on having no friends

DECEMBER 2018

Ok, not true. I have friends. It’s just that they’re all in a different country.

I am someone that has forced myself to be independent. I have spent years uprooting myself every time I got comfortable, and it’s worked. I am fully capable of being alone. But now, for the very first time, I have a partner in life. As much as it’s a nice addition, I have let myself lean on them quite heavily. Not so much on purpose, it’s just easy. Easy to go back to old habits, easy to rely on them, to ask them to speak for me when I don’t feel like speaking. I know I can order coffee, and ask questions, and do every thing I need to do myself. But I also know that if I don’t have to, I never will. That’s the part I still haven’t mastered. I just pushed people away because I was afraid to become codependent, and now I feel like I am.

So here I am in a country where the only person I know is my partner, of course I’m holding onto them for dear life. Except they’e not in the same position. For them, this is familiar, this is where their family and friends are. They have a life here and I just have them. I don’t want to suffocate them, but I have nothing else.

I don’t know how to make friends as an adult. Does anyone, really? Outside of work, how do people make meaningful connections? I feel like I need to take up a hobby, find some like-minded people. But I don’t even know what hobby I’d like. I tried to go to a yoga class but I ended up chickening out and crying in the parking lot instead, because I was so scared.

I feel very alone here a lot of the time. Which is silly because as I said before, I’ve grown to be very content on my own. Maybe it’s because I didn’t choose this solitude, and I can’t figure out how to change it.

This all sounds very depressing. Honestly, I don’t spend all that much time by myself, I spend most of my afternoons with my partner, my evenings napping or watching Netflix, and my nights at work. I just sometimes feel like I’m forcing my partner to spend all of their free time with me out of guilt, and I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t know.

So if any of y’all know how to make a dang friend in this world, let me know. Or give me some suggestions of hobbies to pick up in the meantime.

JANUARY 2019

I wrote this in a very desperate place. I wasn’t feeling well, in my head. I had convinced myself I was this burden to my partner, I wanted to push them away. Yet I felt like my heart was breaking every time they would leave my side. I cried a lot those first few months being in England. And I am not somebody that cries, really. I had a lot of trouble adjusting, but I didn’t want to admit it. I want to partially blame the winter, because generally, it is not my best season. I don’t like the dark and gloomy days, or the rain, or the cold all that much. It messes with my brain. I was also working night shifts at a very boring job in a factory, so I felt even more isolated from the real world.

Since writing this, I’ve been trying to be a little more proactive in making myself feel better. I’m not great at it, but I haven’t cried in a few weeks, so I guess I’m doing alright. I’ve been going out on my own a lot more, trying to cook more, read more, I’ve been getting back into yoga, just trying to get back into who I am as an individual person, and not as someone’s other half.

As for making friends, no progress has been made, but I’m not worrying about it anymore. I still have my friends, on the other side of a phone screen, or through a letter in the mail or a meme shared online. I hadn’t been appreciating them enough, because I had been so focused on my physical space. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be this perfectly functioning social being, even when I know that I am fully a loner, and I enjoy that life.

Anyways. This was a mess. Basically, I’m okay now. But who would I be if I didn’t have a mental breakdown over something silly every 6 months? Not me, that’s for sure.

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backwards/forwards

So here’s another year in review, as there is another whole year I’ve lived through.

It’s been a pretty good one. I’ll try to summarize with some stats.

Overall theme: love

Started in: Cumberland, BC, Canada

Finishing in: Torquay, Devon, England

Live shows: 4 (The Maine, Taylor Swift, Frank Turner, The Arkells)

Countries visited: 4 (Canada, England, Italy, Romania)

Jobs: 3

Journals filled: 2

Most played song: Get Away by George Ezra

Favourite movie: The Greatest Showman

Favourite book: Honeybee by Trista Mateer

Best burritos: Bang Bang in Toronto, Ontario

Advice from Dad: talk to each other

Overarching lesson: relationships are a learning process, just like knots and snowboarding, and the more you get into them, the more there is to master. There is no shame in not knowing, only in knot trying. Basically, open yourself up to doing things wrong, so you can figure out how to do it right next time.

Intentions for the year ahead: get back to yoga, see at least 4 new countries, start the poetry book I want to make, invest myself in a new hobby, and commit to actively reducing the amount of waste I produce in daily life.

Some words for a new year:

Because of course, you don’t need a new year to make positive changes. Any day is a good day to better yourself. And any day is a good day to reflect on what you’ve accomplished.

Xo, Rachel

three

Well then. I’ve gone and done it again.

3 years straight of blogtober – and for what? Mostly, I think, to prove it to myself. When I’m determined, I seem to figure things out. To encourage myself to continue writing, to be able to look back, to catalog another year. If nothing else, this always feels like an accomplishment. Even if I don’t say anything profound, even if my blog will never get a million views. I accomplished this either way.

Without getting too deep into it, this month was not easy. There were days I didn’t want to post anything, and there were days I felt like my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

My emotions were all over the place in October. I was really struggling in this new environment, and my anxiety felt debilitating some days. I’ve dealt with this long enough to know that it comes and goes – though I’m sure if you’ve had a good streak too, you really want to believe that you’re past it for good. I know for me it always feels like a huge step backwards. I have to tell myself that it’s not. Or if it is, what does it matter? Life goes on. Sometimes I just won’t have it in me to ask a salesperson for help.

Still out here dancing in the rain.

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If you read any or all of these posts, I hope you got something from it. And – thank you. For hearing me out.

xo

our first summer

Head resting on my shoulder
My feet in cold water

Our first summer
With words on paper
Postcards in envelopes
We speak through airwaves

You’ll bring the cold
But I’ll keep some heat
I’ll change my sheets
Don’t leave me alone

Just come over
That’s what I told her

Our days are out of time
I can’t write anything that rhymes
My heart got on a plane
When it returns, there will be poems

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I promise I’m nearly finished with all of my sappy long distance posts. I had a lot of free time to write and some pretty good inspiration – soon enough I’ll have gotten it all out of my system.

xo

the summer

And now, the last season I have to catch myself up on.

We already know that my summer was spent in a long distance relationship, but I haven’t yet shared what else went on in those months.

For the first time ever, I went back to a job. This was kind of a big deal for me. This also meant I was in a familiar place where I felt comfortable, and for once, I wasn’t throwing myself out of my comfort zone. It was interesting.

My summer months were spent in the woods again, hiking, biking, swimming, climbing, breathing in fresh air. In some ways, it felt like going home. Or returning to summer camp (not that I’ve ever been to summer camp).

Tobermory, I know I’ll see you again one day.

xo