I’ve gone to a lot of weddings by myself. I rock up to the church in four inch heels and my parent’s minivan, toting a gift I hope they actually want. I sneak in the back and sit next to someone I vaguely know, inevitably cry during the wedding vows, and then afterwards, in the lobby, sip punch and turn on my best girl-flirting (ohmygoshyoulooksogoodwheredidyougetyourdress?!).
At the ceremony, I’m usually at the designated singles-table, which can either be painfully boring or the life of the party. Either way, no one judges you for getting seconds or thirds of cake, or stealing a bottle of wine from the table next to you.
You’re teetering on the edge of the wooden dock, hands clutched beneath your chin, shivering, squealing, trying to muster the courage to jump into the frigid water. In truth, it’s not the water that you fear, what you want to postpone is the initial shock of cold that launches through your body upon first submerging. You know that in a few minutes you will be fine, but oh that dreaded icy shock.
That’s what “putting yourself out there” feels like.
The phrase itself sounds laughably cryptic; “out there” …out where? It’s a cannonball into a murky abyss. And just like jumping in the lake, we hate stepping out of our comfort zone because of the chilling jolt that follows. Except this time, it comes in the form of awkward introductions, potential rejection, or worse…endless small talk.
No one tells you that the hardest part of traveling is coming home. After nine months of not being able to drink tap water, and carrying toilet paper in my purse because “you-just-never-know”, I was ready to come home to Canada, to my family and Tim Hortons and a shower I knew would have hot water.
So why as the plane began its descent into Toronto was I feeling not only reluctance, but fear? I suddenly wanted to pull a one-eighty and go back to the humidity and mosquitoes and the glorious unknown of Southeast Asia. I didn’t want to face the cold weather, certainly, but I also did not want to have to face the dreaded question, “So, how was your trip?”
I once had a friend who would look knowingly at me during moments of happiness and ask, “How do you feel, Katrina?” I’d smile and always reply, “I feel infinite”. I hope you’ve felt this. It’s the feeling you get when you’re driving on the highway at dusk, night slowly falling, a song on the radio about youth or being in love. You think of nothing ahead or behind but the moment seems to stretch on indefinitely and you let out a little shriek because it feels like your soul is going to burst.
2016 was the worst year ever. At least that’s what I have been told by the internet and countless millennials educated by the prestigious academy of Instagram Meme Accounts. In fact, when I typed “2016 was” into the Google search bar, I was given the options of “a bad year”, “the worst year”, and “a mistake”.
I’m sitting here on my cozy apartment balcony, sipping coffee as I always do, and over-romanticizing things as I usually do. I can’t help but think about how I sat on the balcony of my first apartment overlooking the cityscape three years ago, convinced it was the greatest apartment ever and the most beautiful view I had ever seen.
Blue true dream of sky. Trees in italics. Water like a bed sheet rippling in the wind. Clouds like wispy baby hair. Lazy adolescent sun dragging its feet across the kitchen floor.
I felt as though I was in a Group of Seven painting as I observed Georgian Bay from my canoe. Wholly distracted by the beauty around me I was a perfectly useless canoeing partner – forgetting to paddle most of the time, and when I did remember, paddling on the wrong side of the boat. Yet it was the kind of morning that distracts canoers, inspires poets, and makes awaking at ungodly hours worthwhile.