failing (and other things i’m not doing)

friday, april 28th

so I’ve moved back home and I’m trying really hard to look at the bright side – free rent, familiar faces, the freedom of time. but it’s hard, because being here at all, it feels like a failure. it’s like all the progress, everything I’ve done in the past 2 years was for nothing, because I’m back where I started.

the suburbs are melting my brain, sucking my motivation, molding me into the mundane I once was.

Thinking back to 2 months ago, when I was suddenly having to make a decision between staying in BC though I had nowhere to live, or going home, it felt like the actual end of the world. Realistically, I could have easily found a place in somewhere and got on with it, but I chose to go home. I got on that plane in Vancouver filled with a sense of dread that I couldn’t shake. For once, I wasn’t excited to be returning to my family, and I didn’t know why. I just felt like I was making the wrong move.

I was afraid that I’d go home and get stuck there, fall into some kind of black hole and become the sad sack I had been 2 years before. I couldn’t stop feeling like if I just never moved back, I’d be OK. That it was the place that made me that way, not my brain. BC was my home, I didn’t want to abandon it just as I was getting comfortable.

Fast forward to now, I can see that being here wasn’t as life-ruining as I thought it would be. Yeah, I spent the first couple of weeks complaining about the suburbs, and the weather, and the people and everything, but I’ve genuinely had a great time. I’ve been surrounded by love and have had so much time to work on myself. I’ve been doing yoga, going for long walks, laying out in the sun, reading for the first time in a while, and appreciating the place I am in. I even went for a few bike rides, which has been something I though I hated since I was probably 10 years old. The dread in my heart has been replaced with a sense of peace that I haven’t felt in quite some time. It was all my mindset, duh. This place is still home, after all.

Basically, I’m leaving on Friday and I almost don’t want to. But it’s time for a new adventure (plus I haven’t worked in like 3 months and I’m supposed to be an adult). Onwards and upwards!!!!!

Xo, Rachel

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snow day

I spent this past winter on Vancouver Island, and while most of the time I was thankful that it wasn’t all that cold, I really did miss the snow. Lucky for me, the island got one big snowfall – enough for me to get the day off work. So bought a new disposable camera and a coffee and took the bus up to Goldstream Provincial Park (a pretty decent trek, but definitely worth it). It was one of the best days I had the entire winter, running through the snow with the biggest smile on my face like it was the first time I’d seen the white stuff, and it may as well have been.

 

I’m so glad I braved the cold and the messy streets, because these are some of my favourite photos I’ve taken since leaving Tofino last August. Probably because I had so much fun taking them.

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The snow only lasted a couple of days, but I think I made the most of it.

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The song I wanted to include isn’t on YouTube so here’s a Spotify link if you are so inclined.

ALSO! I have put up a few new photos on my Society6 that you can check out here!

Xo, Rachel

road trips

I like to consider myself a semi-professional when it comes to packing after spending the last 2ish years doing almost nothing but, so here are some words of stupidity from someone who still sucks at packing!


So, you’re going on a road trip? Been there. The prep is crucial to the whole experience, yeah? Sure. I recently got rid of nearly everything I owned except what I thought I would need living out of a car for 3 or so weeks, not even knowing where exactly I was going to be visiting. Turns out that BC is still pretty cold mid-March and maybe I shouldn’t have gotten rid of all my winter clothes. Live and learn.

What you’ll pack:

  • Healthy food so you can cook all your meals at hostels to save money
  • Instruments to play out of the back of your car at some picturesque lookout
  • Fancy camera to capture all the beautiful moments you’ll have
  • Books! You’ll have so much time to read!
  • Camping equipment
  • French press, duh
  • Clothes that don’t suit the season you’re travelling to
  • Cute decorations for the car
  • Emotional baggage
  • Soap that you’ll leave somewhere but replace with something from a free bin at a hostel
  • Multiple hat options
  • Yoga mats, for doing yoga…
  • Laundry detergent?

What you’ll actually need:

  • Clif bars, because you can’t be bothered to cook
  • Hair elastics!
  • A freaking coat
  • A water bottle
  • Podcasts to listen to
  • An aux cord
  • A map?
  • A plan?
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Cash
  • A charger for the fancy camera you brought
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wifi to find the vegan options near you
  • Hand cream
  • All that car stuff that you are supposed to always have
  • Good spirits

But really though, if you cook your own food on road trips, please teach me how to be like you. I can’t do another 3 weeks of McDonalds and junk food from various gas stations. I really can’t. I’m just saying, those vagabonds I follow on Instagram must have some real talent because all the road trips I’ve been on have been dirty and unorganized and sleep-deprived. None of that string-lights-hung-above-a-cozy-bed-in-the-trunk, coffee-made-in-tin-mugs-over-a-campfire, writing-poetry-in-the-passenger-seat shit. We had fun, though. It just wasn’t pretty.

Xo, Rachel

Let’s Talk: Part 4

Ok hi! This is the first time I’m posting this on my Real Blog and not my Tumblr so I’m a bit nervous but here we go!!

I’ve been posting little updates/pep talks for myself on Bell’s Let’s Talk day every year for the past 4 years and somehow I still get my thoughts all jumbled and forget to include probably important stuff even though I am trying here. Bare with me.

So, we all know that mental health is important. And we all know that it’s so hushed. And we all know that half the battle is feeling like you’re alone in your experiences. We know this, yet we gloss over things because we are afraid? I don’t know why we do this.

Personally, last year was a bit of a mess. I have come to realise though that life is supposed to be up and down and you have to ride it out. I spent my summer in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and I felt horrible. I also spent some time doing nothing in the middle of nowhere, feeling great. I definitely felt more depressed this year as opposed to the previous year being fuelled by anxiety, these things seem to come in waves. I also started feeling very spaced out, or at least noticing that I was feeling spaced out, which was sweet. Overall, it was a year of recognising my feelings and trying my best to accept them instead of pushing them away. See, for a long time I couldn’t draw the line between “I’m upset because of my brain” and “I’m upset because something upsetting has happened” and that was frustrating. I kept going back and forth with “well, would a normal person be mad about this or is is just me? Am I in a depressive state or am I just sad because I miss my family? What’s the difference?” and if you’ve ever had that inner debate, I have no advice, but I’m right here with you.

Last year my goal was to make my blog a place where people could go to have their feelings validated by sharing more and more of the things I tend to keep to myself. Whether that be the things that make me anxious or the way it feels to be in a depressive low or even the way I feel when I feel great! I’ve just been having human emotions out here in the open and nobody has come at me with a pitchfork. I’ve gotten feedback from people that I don’t know, and even some people that I hadn’t spoken to in years, because they read my words and found a kind of comfort. That really kept me going through all of October and even now – it’s nice to know that even though sometimes I feel like I’m sending these thoughts into a void, they occasionally reach other humans.

It makes me want to write more and talk more and text my friends to tell them that I don’t feel alright and tell them why and have them tell me they have felt the same, or simply send me heart emojis. I don’t know. I’ve been trying to be a more empathetic person instead of a disconnected robot person and it’s been working out quite well.

Talking helps. So much. More than yoga and more than drinking water and more than hurting yourself.

Use your words, friends.

Xo, Rachel

year in review, part 2

Because it rhymes.

It’s been a year. Kind of a weird one, as a matter-of-fact. I think we can all agree on that. Here are some more Life Lessons from me, a person Totally Qualified to give advice after learning things The Hard Way (quite possibly the only way to learn things).

#1 – don’t force it
I spent a lot of these past few months frustrated that I couldn’t seem to write anything, that I didn’t have the same desire to write as I had in the spring. Truth is, I needed a break. I needed to do other things for a while. I shouldn’t have expected myself to be able to write 3 pages a day for the rest of my life. I don’t have it in me. This goes for everything – if it’s supposed to be fun but you’re putting so much pressure on yourself that it feels like a burden, let it go. Step away from it for a moment.

#2 – go
Cheryl Strayed said that wanting to go is reason enough, and I completely agree. I’ve had 4 different jobs this year, because suddenly the urge to go hit me like a ton of bricks, and I went with it. I trust that gut instinct – if I feel like I need to go, I go.
And if I want you to go, I’ll let you know. Or I’ll try to be subtle and tell you that you can’t sleep in my bed because you snore. And I’ll keep telling you that until you get the hint (if you’re reading this, you really did snore, and I really couldn’t sleep. I also didn’t want to kiss you anymore). Not quite the same as my family’s “go before you go” rule, but both are valid.

#3 – it’s No Big Deal
I currently work at an art studio that does a lot of classes for kids as well as birthday parties and at the start of each one, the intructor lists off our 4 rules: No Running, Be Nice, No Big Deal, and Have Fun. Oh, how smashed we’d all be if we drank every time a coworker said “oh, it’s no big deal” on a Saturday afternoon. But it’s so true! Much like the whole don’t worry, be happy motto, No Big Deal is our daily mantra. You got paint on your face? It’s no big deal. Your mug didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to? No big deal. You showed up late to the party? NO BIG DEAL. It might seem silly, but most things in life are not a big deal. Nearly everything is fixable, and if it’s not, it’s really no big deal. You’ll get over it.

#4 – be kind
One of the rules at work, and something said quite often during a yoga practice. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, be kind to your surroundings. Be thankful for your body, getting you where you need to be, for the sunshine and the rain, the places you can go, the people you have met. Be nice to the people closest to you and be nice to strangers. Practice self-love.

#5 – stop making things worse for yourself
exhibit a- don’t listen to sad music all of the time
Your mood depends heavily on what you’re listening to, so choose songs that make you want to dance and sing and get out of bed in the morning. Limit the amount of times you listen to Holocene to like, 3 times a day.
exhibit b – no caffeine after 6pm
I was thinking the other day about how I had so much trouble sleeping for years and years, and I’d always attributed it to my poor mental health but looking closer, I had been drinking like 7 cups of caffeinated tea per day and barely eating. And I wondered why I was so anxious and high strung all that time? Of course you won’t be able to sleep if you drink black tea at 10pm to “calm yourself down before bed”. Hindsight is 20/20!!!!

#6 – most places have non-dairy milk
Self-explanatory.

#7 – you need other people
I included this one last year and I’m including it again because sometimes I forget.

#8 – it’ll make a good story
If ever you’re on the fence about saying yes to an experience, remember that actually going to Christmas dinner at your boss’ parents house makes a better story than just being invited. Trust me.

#9 – being stingy pays off
All those months of eating oatmeal instead of cereal because water is free, drinking only tea and tap water, living with people you don’t like because the rent is low, and reading the same books over and over could mean being able to fly home or escape to the mountains for a few weeks. Ya never know.

#10 – make something
Anything.

Lastly, if someone tells you that they love you, don’t tell them that they don’t. Even if you don’t believe them. Even if your insecurity tells you that it can’t be true. Validate other people’s feelings. This is something I am learning from experience, after doing the wrong thing. Don’t ever tell someone that what they feel is wrong. And on the other side, if you feel something, don’t be afraid to tell someone. It doesn’t have to be a romantic thing, it could be anything. Let yourself have emotions.

Let’s not beat ourselves up about the forgotten resolutions, because as I said in my last post, it’s our expectations that end up hurting us in the end, not the people or the places or the events occurring. Instead think about all of the things that you didn’t plan for – all of the things you did that weren’t on your list of resolutions. Chances are, you accomplished loads of things this year that you didn’t even know were in the cards. Give yourself a break.

Oh, and like, get wrecked.

Xo, Rachel

a note-to-self

it was nice while it lasted.

remember this. do not taint good memories with the present situation. don’t look back and only see failed relationships and crumbled friendships as they ended. do not forget about all the good times before the fated finish. you shouldn’t strive to forget people that are no longer in your life. they were there for exactly as long as they were meant to be. there was never going to be anything more. it is only because of expectations we create that it feels like an unfair parting. remember people for everything that they were, instead of everything they were not, everything you wanted them to be. remember the good.

i was talking to one of my friends on the phone recently and he told me that even when it’s over, if you cared about someone, it doesn’t go away. if it came down to dropping everything if they ever needed it, you probably would. and i think that’s ok. just don’t leave the light on for the rest of your life. maybe you needed to hear this, too. hope you’re well.

xo, rachel

 

 

Me as a Tour Guide

So I recently moved to Victoria and have been slowly making my way around the city when I have time. This past week, my dad came out to the west coast to visit me (and for work but mostly for me, right?) and that was my chance to really start getting out there.

My dad rented a car for the duration of the time he was out here, and we took full advantage of that, from driving to work in the morning to making the journey back to Tofino, where I spent my summer. It’s a little hard to show someone around when you don’t fully know the place yet yourself, but it was a lot of fun. More often, we went to places I hadn’t even seen yet, but had heard good things about. My dad also brought a camera charger from back home so I can finally use my camera again! Hurray! I know I could have just bought a new charger after losing my last one, but I just hate spending money on stuff like that!!

Here are a few of my favourite photos that I took during the 4 and a half days my dad was in town

Now that I can actually use my camera I’m stoked to start taking pictures again and properly learning photo stuff. Cool.

I think I’m finally rested enough after blogtober to continue blogging again so there’s that!

Xo, Rachel