Split

We were perfect,
But we weren’t.

We didn’t want the same things,
But I wanted you.

I loved you far more than you could reciprocate,
But I loved you.

Our lives weren’t even entangled,
But you were my life.

We were happy,
But we weren’t.

An Open Letter to My Future Partner

Dear Future Life Partner,

I have a lot of love to give. So you’d better be ready to accept it all.

I’ve been neglected and ignored. I hope you have the bravery and strength to take on a relationship. Because I don’t do anything half-assed.

If I’m with you, it’s because you’re the one I want to spend my life with. I don’t like wasting my time.

I don’t expect you to take care of me. I can take care of me; I just want someone who will support me in my choices, and who I can support, too.

I want to spend my life travelling and going on adventures. Even low-key adventures. We can adventure to a new restaurant, or try a new activity. But I want to experience life, and I want my experiences – whatever they are – to be with you.

I want to come home from work and surprise you by saying I’ll cook dinner. I want us to have tickle fights on the couch that end in me smothering you with kisses.

I will make you a priority, and I hope you do the same. You don’t have to perform any grand gestures, but if I can see that sparkle in your eye when you look at me, that’ll speak volumes.

I get hurt. I care too much. I have faith in people I shouldn’t. I know this. But you are the last person I want to misplace my trust. I will always have faith that you will be there for me. Please don’t let me regret trusting you.

Future Life Partner, I can’t wait to meet you. I don’t expect a lot – but I think I deserve someone who loves me back the way I love them.

I have a lot of love to give, so you’d better be ready to accept it all.

Ten Things I Learned in 2016

I feel like this hasn’t really been a good year for a lot of people. But it’s almost over! And although 2016 has been one of the most emotionally and mentally stressful for me, I’ve also learned quite a bit about myself and how I want to conduct the rest of my life. So here we go.

1. Take chances. Sometimes you’ll surprise yourself.

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We had to find an internship for my final semester of school, and I was terrified I’d be the only one without an internship. But I found one! And it went okay. Did some networking, got some social media experience for my resume. I didn’t think I could do it, but pushed myself, and ended up in the perfect internship for me.

2. Put 110% effort in… not everything you do.

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I’m the kind of person that puts all of my effort into everything. Anything I do is Michelle certified 10/10 effort. But this year I got burnt out to the point of mental exhaustion. One of my teachers sat me down and actually told me, “if you redo this assignment so you can get higher than an 80%, I will be mad at you. Go home, relax. Like, don’t do any homework. Don’t do chores. Don’t worry. Just relax. Do nothing.” So now I kind of take that advice and apply it to other things in my life. It’s okay to take a mental break – watch TV, play video games, veg out in bed. Meditation and learning how to chill out has been a huge breakthrough for me.

3. Broken hearts fucking suck.

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I’ve never been heart-broken before. I mean, I’ve liked people who never liked me back, but there was some acceptance there. This was a case of “You’re with someone who you shouldn’t be with, and yes you love him but you need to get out of this so you can grow as a person –  thank me later”. It hurt a lot. I’ve never been that depressed before. I’m fine now, but at the time, I didn’t want to see how I could be okay without my best friend. It’s given me a new appreciation for being hurt – and trying extra hard not to hurt other people.

4. Adventure is fun, but being reckless is stupid.

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After the break-up, I was reckless. I wanted to adventure and try new things. But at the time, that meant going out until 4am with my friends, not remembering how I got back to her house, or going on dates with people just to get out of the house and keep my mind off things. It took me meeting the right boy at the right time to realize that I should be respected and respect myself, as well. I deserve to make relationships and friendships with people, and that in itself was sort of a great adventure. Now my adventures are cultivating friendships and trying new things that don’t hurt me.

5. The best things are worth waiting for.

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Look at this guy. My beautiful boy. I can’t even. I’ll give you the cliffnotes version: Luke and I grew up down the street from each other. Same grammar school, same high school. I always knew who he was, always thought he was such a cute dork. Never spoke to him. We met on Tinder after this year’s rough break-up when I was trying to meet new people and get a fresh start, and he was the nicest person. No boy has ever been so respectful and kind and gentlemanly to me. Neither of us wanted a “relationship” at our first encounter, but we fell pretty hard and it’ was downhill from there. I sort of believe in fate now, I don’t know. But we didn’t rush into anything, and now I am the happiest I have ever been in a partnership. ❤

6. Act confident and you’ll be confident.

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Fun fact: the girl who runs this blog hates herself most of the time. It’s something I’ve been working on fixing this year. It’s also been helpful to have friends and a partner in my life now who are supportive. I got hired on full-time at my student job, and was given a lot more responsibilities and that one thing sort of made me feel like a superstar. It’s a desk job, nothing fancy shmancy – but I acted the confident part of someone who deserved the job and now I have this job I love, and am actually pretty good at.

I also overthrew the girl in my head who said I couldn’t do anything athletic and ran a 5k this year, so that was pretty awesome. I’m going to keep this confident streak up through 2017 because it opens a lot more doors than when you hate on yourself all the time.

7. Friend and family bonds must  be cared for, not assumed.

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I don’t care what people say about friendships and family relationships being “meant to be” or “if you’re related to them, you have to love them”. If I’ve learned one thing this year, this may be the most important one. Do not force friendships with people who clearly don’t want to be your friend. Do not feel tied to family members who mentally and emotionally bring you down. If they’re not supportive, find yourself a “family” that is – even if that family is a group of friends.

I’ve spent this year nurturing the friendships with the few people I do appreciate and love. I’ve also spent this year re-connecting with old friends and strengthening those bonds, or talking to new people who have grown to be some of my best friends. Find people you can rely on, blood relative or not, and surround yourself with them – I’ve been a lot less insecure this year, and it’s because I put my trust in people who I can actually rely on.

8. I’m an adult.

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Guys, I  turned 25 this year. I graduated college. I got a full-time job. I’m looking at apartments now. Like. I’m a full-blown adult. I’m adulting all over the place and can’t hide behind the “I’m still a kid” thing anymore. This year was the first time I’ve thought about the independence of adult life and not felt super sick and anxious. I feel like I can do it. It’s very exciting.

9. Feeling beautiful on the outside doesn’t make you vain.

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I grew up being told that girls who were into makeup and clothes were dumb and trying to fill voids in their life with lipstick and shoes. That was a mix between teen girl movies making all the “bad guys” look like the Plastics from Mean Girls, and my family knowing I’m a weirdo who had no friends, so they tried to comfort me with: “You’re better than those girls, you don’t need them”. Well. 2016 was the year I embraced my femininity and really got into things like fashion and makeup as a form of expression, and let me tell you, it is not dumb on this side. I can be smart and nerdy and still like dresses and shoes. It’s been a fun and eye-opening discovery, to say the least. The fact that I judge people less makes me feel like I’m being judged less. Funny how that works, huh?

10. Live like there is “no day but today”.

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I got my first tattoo this year! In January, the words from RENT’s “Another Day” got etched into my arm as a double reminder: don’t put off until tomorrow what could be said  today, but also, remembering to take things one day at a time and to move at my own pace.

I went on a roller coaster this year even though I was terrified. I went dancing a few times even though it was later than I’d like to be downtown. I met new people and tried a lot of new things just by saying yes when I wasn’t entirely up for an outing. At the same time, I’ve taken a lot of days to myself, staying in bed playing games and saying no to people when I need to take a mental break. “No day but today” is a reminder to live in the moment, but also to take care of myself.

Maybe 2016 wasn’t entirely terrible. A lot of crazy good things happened, and I’ve kind of been inspired to start my own life.

So that’s a huge step for me. How was your year? What are some positives you’re taking into 2017?

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Goodbye, Quiet Girl

I’ve spent a lot of time throughout my life trying to please other people.

As a kid, I was taught to do as I was told and pay attention in class, and I’d get a pat on the head and a gold star.

As a teenager, I had some pretty unfortunate friends who labelled me the “quiet one”. They weren’t terrible people, but they constantly put me down and anytime I tried to state an opinion, I’d get a pat on the head and an “oh dear, Michelle is trying to speak up, isn’t that cute?” My personality wasn’t wanted there, either.

As a young adult in university and college, I was in a couple of unfortunate relationships. One that was highly toxic, wherein he completely suffocated my personality in all ways – trying to make me what he wanted (which was apparently, a clone of himself). One that wasn’t as bad, but we spent all of our time together, so our personalities became one.

I am twenty-five years old and I have no idea who I am.

Any smidgen of my own personality traits that crept through before were just fan-obsessions. I was “the girl who loved musicals” and I threw myself and my entire life into being a musical fan-girl. I was “the girl who loved books”, so I threw myself entirely into being a giant book nerd with the biggest shelf.

Recently, I’ve discovered that being in constant competition with others in this way is almost as toxic as being smothered by peers who are trying to keep you down. I was trying to be the best at these things that I loved, and know the most, and read the most, and be involved in those communities, and along the way, I realized I’d never had the opportunity to find out who I was without these things.

So I stripped them away.

No more friends who keep me quiet and tell me I can never be “that girl who goes on adventures” or “the girl who changes history” or “the girl who demands the attention of the room”. No more hobbies that keep me in competition with a community of people who fight to be the biggest fan of anything.

I’m trying to figure out who I am, and am lucky enough to be in a position where I am surrounded by amazingly supportive friends and have a boyfriend who doesn’t want to change me, and who isn’t threatened by me wanting to be something more than “the quiet girl”.

What have I discovered so far?

I was told my whole life I was too weak to be athletic. I just ran a 5k last month.
I was told growing up that I was smart and was better than pretty “girly” girls. I can be both smart and girly. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy makeup and clothes. And shoes. I like putting things in my head, but I can also like what I put on it.
I was told video games were for boys and I would never be good enough to play with other people. I play video games on my own now, and have a lot of fun shooting aliens. Being good isn’t important.

Basically, I’m discovering a whole lot of hobbies that I was constantly pushed away from, and they’re all things that make up the real Michelle – the one who is doing what makes her happy, not doing things because people tell her to do them (or not do them).

I’m hoping this blog is a reflection of everything I am. Not just one thing. I contain multitudes.

So goodbye, quiet girl. It was nice knowing you, but now it’s my time to shine.

Oh the times, they are a-changin’: Blog Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

  • I started book blogging because I love books and I wanted to write about them.
  • I cultivated and established my book blog because I wanted to have something on my resume as proof that I was capable of marketing myself.
  • I kept on book blogging because I have a lot of friends who blog and I really enjoy working with the publishing companies.
  • I’m going to start taking a lot of steps backwards with this because I now have that job in social media/marketing, and this gig isn’t as fun as it used to be.

Reading books I have to read and then forcing myself writing reviews on them isn’t fun anymore. I have so many other things to do, and I honestly just hate coming home after work and thinking about the fact that I have to read these books. It’s like homework; it’s stressful, and I don’t want to put that pressure on myself anymore, when I could just not do it.

So here’s what you can expect from my blog from now on:

  • I’ll still write about books! I’ll only request books from publishers I know I will want to review, to cut back on the “homework” feeling, and I’ll also review books I choose to read on my own time.
  • I’ll still write, in general. That will never change about me.
  • I’ll continue to write about my musings – things going on in my personal life, ideas I have, etc.
  • I’ll also write about things that I enjoy doing more. TV shows, movies, nerdy happenings, also potentially my real job (that I love far more than book job), cosmetic hauls (which I’m starting to get interested in), the other hobbies I have that I don’t get to write about.

I’d like to write about a handful of things and not limit myself and my personality to one hobby that I don’t even enjoy doing as much as I used to, because it’s become work.

On Obsession

Today I’m going to post something a little bit not-so-book related, but I’m going to tie it back to the art of writing, I swear.

With the recent release of Pokemon GO, I’ve spent a lot of time sitting and thinking about the way people can get so addicted to things. Because this game lends itself so much to the potential of addiction and obsession: you have to play it constantly, you collect things, it’s so conveniently on your phone, it’s got a social aspect and a community surrounding it.

A few years ago, I would have totally joined in and let myself get addicted to the game, but I’ve got this new life philosophy over the past couple of years, where I am very aware of how being so attached to something can be so debilitating to developing my personality.

I used to be addicted to musicals. That sounds so stupid, and it was. I was always at the theatre, I wanted to be the one people approached to ask what they should go see in Toronto. I wanted to be the very best, like no one ever was.

And this goes for all fandoms. I am a geek. I fangirl about many things, and there is a total appeal of being “the biggest fan” of something. Having all the merch, watching all the episodes, meeting all the cast members at conventions – doing it all to say that you have done it all and yes, this is proof that you are the biggest fan of something. Or the best at a game. Or even reading the most books.

I became aware of how damaging this lifestyle was to me and how it conflicted with how I wanted to live my life as a whole. It was a waste of money, time, and attention to put everything I had towards getting this make-believe title for one particular thing that apparently would define me. And I don’t want to be defined by one thing. I am not Doctor Who. I am not musicals. I am not books. I am not a Pokemon master. I am a full person with a number of likes and dislikes, and they all contribute to who I am and what I spend my time doing.

As someone who wanted to be a writer (see, told you I’d circle it back around), I couldn’t love one thing. Writers write about what they know and love, and how could I be a writer if I only knew about one thing? I needed to broaden my experiences, try new things, expand my horizons… experience life as a whole – not try to excel at one thing that ultimately means nothing.

This is just me. I’m sure there are lots of people out there who are totally committed to being the most well-read book blogger, or being the president of a fan club, or having the highest level of a rare Pokemon. It’s just not something I want to spend my time achieving.

I want a diverse set of experiences. Sometimes I have an addictive personality and I need to get that in check so I don’t fall down the rabbit hole, but it’s definitely worth the effort to make sure I get out and try new things, because it’s what ultimately makes me happy, keeps me grounded, and inspires me.

I Surrendered to the Hype: Game of Thrones

I feel like this is going to be a new series on my blog – me talking about how I finally gave into the thing that everyone was talking about. Because that seems to be a pattern with me; I’ll fight the hype for so long… probably way too long, and then finally give in, and end up LOVING a book or TV series.

I did this with Firefly, Doctor Who, Breaking Bad – refusing to get involved with the fandom to any degree. And not because they were popular, but because I couldn’t justify spending the time it would take to catch up. Yet in every case, I’ve taken the time and absolutely fallen in love with the series. And this is the case with books, too. Lots of lots of books fall into this category.

But I’ll talk a little bit about the book that I’ve most recently given into, Game of Thrones.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

When the show started, I watched the first few episodes with a friend and wasn’t too interested. I also tried reading the first book, but gave up after the prologue. But the more it became a huge deal to pop culture, the more I realized I should probably see what the big deal was about. I very recently decided that if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right.

I’ll read a book or two and then watch a season or two of the show, rinse repeat. As long as I read them first. Because I’m that person.

Reading the book this time around has been a lot more successful for me. My problem before was that there were so many characters, but okay, I’m an internet-person. I know who certain characters are just from scrolling through Twitter. Now that the show is so popular, I can imagine these characters as I’m reading – and that’s been a huge help for keeping track of everyone.

And okay, I kind of expected to be forcing myself through this series. “I’m not a fantasy person”, “the writing style is pretty dense”, “I’m only doing this because I want to understand stuff when my friends talk about the show”. Excuses I’ve fallen back on before.

But holy crap I love this book. I read 50-60 pages in one sitting and can’t wait until I have time to pick it up again. Instead of being overwhelmed by how long the book is, I’m actually super happy every time I see how many pages are left, because it means I have that much more time to still be reading. And then there’s more books.

It’s basically a matter of time before I start buying all the merch and crying over the theme song.

My Happiness Project

I’m going to post something a little new today, so you guys don’t think I totally abandoned you. I have a lot of great book reviews on the way – don’t you worry about that.

But to be honest, recently, I’ve found myself with a bout of depression, and I just can’t find the will to read a book, let alone write anything. And that is just not okay with me. I’m supposed to be a strong, independent woman who can take care of herself, but I haven’t been eating or sleeping much and been feeling completely hopeless. I need to work on my own happiness for a bit so I can get back to my normal, positive, motivated self.

Making lists and even writing this post is already making me feel more productive, so instead of sitting in bed and wallowing in self-pity, I’m going to make myself a list of things that I can do in order to help lift myself out of this gaping hole of sadness.

  1. Fill my Instagram with little things that make me happy. This morning I posted a photo of my not-winter boots. Little things to remind me that life is good.
  2. Spend time with my friends. I guess I’ve felt cut off from so many people recently, and would like to re-establish these friendship connections, and make new friendships, so I don’t feel so alone.
  3. Indulge in relaxing activities. Adult colouring books, drinking tea, meditation, walks in the park. Instead of jumping into new hobbies right away, I want to just take the time to ground myself again.

There are more ideas, but those are kind of what I’m working on now.

Do you have any suggestions for how to find yourself and stay grounded? What do you do to stay happy? Are there any inspiring books I should be reading right now?

Why I Love Books

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You probably saw the title of this blog post and went “oh this’ll be a cute little post about why this blogger loves books. I can relate to this as a fellow book-lover!” Well, reader, this post may take a sad turn, and I’d really appreciate it if you would stick around and accompany me on this trip down the rabbit hole. Because if anyone else gets this feeling too, it would make me feel a whole lot better.

So, why do I love books? The answer seemed very clear to me at first. Reading is fun. It’s a great way to entertain yourself with a story – like a movie in your imagination! Then as I got older, I asked myself again.

Why do I love books? Well, it’s a great form of escapism from reality. My life is so boring and it’s cool to read about people who go on these crazy adventures, and be able to imagine things I never thought I would ever think of in my life.

But now I’m at a very weird place where the answer to my most frequently asked question is one I don’t really want to dwell on for fear of a downward spiral.

Why do I love books?

Academically, I love them because I can be anyone and see anything from any point of view. If you open your mind enough, you can take on any role and immerse yourself in their world. I find that intriguing. But there’s something a little more personal here.

I always joke that I love books like normal people love people. And it’s actually a little bit true. Reading a good book is like falling in love. You find a genre, a style, a story, a character, something you can’t get enough of, and you’re hooked. And when it’s over, you’re sad, and move on to find another one that you hope you love as much as the first.

I fall in love with each story that I can relate to. I find characters that I imagine are my friends in a way. Each time I open the book, I feel like I’m with these people again – characters I get attached to. And in these books, I’m with them in a world where I can get to know these people and feel this connection, without having to actually speak with them. I can be their friend and watch and listen from the sidelines, and still have that friendship bond, but there are no expectations of me or pressures to contribute or participate, or all of those other things that I’m scared to do.

Books are a way for me to travel away from my otherwise boring life with these cool people I’d never otherwise meet, and get to experience friendship in a way that isn’t really allowed in our world. Relationships and friendships are a two-way street, but in this world of books, I can befriend people without being scared that I’ll let them down, or that they’ll stop talking to me. All of my insecurities don’t matter.

This level of fantasy is probably not great, but I store the memories of these stories in my head like a person stores a meaningful memory of a time spent with friends or a significant other. They mean a lot to me, even if it was just for a fleeting moment while I was reading about them.