Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#Reverb16: Tribe

Superbowl month is upon us and whether you're a football fan or not, the popularity of sports and other pop culture events brings to light our inherent need to belong and to experience things together as a community. What events are important to you during the year? How do you show solidarity with your tribe?

aw, this is a cute question.

i'm pretty sure it's a fundamental human necessity to feel as though you're a "part" of something. when you're connected to a bunch of other people, especially through a shared interest or fandom, it's such a great feeling. i felt it when i was standing with a packed house full of fellow band fans for kill hannah's final show; i felt it when i was passing through a crowd of my fellow wrestling fans at the wwe house shows last year. it's that weird, tangible sense of being where you belong. you're with your people -- people who love the same things you do, likely just as deeply. and it is so fucking cool to be a part of something like that. no matter who you are or where you come from, you belong.

so that's the fandom tribe, and for me, there's also the tribe of online friends. i don't know where i'd be without twitter, and the random new acquaintances that it brings into my life even now. every few months i end up hitting it off with some cool new people on twitter and we become friends, just like that. even more rarely, i'll really connect with someone, and then we jokingly refer to each other as sisters. it's a shame that twitter is becoming as toxic as it is, because i feel like i'd be a little lost without it, if i had to abandon it altogether. (especially under duress for whatever reason.) but i've been making friends across the world via the internet since i was a teenager (thankfully, no creepers) and to me, it remains one of the coolest things about the online world -- that i could make lifelong friends with people that i would never have met otherwise.

when it comes to the real world, my own personal tribe of girlfriends is generally brought together when there's a birthday in our group. between work, travel, and young families, most of us are too busy (or too tired) to go out partying every weekend like we used to, so someone's birthday is typically the main reason for a big group hangout these days. but as i was saying to my mother the other day, for me, longevity means a lot to me when it comes to friendships. i've been friends with my real-life girlfriends for about ten years now; if i've been friends with you for 5-10+ years consistently, then i trust you and i've got your back. for me, right now, that's only about half a dozen people i can think of offhand (and a couple of them are dudes), but it feels good to know i have peeps like that -- ones who have known me throughout my twenties, and really know me, you know?

but like, whatever. this is getting mushy. have a picture of a sunset (that i took upon my return to toronto yesterday -- i'm baaaaaack):

[ music | foals, "mountain at my gates" ]

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

a century of fakers

moar kingston pics (i mean, okay, it's not kingston - it's howe island, which is closer to gananoque - but it's close enough to k-town, and also far more picturesque than the old family home in the 'burbs)

sunrises here are pretty surreal, since there's an unblocked view of the skyline and you can see all the colours as they slowly spread across the sky and i've probably been reading too many dystopian novels (shoutout to station eleven and the southern reach trilogy) but it almost seems weirdly apocalyptic and unsettling to me. but it's nice! really! (also, my mother likes to point out how much of the night sky you can see, but honestly, i once stood under a dark sky in arizona and it was like i could see every goddamn star there is. that was pretty epic.)

anyway, i do a lot of reflecting when i'm here, and this time around it's mostly been about how much i like to be myself.

i joke a lot about being antisocial, but that's actually a bit too severe -- as much as i loudly claim to not be a people person, my friends have observed that i'm actually pretty good at being social. and it's true, i know how to turn it on when, say, i'm at a party where i don't know a lot of people. but there's at least some truth in the fact that i am super big on needing alone time. it's kind of funny because i wasn't like that for a long time -- a good majority of my twenties, at least. i don't think it was until my singleton years of 2012-13 that i really started to relish being alone, and having my own personal space that was just mine. even now, i have a threshold of social time, and after i hit it i need to recharge by myself. there's something really great and freeing about being alone, and not having to worry about anyone except yourself.

but as much as i like being alone, it's isolation that creeps me out.

i've lived in toronto now for longer than i ever lived in kingston, and when you move to a big city, you generally become inured to the presence of people, everywhere, all the time. and over time, it almost becomes a weird comfort; i've always felt safer in bustling downtown toronto at 1 a.m. than i ever did in empty, abandoned kingston after dark. so i look at all these little (and huge) houses scattered piecemeal across the island and it's makes me shudder a little bit inside, you know? it's all very the shining to me, this idea of being sequestered out on an island that's essentially lawless (there are no cops on the island, and it would take them a while to get out here anyway). it's creepy as shit and i do not like it, no sir, i do not.

(it doesn't help that i was reading these stories on r/nosleep the other day, right before returning to the secluded island full of deep woods and howling winds.)

so, as much as i'm perfectly happy being alone - and i'm at the point in my life where i pretty much crave it 5-6 days out of the week - i become unsettled when there's nobody around. i'm fairly sure that nobody moves to the city to get away from people; like, i grew up with the isolation and the silence. my entire childhood is rooted in abandoned fields, empty forests, and being my own playmate since there was nobody else for miles around. some people want that their entire lives; some people don't ever want to go back to that. as much as i do have fond memories of solo wanderings for hours when i was a kid, it's funny how now, as an adult, i feel like my imagination would get the better of me if i were to go out there alone again. strange that your imagination can be your ally when you're a kid, but your enemy when you're an adult. (you should probably all read stephen king's it, if you haven't already, because it kind of touches on that idea)

and one more thing, for posterity: i asked my mother the other night if she could ever recall me being happy. "like, do you ever remember a time when i seemed happy with my life?" (not even trying to be depressing, just curious.)

she looked thoughtful, and replied, " were never really satisfied with what you had. you always seemed to be searching for something."

i wonder.

at 15 years old.

[ music | sleigh bells, "treats" ]

Friday, February 19, 2016

let it ride

now that january 2016 is over, 31 days is also over! i hope you enjoyed learning stuff about me that you probably didn't care about in the first place, but oh well. sometimes it's good for me to just do regular writing exercises, even if it does sort of burn me out after and then i don't feel like blogging anything for weeks (to be fair, work has been busy and life has been boring).

anyway, surprise! i'm in kingston.

posting this pic from october again because i'm proud of it and it only got like 7 likes on instagram.

ever since i missed another christmas at home with the family, my parents have sounded like they've been missing me, so i decided to take an entire week(!) to be at home on the island, or out with my dad, or whatever. because it's true, i do miss my family every now and then, and given that i've also been suffering cabin fever from constantly being in the same place all the time (i mean, i love my apartment, but when it's both your homespace and your workspace it can get to be a little much), i figured i might as well take advantage of the fact that i have access to a second "home" only a couple hours away.

so why a week? after all, i've never gone home for that long before (except maybe on holiday vacation in my first year of university, when i didn't have a job). i only ever go home for a few days at a time, which never feels long enough once i'm there, and especially now that i have to factor in commutes to and from the island. true, it doesn't change the fact that kingston is boring as balls and i typically spend my days just wandering around the house or reading, but i figured it might be an interesting experiment to see if i could just unplug from big-city life for that long, you know?

also, the big factor: i'm a freelancer right now, and these are the things you can do when you're a freelancer. i am my own boss; i make my own hours. i definitely take advantage of this flexibility -- although sometimes it means working on weekends or into the late hours, i don't mind it at all because it's my choice to do it, you know? but i digress -- being a freelancer means that you totally have the option to work from anywhere, and i haven't taken advantage of that yet. i don't want to be freelancing forever, really, so i figured i might as well do this now while i still can. (the only time i was ever able to do this while gainfully employed was back in 2010, when the agency i worked for at the time allowed me to work from kingston for a week because the g20 was happening right next door to our downtown office. not all of us felt totally safe being at work, let's say.)

honestly, for me there is nothing so intimidating and awkward as asking your boss if you can 1) have time off or 2) work somewhere other than the office, because generally they get suspicious and huffy and are likely to turn you down and then you feel bad about asking. personally, i think a lot of us would do better if we could choose our workplaces, and if bosses would have faith that we would get our work done away from a cubicle, but i don't know just me etc etc. (i'm not gonna dig myself into a grave, here.) so right now, it's nice that i don't have to ask permission to do this sort of thing. but at some point, i'm gonna have to go back to that, and then depending on if it's contract work or not, i might not even have "vacation" time again for a while. which means it's best for me to get in the fam time now, while i still can.

sure, it's a bit disorienting to be removed from my everyday stuff and routines (i like my coffeemaker and my face masks and my mornings in the gym), but sometimes you need to get away for a bit in order to start appreciating them again. it's also nice to be able to lodge somewhere for free, have good dinners and drink lots of wine, and just touch base with my family. a couple weeks ago, my mother called me just to check in, and mentioned that they'd had "the whole family" out to the island for dinner that night. and it's those conversations that make me realize, oh yeah, i'm the only one who doesn't live in kingston. (the entirety of both my extended families live in kingston and the surrounding area, with the exception of my stepbrother on my dad's side, who lives with his family in vancouver.) when there are family get-togethers, my spot at the table is empty. it's easy for me to get caught up in my adult big-city life here in toronto, so i don't feel left out per se, but sometimes it's weird to think that i essentially have "a life" far away from my current one. or at least, the remnants of a past life.

anyway, i got here on wednesday evening and i'm here til next tuesday morning, so maybe expect a few more blog posts and stuff out of me while i'm here (i already finished all my books to read, and my netflix list is pretty bare -- as always, i welcome suggestions).

also, here is me in a fun hat. good day to you.

[ music | kill hannah, "last night here" ]