Why August Is Where It’s At

Why August Is Where It’s At

Why August Is Where It’s At 150 150 goadmin

I had planned on blogging all through my European adventure before I left. I wanted to regale you with the trip too-many-times-taken by eager and lost 20-somethings and put a fresh, Arinaish spin on it.

Lesson # 427: I want lots of things that probably, in the grand scheme of everything that I want to do, aren’t good for me.

(Also on this list? Nachos. Beer. Dancing all night. Sleeping for longer than I will ever have to work.)

Why did this slip as a priority while I was traveling? Simply said, I’m not a travel blogger. In fact, I have no idea how they do it so seamlessly, (especially my fave, Candice Does the World.) It’s like birds flying, mosquitoes getting stuck in your tent, and ice melting; they just do. But not only was this not meant to be a travel blogging experience, but I realized quite early on that I didn’t want to turn it into one.

I feel that one of my weaknesses as a writer is my secrecy and inability to share my most meaningful writing with the world in meaningful ways. But I wanted to really dig into my thoughts, my feelings, and my preconceptions about the world on this trip, and even though I only had a half-baked point-and-shoot with me, I want to share all sorts of beauty with you that isn’t just blurry shots from my phone camera.

Time to form my impressions and better photo quality is why my posts stalled only a few weeks into my trip. What I’m hoping to provide from now on is some kick ass posts about Europe, waxing poetic and prosaic once I’ve had some time to mull.

Since returning, I still haven’t spent one consecutive week at home – which, at this point, is a couch in a tiny box-like-room in my parents house that my cat arbitrarily uses as his litter box. It’s excellent. I’ve made more headway into Ontario’s cottage country this August than I have in my entire life, however, and I’ve been trying to appreciate and live in the moment.  This has made it difficult to find a moment, though now I should be more focused. I’ve been getting a lot of clean air in my lungs, first at a cottage with my entire family for a week, and then camping with friends.

My parents burst out laughing (and wouldn’t stop, frustratingly) when I told them I was going camping for the first time, probably because they know how much of a princess I can be about certain things. Well bully for them, because I enjoyed my time camping without any reservations – I even think I’d like to do it again some day. A day far in the future, but a day nonetheless. I think it’s probably my European trip that made me less sensitive to certain comforts that I would gladly indulge in, had I the money to do so. I’ve found that I can live on meagre means and be plenty happy, as long as  am fed and in good company.

That being said, my trip to Europe probably changed my life. How has yet to be seen and dissected by myself, but I know it has. What now? I’m not sure. 11 weeks travelling has kind of wiped out my energy but provided me with an intense network of new friends spread all over the world. I’ve added more places to my “to visit” list in the past couple of months than I have in my entire life – I think it’s fair to say I’m officially a lifelong traveller, but I’m tired of planes, trains, and automobiles *for now*.

I need to regroup, refocus, and earn some more moola so I can make my way into the wilds of my friends couches. I’m looking forward to exploring Canada and the States more in the next few years, and definitely making a foray to China/Japan. Travel becomes much more focused once you’ve cut “a place to sleep” out of your expenses. I say focused because usually my thought process goes “I WANT TO GO EVERYWHERE”. If you have a couch somewhere specific? Yeah, let’s go there for now.

I think what I’m trying to get across is a few things. I’m focusing on writing. I’m focusing on my health. I’m focusing on my family. And I’m focusing on becoming more financially independent. WOO CRAZY LIFE GOALS THAT LITERALLY EVERYONE IN THE WORLD HAS.

But they’re goals. They’re good ones. And they’re mad achievable. So let’s get cracking, shall we?

POEM

when i call myself a fighter,

i whisper.

(do not announce

your strengths in front of your enemy,

sip your wine slowly)

when i call myself a woman,

i make sure to show my degree,

stuff sass around my credentials,

build my credit with my Russian literacy

because ‘woman’

is a weak introduction

to my entity

when i call myself your love,

i make sure to prove

that i loved myself first 

– and i do this aggressively,

with bubble baths and punching things

and make sure my friends hug me

for 3 times longer than they are comfortable doing –

because to love

with abandon is the

vulnerability

nobody knows how to show

anymore.

it is not poetic

when love is

depending on yourself first

always. i am not dependable

but i act like it

because i need to prove it.

i need to say it

out loud.

i need to look at my

celery coloured eyes

and dependency coloured hair

and buy my own bullshit, turn myself on,

become a family of one.

when i call myself a poet

i tilt my head

to appear humble

shy

ashamed

of my talent

of my hunger for language

of the only ways my heart has healed

over and over again.

when i call myself a dancer

i wing my arms out

to make you laugh,

instead of allowing your sight

to crawl up my hips when they

thrust as insistent as drumbeats,

when my arms

curl like sea currents,

when you can see how guttural

movement can be

from the bend

in my neck.

when i call myself a fighter,

i whisper.

little sister,

i still see you

in that dandelion yellow sundress with the

white polka-dots,

standing as tall as my knees,

vanilla ice cream smeared

joyously

all

over

your beautiful little face.

how even then,

i wished for none of my struggles to touch you.

i do not wish that now.

i wish

for you to hear

that being an artist

is the least and most restrictive living.

you exist artistically. so be. bear the weight of this

life. your genius. it is heavy, but inescapable.

splash your pain onto canvas,

block mountains from blue;

string together portraits with pointillism;

or find the outlines of your fear

in charcoal. smudge them.

let your strokes drip down

into mistakes. you are allowed this.

you are allowed

to wade out farther than you were told

and not succeed

at keeping your head above water.

i will be there,

ready to pull you onto a canvas

and show you

the masterpiece of your being.

because you are more than

toenails painted pink, more than

the friends you kept or threw away, more than

how you wield anger like a warrior, more than

your fear. you are a beating heart.

you are a question. so be a question.

be a beating heart.

we will take you like this,

and hang you up in galleries.

you are worth this.

you do not need to change.

 

POETRY/PROSE

Only now

do I understand

“difficult but necessary.”

During childhood, I thought

nature was the natural guide.

Things grow, or die. There is no

tempered middle. There is no

choice.

There is no

decision. Nature just does.

But I did not. The answers

did not bloom for me.

I thought perhaps,

it was a lack of effort – ah,

the immigrant mentality – ah,

the woman fool, taught

that compromise can keep

your life an unrocked boat, an even sea.

Nobody tells you

that for compromise to break even,

you cannot give too much away.

You cannot become shell,

and welcome him in.

You will fill,

but not with yourself,

not with joy,

not with the thrill

of seeing his shirts hang gently on the hangers

beside yours. Instead, you’ll fill

with thoughts of laundry.

A tree will stop growing

if the soil is better for the other,

surrounding trees.

It cannot choose to water itself.

I can.

I should.

I must.

I know

what it is to walk away

from a love that is not serving you —

that is not growing you,

despite you wanting it to grow —

and live.

And blossom.

And survive.

It is an aching living,

to be sure,

to choose yourself.

To choose yourself, over love

at any cost,

you are choosing a

woman’s greatest sin.

It will not be delicious

until after the ache,

and even then…

But, soon, someday,

you will gorge on your freedom

like your eyes feasting

on the open immensity, opportunity of

the Canadian shield,

the rolling hills, the rust belt,

the rich, mineral air. You will

breathe deeply,

serve yourself selfishly, and

allow yourself a shred of humanity.

Be aching,

and true,

and alive.