Don’t tell me your busy

If the first words out of your mouth when we meet is apologizing for how busy you are, I don’t want to hear it.

Not that I don’t know how busy you are. Not that I don’t appreciate how busy you are.

Tell me what you’ve been up to but you don’t have to equate that with being busy.

But if that is the first thing you say to me, this does not work as an apology.

It becomes your go to excuse.

Explaining how busy you are becomes your justification, a way to make yourself feel better.

It does not make you any less busy.

You will always be busy.

But it does not make you anymore likely in the future to make plans with me.

Busy becomes your get out of jail free card. Your admittance of “failure”.

It becomes a way of admitting guilt without actually trying to make it better.

And it will be your excuse a month from now, a year from now, 10 years from now.

Take busy out of your vocabulary.

Next time you say we’ll try to meet up, don’t add a “but” at the end.

Forget the “but I’m so busy” at the end. That is admitting right off the bat that you are going to fail. If those words cross your lips before you have even tried to make plans with me, you have failed before even trying.

You may feel better, but for me, I am stuck continuing to try while you have already failed.

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The power of ‘can’t’

I’ve never pushed myself.

I’ve always been quick to give up.

I’ve always been quick to use the word can’t in place of won’t.

It’s easy to make that replacement.

I honestly don’t know the difference anymore.

I can’t say I’ve ever cared much for running marathons, maybe for the reason of thinking I’d never be better than the other girls in class.

I’m starting to realize that wasn’t the point. Being better than my past self should have been the point.

I don’t know why that didn’t sink in until now.

Is it too late to get better. Not because I’m getting older but because this attitude is so deeply ingrained that can I change it?

It’s going to be hard. It’s got to hurt. And I need to realize that.

Cry for help

This is my cry for help.

I post it here because I know none of my family will read it.

I don’t want them to know what is happening because I don’t think they would understand. I’ve heard it many times. Brush it off, grow up, you’re only doing it for attention.

I don’t want the attention.

I’m on the verge of tears but I don’t want to call anyone because I’m afraid of appearing weak or fragile.

I don’t want to be any of those things.

But I’m afraid of the person I’m becoming. I’m starting not to care. I’m starting to look at the world more negatively. I’m starting not feel numb.

I don’t want to be any of those things.

I have my amazing husband but I’m afraid if I bring these problems to him too much, he’ll get frustrated enough to leave. I don’t think I could survive that but I don’t want to break that easily. I never want to be that person. But I know I need him and I never want to lose him.

I find even sadder that I don’t trust him to stick around even though that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

I don’t want to be emotionally dependent on him, either. My mental health should not solely be based on him. And I would never place that burden on him.

I don’t want to be a cynic, I don’t want to give up, I don’t think I ever would but I know there is something wrong and I don’t know how to fix it.

What am I doing so wrong in my life that I feel I have no one. If I was living my life right, wouldn’t I not have this problem?

That’s why I am a journalist

I didn’t start paying attention to the names of people on the cover until I was in my early 20s. But I knew their faces and voices.

People like Anna Marie Tremonti, Adrienne Arsenault, and of course, Peter Mansbridge.

The stories in the essay collection, That’s Why I’m a Journalist, is the people I always wanted to be, although I didn’t know it at the time of the question, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’.

They speak in the book about stories that highlight their careers. Stories that have affected them in some way. Stories that meant something to them.

Although a lot of them are the huge breaking stories that started them off on mind-blowing career, that is not the reason that those stories has had such an impact on their lives.

It is the difference they made telling the story that has impacted them. The stories of spending month trying to get Scout Canada to admit of scouts being sexually abused (Diana Swain), and walking through a city full of dead bodies and seeing children left orphaned by the earthquake in Haiti (David Common).

That is what journalism is to these amazing journalists.

That is the reason I wanted to become a journalist.

Anna Marie Termonti told her story about the fighting in Sarajevo and going into town after town talking with people who were hiding in basements afraid of the shelling and a makeshift hospital with wounded men, women, and children.

“These were victims of war,” she writes, “But they weren’t one-dimensional victims.”

“They had nothing, but they offered us everything. It was impossible not to marvel at the kindness and generosity of those people.”

These stories are the ones I feel I won’t have the guts to get but the ones I want to report on.

Going to school in King’s College in Halifax, the first thing Stephen Puddicombe said to us before he even started his first research class is why the f*** we were there? Wasn’t there something better we could have done with our lives than be journalists? We should all just pack up our bags and leave.

To some, this was a shocking question and an unwanted one. This was a question that harden that little seed of doubt the ones that didn’t know if they wanted to be journalists already had. These were the ones that complained that that wasn’t the right atmosphere a teacher should put us in before our first class even started.

For others, it strengthened their resolve.

If you could listen to Puddicombe rant about why you shouldn’t become a journalist in those first ten minutes of his class and not want to run from the room, that was your first step in becoming a journalist.

For me, I crossed my arms and sat there, taking whatever Puddicombe could throw our way. I knew I wanted to be there and nothing he could have said at that time could have made me think otherwise.

I’ll do it when…

I’ll do it when I have more time. It’s always my excuse.

Talking about writing. I’ll do it when I’m not working a job I hate.

Finally working a job I love. I’ll do it when I’m not writing so much.

I respect people who battle their own minds. I can never seem to will that battle with mine.

I wish I had that drive people have. I’ve already come to forgone conclusion that I don’t have any drive in me.

You already know I’m a procrastinator. I’ve almost seemed to have been that when it comes to working this new found job that I love. As soon as I start, you can’t stop me.

It’s the starting that is the problem.

Wait, scratch that.

I guess I can’t say it’s a problem. There has not been a time yet that I haven’t made a paper deadline or been late with too many stories. I’ve left some on the sidelines so I could trying polishing the rest but I haven’t been to the point where I didn’t have more than enough of my work to go around.

But that is work. That is getting paid to write. That is doing the job I love and having something else drive me.

That has been another ‘I’ll do it when…’.

When I get paid to write fiction; brilliant, brilliant fiction, then I’ll work harder. Then I will have more drive. Then I will…

If not know, when? When will the ‘doing it when’s stop?

Being Canadian

20150630_104319Waving to strangers walking down the street
Flags on bridges and sewn into jerseys
Seeing the beauty of a field of wheat,
A mountain range
And a blue harbour
My phone accepting the fact that I spell things with an “ou”
Still being proud of Canada because pride goes deeper than who’s in charge
Wanting to educate non-Canadians on how awesome Canada is
Welcoming EVERYONE into our country
Making our country better