146. Maybe it’s because I’m in Winnipeg (again)?

Winnipeg is a Canadian city that doesn’t get a whole lot of love, & that doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, it’s got so much to offer: Assiniboine Zoo (complete with the most adorable polar bears), Assiniboine Park, the Human Rights Museum, The Forks,  The Exchange, The Royal Mint, & the Winnipeg Art Gallery, not to mention it’s the birthplace of the best department store ever, The Hudson’s Bay… what’s not to love?

I love it so much, I’ve made a point to visit twice this summer.

The first visit (for a friend’s wedding) gave me a taste, but I had to come back to get the full experience. Luckily, I had a cross-country road trip in the works and it didn’t take a lot of persuading to convince my cross-country cohort that we needed to make a stopover in the ‘Peg.

So, after a 14 hour drive and a decent night’s sleep we are ready to tackle this town & all of its amenities before heading on the next leg of our trip: a quick dip down to Thunder Bay.

Wish us luck! & if there are any fellow Winnipeg-lovers out there, please let me know what your favourite part of the city is!

 

146. Maybe it’s because I’m in Winnipeg (again)?

145. Maybe it’s because I’m doing it all wrong?

A few posts back, I was espousing my distrust of the popular dating app Tinder. &, although I’m still unsure as to it’s relationship-creating properties, I did have a realization last week that maybe Tinder can work… as long as you’re using it correctly.

It might not be an effective tool for meeting new people, but what about rekindling old flames?

I was casually swiping one night, when I came across the profile of my junior high school crush. He looked pretty much the same (older, wiser, beard-ier), & I was immediately reminded of how enamoured I was with him when I was in my early teens. He was the class clown–hilarious, quick-witted, & unashamed of making a fool out of himself, traits that I still find myself drawn to. He was also still a bona fide babe. I decided to swipe right & was surprised when it came back that we were a match.

I took a risk, & did the highly un-lady-like thing of messaging him first.

“I had the biggest crush on you in junior high,” I messaged, including a few artfully placed see-no-evil monkey emojis.

He responded, & we ended up having an actual conversation, with stimulating content, & I was pleased when he wanted to take the conversation from messaging on Tinder into the real world. Schedules were exchanged, plans were made, & now we’re hanging out over the weekend–& I am actually excited about it. I’m not planning-our-wedding excited, but I am, for the first time in a really long time, looking forward to kickin’ it with a member of the opposite sex.

It’s probably not a real date, & I am tamping down any hopes that it will turn into “something”, but at this point… who cares? We spend too much time planning the future when we can just enjoy the present. Right now, I’m just looking forward to catching up with an old friend… & if we end up realizing my junior high school dream of sloppily making out… well, that’d just be the cherry on top.

145. Maybe it’s because I’m doing it all wrong?

144. Maybe it’s because I’m in BC.

I’m back in BC this weekend, & it’s been glorious. Me, three friends, two dogs, & a cooler full of beer & raw dog food made the trek through the Rockies to kick it for a couple days at my parents’ lake lot on the shores of the little known Lake Koocanusa.

I may have been born in the Prairies, but I was reared in the Kootenays: that’s where I learned how to swim, it’s where I learned to drive, & it’s where I’ve been spending summers since, well, since I can remember.

It’s a place that I hold near to my heart & I’ve got more than a few memories from summers there as a kid. I’m really looking forward to reliving my youth with a few nostalgic-rich days laying on the beach, perusing the local Farmer’s Market, taking things international with a day trip across the border, & maybe even catching a fish or two.

There’s a good chance I’m doing one (or all) of those things right now, actually, & I’m not even a little bit sorry about it. So, I might be alone… but at least I’m in the beautiful province of BC while I’m doin’ it. 

144. Maybe it’s because I’m in BC.

144. Maybe it’s because I’m socially inept.

I’ve been an accidental asshole to the cute barista (aka the LOVE OF MY LIFE) twice this week. & it’s caused me an undue amount of stress.

All I want to do is talk to this guy (I know I said that I didn’t want to talk to him, I know, but it’s a girl’s prerogative to change her mind) but it seems like every time I have the opportunity to do so… something happens. I panic. I freeze. & I forget how to be a nice, normal human being. I don’t greet him. I don’t smile at him. I don’t do anything that indicates that I don’t, in fact, hate him. Instead, I make creepy eye contact for an unnecessarily extended period of time and refuse to let my mouth curve into a natural-looking, pleasant expression.

He’s just so goddamn attractive–it’s overwhelming. & my inability to strike up a conversation with him creates this really frustrating dissonance for me: I want to talk to him, but I just can’t. There’s this gap between where I am & what I want… normally, I’m a master at bridging that gap. I am no stranger to filling gaps in my life–I’m a goal-setter, a list-maker, a real go-getter (if the mood calls for it, anyway), so when I see something I want that I, for whatever reason, can’t get it’s frustrating. Very, very frustrating.

Every day, I see him. & every day, I don’t talk to him. & every day I kind of hate myself for it.

Why can’t I fill this gap? What is making me fail day, after day, after day?

I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself this summer: I want to succeed at every single thing, & this crush might push me over the edge. There’s even more pressure, now, because, as the situation denotes, this crush has an expiry date. My internship ends in a few weeks, school starts in September, & after that I won’t have an excuse (or the time) to waltz through the Milner Library Second Cup 6 times a day & admire the babely, blue-eyed barista boy.

Sigh.

So, here we are–the clock’s a tickin’ & I’ve got to make my move. I’ve got to fill that gap with the sweet, sweet sounds of flirtation conversation. I want to. I need to.

&, hopefully,  I will.

144. Maybe it’s because I’m socially inept.

143. Maybe it’s because I get anxious.

It’s no secret that I’m a tad high-strung, but my anxiety levels have really peaked this summer, & it’s starting to be kind of a bit of a problem.

I don’t normally like to ask for help, & I hate admitting that I’m weak or whatever, but things are getting out of control over here. It’s bad. I… I can’t do it.

I’m constantly in a state of stress–my back hurts, my head hurts, my vision is blurry, my emotions are more out of control than usual & I always seem to be grumpy. I’m wound so tight that it takes little-to-nothing to make me snap. I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep, barring stolen naps at work or catatonic bus rides downtown.

As you can imagine, I am so tired, all the time. So I guzzle energy drinks & expensive lattes & eat junk food & exercise too much & buy shit I don’t need with money I definitely don’t have & wander around my house aimlessly thinking about my mile-long to-do list but being unable to check anything off of it because I can’t focus because my brain… my poor brain has been reduced to mush from months of overuse & weeks over-caffeination.

My social life has imploded because I’m either too tired to do anything or too much of an asshole to hang out with, & I’m feeling out of my depths at work because I’ve never done any of this before & I’m so afraid of messing up, or admitting I’m inexperienced, or asking for help. I’m afraid of letting my boss, & my friends, & even the cute barista who foams my soy milk to perfection in the mornings know that I’m imperfect, & I am overwhelmed, & I can’t do it all. I don’t want people to know that I don’t have it together, &, worst of all, that I never did.

I’ve been like an addict these last few months–addicted to preserving my own feeble facade of perfection & excitement & effortless chic. I’ve dug my shiny, manicured nails into this image I want to present of nonchalance, & spent hours espousing my happiness, & forcing people to take me seriously, & I’ve gotten pretty good at convincing everybody that I know exactly what I’m doing. I can almost convince myself but, like an old linoleum floor, there’s always a corner that lifts.

So this is me saying I’m not perfect, & that I’m sorry, & that, maybe, I need help.

143. Maybe it’s because I get anxious.

142. Maybe it’s because I’m outta here.

I’ve gone to the lake this weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday (the big 2-5!) & enjoy some much-needed downtime, sans any annoying man meat.

So, I’m still single & things aren’t going that great with barista boy (or any of the other men in my life) but y’all are just going to have to use your imagination as to why… Because I’m planning on taking advantage of the beautiful Alberta weather by  lounging in the sun with an adult beverage (or two), enjoying the company of some lady friends, & pretending that boys don’t exist.

142. Maybe it’s because I’m outta here.

141. Maybe it’s because I’m in Winnipeg.

Well, I’m slowly but surely making my way across Canada this summer: first, with an impromptu road trip to the ocean adjacent metropolis of Vancouver, & now I’m trekking through the prairies to Winnipeg to watch two of my favourite people tie the knot.

I’ve never been to the ‘Peg (as it is colloquially known–by me) & I’m excited to take in a new town. I’ve heard wonderful things (& not-so-wonderful things, but I think those people are just jealous of my newfound jet-settin’ lifestyle) & I have plans to get all up in nature’s grill in Assiniboine Park, & hopefully get a chance take in some history by wandering around The Forks.

Going somewhere new is always exciting, as long as you make it exciting. I’m really excited to just get out of Edmonton right now–nothing against my hometown (we are an up & coming Canadian city after all) but I needed a break from my life. This summer has been such a whirlwind for me, & as much as I love being busy… I also want to take some time to slow down & enjoy the ride. When you get older, summers lose their lustre a bit. As a child, there was always a sense of magic around summertime: it was a season that symbolized freedom, & when I was a kid it meant 4 months straight that I could spend outside. Going to the beach, camping, hiking, biking; exercising my imagination & living life as a miniature vagabond between sunrise & sunset. As an adult, summers don’t mean freedom anymore. They are oftentimes a continuation of real life, just hotter. (Way hotter, in Winnipeg it turns out). I mean, they might be smattered with tiny weekend getaways & a week or two away if you’re lucky, but for the most part it’s nothing special.

So, I know people might think it unlikely that I will renew my childlike sense of wanderlust in the city of Winnipeg, but I don’t care.

Anywhere can be an adventure if you make it one.

141. Maybe it’s because I’m in Winnipeg.

140. Maybe it’s because I’m STILL, still unnaturally close with my BFF?

It’s been almost 2 years since my BFF dropped everything & made the trans-Canada trek to Toronto.

& I miss her–I miss her so much. There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t pop into my head. Even if I don’t talk to her for a day, or a week, or a month (we get busy sometimes, & that’s okay), there’s always something that happens that reminds me of her. A song comes on (“She’s Dope”, perhaps?), or something ridiculous will happen (I embarrass myself at least once a day & these moments usually make me think of her–no reason), or maybe I’ll be searching for a shirt that I forgot I lent her & she “forgot” to give back (just kidding–I know I officially gave it to her).

I like these moments–the moments where I pause my life to reflect on the awesome (& occasionally not-so-awesome) times her & I have had the good fortune of sharing. We’ve had the most amazing experiences: trips to Hawaii & Jamaica (the first time I ever saw the ocean was with her by my side), seeing my favourite band in concert, buying ridiculously expensive shoes (worth every penny), countless nights out that I can’t really remember but I know were fun (I mean, I wanna say they were… fun?)… & all the time spent just watching Friends or Lost (remember when Kate got shot? I know my BFF does) or playing Brickbreaker on my crappy Blackberry in bed.

The best times with my BFF were the times we just did nothing together–it’s so rare to find another person who you can just sit & be around. The days where we’d sit in her backyard & talk for hours about everything & anything, or the nights spent driving aimlessly (& sometimes not-so-aimlessly) around, singing duets & drinking steeped tea & smoking menthols like they were a limited resource… those are what I miss the most.

We’ve known each other now for almost 7 years (a third of which have been spent across the country from each other) & our friendship is more rock solid than it’s ever been. There’s a certain comfort in being able to call her up & tell her anything & know that I don’t have to explain, or justify, or exaggerate–that she will take me just as I am (unless I’m being an asshole, in which case she will check me on my shit every single time, & rightfully so). There’s an unconditional bond that transcends time or distance: I am so grateful to have her in my life, even if she has to be thousands of kilometres away. Because the distance doesn’t exist when I pick up the phone & hear her voice. We have these conversations where it’s like she never left–except she did, & I know she did because the growth that we’ve both experienced in the last two years has been amazing. She’s established herself in Toronto & is well on her way to being a successful artist in the musical theatre world–& I’m doing not so bad myself, if I do say so. I am so proud of her & I know she’s proud of me back–we grew up, but we never grew apart.

My BFF is still a very real part of my life–everybody knows who she is & even my friends here who haven’t met her feel like they know her because… to know me is to know her. She is my confidante, my best friend, my only phone call. She is my person. There are pieces of her weaved through me; there are things about myself that would be incomplete without having known her.

Me & my BFF in Hawaii, circa 2010
Me & my BFF in Hawaii, circa 2010
140. Maybe it’s because I’m STILL, still unnaturally close with my BFF?

Dear Canada

I just want to say thank you, Canada, for doing everything you do.

Thank you for being such a strong country, Canada. For being the home to people who handle adversity with peace & grace, & who rally & unite in the face of tragedy. No matter what happens, we know we are stronger together.

Thank you for being such a free country, Canada. A place where the validity of love isn’t determined by gender, where diversity is celebrated & protected by a constitution, & difference of opinion is welcomed instead of punished.

Thanks for being such a beautiful country, Canada. From the red dirt of your East Coast to the sepia-toned wheat fields of your Prairies & the jagged, imperfect artistry of your Rocky Mountain range, you never fail to astound me with your physical glory. I continue to be overwhelmed by your sublime beauty, & you’re only getting better with age.

Thank you Canada, for being you: true North, strong & free.

Have a safe & happy Canada Day, everybody!

Dear Canada

139. Maybe it’s me?

I’m beginning to think that I’m just not made for long term relationships. I’ve been in the dating game for what feels like forever & still haven’t been able to find a guy that I can stand for more than like, 15 minutes. I mean, there’s been some casual flirtation, & there’s the barista boy that I’m obsessed with, but there’s no real, legitimate prospects on the horizon—& I’m kind of okay with that, if I’m being completely honest.

I have neither the time nor the motivation to delve into a romantic relationship right now. The reason that I might be single right now? Maybe it’s because I’m just not that interested.

I never thought I’d say this but—I think I might actually like being single.

There’s a certain freedom afforded by being a single 20-something female & I don’t want to spoil it. I like being able to pine over a stranger, or just decide to go on a cross-Canada road trip, or spend way too much money on shoes without having to worry about what my other half thinks. I guess the dating game has gotten stale. It’s not fun, anymore. It feels like a job. Going on dates & making small talk feels like giving a progress report on my life & I hate it. That might make me sound like a bit of a selfish asshole, but I think I deserve to be selfish at this point. I’ve put so much energy into trying to craft myself into this person that other people will like—so much energy into figuring out what about me does or does not appeal to the opposite sex, that, for once, not thinking about the logistics of why or why not I’m in a relationship is incredibly liberating.

That’s not to say that I’ll never want to settle down, & buy a condo with a patch of grass & a barbecue to call my very own, but right now the idea of spending time getting to know somebody, & then, you know, letting them get to know me, & then falling in love, & then living together, & then all of a sudden it’s been five or six or ten years & this is just my life now… me & this guy together, forever. It’s overwhelming, & it’s scary, & compared to the life I’m living right now, well, it seems boring.

 I don’t want to be somebody’s girlfriend; I don’t want to be part of a “we”. All I want it to be is just me.

139. Maybe it’s me?

138. Maybe it’s because I’m preoccupied.

It isn’t even officially summer yet, but I already feel like it is flying by way too quickly. From bridal showers to housewarming parties to new babies to weddings to birthdays to pretty much any other major life event you can think of… these last couple of months, I’ve done it all.

Multiple times.

Celebrating everybody else’s lives is… time-consuming.

Don’t get me wrong–I love it. I am always honoured to share in the joys & successes of my friends life: It makes me happy to see them happy. But when I cram in my social obligations next to work & school & my brand new fitness regimen, it doesn’t leave much room for other things. Like showering. Or laundry. Or dating. Or even thinking about dating, really.

I’ve got a lot going on this summer & that’s okay. It’s good, even. It’s keeping me busy (maybe too busy some days) but I don’t know what I’d be doing with my time otherwise, really. Waiting around for some cute boy to fall into my lap? No thanks–a summer fling seems like way too much work right now.

I’ve got enough on my plate already, & I definitely don’t need some hunky surfer wannabe with imperfectly-perfect hair messin’ it all up. .

138. Maybe it’s because I’m preoccupied.

137. Maybe it’s because I’m smart?

I had the pleasure of talking with my gran the other day. It had been far too long since I’d spoken with her, so we were catching up on every single thing in my life–work, school, men, the usual.

“So, do you have a boyfriend?” She asked me, her lilting accent cradled each word. Unlike all the other people in my life who hound me about my lack of significant other, it wasn’t a judgemental query but a legitimately curious one. My grandma doesn’t get to see me all the time, or talk to me about my life & the people in it on a regular basis. So I know that she doesn’t have an ulterior motive when she asks these things… She really just wants to know. She wants to know if I’m seeing anybody, & if that person makes me happy.

“No, no, not really,” I replied (which is really more of a no, not at all), “But it’s not for lack of trying.” I laughed & so did she, before telling me that I’m smart to not have a man right now, & informing me that it’s good to focus on my education & fledgling career. She told me that I have plenty of time to meet somebody, & that I shouldn’t worry about rushing into anything–I’ve got enough on my plate right now. Which is true, when I think about it. It’s impossible to do everything at once, & I’ve got to prioritize the things that matter most to me. I’ve got to think about what makes me happy right now, & what will make me happy in the future… those are what’s important.

To be honest, when I really think about it, meeting a man just isn’t that high up on my current to-do list.

& I’m actually pretty okay with that. It’s not that relationships aren’t important, or that I am resigned to the lifestyle of an over-educated spinster, or that I don’t ever want to be happily in love… it’s just, for now, the person who makes me happiest is me, myself, & I.

137. Maybe it’s because I’m smart?

136. Maybe it’s because I’m in love (I think).

I don’t want to alarm you, but I think I’m in love.

Well, at least en route to love–I mean, we haven’t officially had a conversation really, or even, um, met beyond him handing me my daily London Fog but there’s been some pretty intense eye contact & he even smiled at me once.

So things are moving along nicely.

He’s got the whole Ryan Gosling aesthetic going on–not like The Notebook-Ryan Gosling & not quite Crazy Stupid Love-Ryan Gosling, but kind of like a happy medium between the two.

I dig it–a lot.

He’s got these beautiful blue eyes (turns out I’m a sucker for a set of bright baby blues). They’re round & clear & honest–like two cerulean pebbles set into his perfect porcelain face–& they exude this shyness-confidence combo that I just cannot get enough of. He has an almost-comfortable aura–like a performing artist who ambles around aimlessly all day before finally coming alive on stage.

He’s cool, but he doesn’t know he’s cool… He’s a complete babe, but has no idea… He’s a clueless sort of cute, you know?

Sigh.

I know, I know. I sound like a crazy person–pining over a strange barista. & I know what you’re probably thinking: if I like this guy so much, why don’t I just talk to him? It can’t be that hard to initiate a little one-on-one verbal contact with a dude that I see pretty much every day. & you’d be right–kind of.

It would be easy, but just because something’s easy doesn’t mean you should do it. Why do I need to complicate a simple, pleasurable, everyday interaction with a conversation that, 9 times out of 10, won’t go the way I want it to? I don’t want to know every single thing about this guy–I don’t need to. Every once in a while it’s nice to just let your imagination run rampant… to fill in the blanks how ever you want.

I’m not actually in love with this guy–I’m not completely delusional. But it gives me something to look forward to every day, &, for a busy single girl, sometimes that’s more than enough.

136. Maybe it’s because I’m in love (I think).

135. Maybe it’s because I’m old-fashioned?

I was out for dinner with a couple of friends the other night & the topic of relationships came up (as it oftentimes does when I’m around–occupational hazard).

We were discussing our relationships (or lack thereof) when our server wandered over & chimed in. “All of my roommates have boyfriends that they met on Tinder,” she said.

I was surprised, but then my friend at the table reminded me of how her best friend is currently seeing a guy she met through the dating app, & my other friend commented on how he knows a couple that met via another vein of social media: the popular photosharing app, Instagram.

They’ve been married, he informed me, for 4 years.

What?!

Maybe I’m going about this all wrong: I’ve been trying to meet a man the old-fashioned way. You know? I’m thinking that I’ll run into a guy while I’m grocery shopping–we’ll make eye contact over a crate of day-old hamburger buns–or maybe I’ll meet a dude on one of my many trips to the river valley–he’ll be walking his adorable golden retriever & I’ll be walking my adorable self–but the reality is that’s not how life works anymore. It’s 2015, Tinder has taken off, & I need to get with the program (apparently).

Relationships just don’t happen as organically as they used to, I guess. This makes me a little bit disappointed because I find apps like Tinder to be a forceful & kind of a gross way to meet people. Not only that, but it takes a lot of effort to wade through the way-too-forward & misogynist overatures to finally get to a guy that actually gives a shit about the female form on the other end of the line… & I just don’t have the time for that right now.

All I really want is to meet a guy & enjoy the migration from friends to, you know, more-than-friends, to will-you-be-my-girlfriend? territory. I don’t want guys bending over backwards, opening doors & chivalrously throwing coats over puddles–I’m not quite that archaic &, I mean, feminism is still a thing–but I do want some of the mystery from a blooming relationship that I think the advent of social-media-based dating practices route around.

I don’t want to see a picture of a guy shirtless before I even know his last name. I want to experience the natural joy of getting to know a person–I just want to date the good, old-fashioned way.

135. Maybe it’s because I’m old-fashioned?

134. Maybe it’s because all the good ones are taken?

Where have all the good men gone? Seriously, does anybody know?

I mean, I have my theories: it could be an evolutionary problem (good men are going extinct!), a geographical issue (they’ve all migrated somewhere else for the Winter… & Spring, & Summer, & Fall), or, the last & most likely option, maybe they’ve been snapped up already by some lucky, lucky ladies who I am trying not to hate.

I have never thought that meeting the right guy would be easy. But I honestly didn’t think it would be this hard. I’m getting sick of the dating game… It used to be fun but now it’s just tedious & sad. I’ve spent so much time already sifting through men trying to find the apparently elusive nice guy in a field of assholes.

Actually, I’m not even just looking for a nice guy anymore… I’ve lowered my standards (once again) & now I’d settle for any dude that isn’t completely boring or a total misogynistic pig.

Yeah, believe it or not, that’s the bar. Those are the kind of guys that I meet.

Boring assholes who think it’s okay to objectify women & very rarely have a sense of humour or a brain. &, yeah, I’m not giving any more guys like that a chance… it’s not worth it–trust me.

I just don’t know anymore. I don’t know if there’s any good guys left. Maybe there is & I’m looking in the wrong places, or maybe there is & they don’t want me, or maybe there isn’t & I’m doomed to be alone forever. I just don’t know. 

What I do know is that a ton of effort goes into dating, & relationships, & all that couply bullshit is never as maintenance-free as it looks. & I don’t have a problem with putting the work in… I’d just like to meet somebody who’s actually worth it: I’d just like to catch some sort of break & meet a guy who isn’t a complete jerk.

Is that really too much to ask?

134. Maybe it’s because all the good ones are taken?