in the silence

I have been meaning to write a post on here for awhile, but to be honest, I haven’t been up to it. I wish I could say that I have spent the past few weeks going on adventures and being too busy to write and tell you of all the fantastic things I have been doing, but alas that is not the case. Unless you count hibernating in my room watching Netflix and knitting as adventurous. The reason I choose to write this now is that I read a story to the Grade 9 English class I was teaching today that had a quote that really spoke to me. It got me thinking about my life here and trying to make sense of it all. I never really understood why I, a social person, have chosen to be anti social in this new life of mine, in this new ‘home’. But I am starting to make sense of it now.

“In the silence, a man learns to be strong. And the silence is not only on the mountain. Somewhere, before he dies, every man must meet it and struggle with it on his own terms. In the silence we must face only ourselves”. – Peggy Curry

I have never been one who is unable to make friends easily. As much attitude as I have, and disdain for society and people, I have always been a friendly, social person who has surrounded herself with friends. I grew up going through school, elementary to university, with many different groups of friends. When I look back at high school in particular, I may have been that girl who always had her headphones on, but I had so many different friends in different groups. I don’t care to label the groups according to what they were perceived to be by people outside of the group, but there were all kinds of different groups and looking back I was friends with a lot of them. Even going off to university I made friends with many people, those of whom I am still friends with today, even if we live far away from each other. I made some of the best friends I have there.

Then I chose to leave the country, for the first time, by myself, and head off to Australia. I met friends instantly, though to be honest the first friends I met weren’t the friends I kept. I find in situations like that you often tend to make friends with the first people you meet, because of circumstances such as where you live or what classes you are taking. The girls who lived next door to me were from Canada, taking the same program as me, and funny enough took the same program as me at Brock University, so it was easy to find things in common and form a friendship. Over time, I realized that I didn’t quite fit in with these girls. They were shallow, conniving and just not the kinds of people I would choose to spend my time with. Lucky for me, I lived in a complex that offered me plenty of people to be friends with. So I slowly became friends with other people and joined a group of friends whom I am still friends with today. I never spent that much time alone in Australia, once getting there I had made friends, dated someone and barely spent any time alone in my room, as I do now. It was nice to be social, to always have something to do, somewhere to go, people to hang out with. But at the same time, it was overwhelming to live in that complex full of drama. It was like living in high school. I eventually moved out and made friends with my new roommate Nicole and some of her friends, who I still consider friends of mine to this day. Even living closer to the beach and further from my friends, I still spent more time being social than being alone. And when I was alone, I was wandering around at the beach or in Mooloolaba.

Two of my favourites and I at Fraser Island

Beach Days in Mooloolaba with some favourites
This was a great weekend trip with great people.
Ridiculous photoshoots are better with friends involved.
Trip to Melbourne for my 23rd birthday was spent with wonderful friends
Hanging around in Sippy Downs, QLD, with some fine folks

Then I moved away again a a few years ago, this time a very different culture, in Thailand. Somewhere I felt like it would much harder to make friends and meet people. But I did. Though situations involving my roommate made it difficult to socialize (roommates stories can be saved for a different day), I was able to make friends with quite a few of my fellow teachers and through them I was lucky enough to make friends with other people they have met, whether they were passing through Chiang Mai or living there. Though I did spend some more time alone in Thailand than Australia, I found myself going out more often than not. I rarely bought groceries, so I was constantly going out for dinner, or going to explore some new place, or see the same temple for the millionth time. I became close with another teacher, Megan, and we spent a lot of time together just doing things friends do anywhere. I look back on Thailand with fond memories of adventures, and street food, and markets, usually spent with Megan, Bridget or Leah, or others. I felt like I made some really good friends while I was there.

Some of my favourite people I met in Thailand

Friends like Bridget made me do silly things like Karaoke at Loco Elvis 🙂
Nights like these with Megan are what I miss most
When two of my favourite Aussies came to visit me in Thailand

Fast forward to today, I tell myself, and others, that I am okay. That spending my time being anti social and alone isn’t as bad as it sounds. And in a way it’s not. I hate the cold. I have been hibernating from it, because deep down, I have realized, I am a warm climate kind of girl. The cold weather takes me out of my element. I can’t wear the clothes I love to wear, it’s too cold. I don’t feel like myself here. Not to say that the ‘clothes make the man’ because it is certainly not the case. But I feel like my sense of style has been compromised due to the desire to be warm taking over the desire to be stylish. And I think that is part of the problem. I am not myself. I also am having a hard time trusting. And some may ask why that would hinder my social life, my ability to make new friends. But it has. I have always been cynical and felt it was hard to trust others, mostly guys. But I feel as though lately it has been taken to a whole new level. I don’t trust new people at all. I don’t trust they are who they say they are. I don’t trust that what they tell me is fact. I have always been someone who makes better friends with guys than girls, I don’t know why, I can’t explain it. That’s not to say some of my best friends aren’t girls, I have just always spent most my time hanging out with the guys. And now I feel like it’s hard to do that. How do you make new friends with guys when you don’t trust them? It’s hard to trust a guy when he says he just wants to be friends, when he follows that up by telling you how good you look or flirts with you in some way. I have always been flirty, that’s just how I am. And I know it is often taken as meaning more than it really does. But when it comes to making friends with guys, no matter how brutally honest I can be, I always feel like they aren’t as honest back. And I never believe when they are saying being just friends is fine, ulterior motives are always there. Which gets proven time and time again when guys who claim to be my friends stop talking to me when they get girl friends, or when I finally explicitly tell them I am not interested or looking to date anyone at all, they stop talking to me. Now I am not saying every guy I talk to is interested in me. It’s not about me being conceited and thinking they are all attracted to me. It stems from the lack of trust I have in them to be honest with their intentions with me. And I hate it.

So here I am, unable to put my trust in anyone new in my life and not feeling like myself. And I feel alone. I have never felt so alone in my life. I have gone from living with my boyfriend who was around a lot while I was home, otherwise I was out with others, not as much time alone as maybe we both needed. To now being completely and utterly alone. I have a few friends here, Bryn and my roommates are lovely. I feel bad when I am invited to social events and I just can’t be fucked to go. I finally pulled myself together and went to a party that both my roommate and Bryn invited me to, and I felt like an outsider. I felt socially awkward and at one point I looked around and I knew what it was like to be in a room full of people and feel more alone than ever. Everyone knew at least half the people there (it was a crowded party, full of 20-30 somethings) and I knew a total of about three people. And from there I zoned out, where most times I would be social and meet people, I focused on the band playing and let myself wander off into my own little world.

So here I sit, the anti social, social girl, who spends her nights watching Netflix and knitting. I am not always sad, though tears do come to my eyes here or there, sometimes that happens when you are left alone with nothing to do but think. I am training myself to have my mind wander to positive things, to happy memories, but it takes effort and time. But today I realized that there is nothing wrong with this period in my life being anti social. We don’t always have to be surrounded by people and doing activities that involve others. I have enjoyed learning to knit, in fact I am sending out three scarves I have knit my friends back home today. And I know that this is just a period in my life, and not my life as a whole. I must learn to be okay being alone again. I must learn to deal with the silence and be at peace with it. I am lucky to be here in Whitehorse, teaching, even if I am not teaching every day. Each day that I am given the opportunity to go in to the classroom has given me hope and strength. Even if I continue to be rejected for opportunities in teaching that I feel I am ready for, I know that it just means it’s not my time yet and it’s not the right opportunity for me yet. So for now I will embrace the silence and learn to love myself again. For awhile there it was if I was hating myself for things that were beyond my control, for things that were done to me, and not things I have done.

My knitting for Meghan, check those personalized buttons 😉

Knit this for Heather

And knit this for Vanessa

I will make the most of my time here, when I can. I will stay in when I want to stay in and not feel bad for making that decision. I will go outside and do things alone because I like myself enough to do that. The other day it was freezing cold out, and I told myself that I needed to try to embrace the cold. I went on a walking adventure for a little while. Tried to take some pictures and I ended up way past my knees in snow from climbing snow mounds and it was fun. I laughed, I talked to myself, and I froze. And then I went home and curled up in my bed and got back to knitting and Netflix.

Solo snowy adventures

Chai tea latte, selfie stick, me and snow… 

This is Fish Lake

I have adventures ahead of me next month, in Dawson and Juneau, and I have my parent’s visiting me for a week. And though I choose to leave here in a few month’s time, I won’t look back at my time here with regret or sadness. This is the time in my life where I am meeting the silence and struggling with it, in order to face myself and figure out what I want out of life and where to go from here. And it is my hope that my next adventure brings me back to my old self, the person who is confident, happy and looks damn good in a dress.

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