This morning I sit pensively at my kitchen window, watching little rain drops turn to little frozen rain drops, turn to little white snowflakes. And as I look out at this truly beautiful form of precipitation, I am simply overwhelmed with one little thought.
Enjoy the simple things.
Having just had an eventful evening, in which I removed myself from a poisonous environment in a perhaps an Oscar-worthy performance, I am stuck now in what I would like to call a strangely soft, hard place.
Having put approximately 130% of myself into something that I quite suddenly saw in severe clarity last night, is going absolutely nowhere fast, I have traded one weight of the world for a whole new one.
There is a whole world of hurt that comes with being belittled, ignored, unappreciated, and blatantly deceived by someone you trusted way more than you should have. And particularly when it takes a full 6 months for you to finally see it for what it is.
That kind of thing you don’t exactly bounce right back from, and I don’t expect to.
But I sigh in relief now, because I finally took my own advice and stood up for myself. Finally said that enough is enough, and that my approximate 130% needs to be used for something worthy of it.
Now, it’s December 1st. It’s my favourite time of year, and I’m finding it a little harder than usual to get into the holiday spirit. The reason though, I find most unfortunate, is that it’s really just because now I am sitting at my window, jobless, with no prospects, with surmounting debt caused by someone I trusted, and it’s almost christmas.
Now more than ever, I feel I need to really enjoy the simple things, or I will dig myself into a very deep grave of stress and worry.
I need to stop being in my mid 30’s, constantly trying to plan my elaborate future and stop panicking about what in the world I am doing with my life, and get back to being the 21 year old that I am. Enjoy the simple things.
Like watching the snow fall outside my window.
Like watching a football game with my dad, just because I know he loves when I do.
Like goofing off with my brother, catching up with my sister.
Like knitting toques for my friends and family.
Like taking pictures, looking at old pictures.
Going on long walks alone.
Reading a good book.
If you don’t listen to yourself, and really take care of your soul, you’ll get really cold, really fast. Before you know it, there will be no simple things that make you happy, and you’ll spend the remaining years of your life chasing things that don’t mean anything. You’ll be on your death bed when you realize that all you had to do was sit by your window on December 1st, and watch rain turn to snow.
I know there is some dream job out there for me, but I also know that I won’t get to it unless I slow down, keep at least one foot on the ground, and always enjoy the simple things.
Ambition is great.
Moderation is greater.
Somewhere between when I moved to Vancouver, and when I moved back to Ontario, on one of my visits home, I was having lunch with my mom and we were discussing how crazy it was that I was living in Vancouver, and that my sister was living in California, and how it will be so interesting to see where everyone ends up.
She made one of those classic “mom faces” and mentioned how she really hoped everyone would end up in one general area, so she could do lots of visiting. And then she said, “But you, I know I’ll be getting on a plane to visit you.” I asked her to explain what she meant by that. She said she always knew that I was going places, that I had the heart of an explorer, and that she had realized that it was important for her to support my need to be free, even if it meant that I would always be far away from her.
I sat in traffic last night, on my way downtown, and in front of me was a little red car with a license plate from Alaska. I was overwhelmed with the desire to flag them down, and ask them if I could kindly follow them home…to Alaska. And now I find myself caught in the middle of some odd internal battle.
Everything inside me says GO. I’m young and unattached, and no time would be better than now to GO and explore, because the last thing I want is to be 40 with 3 kids and haunted with the thought that I never did what I had really wanted to do. That I put it off for another year and another year and now there I was. Now I’m not saying that people that retire and then go travel the world are dumb, but I personally want to do my traveling when I can still climb up things, you know?
I want to go to Alaska and shovel snow for 6 months.
I want to wear a black and white striped shirt and a beret in a cafe in Paris, and ride down the street in my classic bicycle with a baguette in my basket.
I want to sit on the edge of a cliff in Nova Scotia, and wear high heels in New York City and be scared on a subway. I want to bring my fur hat to Russia, and fit right in. I want to snowboard the Swiss Alps, and read big books and tour castles in Transylvannia. I want to gain 10 pounds in Italy, and say “top ‘o the mornin’ to ya!” in England. I want to park my car on the beach in California and pull a surfboard out of it, like in the commercial.
I want to wash my hair under a waterfall in Hawaii using biodegradable shampoo, and wear a red cape and yell “HOLA, SENOR!” in Spain. I want to obviously go on a safari in Africa, and call people “mate” in Australia. I don’t really want to go to Japan, but if I ended up there I’d take several peace-sign photos. I want to lay in a field in Saskatchewan, and race a train from there to Alberta. I want to snowshoe and learn how to build an igloo in the Northwest Territories, and buy a Viking helmet in Greenland.
Wave a Terrible Towel in Pittsburgh.
Watch a tumbleweed in Texas.
Freestyle a shy-town rap in Illinois.
Hold up a small convenience store in Arizona.
Drink a hot chocolate at the base of a mountain in Colorado.
Play a country song on the side of the road in Tennessee.
Go camping in Washington State, and give someone a high five in North Dakota.
I want to go everywhere. I know that I am not a person that can stay in one place for too long. Movement is imperative to my life, and now that I’m acknowledging that, I cannot deny myself.
ANNNND here is where the other side of my brain kicks in.
I’ve got a good thing going on here. I’m very young and already taking relatively large strides in my career. If I decided to up and peace out for awhile while I do silly things in far off places I may totally miss my invitation to the party, if you know what I mean.
So what do you do when you’re stuck between what you know you should do, and what you think you know you should do?
You find a way to make it work I guess.
I think it’s time to make a move.
INT. INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES - MIDNIGHT
The four of them are in a booth. Tom is feasting on a large stack of pancakes, with an enormous side of bacon. The other three are drinking tea. Burt has a piece of apple pie.
You know what you
need to be happy?
You need this.
Tom is holding up the maple syrup.
What is that?
Okay, watch this.
Here’s you 2 guys.
He takes two cubes of sugar from the bowl on the table, places them on his pancakes.
Okay, so you kiss,
you do other things,
and then you make a baby.
He takes a smaller cube from the bowl and adds it to the plate.
The baby comes in and he
nestles in. And you guys hug
and get real tight. And then we
He uses toothpicks to enclose the three of them in a very crude house.
He adds a coaster as a roof.
There…it’s your house. Is that
a home? is that a family?
No. No, of course not. That’s just
the raw material. The people, the
walls, the furniture. That’s the basics
but that’s not a home. That’s not a family.
What binds it all together is this.
Now he holds up the maple syrup.
Awesome. That’s awesome.
He begins to pour it all over the sugar and toothpicks.
This is love.
I knew it.
This is your love, guys. here it comes.
Your patience, your consideration, you’re
better selves. Man, you just have no idea
how good you can be. But you have to use
all of it. All of it.
(the syrup is everywhere now, inches of it)
It’s not like simple masonry, where you use
a little layer of mortar between each row
of bricks. No. With this, you have to use
tons of it. For every brick, there’s a half-ton
I thought we were doing syrup.
Mortar, syrup, it’s all the same. It’s the glue.
It’s all those good things you have in you.
The love, the wisdom, the generosity,
the selflessness, the patience. The patience
at 3 am when everyone’s awake because
Abraham is sick and he can’t find the bathroom
and he just puked in Katya’s bed. Patience when
you blink, when you BLINK and it’s 5 and it’s
time to get up again, and you know you’re
going to be tired all day, all week, all your
life. And you’re thinking, “what happened to
Greece? What happened to swimming naked
Burt is staring at the sugar and toothpicks, the empty bottle of maple syrup.
You have to just be willing to make
a family out of whatever you have.
You have to be so much better
than you ever thought.
Why in the world would I choose September 9, 2010 to bring the subject of OJ Simpson up again? I assure you, I have a perfectly good reason.
Almost two years ago, I stood in the kitchen with my mother, and my best friend, Jacklyn. I believe that I had just recently found out that I was going to be moving to Vancouver, and Jacklyn and I had been spending a lot of time together talking about the changes that my life was about to experience. As we stood in the kitchen talking about such things, my mom quite unexpectedly shared an unconventional comparison/compliment to Jack.
She started speaking about how a lot of people go their entire lives without really knowing a real, loving, no-strings-attached, true friendship, and how since her children were born she has prayed that they would each find a real pure friendship, at some point in their lives.
And then…she started talking about OJ Simpson. All murder and trial hubbub aside, what she was talking about was the famed ‘low-speed pursuit’ down the freeway in the white Bronco, and even more specifically, who was driving the Bronco. Now, I was totally unaware of this at the time, and unless I’m an exception, perhaps you were unaware of this too: OJ wasn’t driving the Bronco himself, but instead, his good friend Al was. Extraordinary is a friend who would reserve all judgement, and choose to put their own life at risk to drive their wanted-for-murder-friend, all while being chased by several police cars and helicopters, to his home so he can talk to his mother, and drink a glass of orange juice.
Wondering where on earth my mom was going with this, she then began to tear up a little bit, and looking at Jacklyn, said “Jacklyn, all I could ask for is that Britt would have someone that would drive the white Bronco. And I know without a doubt that you would be in that white Bronco for her, and I am so thankful for your friendship in her life.”
As odd as this sentiment was, and maybe even a little morbid, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard something so sweet before. I know I’m not alone, because in that moment, all three of our eyes were brimming with tears.
My definition of a good friend has always been the ability to pick up wherever you left off, regardless of what has happened, or how long it’s been. Like, I don’t know, if you were to pick up and move across the country for a year and come back, nothing in your friendship would have changed.
Jacklyn has always been that friend to me. She has constantly reserved judgment, loved, cared for, and supported me regardless of my choices. She has always been straight up and honest, and has never faltered in her willingness to be there for me, even when it sucked for her. I will be forever grateful that for almost seven years of my short life I have had a real and pure friendship.
There is no one I would rather hop a fence into a deserted gas station with, and have an awkward encounter with a security guard, just to take some pictures.
So, here’s to the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met, inside and out, and my best friend, for whom I will always be in the white Bronco for.
I’ve been home for about four months now.
It’s embarrassing, but if I’m being honest, I still had about 3 boxes, and a couple things I had to get shipped back to Ontario, still sitting in my room taped up, and untouched. Now I’m not a particularly messy person, my mom may disagree with me, but since I had been back here, my room had been severely upside-down and inside out and generally unlivable. Working 7 days a week was not exactly conducive to having a beautifully kept room, but it also wasn’t an excuse for how outrageous it got on me. Even I can admit that I specifically avoided going near my room unless I was going to sleep, and even then I preferred to keep the lights off, and spend 20 minutes in the morning digging through heaps of clothes on the floor.
Now I’m going to get physiological, because in the last couple of days I have come to realize a few things:
A) that I have been blatantly ignoring and suppressing every emotion I had in regards to moving from Vancouver back to Guelph, Ontario.
B) that I didn’t WANT to clean my room, and I didn’t WANT to unpack everything, because to me, unpacking everything, hanging the last picture on the wall, meant that I was staying here, that I was officially back and stuck in Ontario. I didn’t WANT it to feel like home.
In my extensive time on earth, and large amount of collected wisdom there have been just two words that I have chosen to live by:
My mom once told me that one of the things she admired about me most was my ability to feel everything. At first I didn’t really understand what she meant, but I get it now. Because after all, that’s what life is, a collection and categorization of feelings. When I remember something, I don’t remember the weather, or the colour of my shoes, or which hairstyle I had, but how I felt. I don’t remember what my outfit was on my first day of school, but I could never forget how I felt.
So if that’s what life is, why in the world would you deny yourself the right to live?
Why in the world would you choose NOT to feel absolutely everything?
For the past four months I haven’t been living, not really.
And this weekend as I sat folding mountains of clothes, windexing dust off of my dressers, and throwing out gum wrappers, I finally got slapped in the face with my own logic. For the first time in years, I was not feeling. Ignoring my own life motto, and in the process, going back on everything I really believe in as far as how to live my life.
This weekend I was finally ready to get on with it. Finally, I opened boxes, and I hung pictures. Finally I was ready. FINALLY I felt like I was home. Finally I felt.
Obviously, I haven’t been around in awhile.
I know, you know, we all know, so let’s just get on with it.
In a hyperspeed update, I graduated from Vancouver Film School, packed up my sparsely accumulated worldly possessions, and got on a plane back to Toronto for the last time.
BUT, not before having one last hurrah in beautiful British Columbia. A couple of days before my graduation, I hopped on the sky train, and headed to the airport to pick up none other than my momma.
And, just a couple of hours later, my sister, who flew in from LA for her very first visit to the west coast of Canada.
My mom had been to Vancouver once before, and she will always tell you the story of seeing Avril Lavigne on Robson St. It’s my mom’s claim to celebrity-spotting fame. Since my mom was coming from the future (Ontario being 3 hours ahead of us Van and LA’s) she was starving, and tired. Since Tara and I know better than to let her go without food or sleep for too long, we headed right out to dinner, and then just hung out in my apartment for the night, and lightly discussed the game plan as far as packing up my apartment went.
The next day we packed our overnight bags, and my snowboard, and got in our rental SUV to make the trip to Whistler. My mom had told me a couple months before this that she was going to save up all her money from her 5-hour-a-week job and do everything in her power to send me to Whistler before I left Vancouver. My mom knows me really well.
Since it was the official first day of the off-season in Whistler, we landed some awesome deals. We got to stay in the Chateau Fairmont, and I got to snowboard Blackcomb for an unheard of $37. Neither my mom or my sister were really wanting to hit the slopes, so I had to go alone. I wasn’t too keen on that and was even considering just not doing it, but luckily I came to my senses and got on that board while I could.
As I took the 20 minute ride up to the top, all alone in my gondola, I became kind of overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that I was actually about to ride Whistler, a life-long dream for me. As I stood at the top of the world, strapped in my snowboard, about to do one of the things I love the most in the world, in the place that I love the most in this world (so far), call me a suck, but I welled up a little bit. I don’t think breaking every limb in my body could have wiped that ridiculous smile off of my face.
After spending a couple days in Whistler (or, more aptly named Heaven) it was time to head back to the city to pick up my brother and my dad, for a full family reunion. I spent the entire ride back, winding through the mountains, on the tip of the ocean, just crying quietly to myself. Seeing all of this beauty at once, I couldn’t help but wonder when I would ever be back where I was in that moment, when I could again be seeing these things that I had seen every day for a year and never thought twice about. The reality of my situation was really beginning to hit me.
We picked up my dad and brother from the airport (Jord’s first time in BC too!) and pretty much immediately headed for the ferry terminal, Victoria, here we come.
Those that know me, know that I have a pretty irrational fear of large boats on the ocean. The Titanic sunk, and that’s good enough for me. SO needless to say I was relatively nervous about stacking my whole family on a large boat and heading out into the ocean. But, I have always had the heart of an explorer, and so I braved that large boat, and that large ocean, and actually felt fine after about 3 minutes.
I spent the ride there just hanging out on the deck, nearly being blown overboard, taking in the scenery, and being serenaded by a softly strumming musician who set up house beside me. It went by quickly, and soon we were unleashed to explore the island.
And let me tell you, we were not let down.
We saw parliament,
the world renowned Empress,
secret local look-outs,
and even had a relatively unpleasant run-in with a peacock…
Not to mention, ate some of the best seafood I’ve ever dreamed of. Overall I most of all noticed the small shipping-town vibe that Victoria had. Despite the amount of people there, it felt like everyone knew everyone, like a little town nestled away in some forgotten paradise. Before I knew it, it was time to get back to the city and graduate.
I fear there is not much to say about my graduation, other than it happened. I had a small class and it was a small ceremony, and pretty informal. My family finally got to see all the films and projects that I had been working and talking about all year. My only concern was making them proud, and just one look at their faces after my grad was enough for me.
For my graduation dinner I chose to go to KOBE, which is a japanese restaurant where they cook the food right in front of you.
So, before I knew it, that was it.
A couple more hours with some good friends,
A scramble to pack my apartment,
One last beautiful day in Vancouver, and then….
That was it.
I was gone.
I recently had my father here in the city.
He was here on business, but obviously stayed a little bit longer than he needed to so that we could spend some time together. In a draw at school I had one two tickets to the Whistler Film Festival, and it just so happened that is fell right on the weekend my dad was in town. I was so thrilled to be able to go to this high calibre film festival, and to be able to go to it with my own dad! BUT as fate would have it, it ended up that my class was shooting our second round of midterm dramas starting that very same weekend. So I had to give up my tickets, and my dreams of Whistler, and trade them in for some old fashioned hard work on set.
My dad of course was just as disappointed as I, but we resolved to make the best out of it, and spend all of the free time that I would have together.
So with the time I had off we would scurry about, and I’d show him the sights. I took him to Lynn canyon, where he marveled at the size of the BC trees, and ventured out into the middle of the creek balancing on rocks with me.
I also finally saw my own rock of a father get nervous as he walked across the creeky suspension bridge!
I also have a membership to Grouse Mountain, and any of my guests get to go for half price if they go with me, so I took my dad up to the tippy top, where we wandered around in the snow, marveled at the view (you can see all the way into america!), sipped hotty c’s and sat by the wood burning fire.
Although we didn’t get to do as much as we had planned, we still had the greatest time together. I think my favourite part was packing up an overnight bag, and going to stay with him at the Fairmont, just a couple of blocks from my own apartment! I loved getting to wake up, throw a sweater on and go meet my dad for breakfast at the fancy Fairmont restaurant.
It was such a new experience to have my own father come to see me, and get to show off my city, show off the new place that I live so far from home, and show him first hand that I’ve been taking good care of myself.
What a blessing it was to spend that precious weekend together, and maybe we can all agree, that sometimes, work can be fun.