the comeback kid

Update: I’m not dead.

Not yet, anyway.

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May 2019. Burnaby, BC, Canada.

I’m going to be real for a moment with you, internet.

There were many moments between August 2016 and now when I wished I was dead. I can honestly say that I was not prepared for the emotional and mental gymnastics university would toss my way, not to mention all that has occurred in my personal life.

Despite that, I’m still here.

Having the gift of hindsight, I would still say it was all worth it.

Here are some things I’ve accomplished while I’ve neglected this poor ol’ blog:

  • [Fall 2016] I volunteer for my first academic conference, New Ways of Analyzing Variation 45. It establishes a firm foundation for my sociolinguistic interests. I meet grad students and professors that I stay in touch with all the years I’m at SFU.
  • [Fall 2017] Syntax emerges as a primary interest in my major. I think about further research as well as grad school, and contact former professors for advice.
  • [Summer 2018] I take on a directed research semester at my university’s syntax lab, analyzing data and literature from graduate students regarding whether or not people find singular ‘they’ to be grammatical, and why.
  • [Summer 2018] I am selected for my first academic fellowship, which helps me gain desired experience in library work, and prepares me for graduate level challenges.
  • [Spring 2019] I am offered a place in the MS Library and Information Science program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, my first choice.
  • [Spring 2019] I graduate with my BA in Linguistics from Simon Fraser University. (The ceremony is in two days.)

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May 2018. Vancouver, BC, Canada.

There were a great number of challenges in my time in Canada, which I won’t bother getting into here. I’d much prefer to focus on what’s gone right.

Overall, my university has been a truly fulfilling experience. I have made and maintained lots of fantastic connections with such beautiful human beings. I truly challenged myself in ways I might not have done, had I gone to another school.

There’s much more to be sorted out during the summer, but I can’t help but feel a sort of contentment about all I’ve done at SFU.

Growing up, I didn’t tend to finish what I started, but I know more now than when I was younger. I know what I want, I don’t give up as easily, and I work on managing my expectations and output when I have the energy to.

Let’s also not forget that I have been lucky to have heaps of support from many people in my life: supervisors, mentors, friends, family, professors, lovers here and gone. This story isn’t complete without acknowledging them, and the time and effort they dedicated to making my life easier. Some of us may be out of touch, but the impact you made still lingers. Thank you.

the best years

Childhood is often referred to as the leading candidate for Best Years of One’s Life, though a significant amount of us have different experiences. For better or worse, there are many things a person may get to explore as a kid that will not be accessible once adulthood is reached.

Perhaps the reverse is also true.

In adulthood, I feel that I have slightly more autonomy, even if there are still feelings of helplessness. Peeling off the layers of adulthood has been a challenging experience, and in my early thirties, and I am only just starting to suspect that I might have the hang of it.

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June 2016, the day before graduation. Seattle.

I have not updated this blog in over a year. In that year plus, the following events have occurred:

  • [Summer 2015] I worked two full-time jobs, and took on an independent study at my college.
  • [Fall 2015] The mobile game studio I’d been employed with for 4 years closed. After 9 years in the industry, I decided that would be my last job in games. I took the first part-time job I could find, with the goal of finishing college in mind.
  • [Winter 2015/16] I am granted early admission to my first choice university.
  • [Spring 2016] I graduate college.
  • [Summer 2016] I scramble like mad to ensure my place at the university.

During this time, I pushed myself to a great number of limits. A lot of them made me cry from a combination of exhaustion, frustration, and depression, but I managed to make it through. Full-time studies can be incredibly isolating, especially when living near the centre of a larger city.

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March 2016. Montreal. Photo by Marisa Parisella.

I have had to ask myself a few times why I pushed so hard. I came to a couple of conclusions:

  • I did not think I would live beyond age 30. When I turned 31 last summer, I arrived at what one might call an ‘oh shit’ moment. ‘Oh shit, I’m not dead after all. What do I do?’ I made some plans, and pledged to revisit my progress every so often, so long as I wasn’t dead.
  • I gained a bit more faith in myself and my abilities. I doubt this would have been possible without the support system I have in place, composed of chosen family and friends.

I turn 32 tomorrow. I tend to think about how things are going in life the most around birthdays, and each new year.

I am a late bloomer in several ways, so perhaps it makes sense that my thirty-first year felt like one of the best years of my life.

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July 2016. San Diego.

I learned incredible lessons on and off campus. Some days were hellish and unforgiving, but others were filled with laughter and gratitude. Overall, I found methods to keep myself motivated, and outlets in which to kvetch. It is my belief that in this life, both are very important.

If there’s any gift I could think to give to the childhood version of myself, it’s to keep working hard to make things better for the version of myself that remains, and for those I love, for as long as I can.

I’ve dwelled on it long enough, and I can finally say that it’s OK that I didn’t have a particularly fantastic childhood. The best years aren’t always on time.

know where your towel is. know when to throw it.

I’ve never been very good at hiding my feelings. They’ve developed a nasty habit of bleeding into the expressions on my face and into the words I say, as well as the behaviour I display. This has gone on ever since I can recall.


Sometimes I fool myself into thinking I’m a great pretender. It helps to get knocked down a peg or two by people that see otherwise.






It has been brought to my attention that when I get presented with bad news, I often shut down. I’ve become comfortable with the idea of going off alone for an undetermined amount of time to think about the steps that led to the bad news, and how to deal with it better should it happen again. I don’t want to burden other people with my problems.


I am slowly coming to the realisation that I need to change the way I process. I need to understand that the people around me DO care, and that I should share what I’m feeling with them because they want to be there for me when I need them. So far friends of mine and loved ones alike have taken time out of their busy lives to offer advice and console me where necessary.


(Thank you. I really appreciate your efforts and you’ve helped immensely. You know who you are.)






The way I’ve been dealing with stress has been much the same. I failed to see the destruction my methods were doing. When I’m having it rough, it affects my everyday life, including my interaction with others.


My paramour has been asked by mutual acquaintances of ours, “Is B okay?” or “Did I do something to upset B?”




Now, this isn’t very fair, is it? Actions I imagined to be harmless to others having the converse effect. To me that reads “CHANGE THIS. NOW.” Urgent stamping and all.


Change doesn’t come easy for me. What good or mandatory thing ever does? It’s part of being an adult. Hopefully sorting this out will allow me to put some positive energy into the people I care about in turn, so that they know I can be there for them too. One day at a time.

 

Onward and forward we go.