The Dreams

Norwegian Dream.

She had a dream, too. Of Canada. Now, I long to be close to where she was born. In a way, it will feel like she is still alive. Young and alive in Scandinavia and playing her banjo.

Goodbye, Grandma.

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What Really Mattered

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It was the eve of my operation when I discovered what truly brought me peace. If you ask most people how worried or scared they feel before a relatively simple surgery such as having their wisdom teeth removed, it would probably range from “meh” to “It’s just a nuisance” or “I hope I don’t look like a chipmunk after.”

But me? I was very petrified. I had surgery when I was 3 years old and still remember the ordeal. They strapped me to the bed and wheeled me away from my upset looking mother. I was left to the mercy of adults in scary white masks forcing a foul smelling mask over my face.

I vowed to never go under again. Until it was deemed that my jaw was too small to carry all four of my wisdom teeth. I tried to be brave. I really did.

I wasn’t like most 21 year olds. I was naive, immature, a loner, and heavily imaginative. I had thoughts of me dying from the anesthetic. Images of me never waking up polluted my mind’s eye.

My sister, my best friend, was away at camp. My boyfriend was playing video games with his friends. I called him that night, you know, just in case I didn`t make it through the operation. He was so distracted, he was almost annoyed that I called because he was winning this car race. I let him be. Deep down, I was relieved he wasn’t with me.

I went outside in our secret garden-esque backyard to talk with my parents. I felt better, but I wanted more. I played with my border collie and then walked to the garage to grab my bike. That was what I needed. To escape. To wander. To daydream. To have an adventure. To be alone.

I’ve always been a country girl at heart and had taken many walks and bike rides alone or with my sister. But that night was different. I asked myself, if this were going to be my last night, how would I want it to be? I rode far, far away from my home out to the farm community. I remembered a spot where there were horses. To my delight, the horses were out. I got off my bike and fed them the lush grass with my hand. One of them let me pet her.

Then, I kept riding. The sun began to set. No one was around. I remember stopping and crying, because it was such a beautiful moment. I had enjoyed myself, and it scared me to think it might be the last time I would enjoy it. Dramatic, I know. But this was the 21 year old me. I wouldn’t have wanted to be any other way.

The country, with its fresh air, tall trees, and quiet nature that often mirrored mine, revived me.

I savoured every moment as I rode back, breathing in the cooling air, staring at the setting sun, studying the fields of sweet corn. It was one of the best solitary moments of my life.

(Photo Source: http://www.everystockimage.com. “Sunrise 4-27-06”)

On Creativity, Introversion, and Being Social

Not-shy

People are getting better at accepting the wide variety of personality types that exist in the world. Compared to when I was a kid/teenager, I have met many more people recently who can get why I am quiet. Or, they can at least accept that introversion is not a personality disorder. That being said, there are still those who do feel that introverts are holding themselves back or that they are shy or that they should try to remove themselves from their “shell”.

What people first need to understand is what extroversion and introversion is. Introversion does not apply only to social situations. Introverts gain energy from being alone, from creating or reading or thinking. Extroverts gain energy from other people and thrive on social situations. Introverts are more sensitive to external stimulation, such as noise, people, or taste. Extroverts, on the other hand, function better in busier situations. They are drained by prolonged silence and not enough external stimulation.

One personality type is not better than the other. In fact, many introverts can find balance by being friends with extroverts, and vice-versa.

Introverts are not shy. When I think of an introvert, I actually think of “Quiet confidence.” There are different types of introverts as well. I am a part of the “Idealist” introvert personality type (Taken from the Myers-Briggs Personality Test) and these people are the dreamers, creators, artists, therapists, and writers of our society. They can do these things because they can function very well at working alone. They prefer to do so. Being inside of their own heads allows them to conceptualize stories, artwork, problems, or ideas easier than the other personality types.

While we may not be the life of a party (Though this can happen on rare occasions as well), we’ll be those people sitting on a couch willing for someone interesting to sit down and entertain us with a philosophical discussion.

Introverts benefit the world in many different ways, just as extroverts can and do.

Is it “all in my head” that I prefer most evenings to myself so that I can write, read, or sketch artwork? No. Is is strange that I prefer to have a close group of friends? Nah. Am I timid? Not a chance. In fact, I will be the first person to tell someone off when they make a racist comment or make light of rape. It’s actually bemusing how often I find myself in such situations, but despite my supposed timidity, I seem to usually be the one who has the strength of character to defend other people. So I do.

Introverts are introverts. It is not something that they can overcome, or something that they are pretending to be because of bad experiences. Introverts simply re-charge and function better when they can get plenty of alone time. They still enjoy going out, spending time with friends, and many of them enjoy loud concerts or night clubs. They really enjoy conversation, and will be exceedingly glad when they meet someone whom they can finally talk to for hours without becoming that drained. The key is being around less people rather than no people.

What introverts need is balance. Most of us do not wish to be alone in the true sense, but we long to be left alone long enough to get our work done. We need meaningful relationships and amazing friends as much as everyone else. We like to have fun and be recognized in a group, but we do not want to be the center of attention in that group. We may go for days without wanting to go anywhere, but then there will be days that we want to get out and see new things. We want to be appreciated for our strengths rather than demotivated for what others could consider to be our weaknesses.

There is a world of difference between antisocial behavior and introversion. In fact, more people should look up the word “antisocial” because it actually refers to sociopaths.

If you’re an introvert, which you probably are if you’re writing and blogging, be proud of that fact. 1/3 of people are introverts, so we are in the minority, but I also kind of like that.

How in the world could we write if we spent most of our free hours of the day talking? Instead, we usually listen to our characters talking in our heads so that we can write them down. How cool is that?

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Or, are you somewhere in between? Have you received flack for not being an extrovert at social functions? 

“I’m Only Bleeding”

“That show was shit. What was he doing?”

“I don’t know, but I didn’t pay to see any of that.”

“I think over half of the show left!”

“Do you think he will ever go back to being a folk singer?”

“Ha. Remember, he refuses to acknowledge that he was a folk singer. I don’t know. I think he might stick with the band.”

“He’s selling out already.”

Fantasia’s Gateway

The four-year-old girl’s closet is eerie compared to the other ones in the house. Her name is Sara, but she wonders if she should be called something else when the strange creatures in her closet talk to her. Her parents tell her that cartoons are make believe and that toys cannot come to life, but the star that comes in through her window delights her with its smiles and bouncing around the room. It is real.

The characters who live in the closet are feisty, though. Sometimes Sara is not in the mood to speak with them and she hopes that they will go away, yet there are many days when she wants to crawl into the dark shadows of the small storage area in her room and talk to the living, breathing things that shouldn’t be there, but are.

She gets out of her bed, even though it should be nap time, and she walks over to the closet, listening. They always like to talk to her when her mother wants her to be sleeping, but she is bored with closing her eyes.

“Are you there today?” Sara whispers.

No answer.

Dejected, Sara crawls inside of the closet and waits for them. She is careful to be quiet so that her mother cannot hear that she is awake.

“Psst. Anyone in here?” she whispers again.

“Yes,” hisses one of the familiar voices.

Excited, Sara searches around until she sees the yellow teddy bear sitting on a ledge that was not there a moment ago.

“Who are you?” Sara asks.

“You know. I also like to live in your bathroom. Is that okay?”

“Yes,” Sara nods quickly. “Stay where you want. I like you!”

“If you like me so much, then will you promise to never stop believing in me, and in the others that come by?”

“I promise.”

The bear disappears.

“Hello?”

Annoyed, she jumps out of the closet and searches all over the room. “Where did you go?”

The only movement she sees is her own in the mirror’s reflection. She glares at her post-toddler chubby cheeks and scary frown, wondering if she chased them away because she looks mean.

Sara will never see the strange creatures again, but what she does see are the figments of her own imagination – when she swings on the swings, runs or skips around the yard, or even lays in her bed – she can imagine whatever she wishes, because it will appear. But she will always wonder who those colorful strangers were, and why they left.

Writing In Banff And Soon, In The Wilderness of B.C.

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(Source: Me)

My last few days in this thriving little mountain city have been very productive for my writing. I finished editing/adding to one of my short stories I started just over one year ago. I finally went to that little café and the large windows, quaint atmosphere, and mellow customers turned out to be the perfect setting. If only I had discovered it months ago, but alas, there’s a time and place for nearly everything.

Tonight, I am leaving the place I have called home for nearly one year, and some good people, to take a long bus ride to northern B.C. It will be my first time ever in the province, and though I have longed to see the Pacific Ocean for quite some time, I do look forward to some natural solitude and a change of pace at the wilderness lodge I will be working at for two and a half months. I plan to do a lot of writing on my off time, along with some hiking and exploring of course. I think it will be great, and hopefully it will feel like a retreat.

Banff, Alberta has been an excellent place for inspiration as well, but I suppose it’s correct to say that I have outgrown it. I’ll never forget how much I loved it when I first started living here, though, the mountains surrounding a fun little town where I have met so many interesting people. It’s hard to move on in some ways, I’ll be honest.

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(Source: Me)

I am going to miss Banff, but the change of location will be good for me and my writing, I think. More travel is always exciting, and I’m looking forward to the scenic view and chance to write a lot on the day-long bus ride.