Big Feelings

Here’s the thing.

I’m an idiot.

(Romantically.)

I often let my heart get carried away before my head knows what’s going on. I can’t help it. I can fall in love in a day or two, which is insane. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a term for it: going “Full Boyle.” It really just means getting in over your head in love (which ends up biting you in the ass). Normally I can distance myself from my Full Boyle behaviour and come off as a normal functioning human person, but if the person I’m interested in shows signs of mutual Full Boyle-ness I let my defenses fall. And by that I mean I open wide the gates of my heart and throw a welcome party.

At first it was working out in my favour. It felt like something real and significant was happening. It hadn’t been a long time but we became very close and spent a lot of time together. We were making plans. Little trips, things we wanted to do together. He asked me to make an actual list of stuff we should do together while he was away in Mexico. So I did. I put it in my bullet journal and made it all pretty. Some things for now-ish, other things for the summer.

The week went by really slow because I was so used to spending every other evening with him. The day after he came back we talked. Mexico was good, but he got really sick towards the end. I’ve been sick while abroad before, it’s not fun and you just want to go home. You want comfort. And for him, that was his ex. They’d been broken up for a year but he realized he still had some unresolved feelings that he needed to deal with, on his own. He was very kind to me when he said we couldn’t see each other anymore, and I understood. He didn’t know he had these latent feelings until he got sick, so I can’t be mad at him for allowing me to believe we were going to be something substantial. Telling me ASAP and taking the space and time he needs to heal is the best thing for both of us.

But here remains me, running full speed into a potential relationship and slamming face first into a brick wall. And that brick wall hurt. It hurt more than it should for something that lasted less than a month. I cried. A lot. I had a friend come over to spend some time with me. She brought me flowers and ice cream and chocolate. (What a gal!) It felt like a breakup, and it took me a weekend for my emotions to settle down. I took a couple of long thinking showers to figure out how I felt. You know the kind I mean. The result:

I’d do it again.

I have no regrets about what happened. I don’t want to be the kind of person that doesn’t let people in because they’re scared of getting hurt. I don’t want to be callous. I want to let things affect me; to learn from them and let them become a part of me. I want to be the kind of person to have big dreams; big thoughts; big feelings.

My Internal Monologue of Weight Gain (and Loss)

I try to stay as body positive as I can in public, digital and IRL, but I’m not about to pretend that I don’t have any hangups about my body. I try to make a habit of reminding myself that all bodies are good and there is nothing wrong with carrying a bit of extra weight, but I find that these two parts of my brain bicker like an old married couple.

I eat more (and extremely poorly) when I’m going through some emotional turbulence. These days it’s been a mix of dad-related anxiety and mourning my late kitty.

Little man got hit by a car. He was 3 years old.

Hawksley used to try to eat all the cats’ food until he made himself sick. I 100% used this logic in justifying my overeating. Hawksley would want me to gorge my face. I’m honouring him!

Some days I’ll tell myself that eating so much unhealthy food is not being kind to my body. My skin is breaking out and my energy levels are low. At the same time: fuck all y’all I want Cheetos and I have makeup for my skin. People try to act like gaining weight is the worst thing that can happen to you and I don’t want to buy into that narrative by becoming overly concerned with my weight.

(at least that’s what I tell myself)

So I allow myself to gain some weight, and not fault myself too much for my emotional eating “away move” (as we call it in therapy). What’s the worst that can happen?

I get mistaken for pregnant. Some dude at work wished my luck with my pregnancy. Didn’t ask, just wished me luck. I’m not overly affected by it since I know I gain weight solely in my belly. I’m a little soft. Could pass for 3-4 months preggo I guess.

Worry not! I’m good at picking out flattering clothes. Except… woops, nothing fits anymore. Leggings, let me embrace you! I’m just going to pretend my denim collection isn’t there.

Now I gotta fit back into my clothes because I’m certainly not going to pay money for new clothes as a result of eating too much cheesecake.

Time to re-discover my love of fitness. I really genuinely like to work out, but getting started after a break like this is always difficult and telling yourself “I want to be thinner” doesn’t always cut it. What does cut it is “I want to be strong again” and not getting winded by the stairs. It may take a while but I’ll get back on track with eating well, indulging within moderation, and working out, and slowly my body begins to feel like my own again instead of the physical results of emotional strain.

Soon I’ll be back to being a boss champ and posting to my fitness Instagram more regularly (@nikfitonium). At least until the next emotional crisis.

How to Make Friends in College

University was an extremely turbulent time for me. I feel like I may have made some poor choices, but the good thing is that I can look back and see why my train got wrecked. Late teens and early twenties is a weird time where most people are still trying to figure out who they are. Some people already have that figured out. Congratulations on being a well-rounded self-aware human. Let us slobs work on ourselves.

I didn’t know who I was or who I wanted to be, but they make such a big deal of “college friends” as if you meet your “college friends” in first year and they’re supposed to be your friends for your entire university career, and they’ll be the ones you’re friends with for the rest of your life. Sure, that can happen and it’s not a bad thing if it does. But it’s not a bad thing if it doesn’t. Finding your tribe can be difficult.

I had the wrong approach to making my friends. I sought out people who I wanted to be like (but knew I wasn’t like), and tried to fit in with them. Sure, we got along fine. We had no classes together, but we were buds. But I always felt like an outcast with them because, guess what! I wasn’t like them. We had different interests and habits and vibes. My main regret about university is not making more friends in my own department. Shockingly, that’s where you find the weirdos who are into the same stuff as you! In fact, I ended up befriending way more people from the English department after graduating because we kinda gravitated to each other. Because we like the same stuff.

A huge problem I faced (but was very bad at realizing it was a problem) was that I kept making friends who tried to mold me into versions of themselves. I suppose Uni!Nik was very malleable because I was so willing to become someone else instead of growing into myself. But I got lost in efforts to be more like some next person. I can’t stress how important it is to just be yourself. You. Your actual self. You are enough.

If I were to do it all over again, I would abide by these rules:

  1. Be yourself. Anyone who doesn’t want to be around your authentic self can fuck right off.
  2. Try to be friends with everyone. Yes people in your department is a great place to start, but mingle with everyone and find peeps who dig what you dig.
  3. Drop anyone who condescends to you. This is especially important for people studying the arts. Don’t let people, especially “friends,” tell you that what you study isn’t important, isn’t difficult, or isn’t worthwhile.
  4. Participate in a thing like class rep, clubs, plays, or whatever extracurricular teeters your totter.
  5. Bake a pie. I did this in first year res and offered slices to people on my floor. They’d come, have some pie, we’d chat and get to know each other. It was a great plan. 10/10 would do again.
This was not the friendship pie. This was the "I'm taking my English final tomorrow and I've lost my mind" cake.

This was not the friendship pie. This was the “I’m taking my English final tomorrow and I’ve lost my mind” cake. (My professor’s name was Tracy.) Circa, 2008.

The Backfire (ft. Daddy Issues)

As most of you who have met me recently know, life’s not so hot right now. A relationship ended, my Uncle Tim died, my job has an expiration date (less than 2 months) and I’m having no luck finding something else. They say that when things look really bad that it’s a sign things are gonna get really good. I think those are just words but they’re comforting nonetheless. Continue reading

When Depression Takes Hold

A bout of depression hit me hard and I can’t really feel feelings. I have no want or desire for anything. I only ate lunch because I forced myself to. I’m only writing this because I tell myself writing is good for me.

I don’t usually get depressed; my problem is mostly with anxiety, guilt, and panic. In recent years my anxiety symptoms began to mesh with depression symptoms (but my anxiety medication is antidepressants so I’m not really surprised by this overlap). It’s a jarring change to go from constantly thinking and planning to not wanting to engage in anything.

I can feel my mind struggling with the depression like it’s trying to Houdini its way out of a water chamber in a straitjacket. But a part of me is thinking when I get out of this water chamber, what will I do then? I don’t even want to do anything.

Luckily for me this doesn’t last very long. I will figure it out when I’m alive and breathing once more.

Ghosts Crossing

Today I saw a ghost. Or at least an uncanny doppelganger of a person I know to be dead. 

A few weeks ago, Kim’s Uncle Timmy (who “adopted” me as a fellow niece because of how close I am to the family) was struck by a car while crossing the street. He was killed on the scene. I’ve been disturbed by this ever since, especially since I am quite vocal about my near-incidents. Drivers are so inattentive where I live and work; always rushing more than looking. I couldn’t (and still can’t) shake the feeling that it could have been me. Maybe another street or another day, but it could have been me.

Vehicles have this habit of waiting right at the crosswalk line during a major left turn. They sit there, waiting for the moment you’ve cleared their path before they take off again. It’s intimidating, and I don’t always know if the car will stop at the line (so I usually stay clear of their path in case they don’t see me). I’m more used to it than I should be.

Today I was crossing a major intersection and a big truck waited at the crosswalk line so it wouldn’t plow me over. I looked up to see Timmy’s doppelganger at the other side of the street: small, bald, wire rectangle glasses, salt-and-pepper scruff, slightly oversized hoodie (Timmy was a small man).

Once I was safely on the sidewalk he looked at me and said, “You know that truck almost hit you!”

“I know,” I said. “They always do that.”

He scoffed, incredulous at the drivers here. “Well you be careful when you cross!”

I thanked him and said I would. He wished me a lovely day and I wanted to cry.

I never got my own duck-facing selfie with him, but here’s Kimberli!

Thanks for looking out for me, Timmy. I love and miss you xo