The reality of unemployment

Selling off what very little possessions you have as a means to ensure your bills get paid.

People saying ‘But why you getting rid of all your stuff?’ Well… money doesn’t grow on trees.

People say good things are coming, but damn… on nights like tonight it sure feels like nothing good is every going to happen. Unemployment sucks and I’m angry with the universe.

Letter to a struggling soul

Dear Self,

The struggle is real.

It really doesn’t matter what others might say or think about what you’re going through, what matters is what you say and think. And truth be told, they’re not you so expecting them to understand what is happening is, in itself, a bit of a lost cause.

Remember that age old wisdom that says ‘Don’t fix a temporary problem with rash decisions’? Listen to that. You know it’s right. You know that quick thinking, or perhaps even no thinking, isn’t going to fix this for you.

The universe is testing you. And let me tell you IT SUCKS. I know it sucks. Every second of it. But, how you react, here and now, to what is happening, this will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of your life. Act wisely. Accept help where you can, give help where you can and keep going, always.

The hardest part of being in this time and place is that you don’t know when this test will end, when things will fix themselves, when things will be normal. Will they ever be normal? There’s no crystal ball to tell you for certain, all you can use for a guide is hard work and hope. Hope for a better world for you and everyone else who lives in it.

When you really stop to think about it, it’s important to be thankful for the things that you do have. You’re not starving. You’re not on the street somewhere, struggling to stay warm. You have a lot of blessings in your life that are very easy to overlook if you allow yourself to. So just remember, as bad as it might seem, you are one of the lucky ones. Because you are.

Remember how far you’ve come. Remember that this is all for a purpose. And, when it’s over, remember that you’re going to be stronger because of it. Scratch that, you already are stronger because of it. Silver linings, self, you need to remember them more often. Struggle teaches us just how strong we are. Struggle teaches us just how far we can bend without breaking. And last time I checked you were still standing, in one piece and all.

Hold on, self. I promise you better is coming. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can feel it. Better is coming. I need you to believe that. This struggle won’t last forever. It can’t. You’re stronger than it.

Sincerely,
Me

Real thoughts

I’m scared.
I’m sad.
I’m anxious.
I don’t know how to fix any of it.

Winter is weighing on me. The darkness is weighing on me. The cold, making it hard to be outside for any length of time, is weighing on me. Looking after sick people is weighing on me. Rejection is weighing on me. Not having a plan for life is weighing on me. Feeling lonely is weighing on me. Lack of steady income is weighing on me. People telling me ‘just do it, it’s easy’ is weighing on me. People saying ‘stop worrying so much’ is weighing on me. Feeling like a disappointment is weighing on me. Feeling like my problems aren’t real problems is weighing on me. Everything is weighing on me.

These thoughts, while I invariably avoid them day-to-day, every once in a while tend to pop up all at once and consume my brain to the point where I can’t do anything but worry.

And so I sit here, trying to distract myself, but inevitably, worrying more than anything else.

Things I think about when I'm trying to fall asleep at night…

“Did I lock the door?”

“Is the oven off? I haven’t cooked in hours. But, what if I left it on? I know I shouldn’t let my OCD win, but what if? Oh, anxiety you SOB.”

“How many times do you think I roll over in a night? I wonder if Fitbit could ever make an option to track that rolling over. That’s got to count for calories burned, right?”

“I wonder if there’s a way to send supplies to people struggling in North Korea.”

“I wonder if people in North Korea know they’re struggling. If that’s all they’ve ever known, maybe it’s just normal to them?”

“Why are avocados so expensive?”

“I wonder if I’ll ever get a job.”

“Passport to Paris is the best Mary-Kate and Ashley movie ever.”

“I wonder if I ever cross anyone’s mind when they’re trying to fall asleep at night.”

“Can the right pair of jeans really make my butt look that much better? I don’t want my butt to look average, do I? Or, do I really care?”

“English accents are just so adorable.”

“How can I start my own business?”

“I wonder what serial killers think about when they sleep at night.”

“Now that these ancestry kits are available where people are sending off their DNA to find out where there family comes from, do you think serial killers are wondering if their family members might be sending off their DNA and that, could eventually, lead to their getting caught?”

“If you get arrested, own up to it. If all you have is excuses, this likely wasn’t your first time and probably won’t be your last doing whatever caused you to get arrested.”

“I miss cheese. Oh and bread. And chocolate.”

“You should sleep.”

“You should really sleep. Why do you lay awake like this?”

“I have to pee.”

“Reading a book will help me sleep.” Picks up book and gets bored five pages in. “Yeah, I don’t want to read a book.”

“Why do people think Canadians talk funny?”

“Why do people think Canadians apologize so much?”

“Why do I apologize so much?”

“I wonder what people say about me behind my back. I mean, I don’t want to know because I know that it’ll eat away at me. But, at the same time, I’m curious.”

“Why do I have such a hard time sleeping? How do normal people go to sleep?”

“I wish I could sleep.”

Things that happened in 2019

A lot has happened this year. But, since most of it isn’t really worthy of recollecting, I’ve picked an event from each month as a memory of a year that I’ll be happy to say goodbye to.

In January I sent a lawyer after my former employer for wrongful termination and, in him working his magic, I was able to get four times the amount that was initially offered in severance. January also marked my mom’s third surgery in less than a 30 days. January was also the month I started this blog. Its inception was with purpose to give me a place to vent about the stress I was going through.

In February I went to the Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise, fulfilling a dream that I’ve had for more than ten years. It might have just been the coldest day of the year, but nothing (ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) was going to keep me from that lake.

In March I got extremely sick. I went to the hospital multiple times, spent most of the month on different forms of antibiotics and sleeping. It was a long, very cold, very dark month. Knight looked after me and listened to my cry the whole time. This man would get up and out of his pjamas to go to the store in the middle of the night and get me a smoothie, because I wanted one.

In April I went to the Cancer Clinic with my mom, five days a week for many weeks. I watched as she got her treatments, cleaned up after her when she got sick and threw up, made her feel better when she was feeling depressed. I saw the people around her, each with different forms of cancer, each in varying stages of the disease, many with smiles on their face because they were thankful for the life-saving treatments they were receiving. Cancer is an extremely scary illness that affects so many people in our world and I am so thankful that my mom’s was caught early enough that she is now happy and healthy.

To everyone affected by cancer this year, I see you, I feel you and I understand you. Whether you went through it yourself, or you helped a family member or friend through it, you’re amazing. Remember that.

In May I went to Niagara Falls/Toronto. It was a quick trip, jam packed with ensuring I hit all the tourist spots and, all the local spots that were recommended to me before I went. I stayed in a room that had the most stunning view of the falls, took a few turns on the Skywheel, walked the falls at night to see the light show… it was a magical weekend for me. May also marked the birth of my niece, Aya.

In June I got a job offer around the end of the month. It was a digital marketing job, working in publishing. The employer hit me with a lot of paperwork – asking me to sign away my intellectual property rights and several other things. After some amendments were made to the contracts, I signed them and was given a start date of July 15th.

In July my job offer was rescinded. On July 13th, to be exact, precisely two days prior to when I was supposed to start. I was mad, pissed, unhappy and felt like I’d been cheated. The only explanation I got was ‘corporate restructuring’. Wowee. July also marked the birth of my nephew Phillip.

In August I went to Calgary to see an allergist and have a breathing assessment test done. I reckon being trapped in a 2×2 box on a hot summer’s day with no air, being forced to showcase who well, or poorly, your lungs are functioning feels quite similar to what summer in Arizona feels like. IT WAS HOTTTTTTTT.

In September I took a few solo road trips through British Columbia. The Gold Rush Trail was stunning and the Highway Thru-Hell was filled with A LOT of road construction. My mom, finally being healthy enough to travel, went with my dad to Denmark to visit their new granddaughter, so I had a month filled with peace and quiet and was reminded how much I appreciated living alone for ten years. I also saw my best friend, her beautiful family and spent a short amount of time in Vancouver. Twas a good month for me. Even if I was still jobless.

In October I worked the Federal Election. It was long, arduous and awful. The supervisors were idiots and the other clerks were extremely rude. But hey, we won. And, much like I predicted in October, Andrew Scheer did lose and has since resigned his post. I’m extremely glad we don’t have a pathological liar in charge of our country.

In November I turned 31. I had a bit of an existential crisis, lost my marbles for a wee bit and god, my birthday, the actual day itself, is not something I want to remember.

In December I made a commitment to purchasing gifts from Thrift Stores for my family. The way we do things in my family is, because there are so many of us, each of us gets one sibling or parent to purchase a gift for. That gift we’re supposed to spend between $75-100 on. After that, we usually gift each other small, minor things that we think would bring smiles to each other’s face. IE My brother Tyler really loves Starburst candy, so my brother Aaron bought him a bunch of Starbust for Christmas. Me, I spent the month searching thrift stores, and wound up purchasing some new, or almost new gifts for each member of my family for between $5-10 each.

2019, I won’t miss you. You’ve been a long, shitty, disappointing, difficult, heartbreaking, gut-wrenchingly awful year. To the good that did happen, I am grateful and I will always remember it. To the rest, it will serve as a reminder of things I never want to experience ever, ever again. This has been, without a doubt, the hardest year of my life. This has been the most difficult of all 30 years and two months I’ve spent on this planet.

I have resolutions. I plan to, hope to, desire to stick to them. Most of all, though, I hope that 2020 is whole lot fucking better than 2019 was.

Out with the old, in with the new.