A Reflection On The Year/Why I Want To Be A Teacher

*Originally posted June 7, 2013*

I have wanted to be a teacher ever since about Grade 4 or 5.

When I was in Grade 4 and 5 my group of friends and I were particularly dramatic and horrible to one another and we had these horrendous fights on what seemed like a daily basis. Because we were such nasty 10-year-olds, we would often have to go see the school counsellor to use conflict resolution and work out whatever issues we had going on. I remember the counsellor telling us that we were experiencing issues very early; Grade 9 girls usually go through the kind of drama that we were experiencing at the age of 10. It. Was. Ridiculous.

The counsellor also helped us sort out our own issues that would arise from the group issues. One friend was unhappy with her home life and took to compulsively lying (I remember her making up this atrociously graphic story of how her grandmother was killed, only to find out that her grandmother was very much alive and she had just lied because she was bored.) I got to talk about how I was unhappy that I was so round. (I was a BIG kid in Grade 3 and 4.)

By the time the end of Grade 5 rolled around, I had decided that I definitely wanted to be a school counsellor when I grew up so that I could help people. They could come to me and talk and I could help them to feel better. I asked around and found out that I would need to become a normal teacher first before I could become a school counsellor. So I set my sights on getting whatever qualifications I needed to become a teacher.

Then I went to high school and found choir, yearbook, school dances, the volleyball team, and the cool teachers who treated you like you were an adult. And I decided that I definitely wanted to become a high school teacher when I grew up. I could teach kids and treat them like adults (maybe I could even occasionally swear and get away with it!), and I could volunteer to help with all of the extra-curricular activities (which were my favourite when I was actually attending high school). This sentiment has stuck with me ever since. I have gone to university and finished my degree in English and Sociology and am going to start my teaching program in the Fall.

However, I find that, even in the last 10 months, my reasons for wanting to teach high school have changed.

I began volunteering at a high school in September of last year with two of the best English teachers I have ever met. At the time, I thought that I would sit in their classrooms and watch them teach, I may occasionally help students with their work, and I would write on my application to teaching programs that I had volunteered in classrooms and it would be great. While I did do all of those things, I was lucky enough to get to experience so much more than that.

Both teachers allowed me to plan my own lessons and teach their classes. This experience alone exceeded my expectations and prepared me for teaching in a way that I didn’t even know that I needed. I learned that 1) Lesson planning is a lot of work and 2) kids don’t really care that you planned a whole lesson for them. Learning how to manage a class while also delivering all of the important knowledge that you have prepared to impart on them is not an easy task. Thankfully I got to practice with two of the best watching me and giving me feedback.

Another experience that I was fortunate enough to have was to actually getting to know the students and form personal relationships with them. When you take Education courses they tell you that you need to take an interest in the students’ lives and you need to connect with them on a personal level. Looking back, my favourite teachers all did that extremely well and that’s part of the reason I liked them so much. And I always intended on being a teacher who cared about what their students did outside of school. But I got a crash course in learning how to be involved in a student’s life and on being available to them for more than just help with school work.

Nothing could have prepared me for having to talk to an upset Grade 12 boy about how he is being bullied and is depressed.

Nothing could have prepared me for seeing an admission to self-harm while marking a student’s homework.

Nothing could have prepared me for seeing a student half stumble into class, disoriented and pale, seeing administration take him away assuming he’s high on something, only to find out (and much to his surprise as well) that he had a low blood sugar problem.

Nothing could have prepared me for having to sit with a Grade 12 boy as he found out that his close friend had passed away.

These were only some of the difficult and heartbreaking moments that I was experienced while I was volunteering this year. Luckily, I was being coached by someone and was not actually the one actually in charge who had to really deal with these issues. I was so fortunate to have to deal with the hard, impossible moments while, really, someone else was the one who had to deal with them and to have people who experienced the same moments who could talk me through them.

It has been wonderful to see these students overcome and deal with the horrible events and emotions that they’ve been through. Knowing that these students go through so much makes it that much better to see them having a good time with their friends and joking around with me. It’s even better to know that they’re going off to university and getting to start a very exciting part of their lives!

There were also fantastic moments that I was fortunate enough to be a part of that changed my motivation to become a high school teacher.

Watching a student give an impromptu lesson on satire to his entire class was something that I did not expect to see, and it made my day.

Helping a Grade 8 girl study for an English exam would not have been on my list of fun things to do…until I did it.

Hearing students say, “Ohhh…I get it now!”

Being asked to sign a student’s yearbook for the first time made me feel like I actually made a difference by being there.

I no longer want to teach because it seems like it would be fun to do. Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely will be fun and that is one of the reasons I am going to be a teacher. But now I want to teach because I get to be a part of people’s lives and I get to help them turn into adults, even if it’s just in a small way. I’ll be there for “ah ha!” moments. I’ll be there when there are cries for help. I’ll be there to talk about the movie that came out last week. I’ll be there to listen to the heartbreak, the bad joke, or the frustrated rants about high school. I’ll be there to say that it will be okay. I’ll be there to laugh at them when they do something stupid and say, “What were you thinking?!” I’ll be there to help them make the right choices. I’ll be there to hear about when they make the wrong choices. I’ll be there as an adult that is helping to shape them into the adults that they will one day be.

Volunteering this year has opened my eyes to what teaching is. It’s not just simply teaching them English or Social Studies. It’s realizing that, sometimes, Othello is not the most important thing in their lives. It’s understanding that a break up at 15 years old is the end of the world. It’s understanding that sometimes when you’re sitting with your best friend, it is impossible to stop the giggling. It’s everyday life stuff, crammed into one building with a bunch of teenagers.

I know that I’m not looking to make a difference in every kid’s life. I’m not expecting some cheesy movie moment where some kid thanks me for saving them. I’m just looking to experience the every day moments that slowly help a kid turn into an adult.

So thank you to the two amazing teachers that have guided me through one hell of a year of volunteering. Thank you to the two other amazing teachers at my other (unfortunately short-lived) schools. And thank you to all of the students that I’ve come across this year. You didn’t know it, but you were teaching me more than I could have asked for. It has been an absolute pleasure watching you develop from the nervous Grade 8s to the confident almost-Grade 9s, from the comfortable and bored Grade 10s to the cocky-but-not-too-cocky almost Grade-11s, and the lost and confused Grade 12s to the still lost and confused Grade 12s who are almost real adults. I have had the most amazing time with all of you and I can’t wait to start on the next part of my journey to becoming a high school teacher.

Anti-Slut-Shaming VS. Old-School Values

*Originally posted November 5, 2015*

I’m not into slut shaming, and I think women should empower each other, not disrespect each other. But a conversation I saw on Facebook about skinny-shaming, mixed with a conversation I overheard from some Grade 8s today made me think of all of these things.

A woman has a right to her own body, and to doing what she wants with it. This is a message that is everywhere right now. Boudoir, pin up, burlesque, and similar styles are really popular right now in photography and dance. I love them all. But I think there’s a huge difference between being a part of that scene in a classy way, and being a part of it in a trashy way. (Sidebar: if you have to tell people you are classy and confident, I think that’s a sign that you aren’t.) I know many people in the burlesque scene in Vancouver. Many of them post scantily clad photos on their FB and Instagram pages. That’s a huge part of their lives. But from what I know of their normal, everyday lives, they are not always this way. They wear sweatpants. They don’t always flirt with men. They respect themselves. And this is a key part that I think is missing from our subconscious education of young women: I think a woman who truly values herself for everything she is, no matter how much she “just loves love”, or how much she advocates for the right to embrace her sexuality, doesn’t feel the need to show everything, or share it with everyone. I think that people forget that nobody wants to conquer land that’s already been conquered, and no one feels special when everyone’s seen the VIP screening, if you know what I mean.

I think that this is a huge part of my problem with this.

I don’t think we teach young girls absorbing these images & messages to value their brains and to complement their personality with their body, and not just live for likes on Instagram. Girls see these images online and think that they should be like that in everyday life. And then they think that they need to follow through with the message that their image is sending. The way that women embrace their bodies and their sexuality is changing, and it’s not always easy to explain why being sexy and feeling empowered by your sexuality is great for a woman’s own self-esteem, apart from the feedback they receive online (“likes”)/from men. So while the love-your-body-anti-slut-shaming attitude is amazing, it’s lacking an essential piece: Love your body, do what you want with your body, and still value yourself enough to know that everything about you that is not visible to the eye is enough. I don’t know many women who I call confident and classy that also post half-naked pictures or sleep around. Maybe this is a coincidence. Maybe we’re just moving into a place in history where bodies are free.

Or maybe we aren’t teaching girls to love that part of themselves that won’t fade with time first. So they post Instagram pictures and hook up with people at parties. And then other females begin to slut-shame these women and girls who are simply regurgitating what they think being a confident, sexy, classy woman is.
I’m constantly surprised by how common sexual promiscuity is. Whatever happened to waiting for someone special? Where did these values come from? Why don’t we teach girls to value what they have enough to not give it to everyone (be it sex or Instagram pictures)? I think we are doing girls a disservice by not having these conversations with the images/messages out there. Will there ever be a place where we don’t slut-shame women, but we also empower women to take control of their sexuality in a way that shows they value it and treasure it?

I realize that my opinion is valuing yourself = not sleeping around/being half-naked, and that that is just my opinion. Many will disagree with me. But with other things you treasure, do you throw them around the way you do your body/sexuality? Do you use Grandma’s fine china every day? Do you let anyone you just kinda like use your phone? Do you flash all your money to strangers? Do you let everyone borrow your brand new car?

I have no answers. Just a  lot of questions.

You Can’t Go Back

*Originally posted August 28, 2014*

They say you can’t please everyone, so you should just be yourself. But there’s definitely a version of yourself that will please the most people possible, and I think that’s what people really mean when they tell you to “be yourself.”

I’m in this wonderfully awful place of not being an adult, and not being a child. I have finished school, and am entering a career where I am held to a high standard of professionalism. But I’m also a twenty-four-year-old woman-child who feels restless and exhilarated with every possibility I’m confronted with.

Woman-child me likes:
– dancing
– being flirtatious and seductive
– drinking a whole bottle of wine to myself
– wearing dramatic make-up
– driving too fast
– taking selfies
– dressing like a thug
– feeling to excess
– gossip
– bad movies and trashy novels
– staying up talking till 2 am
– being spontaneous and doing whatever I want

Grown-up me likes:
– reading news stories and discussing them
– routine and a schedule
– giving advice
– grocery shopping
– drinking a glass of wine with friends
– reading educational materials
– wearing professional clothes
– post-it notes and other stationary

I’m not in high school anymore. I’m not even in university anymore. Does that mean I suddenly have to be a real adult? Is being silly and weird offensive and immature now? Is there a way to make a compromise between all of the parts of my kaleidoscope soul? Can I still be a hip hop dancer at heart, wearing baggy sweats, high tops, and hats, while also being a responsible role model for children? Can I be proud of the 30 lbs. I lost and wear form fitting clothes, or (God forbid) crop tops, and still be a desirable addition to the work environment? Can I hold the view that women staying at home, cooking, cleaning, and making babies is a perfectly respectable and awesome life’s ambition, and not be frowned upon? Can I still dream of a perfect little life with the love of my life, or has that head-in-the-clouds attitude gotten old?

What are the rules now? I feel like half the people in my life are twenty-four going on forty-four, and half are twenty-four going on fourteen. I’m either struggling to feel intelligent and mature enough to take part in conversation, or looking at the clock wondering when I can leave the immature skinny-bitches I’m with. Is there no in-between? Where did my friends from when I was nineteen go? “You’re not 19 anymore…” Yeah, yeah, I know.

I miss the 2am teary phone calls to the one person who knew how I felt better than anyone else. I miss the way music so got me. I miss spontaneous drinking game nights. I miss 3am McDonald’s trips. I miss spending whole pay checks on clothes. I miss splitting a 2-6 of vodka with my best friend. But I want to live in my own place, with my own stuff. I want a grown-up woman’s professional wardrobe. I want babies. And a white picket fence. I want a 9-5 work schedule (or more like 6am-8pm, as my career will be). I want a promise of forever. I want financially smart decisions.

You can never go back. You can’t go back to the way things were, or to the people who were there for you. People evolve and leave your life, and your life changes. But going forward sounds so confining and stuffy. I just want to pause life. Just let me be twenty-four, working as a waitress and living at home, saving and spending money, making out with my boyfriend like a stupid teenager, feeling lost and excited and sad and overwhelmingly in love. Let me just be what I am right now without worrying about what that looks like to other people and having those perceptions mean huge ramifications for the rest of my life. Let me be a dancer again. Let me be a singer again. (There are people in my life who have never heard me sing. How weird is that?! At some point singing and making covers became this childish thing that I shouldn’t do and definitely shouldn’t post online for fear of who might see them.) Let me be all of the pieces of the kaleidoscope, and not just the ones that look best in public.

Comparison isn’t just the thief of joy…

*Originally posted on August 19, 2014*

Comparison isn’t just the thief of Joy. It is the thief that stalks Joy, and creeps into its room in the middle of the night. It is the thief that can beat Joy to within an inch of its life, laughing while feelings of Inadequacy take over.

Social media is a strange, double-edged sword of an addiction. I love Facebook. I can stay in touch with family that I don’t get to see very often, I can see pictures of my cousins’ kids and watch them grow up, I can conveniently plan events, and send the same message to multiple people in a group chat situation. I can watch videos of HHI World Hip Hop competition, and see how well Canada did (C-A-N-A-D-A WHAT!). I can stalk people that I’m not friends with so I can be a part of the gossip wheel (Don’t lie. You all do it. If I haven’t spoken to you since high school, and when I run into you, you call me “Nikita,”and not “Niki,” then I know you stalk me, too.). I can share bits and pieces of my life with my friends, and I’m sure they like to know what I’m up to, too.

But it’s also awful. People want to be my “friend” when I haven’t seen them in real life in years. And then I press “decline,” and feel like a bitch for it. We’re also creating huge files on ourselves for Facebook, the public, and most likely the government, to have. Every “life event” is there; you have pictures of me throughout my life, including me in childhood thanks to #tbt and family members who tag me. You know where I visit, because of the “check-in” feature, and you know who I hang out with because of my “friends” list.

Have you seen the things that Facebook wants to be able to do when you download the app for your phone? It’s terrifying! When you download Facebook to your phone, you are letting Facebook look at your internet browsing history, use your GPS location, use your text messaging (charges may apply), use your phone and look at your call log (charges may apply), use your camera, use your microphone…need I go on? Why do they need access to all of these things?!

But anyway, other than the basic privacy rights that Facebook violates we knowingly and willingly give up to use Facebook and other forms of social media, social media is awful because it sets us up to compare ourselves to those around us, and to feel inadequate.

I recently read a great article about representing ourselves on social media. When someone posts a great selfie, smiling, with the lighting perfect, their hair flowing, and their shirt sitting perfectly, it probably isn’t the first and only photo they took. How many selfies does it take to find the one that is deemed internet-worthy? Yet, we post the flawless one to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Insert-The-Newest-Social-Media-Site-Here, and that perfect version of ourselves is what people see, and what we want them to see. We don’t write Facebook posts about how boring our lives are. “Sitting here in my sweatshirt and not-matching t-shirt, no make up, hair in a bun, stuffing my face with popcorn and chocolate, while being bored and watching Netflix, wasting hours of my life repinning on Pinterest.” Nobody does this.

What will you see instead? “#nomakeup” pictures of people looking flawless “first-thing” in the morning, and “Going to bike the seawall today!” status updates. Pictures of people at parties, with new clothes, fancy drinks, and seemingly awesome social lives. You’ll see new life events of friends, like, “So-and-so just started working at their dream job,” and, “So-and-so is having a baby!” Don’t forget the ever popular, “So-and-so is super happy and getting married, and there is no sign of any financial struggles; they’ll have a perfect, stress-free $30 000.00 wedding, and live happily-ever-after, and you will not!” Okay, so the last one doesn’t say all of that. But isn’t that how it feels sometimes?

I’m just as guilty of this. We put perfect pictures on social media, and we post happy and exciting status updates so that we can show the world the best version of us. Who doesn’t want to have others be envious of how awesome our lives are? But it isn’t healthy. I am 24 years old, and I sometimes have to remind myself that the perfection I am seeing online from “normal” (read: not famous) people is only half of who they are. It’s easy to look at the way people represent themselves online and assume that that is how they are twenty-four hours a day. And when you forget that it’s a construction of what they want you to see, it can make you compare your average life to their seemingly exciting and perfect one. And that’s when the trouble starts.

Why am I not gorgeous like that all the time? Why didn’t I curl my hair today, too? Ah, shit. They lost a lot of weight while I’ve been sitting on my ass. They are going to a dinner party, and I’m just going to work. I’m not at a fancy restaurant; I’m just laying in bed in my jim-jams. Drinks on the patio again? Where are my model-esque friends and extra cash today so I can sip wine at the newest not-pub-not-restaurant-restaurant? Look at so-and-so being so strong in the middle of all of their family struggles. I bet they never cried once; how selfless! Why am I so weak?

We compare our everything to everyone else’s little-bit.

And what scares me about this is how inadequate it can make me feel at twenty-four-years-old, and what that must be doing to teenage girls. I have come a long way in the self-esteem department, and I have the brain to analyze this and truly understand that the perfection of girls on Instagram is a false construct. Thirteen-year-olds might not understand this. Even when you tell them, they probably think you’re old and you just don’t get it. How do we teach them about self-love when social media and comparison have become such a huge part of their lives?

I used to think that we need to take the focus off of body image, and really reinforce intelligence and talent in girls. Instead of saying, “Wow! You look so pretty!” we need to comment on the book they are reading, or the picture they’re doodling. But then I watched a Ted Talk that talks about how we need to deal with making young women feel beautiful first. The woman in the Ted Talk says that feelings of physical inadequacy stop young girls from trying new things, and from doing what they are good at. And this really resonated with me. I have always wanted to do tumbling. I wanted to learn to do backflips and be super flexible and all of that stuff. I also always wanted to take ballet. But I never did either of those things because I’d have to wear a leotard and leotards are tight and I was chubby andthat would be unthinkably embarrassing. I also hated speaking in front of large groups. I’m not bad at it; I like presentations for class (I’m a teacher, after all). But I hated it because everyone would be looking at me, and I was chubby and I felt like that is what people would focus on. Not feeling pretty stops people from doing what they want to do. 

So what do we do? I really don’t know. I guess my own acknowledgment of my own feelings of inadequacy in the face of social media is a good place to start. If I can understand and remember this, maybe I can teach this to others when the time comes. Does this mean I’m done literally putting my best face forward? Absolutely not. You always dress like you’re gonna run into your worst enemy, and walk like there’s three men walking behind you. But I guess the lesson here is to remember that we all have another half of our lives that is just as boring and average as the next.

Seventeen

*Originally posted on February 7, 2014*

Sometimes I can get to this wonderfully exhausted place in the day, where I become extremely emotional, reflective, and artistic. It reminds me of being 17, with every emotion right on the surface, feeling like the world is so big, and I am so small, feeling like I am but a speck on the wonderfully white canvas of my unwritten masterpiece. It reminds me of having conversations into the middle of the night with my best friend. We’d talk about how inadequate we felt, how we would achieve our dreams, and how we’d never forget to remember that love is the only thing that matters. Sometimes, I can get back to that place, where love is all that matters. And I so vividly remember how it felt to feel like a tragically broken shard of a person.

I recently came across a project I did for English 11 AP. I used to be so creative in the way that I expressed my feelings. The dark ones that were cries for help, the bright ones that carried my dreams through to my twenties. I want to be that seventeen year old again. I want to experiment with words in the way that only a broken, confused, lonely teenage girl can.

But I’m happy now. I’m in love. I don’t ache from the hollows of my being, feeling each tear resonate in the empty cavity of my chest, as I cry myself to sleep and bargain with God for love. The cavern that was my seventeen year old shell of a person is now filled with a deliciously warm, gooey, honey coloured light. He slowly started to drip his warmth into the empty tear-catcher that was my core from the very moment I saw him smile. That smile. The one that reaches up to his eyes, and tugs at the corners of his perfectly contoured lips. The one that makes my knees give way, and my thoughts flee from my brain as though running from their own vulnerability. The smile that pulls those same thoughts back, caressing their vulnerability, and finally giving them a place to rest, a place to find sanctuary.

I am no longer familiar with that vacancy of the soul that so consumed my being at seventeen. It is an emptiness felt by another person, in another life. I remember it as though it is a shadow, though there is only a slight schism separating that life from the one I embody now. That shattered semblance of a young girl is a shade of darkness, woven through the illumination he unknowingly gifted upon my body. He brought life to the dead, light to the obscurity of my essence. I bathe in the golden light he resonates; I swim in the empowerment he patiently coaxed out of me. I thrive in the warmth his presence brings.

Why I Agree With Chip Wilson, Founder of Lululemon

*Originally posted on November 16, 2013*

So Chip Wilson, founder of Lululemon, addressed the common complaint against Lululemon’s yoga pants: They are pilling easily and are too sheer. His comments can be found here, along with information regarding a petition that has been started to have the company make clothing for sizes 14+. Currently, Lululemon only carries up to size 12.

So here’s the thing. I don’t think the guy’s 100% right, and I don’t think that he should have said that out loud. But I also 100% disagree with Lululemon making clothing in bigger sizes. And here’s why:

We all know someone who is thin, fit and in love with their Lulus, but who doesn’t buy them anymore because they are not of the same quality that they once were. Please note, I said we all know someone who is thin and fit. Meaning, even small, petite people find Lululemon’s clothing to be pilling and perhaps more sheer than they used to be. So, on that account, Mr. Wilson, I don’t agree with you. It’s not necessarily body type that determines whether the pants pill and become sheer. He did say, however, that women wear them with seatbelts that rub and purses that rub and that that is a contributing factor in the compromise in quality of material. And that’s a whole different rant. Why are women wearing yoga pants out and about and not just to yoga? They’re called yoga pants. Stop wearing them to school, work, the grocery store, the movies, really anywhere that isn’t a fitness yoga class.

But, I digress…

It’s not just plus-sized people who find this clothing line to be of lesser quality than it used to be. So, strike one for Mr. Wilson. But, I don’t think that Lululemon needs to make clothes that fit all people, or even a wider range of people. Why? Because that’s not their target market. Lululemon provides people with very expensive athletic wear. And they are targeting the sizes that society generally views to be ‘healthy’, 0-12. 14+ is considered ‘plus-size’ and there are designated stores to buy those sizes. If Lululemon begins to sell their clothing in sizes 14+, then I want Forever Yours Lingerie to sell size 32A and XS panties. If Lululemon begins to sell size 14+ pants, I want Addition Elle to sell size 00 pants. It’s not body shaming, it’s a store selling to their target market.

Speaking of body shaming, apparently it’s not okay for stores like Lululemon to say that bigger women aren’t meant for their clothes, since people immediately assume that means that bigger is ‘bad’. But it is apparently okay for plus-sized women to post things like this and this, insinuating that thin is ‘bad’. I am inundated with these pictures on my Facebook newsfeed from plus-sized women that I am friends with who frequently post messages with this sentiment. You know what? Sometimes people are just born thin. I have friends who have shed tears over being called “disgusting”, “anorexic”, “sick”, and “unhealthy” for being the thin size that they naturally are. Or for working hard at the gym, eating lean proteins, complex carbs, and a shit ton of fruits and veggies to be as healthy as they can, just to hear from complete strangers that they look “disgusting”. Just know that it goes both ways. How do you think it makes me feel when I see posts that say that “only dogs like bones” when, because I’ve been working out and eating healthier, my hip bones have started to protrude? I’m a healthy size 6, so how do you think those posts make my healthy size 2 bestie feel, if they make me self-conscious?

And another thing about this is, I wonder how many of those size 14+ women who are pissed off about Lululemon would truly be 14+ if they used those yoga pants to go to yoga instead of to the movies? At the risk of sounding like an asshole and having everyone dislike me, I’m going to say that perhaps most 14+ women aren’t a healthy size 14. Don’t get me wrong, there are women who are a perfectly healthy BMI and whose doctors will say they are doing everything right and are a size 14+. That’s the beauty of the world – we’re all different. But how many 14+ women would drop down to a 10, 12, or even lower, with the recommended 30 minutes of cardio a day and a healthier lifestyle? I’m not pointing fingers, I’m not saying everyone who is a 0-12 works out for 30 minutes a day and eats a balanced diet. Lord knows I eat my fair share of pizza, chocolate, and french fries. But I don’t blame society or clothing lines for the clothes that I cannot fit into or that don’t look good on me. When I try on clothes at Garage and they stretch to the point of picture distortion on the t-shirt, that’s not the store’s fault. I don’t get mad. I either a) go somewhere else to buy clothes or b) go for a run and then go somewhere else to buy clothes. You might be saying to yourself, “But, Garage is targeted more toward teens. Younger teens, even.” My point exactly.


Lululemon doesn’t need to make sure they appeal to every person. Maybe they shouldn’t be publicly saying that larger women shouldn’t wear their clothes, but an athletic clothing company shouldn’t be made to feel bad for their target market being athletic body types, aka what society has deemed to be “healthy” size 0-12. If a store’s clothes don’t fit you, there are a ton of other stores with clothes that will fit you. You just need to find what that is and understand that not every product is for every person. And that is okay.

A Comment on Annoying Yourself

When I began this blog I said that it was about discovering those pieces of the kaleidoscope of my soul that sit next to each other. I said that each piece is so different, yet fits perfectly beside the next and that I wanted to explore them. Today I discovered this disgustingly dark brown, sludgey coloured piece of kaleidoscope sitting next to an unsuspecting and beautifully vibrant orange piece.

I am in a program at school that asks tough questions. It asks questions that make us think about what we believe, past a superficial understanding of ourselves. We touch on topics that force us to look at what we may have done to contribute to systemic racism, topics that ask us to dissect our view of the future generations and what they can achieve, topics that ask us to explore our values, ones we perhaps didn’t even know we had. And what does that mean for us as individuals? As the people who have the power to possibly shape future young minds? We touch on a lot of topics that have a variety of answers, none of which are wrong, but all of which have complex and potentially controversial responses.

These are wonderful topics. They are important topics to explore in terms of personal development and finding out who we really are and what we’re really all about. My brain hurts thinking about these questions, it makes me uncomfortable, it makes me grow. That is the illuminated orange – the way my soul thrives in its sea of discomfort, disruption, inquiry, and a certain uncertainty. But directly attached to that is where I found the muddy, swampy, slimy brown color.

Today I was sitting in class, silently thinking to myself and processing the conversation we were having. I have thoughts and opinions on the topic but I do not want to share them. I continue to sit there and think and – OH! I hear my own voice speaking the words I am thinking. How did that happen? When did that happen? And WHY do I sound so God-damn passionate about it? You see, I have these opinions. Maybe I shouldn’t even call them opinions. They are general wonderings, little opinion fetuses, not fully developed. But in speaking, these little fetuses turn into giant, adult sumo wrestlers, grappling with everything that opposes them. Am I really that opinionated? Do I even truly believe the words I am apparently speaking so passionately about? Why can’t I articulate my thoughts in a more politically-correct way? Do I sound like a complete asshole to anyone else? And if these words uncontrollably gushing out of my mouth are just wonderings, un-concrete ideas, why am I sharing them out loud?

What is worse, this happens frequently. And I find it annoying. This repulsing brown, this opinionated, passionate voice, is annoying to me. Not just annoying. It’s irritating. You know that feeling when you are just so tired of something, so frustrated with it, that your skin feels like it is buzzing? Your shoulders feel tense and there is nothing in the world that you want more than for it to go away, to stop? That is what this sharing of my fetus-opinions is to me. It is the nails on the chalkboard, the crunch of a carrot in complete silence. Irritating. And it feels somewhat uncontrollable. It is a part of the kaleidoscope that I’d like to switch out. But the colours of a kaleidoscope are stuck, trapped, within the constricting confines of the cylindrical container.

So here is my question: Can I ponder these topics and grow from them and not share my opinion with others? The answer is, of course, yes. Nobody has to speak out loud. But can I not share out loud? I legitimately try not to speak sometimes. I make a conscious effort to stay silent. And yet, I find myself hearing my own voice. How annoying. And if I find myself this annoying, what must others think when I open my mouth and speak? How mortifying!

But do I really care what they think? Is me opening my big mouth and sharing my unformed thoughts helping me in my own understanding of myself and therefore, I do not care what other people have to say about my thoughts? Perhaps that is why I find myself speaking when I don’t intend to. I just can’t be bothered to care about what it sounds like on the outside of my brain.

I think that it is okay to be stuck in this place of being completely annoyed with the sound of my own voice and completely unsure of what to do. If I were never uncomfortable with myself, how boring would that be?! I am unsure of how to grow from this place of annoyance, though. Do I change my behaviour to un-annoy myself? Or do I accept the mossy, goopy brown that sits beside such a soul-warming orange? My soul is a kaleidoscope, after all. The colors are beside each other whether I like it or not. It isn’t my place to change that; it is my place to be conscious of it and explore the contrast in all of it’s disgustingly wonderful discord.