The One Where Her Guard Fell

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for a while, but never really had the cajones to do it. This last year has been tough, amazing, but tough, in all aspects of life. So I figure doing some cathartic writing therapy, before charging into 2014 was as good a time as any. This is going to get personal fast, but we all know I wear my heart on my sleeve. For better or worse.

The best way to attack this is to break it down, categorically. We’ll briefly touch on friendships, career(s), and love. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Friendship:
About a year ago, it became clear to me that someone I thought would be in my life forever, as my best friend, would not in fact be that person. I’ve been told time and again that people are in our lives sometimes for a certain length of time to teach us about ourselves, and move on. I firmly believe this was what she was to me now. We’ll call her AB. We had a great ride, I mean, I can honestly say that I have never, and likely will never pick up a girl at a bar again on St. Patrick’s Day, by offering to swap our dates for each other, and then end up leaving together without either of them. Upon moving back to Ottawa last year, she and I tried to dive right back in. Big mistake. A lot had changed for both of us, and we were not the same university students anymore. She decided to pull the rip cord, and I, though completely disapproving of her actions, did not push her. It is now a year later, and we have not spoken. Not to sound ungrateful, but her absence, though known,  has not necessarily been missed. Sure, I recall fondly our time together, memories and conversations. But my life has not suffered for it, there is no void. When I realized this, about 6 months into my imposed friendship exile, I knew I was at peace with it. I wish her only the best in life, hold no ill will, and thank her for everything she has taught me. This is not a conclusion that would have come so easily to me in the past. I would sit and over analyze it, pick apart everything said and figure out how to fix it. I fight for people I love, and friendships sometimes to a fault, and I know now that it’s ok to let someone step back if they need to, they’ll come back if they are meant to be in your life. Frankly, if I had gone into past-Meera-psycho-mode, I think this situation would be a lot more miserable than it was, and I don’t think either of us would have been OK with that.

Career(s):
If I can say one thing about 2013, it is that I have legitimately worked my ass off. (No, seriously, my ass is smaller than it used to be, I’m pissed). I have held down, at any given time, anywhere between one to four jobs, and at full steam put in 70-80 work weeks. Everything about my life at that time was amazing and miserable simultaneously. You know when people say that they really value work-life balance? Let’s just say I didn’t believe in it. While working these crazy hours, I sacrificed my health, my sanity, friends wondered who the zombie-like brown girl was in the room, and the person in my life took matters into their own hands, and turned off my cellphone, and laptop to just get me to watch a football game with him. This job consumed me. It came to a bit of an abrupt end, which absolutely caught me off guard, but also gave me a healthy dose of reality. I knew what I wanted out of a mentor, a boss, and this person did not fit the bill. Losing that job got me back to BC, (the place of my last missing mojo crisis) but this time I was coming back with my tail between my legs, but my head held high. Part of that mojo loss was placing expectations others had for me, above those of my own. I can’t function that way, especially when those people (the closest to me), do it out of love. I understand their concern, but them worrying about me, and constantly voicing their opinion on the matter became suffocating the last time. I knew that coming in, and asked for my space. Lo and behold, it took a while, but employment came in a tidal wave, and I am glad to say I am finishing off the year in a good place, and in Vancouver, somewhat permanently.*

Love:
Love is a fickle, unforgiving bitch. OK, maybe not totally true, but I have a point! I can honestly say that this past couple of years, I was in love, in lust, and just plain bored. Let’s begin with bored. You know when friends tell you that you should take up a hobby? Maybe actually take up a hobby, and don’t do what I did- date someone as a social experiment, realize you do like them a bit, but not as much as they you, and then brutally dump them hastily before a party because that wasn’t part of the plan. No one likes a bitch, let me tell you. Boy A, let’s call him, met me at a time where someone I like to refer to as “bored-Meera” showed up. She’s got a job, got a good group of friends, and decides to bring in some companionship to boot. Nothing serious, a dalliance, someone to go out with, spend some time with and then say thank you and move along. All-in-all a solid plan, until it blows up in your face. Boy A ended up falling for me a bit, this was a no-no. Not in the plans, and not what I wanted. I chose him for external factors that seemed to be ideally suited for where I was mentally at the time, and then he went and threw the caring wrench into it. Sorry to say, that relationship ended (on relatively good terms), we went our separate ways, and I fell in lust.

Enter #2, Hulk. Here was someone who was smart, funny, loved football (and played it too!), and seemingly loved a lot about me. The duper became the duped here. This is a situation where I thoroughly thought there was something substantial going on with us, assumed the feeling was mutual and never sought to clarify. This went on eight months. Note to future Meera: always clarify, it saves you a lot of time, and a lot of looking like a ass. Had I clarified, this could have been a mutually beneficial situation, instead, I was a little surly and a little upset for a time, but I got over it. I can say, looking back on my time with Hulk, I regret nothing, we were great fun while it lasted, it was nice to feel like a real woman, (my girls know what I mean), and I harbour no grudges. If anything, I thank him for making me realize the massive douche-nozzle (real term, I said so) I was to Boy A up there, and I am better for it.

The final chapter, #3. The one where her guard fell down. Hulk up there, he taught me to not be a jerk, but he also taught me to have my guard up, and not drop it so easily any more. Enter the Magnet. Something about this person has always kept me interested for the greater part of a decade. Be that on a mental, physical, spiritual level. He is the type of person that makes me so furious when we talk because he constantly challenges me on everything, but that can say one word or phrase and I give up. He had said, repeatedly since we had been together that we were going to change each other, whether we intended to or not. The Magnet was 100% correct. My constant questioning of his carefree nature and live in the moment attitude balanced out his lack of observation for the rules of relationships that I adhere to. I fell hard, fast, and absolutely was in denial of it, until it was too late. Magnet is the type of person who says whatever is on his mind about you, and “we” and does not question it. That’s a scary thing, to be presented with someone who cares for you so fiercely that they say, honestly so, they see a future with you. And when in my sarcastic nature challenge them to paint it out, the illustration is so realistic is scares the shit out of you. As we know, I am the take what you say with a grain of salt type person, and Magnet managed to beat that side out of me. I began to believe him, and eventually I saw it too, clearly. I told him I finally got what he was talking about, and I was in. If you could have seen the look on his face, it was like a kid that was just told “hey, it’s Christmas morning everyday for a year, oh, and you can eat ice cream for breakfast too”. His reaction to my revelation? “Finally, now I’m not the only one in this.”  You know it’s a bad break-up when I’m the one trying to hold back an all out sob because he emailed you to end things because shit got real for him. That’s when I knew precisely how bad it was. I don’t cry over men, I haven’t in a while, because I’m just as happy in a relationship as I am out. This just pulled the rug out from under me. Suddenly all of the trials I had been through the past year or two didn’t matter as much. My heart dropped, my breath went shallow: no, not him. It was a slap in the face, and kick in the gut at the same time. And moreover, email? WHO THE HELL DOES THAT? He was right, our relationship did change me, he gave me a sense of clarity in what I want in a partner, he also cleared up the what I don’ts. So, thank you Magnet, for finally answering the what-if. Our timing has, and likely always will be off, but I know I think perhaps you were more caught up in the idea of us than the reality of us. We will always be messy, complicated, tricky to navigate, and it could be glorious, or a disaster. We both knew there would be no in-between. Because, if you weren’t, you’d have stayed and fought. Let’s face it, you’re the first person who ever told me I was worth fighting for, and fortunately, that is the one thing that has not changed.

This verbal rant fills the void of blog posts from the fall, (see above writings for reasonings why), and also serves as a verbal confirmation that yes, I am doing all right, thank you. So 2014, I look to you for bigger, better and more enlightening occurrences.  Until then, enough real talk, I have a spiked hot chocolate with my name on it waiting for me.

I leave you with words of wisdom sent to me from the aforementioned best friend and bride of earlier this year:

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The Fall Quarter

2012 has continued to move at a blistering pace. The summer moved faster than I could keep up, and the next thing I know, October is around the corner. This brings us to a reflection of my resolutions for this year- as you’ll recall, I set these goals in January. For reference sake, you can peek at the original post. As I’ve done previously, I’ll summarize quickly below.

  1. I blog at least once a week, by the end of 2012.
  2. I travel outside Canada once this year, (2012), for at least a week, job or no job.
  3. I am employed by March 1, 2012.
  4. I bake one item for all family celebrations this year, not repeating recipes.
  5. I improve my decorating and frosting skills by taking a class, or practicing a lot.
  6. I am more kind, and patient in all of my relationships (long-term goal).
  7. I dent my 30 x 30 goal*, in the next 3 years in a big, big way.
  8. I reconcile with “being selfish”- doing things for myself, for no other reason.
  9. I read 50 books by December 31, 2012.
  10. I learn a second language (again): French/Italian, from my school days (long-term).
  11. I get healthier, so as to prolong my life. Activities include: cardio, more yoga, hiking three times a week, to start (long-term goal).

On the whole, I’ve managed to make headway in most of these goals, keeping in mind that some were written as longer term goals, and for my own sanity, some goals were shelved completely for the time-being. Let’s begin with the obvious: I have not blogged once a week, in fact, it has been far less frequent, but, I do make the case for quality over quantity. I have not yet travelled outside of Canada for a week, however there is still a good portion of the year remaining to amend that.

I was indeed employed by March 1, 2012. With an accounting firm based in downtown Vancouver, a contract that was book-ended with a contract at an insurance company located conveniently across the street from my previous job. As of this moment (September 24, 2012), I am once more, fun-employed, this time in Ottawa. Here, my job hunting prowess begins anew (relatively speaking), though I have high hopes for this city.

Goals 3 and 4 can be grouped hand in hand, and I am saddened to say, life changes took priority over these two aspirations. Fear not, foodie friends, Christmas is peeking around the corner, so salvation, and royal icing will once more take centre stage! Goal 7, my 30 x 30 goal is on going, and a constant presence in the back of my mind, so it is shelved for this moment, but not forgotten. Goals 10 and 11 are both once again long term goals that I have been working toward since the start of the year. My mind and body have thanked me for my actions thus far, so I assume staying the course is the only option at this moment.

Goal 6 and 8, being more patient in all of my relationships, as well as being more selfish, is still a work-in-progress. I think this is something we all continually strive to do throughout our adult lives. To that extent, this got put the test prior to my move with my family, their fears and wants for me, as well as our overall ability to communicate openly and effectively. Yes, it is tough when there is such a strong generational gap and overarching outlook on life between your parents and yourself, and in my case, my sister and brother-in-law really helped but a lot of things in to perspective for me. Something I have yet to thank them for, and something that I am not sure I can ever fully express my gratitude over. I do have to say that it is truly humbling to realize that I have so many good people in my corner, backing me up.

I have made major headway in my 50 Book Pledge this summer, currently cutting my teeth on Anna Karenina. It’s a tough mother of a read, but I hope the commitment will pay off. It’s one of those books that you hear constantly of; best-seller lists, greatest reads of all time, most talked about, etc. I had to give it a shot.

There you have it, a super quick update on my resolutions set back in January. Honestly, if I didn’t know better, I’d have thought those goals were made in a different year, by a different person. In a way, that is precisely the case- the girl who started out 2012 is certainly not the same person writing this blog now, for better or worse, she’s changed, and I’m kind of liking it.

TGI…2012

I would not be honest if I said I was sad to see 2011 go. The tail end of it sort of kicked my ass 5 ways from Tuesday. In all, I would categorize it as a “learning year”, one in which you find out things about yourself or others you didn’t know to begin with. A lot of my relationships developed or digressed in various ways, all of which I am safely say I am pleased with, now; ah, hindsight, my sweet mistress. Plenty of milestones took place in 2011: I planned my first bachelorette party; baked a cake that didn’t kill anyone, rather the opposite; helped my eldest sister down the aisle; discovered that I do not, in fact dislike infants; had 4 close friends get married, and another 3 engaged; got laid off for the first time; applied for employment insurance for the first time; and discovered I was emotionally stable enough to deal with all of the above and come out unscathed. Meera 1, potential breakdowns 0.

The beginning of 2012 most definitely brought with it a lot of reflection, and of course goal setting. My brother in law is something of my part-time life coach. Whether he knows it or not, our conversations have definitely helped form the resolutions I’m going to outline here, and, more specifically the phrasing of them. If anything, I’ve learned that a goal is not, in fact, a goal until it is written, or said in a certain way. The reason I am talking about goal setting with resolutions is two-fold. 1) Some of my resolutions are goals; and 2) Goal setting, at least this method, is a new thing to me, and in an effort to  have accountability, publishing this will give me a kick in the pants we all sometimes need. To outline this, I’ll refer to the Lululemon Goal Setting Worksheet. From the offset, you can see that a goal should be written in the present tense, be specific, and with a deadline. Right away, this gives you an anchor to work toward, some of us need that (me!), where as others are more in tune with the vague. (The Lululemon worksheet works in yearly increments, whereas I am focussing on this 1 year, and some longer term goals). With that, I give you my resolutions! Drumroll please….

  1. I blog at least once a week, by the end of 2012.
  2. I travel outside Canada once this year, (2012), for at least a week, job or no job.
  3. I am employed by March 1, 2012.
  4. I bake one item for all family celebrations this year, not repeating recipes.
  5. I improve my decorating and frosting skills by taking a class, or practicing a lot.
  6. I am more kind, and patient in all of my relationships (long-term goal).
  7. I dent my 30 x 30 goal*, in the next 3 years in a big, big way.
  8. I reconcile with “being selfish”- doing things for myself, for no other reason.
  9. I read 50 books by December 31, 2012.
  10. I learn a second language (again): French/Italian, from my school days (long-term).
  11. I get healthier, so as to prolong my life. Activities include: cardio, more yoga, hiking three times a week, to start (long-term goal).

*30 x 30 goal explanation below*

There we have it, my 2012 resolutions. As you can see, my book resolution is well under way, about 3 weeks ahead of schedule. My 30 x 30 goal is probably the one that confuses you most. 30 x 30 is an idea I had when I was backpacking around Europe a few years ago: that I want to have seen 30 countries by the age of 30. Now, you’re thinking “well, just do one of those 21 country, 23 day trips and Bob’s your Uncle!” I travel differently. Those tours are often so rushed, and packed that you don’t remember one country to the next. I do not consider a country officially on my list until it meets certain criteria: I’ve eaten traditional food, drank traditional alcohol, met one person from the country, or can confidently provide directions to a stranded person. I have a three-year-old checklist of countries I want to see, some of which will be rearranged in priority order based on environmental or political concerns. Of that checklist, I have knocked off 9; 10 if you include a trip to Kenya when I was three, but all I can remember is camping in a cave, a pool at some beach-side hotel, and monkeys stealing our lunch during a picnic. Simple math would tell you that I have 20/21 more to go. You can see how this is now a lofty little goal, and without a doubt is probably the one closest to my heart. (But more on that later).

For now, I leave you with just one question: What are your resolutions for 2012?

P.S. I will be live-blogging/tweeting a very very very, VERY important hockey game tomorrow morning between the Canucks and the Boston Bruins at 10 am PST/1 pm EST. (We met them for all the marbles last year, and fell in the last game of the series- this is the first time we’ve met since, *gulp*).