Posts filed under The Daily: SPILL

on leaving and new beginnings.

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Hello and happy spring to all of you, 

Here is this funny, completely under-utilized corner of my blog. I have the same kind of corner in my new apartment, all this wall space that currently has a stack of unframed artwork leaning awkwardly, and where, around 7:24pm, the light hits it just right and it feels like the perfect place to bask with a gin and tonic and reflect on the day, but I’ve yet to get around to doing so. Do people still do this: banter into the internet void? 

I had extremely grand visions of meticulously documenting this crazy time in my life, thinking that any time I’ve thrown myself into the middle of the ocean to learn to swim, I will be so full of feeling, and feeling usually leads to words for me, and here instead I have been met with a tongue-tied bewilderment and a general nervousness that has taken me aback. And now it’s nearly June, and so much in my life has changed, and I still feel like a fly on the wall to my own existence, but I’m trying to find a way to anchor myself back into the narrative. 

It all feels like a soupy, homesick mess, but I thought, in a few installments, I could challenge myself to summarize some of the sticky feelings that come with packing my life up and transplanting myself into a new world. 

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First of all, some back story to get you up to speed: I met my boyfriend Alex at our mutual friend Katie’s wedding in Santa Cruz last June, and we jumped into the dizzying excitement of a basically-transcontinental relationship with 78-ish hour visits every few weeks, which was completely financially unsustainable. The crazy thing about long distance dating is you have to quickly decide if you see longterm potential with that person, and also have no idea what any kind of “normal” life feels like with that person, because there’s no space to be grumpy or bored or uninteresting when you spend all this time missing each other and only have a weekend at a time to go off of - everything is interesting and charming and exciting and dramatic and wonderful. There is no  Tuesday Dinner And Argue About What To Watch On Netflix, or Are We Seriously Still Wandering Around The Apple Store, or Let’s Hang Out At My Apartment In Different Rooms, or Can You Pick Up Cilantro On Your Way, or I Know You Asked Me To Choose A Restaurant And Make A Reso But I Totally Forgot. 

Fitting in nicely with my generalized existential angst, I was independently trying to figure out what I was going to do with myself for work, feeling pretty “over” serving but feeling kind of stuck in the industry, and wrestling with the ever-present vocation/occupation dance: how does art/ creativity/ personal projects/ quirky dinner series/ inevitable need for some sort of pay cheque. The initial plan was for me to come to San Francisco for a couple of months to be in the same vicinity as Alex and see what normal-ish dating would be like, and then the question became: what happens if it goes well? Then I go back to Toronto after not working for a few months, have an apartment I’m paying for with no job to return to,  and save up again to turn around and return back to San Francisco? It seemed like I was going to hold my 2019 in limbo that way, so I decided to take the plunge and go all in. 

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I sold my bike and all my furniture, justifying that it seemed unreasonable to ship IKEA furniture and dishes I’ve had for a decade across the country - in hindsight, with every corner of my life saturated with newness and unfamiliarity, coupled with starting from the ground up and varying interpretations of what “nice decor” means between Alex and I, I wonder if having a few more things from “home” would make me feel a little less unsettled. That being said, I don’t know if Thin Mint The Bicycle could make it up or down Fillmore Street, and cycling in SF, at this point, seems completely terrifying, and I don’t know how helpful it is to tie my sense of safety and identity into the wobbly-but-beautiful wooden coffee table I so proudly carried home from outside a house on Follis Avenue. 

I suppose this has all been about exactly that: taking away any kind of comfort that I could prop myself up with, and seeing how my sea legs held up on their own. I left a city I came to love, and knew like the back of my hand, I left the people who brought it to life, I left people I created and collaborated with, which has felt like losing a limb. It has been incredibly humbling, if not just completely disorienting, to be a creative with no words, a gatherer with no community, a dreamer with dreamless sleep. I thought I would approach this like a blank canvas, full of potential, but in truth I have started out feeling feeble, sheepish and shy. 

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This has been, I want to be clear, such a grand and worthwhile adventure: there is, first and foremost, the man I love and the softness and humor he brings to my world; there are streets lined with eucalyptus, and the roses that bloom in March; there are pink houses that bring me inexplicable joy; there is the foggy bay and arching bridge that takes my breath away every time I bring myself to the water; there are dinner series events and storytelling nights and poetry readings; there are warm and inviting people who have graciously invited me for drinks and park hangs and yoga classes. I am confident that I can make a home here, and that I am in the middle of skyrocketing personal growth. All of this is just growing pains. 

Posted on May 29, 2019 and filed under The Daily: SPILL.

spring reading schedule.

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I'm not sure how it happened, but the other day I woke up and realized that I have four different piles of books that I am chipping away at - the stack by my bed has a light read that I picked up at one of those neighbourhood library cupboards that people have on their lawns, and a book I didn't immediately get into, but have every intention of going back and reading, and also its crisp white cover with whimsical clementines looks great decoratively in the room, and Mary Oliver's Devotions - I feel like it's an artist win when a poem is the last thing I look at before turning the light off.

On my kitchen table, there is the book Writing Alone and With Others by Pat Schneider, which is the first writing "instruction" book I've read in a while, along with my journal, and my most current novel I'm devouring, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. 

In my kitchen I have a poetry book that my cousin gifted me, Bluets by Maggie Nelson, and Padraig O'Tuama's Readings From The Book Of Exile, which just arrived two days ago. 

On the coffee table is the revolutionary The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Vander Kolk, Big Magic by Liz Gilbert and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Big Magic and We Should All Be Feminists have already been read (and highlighted and re-read), but are there for easy access and required reading for any visitors. 

So what's a girl to do? I've started scheduling in 20 minute blocks in my day to chip away at each book. Sounds a little ridiculous and a lot nerdy, but it's been a huge improvement to the alternative, "Start a book, drop a book, get a new book, feel guilty about the book you sort of started and still want to read," habit from the past. I read Padraig O Tuama with my coffee, 20 minutes of Bessel Vander Kolk after that, and Little Fires Everywhere has been coming on the subway with me. Problem solved. 

twenty-six.

My birthday this year was spent with closest friends on a quiet Friday night in, a monstrous cheese board, the fanciest of champagnes, a tower of cronuts (pictured), and celebrating the triumphs and challenges of twenty-five, and declaring bold and beautiful adventures for twenty-six, namely just these things:

less worry, more surrender
less battling, more tenderness
less anxiety, more trust
less bottling, more spilling
less second-guessing, more trying
less solitude, more partnership
less apologizing, more intention
less hurrying, more presence.

Over and over I am bewildered by the obnoxious support of my beautiful circle of friends, who, specifically in the last few months have rallied and surrounded me and fed me and housed me and wrapped me up in their love and goodness and cheered me on in the hazy uncertainty and sometimes achey heaviness I can sink into. They make my world beautiful and worthwhile with their beautiful hearts.