my courses and I will graduate with an Masters Degree in English Literature on June 9th.  

The plan is to stay in Montreal till July 31st when my lease runs out and then move back home to Vancouver to spend a few weeks (to a few months) chilling at my parents’ while I look for a job.  I’m hoping to move up north (Yukon, NWT, Nunavut)–for the adventure, for the writing inspiration, for the money.

I feel like this story explains everything, about me, entirely.  But I can’t really be sure, because I’m on the inside, I know what the puzzle looks like complete, and you guys all just have the pieces.

This is why, when it comes to dating and life, I’m always looking for the fun–the joy–the happy.

I want to date and have happiness.  I want to enjoy things just as they are.  I don’t want commitments and promises of happiness forever, I just want to enjoy the happy when it happens.  (now if only I could find a way to explain this to men that doesn’t sound like I’m using “fun” as a code word for fucking).  Because, believe you me, there are very VERY few men, that I come in contact with (online or otherwise), who can understand my desire for fun and can get on board with it.  I just want to date people and enjoy them for the time we have together.  I want to be treated like a human being, not a talking vagina.  But you’d be surprised how difficult it is to find someone who agrees.  Who can see the value in the middle ground.  Who has the ability (and desire) to care about someone generally as a person, or maybe even specifically, but doesn’t feel the need to tie their futures together.  I just want to laugh and talk and fuck and have more fun than anyone should legally be allowed to have.  

I want to date happy

Because I was so so sad for so so long and I’ve come so so far.  And I’m aware that others have definitely struggled more but this isn’t a competition, just (an abridged) story about how I got all the way here—-from way back there.

And I just hope, that if any of you are ever back there that you can hang on long enough to find your way up here because it is good.  Oh god, it is so good.  And even if I don’t always know how to help or make it better for you, just know that I’m here.  And that there is a way.  Ugh.  This is starting to sound all preachy and sappy and stuff but ya know, I’m actually a mushball (most evidence to the contrary) so whatever, I love you.

 

A Day in the Life: Grad Student

 

A Day in the Life:  Grad Student 

10am  Alarm goes off.  Snooze.

11am  Alarm goes off.  Snooze.

12pm  Alarm goes off.  Snooze.

12:30pm  Alarm goes off.  Snooze.

1pm  Wake up.  Boil water for instant coffee before anything else as coffee is the lifeblood of my day.

1:15  Make coffee.  Drink coffee.  Make second cup of coffee.  Consider eating breakfast.  Eat a protein bar.  Get ready for school.

2pm  Go to class feeling self-congratulatory for finishing the book that was required for this week’s class.  Feel elated.  Start to think maybe I really do belong in Grad School.

2:30  Spend the first hour of class trying to look smart and engaged.  Spend the second hour of class working up the courage to say the smart thing I thought of.  Never actually say it.  Change mind about the certainty of belonging in Grad School.

5pm  After class is over say the smart thing to a few other students.  Say it loud enough for the Professor to overhear thus maybe witness I’m smart even though I was too shy to speak up during class.  Promise myself that I’ll do better next time.  Promise to start acting like a grad student.  Promise to start feeling like I belong here.

5:30  Think about going to Starbucks to get coffee.  Remember that I can’t afford Starbucks (as my parents just had to lend me money for rent, my student loan having already run out).  Make instant coffee instead.  Use the instant coffee that I keep in my office (my office being really just a cubicle in a room of 6 other cubicles with no window but I fucking love my cubicle).  I NEED MY CUBICLE.  My cubicle makes me feel like a grown up with a purpose and an office.  No man is a cubicle but this cubicle is me, man.

5:45  Realize I don’t have any milk for my coffee.  Sit at my desk in my cubicle and drink it anyway, stare at the stacks of library books and berate myself for not doing more research, for not being further along in your final research paper (thesis).  Wonder if my desk serves more as a place to put books than a place to do work.  Decide it does.  Decide I don’t care.  Realize that it doesn’t matter that my desk is small and my cubicle is in a shared space because I know the combination to this locked dungeon of cubicles that is specifically marked for grad students.  Feel proud.  I am a fucking grad student.  I earned this grad student space.  Realize it’s all I have.  Without this space I am nothing.  Go to the class I TA for.

6:00  Early British Literature.

6:01  Try to stay awake during this 1st year English class, which is most certainly on material I already know.  Listen as the Professor dissects Beowulf (which I haven’t studied in a decade, since I was busy not paying attention in 1st year English).  Realize it all seems like brand new information.  Feel like a sham.  Feel like a failure.  Doubt everything I’ve ever accomplished.  Wonder how the fuck I got into grad school.  Jump to the assumption that I’m an idiot and what the fuck am I going to do with my life.  Take a deep breath.  Realize that this just isn’t my area of expertise and that there is too much literature for me to know everything.  Tell myself it’s okay.

6:50  MUST.  NOT.  FALL.  ASLEEP.

8:00  Try to run the discussion group for the class.  Get more uncomfortable with each deafening silence to my prodding questions.  Feel like there isn’t enough time to accomplish anything meaningful.  Remember the comments of a student from last term on my evaluation who said “she seems rushed and kind of nervous”.  Hate that kid.  Hate the fact that he/she was right.  I am rushed, I am nervous.  Wish I could tell that kid that there is absolutely no training for being a TA except your undergrad and intelligence, none of which prepare you to teach.  Feel like a sham.  Feel like a failure.  Ask more questions.  Hear more silence.  Wonder if the students even read the text.  Wonder if the students are even awake.  Wonder what the fuck is the point of any of this.  Use my backup material and turn this into a tutorial on essay writing, which they desperately need.  Watch as their eyes glaze over.  Sweat.  Get frustrated.  Get exasperated.  Sweat.  Hate life.

8:50  Hand back the mid-term essays.  Watch them read their grades in confusion.  Most of them think they deserve A’s and B’s.  Most of them deserve F’s.  Give most of them C+s because I’m part of a continent wide broken educational system.  Try to remember what my work was like when I was a first year student.  Pretty sure I was drunk for most of first year.  Remind them about my office hours tomorrow.  Encourage them to come see me, to come talk about their grades, to come talk about their work, so that I can help them.  Know that no one will show up and I’ll sit for an hour by myself, in an office I share with all the other grad students.  Try not to become disillusioned with the whole system of education.

9:00  Walk home.  Realize I haven’t eaten since breakfast.  Stop at the grocery store on the way home and make impulse purchases that go well beyond my means, calorically and financially.  Use my credit card to pay.

9:30  Eat.  Worry.  Eat.  Worry.  Watch old episodes of Newsroom on my computer (I can’t afford cable, or a TV, or even to get my own wifi so I have to use the free wifi that comes with my apartment but blocks all the good websites like torrent downloading, youtube, and porn.  Eat.  Worry.  Eat.  Worry.  Make some coffee (I have a ton of work to do).

12:00am  Remember I have to read a 347 page book and a 44 page article for my class on thursday.  Start reading.

12:15  Calculate how many hours I have before my next class.  Figure out how many pages I can read in 20 minutes.  Multiply 20 by 3 to get how many pages I can read in an hour.  Calculate how many hours it will take to read 347 pages of a novel and 44 pages of an article.  Worry.  Fidget.  Worry.  Wonder if I should’ve gone into mathematics.

12:30  (stress) Masturbate.  Drink more coffee.

1:00am  Read more

2:00  I’m reading 18th century literature.  My eyelids are no longer my friends.  Drink more coffee, I  still have so much work to do.  Keep reading.

4:00am  Take a break to eat.  Watch another episode of Newsroom.  Eat.  Worry.  Eat.  Worry.  Eat.  Worry.  Coffee.

5:00  Read.  Read.  Read.

7:00am  Realize I see the sunrise too often.  Hate it.  Consider taking up yoga.  Consider becoming one of those breezy people who don’t worry and don’t get stressed.  Promise I’ll start fresh tomorrow.  Tomorrow, I will finish all my readings on time.  Tomorrow, I won’t go to class unprepared, I won’t skate by.  Tomorrow, I will wake up at a decent time and I will exercise and be at one with myself and the world.  Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

7:30  Try to sleep (hate myself for having to drink so much coffee to get through the day)

8:00  Try to sleep (hate myself for being a student when my friends have $$$ jobs)

8:30  Try to sleep (wish I exercised more, studied more, was a better person)

9:00  Try to sleep (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY CAN’T I FUCKING SLEEP!!!!)

9:30am  Smoke some weed and fall asleep.

 

 

New Move, New Site, New Boys, New Life

Montreal

New boys, new life

 

NEW MOVE

Some of you have been reading from the beginning.  The way back when.  The precipitating moments to some of the biggest changes about to occur in my life.  You were there.  I was there.  And now we’re here.  But where is here exactly?

Here is…moving to Montreal for graduate school (Concordia University).  3 years in the making and it’s finally here.

I’m thrilled.  I’m stressed.  I’m excited.  I have trepidation.  It’s going to be amazing.  I’m absolutely fucking terrified.

I don’t know anyone there.  Not one single person.  I don’t speak french (unless you include the 5 years of high school french I took which you probably shouldn’t given the fact that the only knowledge I retained is je suis fatigue [I am tired].)

 

https://twitter.com/SSDated/status/210254050535546880

 

Though I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit, I’ve never actually lived anywhere outside of the lower mainland so to me this move is a huge fucking deal.  For you guys, it probably won’t make much of a difference.  Admittedly, I think I’ll have to say goodbye to my tagline of Something She Dated:  Dating Vancouver a Better Place One “Something” at a Time but otherwise then that you probably won’t notice much of a difference.

Or…well…maybe there will be some changes.  Good ones.  In my opinion.  And hopefully in yours.  But changes nonetheless.

 

NEW SITE

AUGUST 2013 UPDATE:  It was SomethingSheDated.com but now that I’m writing about various topics I’ve got the new (and permanent…no more changes I swear) site here SomethingSheSaid.com (which technically you should already know, since you’re here, reading it)

First off, there’s the new site design.  Like everything new, it’ll probably be irritating at first, you’re used to seeing this button here and that thing over there.  But like when you get a new iPhone, you hate it for 30 minutes, you adapt and it basically becomes your new boyfriend.  No?  Just me then?  That’s cool.

Rather than bore you with a run down of everything on the site, I’ll let you explore and see for yourself…or don’t.  To be honest, if you’re a long time reader the layout likely won’t matter to you.  Just know this, you MAY (read: probably will) have to RE-subscribe to the RSS feed (and if so, just click the feed button…it’s on the top right under the scroll bar and you’ll be good to go).  And, because who doesn’t like a contingency plan)…when in doubt…and you just want to read the most recent posts and you can’t figure out where to look but you know you want to read them in order…look to the right…middle of the screen and you’ll find the heading “recent posts” and you’ll be all set.

 

NEW BOYS

So that’s the next thing that might hopefully could maybe will be different.  Boys.  Hopefully there will be more.  Lots more.  Both here and when I move.  I expect a few more stories than usual because I have about 4 weeks left here and why not go balls to the wall right?!?!  And then of course not only is Montreal a completely new city that I haven’t yet dated my way through but let’s be honest, I think they’re a bit more my key demographic if you know what I mean.

Additionally, I’ll finally be able to answer (in an informed way) the truth about the theory that Vancouver Men Suck.  And I won’t just be doing online research, I’ll be getting out there, talking to people on the street, in cafes, in class, in the halls, around campus, on my bed…wherever 😉  Needless to say, online dating won’t be my only avenue of contact, I’ll be getting down in those dating trenches and loving at least 50% of the minutes of it every minute of it and then reporting it back to you.

 

NEW LIFE

Another change is that you may see a few more life related posts mixed in the…mix.  The truth is as amazing as this move will be, I expect it to be equally stressful and when stressed, I turn to writing and what better way to keep you all up to date then with posting about it all here.  Some of it may be boring.  Some of it may be hilarious and exhilarating.  I’ll be doing my best to keep it to the latter.  Read.  Don’t read.  I’ll still love you either way.

And that’s pretty much it guys.  All the new news in my life.  The loosely drawn map of the adventures to come.  It’s going to be great.  And feel free to leave me comments about things you like or don’t like about the site (and things that aren’t working or any troubles you’re having….unless of course the trouble is with the commenting system or something…and then…ermmm…email or find me on social media).

 

All my love, till the next juicy boy update….

XOXOX

SSDated

Vancouver Dating Blog: You Can Always Come Home To Me

How to Write a Dating Profile

It’s been a long time coming.

I’ve been meaning to write it for ages.

But somehow I just kept putting it off.

Because it’s not really a dating post, or a humor post, or a sex post, or a poetry post even, it’s a post about me.  Little old me, and what I’ve been up to and what (not who) I’ve been doing.  Because admittedly, in this last year, it might have gotten a little confusing.  So I’ll try to keep it as short and sweet as possible and if there’s any questions at the end…well…that’s what the comment section is for, right?

In September I started back at UBC.

I was approached by a dating website who wanted to buy (like with real money) my writing, both past and future.  I thought long and hard about it and though I hated the idea of parting with my writing (not a first rights kind of deal, a complete selling of ownership type deal) I figured I’d always have more material and beggars can’t be choosers and a number of other considerations that had me agreeing.  And so that’s what I did (which is why, you may or may not have noticed, many of my old blog posts disappeared).  For the next 6 months or so things were peachy.  I mean school was insane and my own blog pretty much fell to the way-side but I simply directed all my readers over to the dating website I had been working for to read my posts.  And then sometime around the end of January-ish something happened.  I had to sever ties with the site.  Unfortunately, the owner and I had some very different ideas about the ethics of editing (much like the differing laws in Canada and the States) and that was that.  He owned my words and I asked for my name to be removed from all content.  Ties severed.

However, very close to the same time I was approached by an Editor at The Province who asked if I would like to blog for them.  Ecstatic, I, of course, agreed.  And that was that, I’ve been happily blogging for the Province ever since.  But, I mean, there’s only so much writing about sex and dating a girl can do, especially when I was still in school at the time.  So for the time being, I publish on The Province and shortly after the article goes up on my own blog, this one right here.  Now of course, there’ll probably be exceptions (like say with this post, this one has no need to go on The Province’s site, and posts that contain poetry will always only go up here).

Additionally, I’ve started blogging as a #SWEXPERT for a UK dating site called Singles Warehouse, along with numerous other bloggers.  And while I’m not certain how or where the relationship will progress too, like my work for The Province, it will eventually end up on my own site (this one, in case that wasn’t clear lol).

Now, here I am in early May and I’ve graduated from UBC with my 2nd BA.  I have been accepted to Georgia State University, North Carolina State University, University of Massachusetts (Boston), and University of Saskatchewan, and I’m still waiting to hear back from Concordia and George Washington University.

What any of this means for the future I don’t know.  Will I be moving from Vancouver in September?  Can I really afford to take on the debt of an American University?  What would it be like to live in Saskatoon, a place I’ve heard I would eat the boys alive, and what if there were no boys at all who wanted to be eaten?  Will I take a year off, work and save as much as possible, and then reapply to schools next year (because at least now I know that getting in is a likely possibility; to be honest, I had been bracing myself for an across the board rejection)?  Could I continue to write about “Dating Vancouver a Better Place, One Something at a Time” or write for The Province, if I neither lived in Vancouver, nor the province of BC?  Will I spend the summer writing a book?

Who knows.  I have no real answers.  Yet.  But I’m happy.  And the future is bright.  And when in doubt over where to find my writing, know that it will always come home here at Something She Dated, ready and waiting for your loving eyes with its open arms.

xoxo
~SSDated