“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” – Ernest Hemingway
Thanks, Ernest. I needed that little push.
Sometimes, being a self-proclaimed writer is a hard thing. I find that I have a zillion +1 thoughts every day about every little thing, and I’m constantly wanting to tell a story about all of it. It is almost a discipline to keep myself to writing a blog every once in awhile rather than every day. Same goes for Facebook or Instagram or any of the technological fancies we have at our fingertips for communicating. Without any arrogance, I can say that I know I am a deep well of thoughts and feelings and emotions – some real and some not. So what I have to ask myself, every time I prepare to SAY SOMETHING, is “Will they care? Is it real? Is what I want to say worth reading, worth writing?” Sometimes it is, but most of the time, no.
I’m hoping that what I say today IS worth it. Because it’s going to be hard to write.
For me, the past 3 years have kinda sucked. And I’m tired of sucking it up.
Yes, I DO know that in the past 3 years I have gained true friends and lost icky ones, gained my freedom of Canadian immigration status, gone to Europe, fallen in love, gotten married and have been living in wedded bliss for the past almost-9-months. I’m not a bitch. I’m so grateful for all of these things. But in the classic words of Coldplay, “Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard.” And for the first time in my life, I’m willing to ditch the positivity for a minute and be honest about how the past 3 years have made me feel.
Allow me to make a timeline.
April 2010 – “met” my dad for the first time + started relationship with him + everything was wonderful.
June 2010 – learned it was all a lie + fallout with both dad AND mom + “i’m not good enough” + made myself believe I’d fallen in love with a boy but really it was just an escape.
August 2010 –
moved away from home because I’m a grown-up now with a REAL boyfriend ran away to PG + kept leading boy on because I’m a jerk + learned about the real world ie: “what? rent is something i have to pay every month even if i’m poor? what?”
November 2010 – could not keep up lying to boy + break-up + finally got work permit + first job ever, hooray!
lalalalala get permanent residence and all legaled up April 2011 life is good lalalalalala
August 2011 – get fired from first-ever job over a technicality i wasn’t aware of + first stab of self-doubt + second stab of “I’m not good enough.”
April 2012 – second-ever job disintegrates as the company goes out of business + screwed over by boss who does not give Record of Employment or T4 tax forms upon request, even to this day.
July 2012 – move away again + not running away, just running towards fiance + WTF this is a big city.
August 2012 – third-ever job is sketchy and weird + desperate + getting to know new family + new church + no connections.
lalalalala get married make a little home life is good lalalalalalala
September 2012 – day after wedding (some people might call it a honeymoon) + my new husband + food poisoning + camping + 2 days of violent sickness + freaking out cause i’m brand new at this shit + poor husband
October 2012 – day after my 25th birthday + not feeling too good + go to ER + kidney infection + brand new at this shit too
November & December 2012 – rain rain rain rain rain + quit third-ever job for being too sketchy and unfair and awful + more rain rain rain rain until
April 2012 – gained 20 pounds + whoops + how did that happen + depression + multiple interviews and job applications + no work + husband works all the time to support us + no connections or close friends + no Record of Employment to get Employment Insurance + no tax check returns because of no work + “still not good enough”
May 2012 – the story I haven’t told.
I was driving home from a desperately-needed babysitting job on 200 St. at 4:30 in the afternoon. My first two mistakes. Anyone who has been in Langley longer than I have KNOWS that 200 St. is the busiest street on the planet and that 4:30pm is the WORST time possible to be driving it.
So there we were, Lola (my car) and I minding our own business, when suddenly, unexpectedly, a green light changed to a red light. Without a thought, I pushed the clutch in and tried to brake without stalling. CRUNCH.
Actually, CRUNCH is an overstatement. More of a TAP, really. I debated whether the SUV in front of me even noticed my contact with her.
She stops everything, gets out of her car on the busiest street ever that now has a green light to get my information and now there are cars zooming by everywhere, honking and swearing at us for not going anywhere and can we pull off somewhere? no because this is the busiest effing street ever and we’re stuck.
I started shaking. I had never hit anyone before in my life and now I might have damaged someone else’s car or worse, hurt someone else.
But thankfully, no one was hurt. She took my information, and I was too rattled to even think about getting out and looking at the vehicles and asking for her info in return. She said that if she needed to file a damage claim, she would call me and let me know.
But she never did. I figured we were in the clear. Crisis averted.
Two weeks later, I got an ICBC file claim in the mail. I phoned in and made my own report, but they still needed to see my car. By now, we were mystified because there wasn’t a scratch on it – not even the plastic casing around my license plate holder was cracked. And the car I hit was substantially larger than mine, so what was the problem?
The problem was *ahem* 2 miniscule little paint chips on the back bumper from the screws in my license plate holder. That was it. The cost to get it repaired? Between $700-$1200, to be owed by yours truly. Or I can choose to have my insurance go up an extra $1700 a year for the next 4 years, and that price will get doubled if something like this happens again. All because I only have my N. I’ve known how to drive since I was 11 years old, but 2 paint chips and a not-quite-graduated driver’s license have flushed me down the toilet.
As soon as we left the ICBC building, my last brick of self-esteem that was holding me together crumbled. I cried and cried and cried. I can’t hold a good job, I can’t find a job, I can’t make friends, I can’t figure out where I am in this city and now I’m definitely not qualified to drive it. Not good enough not good enough not good enough. Stunted. Sick. Failure. Loser. Trapped. Incapable. Unqualified. A burden to everyone. Gotta keep trying but might as well not.
Of course I haven’t forgotten that now I’m trained to be a doula and I have my first client at the end of the summer. I’m so thankful to my friends who helped me pursue this dream. This is a good thing, and I’m happy about it. But now I’m also terrified. I’m going to be working with real people, with real babies, with real life. They’ll have their trust in my hands. Am I capable? Am I worthy? Am I good enough to do this? Because right now it feels like working, driving and making true connections with people are insurmountable feats – these things that have always come easily to me, that I thought would always come easily.
I don’t write for pity or help or comments about how this is not really a hardship compared to what some other people have to go through. I know all of that and it doesn’t make these things hurt any less. I write because I needed to. At the heart of this, I am just a broken kid who was raised to never owe anyone anything, to never be any kind of imposition at all – trying to figure out where I belong and what I’m meant to do. I always knew that the first year of marriage would be an adjustment and a struggle at times. But I forgot that Life doesn’t look at you and say, “Aww, these kids just got hitched. Let’s give them a little break so that they can get used to that first.”
I am learning this + learning that it’s okay to acknowledge the bad things sometimes. So don’t worry that I’ve suddenly turned into a Dark Mexican. When you block out the pain, you block out the joy equally. Maybe you have learned that as well, or you’re just about to. Maybe I can be the one to give you a heads-up, or maybe you can be the one to reassure me that this isn’t the end of the world. Deep down, I know that. I know that I’m going to be okay, that we’re going to be okay. I’m not there yet, but I will be.
In the meantime, Grumpy Cat will be my spirit animal and sustain me with laughter.