Posts Tagged "friends"

Weathering the storm

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 2 comments

UPDATE 11/02/2017: I found this article about 3 weeks after writing this post, and I drew parallels from its boat imagery to my own. Enjoy! Last night as I went to bed, I looked out at the night sky. Snow was falling gently, drifting past the street light and onto the ground. The world around me was in silence, despite the turmoil that was culminating elsewhere. I looked up to the night sky and I whispered, to no one, “what can I do? How can I help?” I fell asleep shortly after lying down, and I slept deeply. An interesting dream visited me not long after. I was in a ferry boat, surrounded by friends and loved ones. The captain, who was someone I actually met only yesterday, announced that a storm was coming in rapidly. We were anchored to a dock, but it would be too unsafe to leave the boat on such short notice. “We’ll be all right here,” said the captain. “Hang tight, though. It could get rocky.” The storm struck almost immediately, bringing with it howling winds and heavy waves. Our boat was strong, though. No one was tossed overboard, and no waves came over the side. I was at a comfortable spot by the payphone, where I’d set up everything I had with me. I was surrounded by friends and a few family members, and had been trying to get ahold of my mom on the phone. I saw a few people behind me who didn’t have a place to sit, so I moved all my things out of the way and let them through. My husband was near, talking to some of my family members. I looked out the window of the boat and saw other boats sailing past, going strong despite the storm, and I silently wished them luck. I wasn’t focused on the storm. I was focused on the people I loved, and the people outside of the boat—the people struggling. I was focused on strangers to whom, in that moment, I could easily give kindness. Before long, the storm passed, and we were well on our way again. There’s something we all can do: weather the storm as best we can. Ground ourselves firmly, prepare for the long haul, and refuse to be distracted from the good around us. The message I received in response to my question, how I could help, was this: more kindness. More generosity. More gratitude. Less judgment. This, too, shall pass. Around the world today—and in one country in particular–people are anchoring their boats against what may be a heavy storm. Maybe the songs we sing in celebration of one another can drown out the deafening howl of the wind. Please follow and like...

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Having less money is better–for me, at least

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When I left my full time job to go back to school and finish my degree, I was concerned. My husband and I have a mortgage. We have a car. Though we didn’t at the time, we now have a daughter. We have two cats. We like eating every now and then and we have utilities to pay. It always made sense for us both to be working full-time, even if it seemed like I always had a little extra money to burn each paycheck. I had been able to save up quite a bit of money as I wasn’t in debt, and I bought some nice clothes for myself. I also had a bad tendency to blow quite a bit of cash at work, because I genuinely liked the product I sold. Upon going back to school full-time, I dropped work to part-time in a different job,  and I quickly had to begin budgeting based on necessity. Suddenly, I didn’t have the luxury of the extra $200+ a paycheck. I had no money to burn. Every dollar was accounted for in some way or another. Coupons became more important, I used any discount I can get (10% student Tuesdays at Sobeys became my new best friend), and I saved up various loyalty points from any shop that offered them. Most “wants” dissolved entirely. We stopped going out to eat and eliminated expensive or unnecessary items from our grocery list. I started cooking and meal-prepping more often. Cooking quickly grew into a hobby as a result–it was already something I did fairly often and enjoyed doing, but the frequency with which I was now cooking meant I was constantly trying new things and making an effort to have a variety of foods on-hand, as well as challenge my burgeoning skills. Another interest of mine is money management. I love budgeting, and the tighter the budget is, the more fun I have distributing funds. Putting my budgeting skills to good use was a bit of a side-perk of needing to drop the money a bit. It obviously wasn’t a factor, but kind of a nice bonus. Dropping to part-time work was also a life choice for me, and not just in order for me to get my degree. I decided that rather than focusing on working or finding a career, I wanted to spend more time with loved ones. This especially rang true for me when I found out I was pregnant, knowing well that I would want to spend as much time as possible while the baby is still a baby. My grandmother’s death in October would confirm this for me. I wanted the flexibility to see people when I could. Since my daughter Amelia’s birth, this has only been further affirmed. My writing also influenced my decision to work part-time only. My one overarching goal in my life has been to do something with my writing, even if it’s to a small degree, and I’ve been trying to focus on it more and more in the past year–the launch of this website is a testament to that. I’ve had less and less time for my writing, with school at first, followed directly by the new baby, but since January, I’ve already managed to write a short story that placed in the first heat of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Even with Amelia taking up most of my time, I’ve managed to work sporadically on blog posts, and I’ve been keeping a journal to keep track of my experiences as a new parent. I’ve also been working as a copy editor for Animaritime when I have a few spare minutes. All of this is to say, in part, that I don’t always like the person I become when I work full-time, and I tend to build up a number of work-related resentments while I work. I am much happier if I only have to work part-time (or, as with the present, not at all). The time away from full-time work has helped me to realise that making more money wasn’t making me happier–having the freedom...

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Further public embarrassment for the parties this is dedicated to.

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Further public embarrassment for the parties this is dedicated to.

I’m not the greatest friend. I’ll be the first person to admit that, even if it pains me to do it.  From the early years of my life up until university, I’ve had a few poisonous friendships that benefited neither party. We would argue incessantly over petty things, fight over significant others, and, whether we were conscious of it or not, silently compete with each Sally on the left, and me on the right, at her and Danny’s wedding reception on August 9th, 2014. other’s accomplishments. I would never try to blame these things on a specific one of us–we were equally to blame for the shortcomings of our friendships. Regardless, this trained me to become a pretty crappy friend. It was in my fourth year of university that my view of friendship was about to change. I was going through a pretty difficult time–I hated my classes and was even failing a few of them. I was developing an anxiety problem that brought on sudden anxiety attacks and was experiencing depression as a result. I couldn’t see an end in sight, despite being nearly finished my degree. Through all this, I met a girl named Sally in one of my classes. To say we hit it off pretty much immediately is an understatement. The next thing I knew, she was telling me all about her boyfriend Danny and saying I should introduce Brad to him. Before long, the four of us were inseparable. While I did have a few really good friendships early on–Brad being one of them–I never had to work through any glaring friendship problems because the friendships were rarely important enough for me to be worth it. It’s a sad reality that I talk to few of those friends these days, often because our friendships, to me, just weren’t worth working on. I’m not proud of that, but it’s the truth. It’s not always the case, of course: I do still talk to a few friends from early on, but they are the minority. Sally and I supported each other through good and bad throughout the years, and she was one of the people, along with Brad and my parents, who supported and agreed with my decision to temporarily leave university when the anxiety got to be too much. Of course, we had our differences as well, but we worked through everything in honest, open communication, and our friendship is that much stronger for it, even if I resisted it at first. The long and short is this: over the years, I have been more than willing to work through and openly discuss any problems Brad and I may be having, and the same goes for my parents and any family members, but I haven’t always been that willing to work through problems openly and honestly with friends. Sally has changed that in me, and she has inspired that change in my other friendships, as well. I haven’t always cared whether friendships lasted or not. To be honest, when I was very young, I was often separated with anyone I considered a best friend, due to distance. I can confidently say that even if Sally and Danny were to move away, we’d still be in contact. I like to think that the same is the case with a number of my friendships now. I can’t write all this about Sally without saying anything about Danny, of course. Though I’ve had more opportunities to really bond with Sally, I feel just as comfortable with Danny, and have hung out with him readily if Sally’s busy. This guy is one of the sweetest and most caring friends I’ve known. He’ll give you the shirt off his back and do anything for a friend. I’m not exaggerating. If you’re a friend in need, he will help you out. If he can’t immediately help, he will find a way and look for a solution as creatively as he needs to, often enlisting other friends as well. The phrase “he has a big heart” is a little cliché and overused,...

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A brutally honest account from an introvert

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

I love people. Don’t get me wrong. It took me a really long time to adjust to living with another person. As an only child, I got used to sharing space and time with no one in particular. I had a fair amount of friends as a child, and a handful of good friends in high school as well. When Brad and I were about 20, we decided to move in together. It took awhile for Brad to get used to how much I liked solitude, and frankly, it took me just as long to get used to living with another person. Brad also was an only child growing up, but would spend more time with neighbouring children and had more friends at close proximity. I didn’t even know what an introvert was until many years later. At around 2008, I started developing some harsh anxiety and left university to focus on my mental health. Because I suddenly had gained some free time and didn’t spend much time around other people, I had a pretty constant desire to see friends. I didn’t find myself drained or exhausted. I genuinely wanted to spend time around them. Summer came and went, and Brad and I moved into a new apartment with our new family member–a kitten named Lady Pansy–while I adjusted to my new job as a waitress. I suddenly started to realise that I didn’t like spending time around people as much as I thought I did. The very idea of hanging out with friends became an exhausting prospect. I would start to ignore my phone to catch up on some well-needed writing and reading time. Even planned dates or hang outs with people would become things I would dread. I didn’t know that this was because I was spending much more time around people and needed to recharge. I’m going to stop for a moment and point out that if you think this makes me a bad friend, you likely don’t know what an introvert is. Here are a few articles to help you along your way: How to Intract with the Introverted, 7 Positives that only Introverts would Understand, 23 Signs that you Might be an Introvert, 5 Things you need to Know about Introverts. Think you’ve got it now? Excellent. I’ll proceed. I didn’t really know I was an introvert. In fact, a lot of people would likely think of me as an extrovert upon meeting me. I’m very friendly and approachable. I work in customer service, so I see and talk to a number of people on a daily basis. I have a metric ton of acquaintances; it’s hard for me to go anywhere without seeing someone I know. I have extroverted hobbies, like singing, acting and going to concerts. Sounds like an extrovert? Not quite. I have cancelled many plans for the mere reason that I have seen far too many people that week and I just want to sit quietly with my cats and recharge. I have, out of frustration, ignored doorbells when not expecting anyone over. The only time I answer my phone without hesitation is when work is calling me, and that’s only because being available is part of my job description. Otherwise, I very regularly screen my phone calls. Continuing with my story, I had some friends who were starting to wonder if something was wrong. I had a lot less time than before, plus I was seeing an awful lot of people a day and, as a waitress, dealing with conflict as well. I would pass on hangouts and tell Brad to see our friends alone while I caught up with my own mind. I changed jobs and was finding myself working 40 hours a week as a barista, which made my introversion even more prominent. Eventually, I embraced it. I stopped letting myself worry about whether or not people would be upset if I wanted to spend time with them. I explained to my closest friends that I’ve never really spent a lot of time with others and that the period of time...

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Harbour Con-Fusion 2013

Posted by on Aug 7, 2013 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Harbour Con-Fusion 2013

A picture of me with my table-neighbour Darren Hann. This past weekend, I had a rare opportunity: I was invited to attend a convention to do nothing but promote myself. I set out to do just that and, of course, to meet new people. Meeting new people was not only a goal, but also a necessity, as it turned out. On day one, I knew only a small handful of attendees. Did I ever meet a friendly group of people! All the other guests, it seemed, were just as willing to meet new people as I was, and they all went out of their way to introduce themselves to me at some point or another. It’s always fascinating, to me, when a group of creators are placed into a room together. It seems to me that they are always working on various projects and, at this event in particular, seemed to have a keen interest in what everyone else was doing. I spent the weekend collecting business cards and discussing works in progress, as well as swapping notes, resources, and suggesting collaborations. It’s hard to believe all of this came from the lot of us meeting at a sci-fi/horror/fantasy/anime/gaming/etc. convention, but there you have it–sometimes when creators meet, friendships are inevitable! It was nice to see such a supportive group, as well. I ended up doing book trades with 3 guests who were interested in my book and had books of their own. I had the opportunity to run a panel on publishing and self-publishing with Matthieu Gallant, who was one of the authors I book-swapped with. I had great conversations with illustrator and comic artist Sandy Carruthers about his work, and was the lucky table neighbour to independent filmmaker and outstandingly friendly Trekkie Darren Hann. I got to spend time hanging out and having a couple of drinks with the guys of Geeks vs. Nerds, in particular fellow writer Larry Gent. Artist (and fellow Daft Punk fan) André Myette was a couple of tables down on the first day, and we had some great chats as well. Aside from the connections I made, I want to give a shout out to Drakon Designs and Blind Leviathan for their lovely tables! Drakon did some beautiful facepainting on attendees this weekend, and Blind Leviathan was selling everything Lon Lon Milk pendants to Companion Cube earrings. Being the huge zombie fanatic that I am, I got some bottled zombie virus. Obviously. I should mention I got numerous StreetPasses as well, and compliments about my special edition Legend of Zelda 3DS. Maybe I didn’t need to mention that. Whatever. On the third day, the moon crashed into Termina I held a small panel about events planning and running your own event or meetup. It was attended by only 2, but I had held the same panel at Animaritime last month and had a good turnout there. I’m going to keep working on expanding the panel, particularly with feedback I’ve been receiving about it, and hope to turn it into a PowerPoint presentation so I can spread it even further. Giving panels is always interesting because not only do the attendees learn something, but quite often the person or people holding the panel will learn, as well. All in all, I had a fantastic weekend, and I managed to sell out of all printed copies of Hub City Survival! Amazing! I also managed to get a lot of work done on Retail Hell, the webcomic I am writing. I was surrounded by so many talented people all weekend that it was hard not to be inspired to work. I won’t be drawing the comic myself, and am looking for an artist. If you’re interested in the project, send me an e-mail! I’ll likely be throwing some sketches or other tidbits up here before long. Right now, I’m looking for a new home for HCS because my print-on-demand publisher, Lightning Demand Press, is currently isn’t printing due to a flood. As well, I am working on my new novel with the working title A Couple...

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