A week away from the city

For the last five years my family and I have been camping in various Ontario Parks. We’ve been to Awenda, Silent Lake, Quinte, Sibbald Point and this year we’re checking out Algonquin. I can’t speak for my family, but I look forward to it every year. We book our campsite in February just to make sure we get a good site. Our favourite park is Silent Lake, but we’ve agreed to try a different park every other year. What’s even better is that we have the luxury of checking in on a Sunday, and checking out on a Thursday so we can avoid the crowds.

I feel so blessed though because not only am I getting a chance to go camping for 5 days/4 nights, I’m also going to a friend’s cottage for a couple of nights. A cottage that is honestly just so good for my soul. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time on my balcony, and it’s bee lovely but getting out of the city is incomparable.

I have a few books that I hope to bring with me. I’ll also be bringing my notebook, and I hope to be able to get back into sketching. I really need to get working on finalizing the sketch of my second tattoo after all. Maybe I’ll finally have it this summer.

No matter what happens while I’m away from the city, I am extremely grateful for my upcoming week being able to be one with nature for almost 7 straight days.

Memories

There are some memories that just stay with you. It’s easy to have fun times with great people, but not all memories come back with the same clarity, nor fill you with the same sense of nostalgia. There are some memories that come rushing back to your present moment as if you were re-living them all over again… though perhaps with some details blurred out. What stands out is the way those moments made you feel. These become the moments that you base other moments on moving forward.

As I was taken back this weekend to one of the moments I describe below, I managed to pull out a few other memories that often fill me with joyful butterflies, happily fluttering in my insides. The first two are from the same evening1; I was in New York City on Independence Day visiting a friend2.

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One | It was drizzling, but the city decided to continue with their fireworks display. I was hanging out with some friends of the friend I was visiting at the time, who happened to have a roof we were able to get out to. Watching the fireworks, with the Brooklyn Bridge on one side, and The Williamsburg Bridge on the other3 was magical, and I just remember feeling like it was exactly where I needed to be. I’ve been to many fireworks displays since, and none have ever come close – despite the awesome things they can do with fireworks these days.

Two | I can no longer recall if this happened before or after the fireworks; I’m leaning towards it happening before but it doesn’t really matter. The same house featured a gorgeous backyard that was longer than it was wide, with some gorgeous landscaping work that featured trees in the back of the yard, just at their tall fence. At one point the night, fireflies began to dance around the night sky; sometimes flying right beside us. There’s just something about watching fireflies flit and flutter around in the night sky that left me, and still fills me with a feeling of sheer joyous wonder.

There are other memories that make New York City one of my absolute favourite places to visit but these two often come back to me vividly; sometimes in dreams. The next two memories take place during the same vacation1; I was on a tiny Island called Holbox, which is a part of Mexico. I was visiting one of my all-time favourite people in the world, Jackie, while she was working on the island conducting research for her thesis. The entire trip is one giant happy memory but these two are ones that come to me most often.

Three | We had gone into the mainland to check out the ruins, and we also checked out a cenote. I don’t even care that my brand new underwater camera drowned that day because everything about swimming in that water was heavenly; add to that the sight of sunlight streaming in through the hole in the ‘ceiling’ making it easy to see the stalactites where some bats were just hanging out; marvelous. It didn’t matter that there were kids splashing around us, there was a certain brand of peace and quiet that existed in that cenote; and it will stay with me always4.

Four | Early one morning, we were invited to go fishing with a couple5 brothers who owned a restaurant on the Island. They would go out every morning and fish, then go home and serve up their catch of the day at the restaurant. They taught us how to fish using only a line, a hook and fresh sardines caught even earlier that morning. Once we were back on the Island, they fed us fresh ceviche and fish tacos from the day’s catch. I often wonder if I’d be able to recreate my success that day if I were ever stranded on a boat with similar supplies; I’d like to think I would.

I don’t know that my experience in Mexico is the same as most, since I didn’t spend a lot of time on the mainland. And there were definitely more wonderful memories such as star gazing while listening to nothing but the ocean waves and each other’s voices; or riding out on that man’s golf cart to the other end of the island to watch the glofish do their thing that one night; or snorkeling in cozumel…or killing that cockroach in Jackie’s room my first night there. I know I can’t physically go back there, but I sure do enjoy revisiting the trip in my mind and through pictures.

The next one needs to be vague, for reasons I don’t want to disclose. If you were there, you may recognize the event where the next memory takes place in the photo below.

Five | It was a special person’s birthday. I was attending an annual event downtown; serendipitously6, I managed to get tickets for him and his friend7. I also managed to double all of the supplies that I needed to bring8, plus a birthday cake for him. There was this moment that evening, when he was about to blow out the candles on his cake9, and he just looked so carefree; so happy. I remember thinking that I was so proud that I did that; that I managed to make someone so happy. If only it were always that easy.

Mostly because I don’t want to end this trip down memory lane, there but also because this last memory is one that I hope to recreate very soon with a trip back to Europe. I moved back from Ireland in 2008, which is exactly 8 years ago… It has been far, far too long.

Six | We were in Paris. They were hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2007. My bf at the time had won tickets to the Ireland v Argentina match so we flew over for the weekend. We were out with friends, walking around the city, bar hopping and having fun with just about everyone else who was out on the street. Ireland had lost the match but everyone was in good spirits anyway. The temperature was perfect; we walked for hours; I was wearing heels but I don’t remember ever feeling pain. Just pure bliss10.

 

What are some of your favourite memories?

Footnotes:
  1. photos may not necessarily reflect the memories I described[][]
  2. ex-friend but that’s neither here nor there[]
  3. and we all know how much I love bridges[]
  4. now if only I can master summoning it at will[]
  5. or was it three?[]
  6. let’s say it’s a word, ok?[]
  7. even though the event was sold-out[]
  8. it was that kind of an event – where we bring all the things needed[]
  9. I even have photographic evidence to remind me of this moment[]
  10. and no, we weren’t on drugs[]

Unconditional Acceptance

In light of yesterday’s awful1 news, I wanted to share this TED talk by Andrew Solomon, titled, “Love, No Matter What”. Know that Mr Solomon starts off quoting an article, that include some rather shocking statements against homosexuality but I promise you his talk is one you will want to watch/listen to if you haven’t already.

I have no words. If you need more to read though:

How They Got Their Guns | The New York Times
Deadliest Shooting In U.S. History: Suspect Purchased Guns Legally, ATF Says | NPR
Toronto police to boost Pride security in wake of Florida shooting | CBC
‘Love is love:’ Orlando shooting victims honoured with rainbow-themed tributes the world over | CBC

Or, you can watch/read what Obama had to say about the massacre.

Love is Love.

Footnotes:
  1. is there an adjective that appropriately depicts the atrocity that occurred?[]

Changing my relationship with Anger

I was originally going to call this post, Leaving Anger Behind, except that isn’t what I’m going. I am not going to pretend or lie to myself that I would ever be completely free from anger. That would be a little naive of me. As someone born with the ability to feel things so incredibly, intensely1, I need to accept the fact that this ‘gift’ includes the entire spectrum of emotions from elation to devastation2.

This is an endeavour that I’ve attempted before, and I thought I had succeeded… but of course, I didn’t anticipate going through a trauma like I did in the last two years. I didn’t prepare to deal with healing from a trauma3 before it happened; I was ill-equipped to come out of it with as much poise and grace as I would have liked.

Oh but the lessons I’ve learned! So. Many. Lessons.

Take my relationship with anger; for example. Anger is this… temptress… it uses it’s hardness seductively to make you think that it will serve as a good shield to protect you from things that might hurt you. Oh and how it works; it works really well. What it doesn’t tell you? What it doesn’t tell you is that it also shields you from the most beautiful moments, when you are vulnerable enough to feel the kind of joy that comes from being completely real with someone. When both of your shields are down, and you’re able to look at each other with all of your battle wounds and just be4. It doesn’t tell you about missing out on that, and you don’t realize it until that moment is long gone.

Now I may have missed moments already, but I’m in a much better place now to see any future moments that may come my way. I didn’t get to this place on my own. This place where I can finally say I am no longer angry5. I am incredibly blessed to have the most amazing friends who spent many hours listening to me when I needed someone to listen, and holding me when I needed to be held, and working out with me when I needed to let off some steam. There is no way I would have made it to this point if it weren’t for any of you6.

I digress.

It may seem obvious, but it wasn’t always obvious to me; the most important thing I’m practising is how to avoid getting angry with myself for things that really aren’t my fault, nor are/were in my control. Also important, is not getting angry at myself even if something is/was within my control. I know I won’t always succeed7, and because that falls under the category of ‘things I can’t control’; if it happens, I just have to recognize what’s happening, accept it and forgive myself rather than getting upset that it happened ‘yet again’. It’s a practice that’s easier said than done. Until you’ve practiced it enough times that it just becomes easy, and oh-so rewarding.

It’s been nice being able to come across a situation that – just last month – would have had me spiraling into all of the negative thoughts that have kept me down, but to instead be able to take a breath and let it go. Sometimes, I have to vent to a friend first and talk things out before I can let go, and that’s okay too8.

I’m not saying anger doesn’t have it’s place in a person’s life. I’m just saying it has no place in mine.

Photo unrelated, though somehow related. Taken while out on a hike with my brother and his/the family dog, Drogo. Follow me on instagram: @fragileheart
Footnotes:
  1. double adjectives because that’s now intense it is[]
  2. or whatever extreme you’d prefer[]
  3. how could I know I would be traumatised by such things?[]
  4. Oh right, I’m not writing a poem right now. Heh. I got carried away with my analogy[]
  5. or depressed for that matter[]
  6. there is also therapy but um, I actually pay him so…[]
  7. because surprise, I’m human![]
  8. thankfully, it’s okay to my friends too – THANK YOU!![]