Goodbye Life of a Spinster Aunt

I never imagined my wedding as a little girl.

My sister and I had bunkbeds as kids and it wasn’t rare that I’d fall asleep listening to her describe in painstaking detail every minute aspect of her shockingly purple wedding-to-be.

But that’s just it, I fell asleep. I wasn’t into wedding planning as an eight year old, even then I think they may have been some doubt because I don’t think I ever really thought I would get married. I just kind of assumed I’d grow too old and become a cat lady with no cats (cause I’m allergic) and just be a spinster aunt. I wasn’t even really disturbed by this reality, it just seemed like it was bound to be reality, it seemed natural.

I never really got particularly lonely as a child, I liked to read and play alone, and I was a little odd. We all know looking back we were a little odd but some people grow out of that. I don’t think I ever did, in fact I think I grew into it. I just kind of assumed that no one would want to put up with my weird and drama and pickiness and silly and I was okay with that, I didn’t think anyone had to. I’m a rather logical person; it seemed a rather logical conclusion.

And yet here I am, wedding planning. I’m still a little shocked sometimes that Ryan loves me, goodness, even likes me! I don’t even like me very much of the time! But then I wake up to a text, “Good morning beautiful” and I go to sleep to “I love you” and it’s this happy little surprise every time because somewhere inside I feel I can never expect it. I never expect to be loved and am often surprised to find that I’m liked. I am still not very good at being in touch with my emotions but I’m trying and the fact that someone could be so in touch with theirs as to consciously choose to spend some liking me, am I really worth it?

And please don’t think I say this so people can assure me that I am (in fact assurance has yet to have much affect and I’m 23) I simply say it because what I never expected, and assumed would never happen, has, and I picked out “The” white dress today and we’re picking venues and choosing colours and building up our wedding party squad and sometimes it’s like I’m in someone else’s dream because how could it possibly actually be mine? Where are the cats? Where is the spinster life? What is this love and acceptance and friendship and future?

It’s mine.

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The Need of Internet

I don’t need the Internet anymore.

Now there are a couple things in this sentence you could confront me on, first, need – who needs the Internet? But also anymore – so I did need it then? And what changed?

I’m reading a book for my Media and Society class right now called The Digital Invasion: How Technology is Shaping You and Your Relationships and it’s sort of freaking me out a tad but I think I’m also learning lots. It talks about Internet addiction and how it affects our brains and how we function and how it changes our relationships (for better and for worse, it’s not a doomsday book, they acknowledge that there are benefits!) but it’s making me consider how much I use the Internet and social media and why.

I began using the Internet more and more starting from around age seventeen. A friend introduced me to the vlogger (video-blogger) side of Youtube and within a few months I was vlogging myself. At this time I was in grade twelve and slowly giving into minor depression as I grew increasingly afraid of my unknown future and saw my friends all drifting into the great unknown. I felt that I was losing my friends, didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, didn’t like my part time job at a grocery store post-grad (I would “entertain” myself by seeing how far into a shift I could get without talking to someone. I clearly wasn’t a cashier!) and wasn’t pushing into God and building my faith thus allowing that to drift away too. I was lonely.

And the Internet, oh the Internet! The Internet helped me find friends, find friends fast and who had common interests and fun hobbies. I had Facebook, and now Youtube, next was Twitter and Tumblr, more and more ways to connect with my new friends. Now I’m not bashing this because it actually served a purpose in where I was at because as I somewhat dissolved into “living in” the Internet, it also helped bring me back out. I went to a convention in California, meeting friends I’d only previously known online. I’ve since gone on a second trip to DisneyWorld with them. I began organizing meet ups in Winnipeg a couple times a year for other people who were fans of some of the same Youtubers as I was.

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2012

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2012

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2013

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2013

The Internet sucked me in, yes. I became too reliant on it, yes. But it also helped me grow, a lot. I planned my portion of two trips out of the country and then travelled there alone. I organized meet-ups with people I’d never met before and spent time getting to know them. As I found solace online I began to gain more confidence in my real life outside of the Internet. I made friends with coworkers, I reconnected with high school friends, I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. As I gained a few subscribers on Youtube I began to value my voice and think about what I was saying more and through vlogging I actually developed an interest and some practical skill in video making, an aspect of what I hope my future career will involve.

Lately the Internet hasn’t been very fulfilling though. It’s no longer serving the purpose it once did and I think perhaps I’ve outgrown it. It’s not that I don’t value the friendships I made while regularly vlogging or even regularly watching Youtube videos – I do, very much, I would consider many of them to now be friends, but I no longer solely need the Internet to feel that I am connecting with people and being heard. I begin to find it tiresome, Internet connections cannot interact the same way as people in real life. I have friends and hobbies and goals and a life that extends past the limitations of my laptop and my wifi. I can appreciate the ability to stay connected using social media and the like, but I prefer to see friends in person and actually go out and to things and build relationships in that sense. And that’s a big change for me. There was a time when I would Facebook message you instead of trying to get together in person. Now, well… now I’ll do both 😉

I suppose over the last five years I’ve been able to mature and get to know myself better. I’ve experienced life online, and it’s fun for a time and serves its purpose, but I’ve discovered it’s crucially important to maintain a solid foundation in the real world. To be able connect with people in person is something that cannot be replaced and it is only through the challenges and bumps that we face along the road that we can grow, and those are rarely found within the safe walls we build up for ourselves online. Online is a place to hide from challenges and bumps, however, in the sage words of The Sound of Music‘s Reverend Mother, “These walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.”

-B

My New School

So post-skating soreness hit me this evening… I thought I was okay this morning, but nope, stairs could be an issue.

I start school again on Monday. The Christmas holiday hasn’t really felt a whole lot like a holiday, I had a grand total of three day offs but it was a good time and I had a school-side mental rest even if I didn’t get a full physical rest. But today I ordered my textbooks and I’m arranging rides fro school and I’m looking forward to it.

I started at a new school this September. I graduated high school in 2011, took a gap year in which I went to England (2011-2012), and then went to the University of Winnipeg for a year (2012-2013). I did not enjoy that year. At the time I was still dealing with coming out of some mild depression (I made a post about it a while ago) and I wasn’t sure who I was or what I wanted to do and I didn’t like school and I literally avoided people I knew when in a “mood” while at school and actively did not make new friends. I didn’t make a single friend at school. Not one. I don’t know if that’s normal, but I feel like its kind of not… It might have been me coming from a very small school to going to a larger school; it might have been the age, post-high school can be rough; it might have been the program I was in not being what I wanted; it might have been a mix of all of those things. Needless to say as I left the university after my last exam I said to myself, “I am not coming back here again. Ever.”
And I didn’t.

The next year I did an internship program with my church which I really enjoyed and then I was once again faced with the “where to now?” problem. I ended up choosing a smallish Christian University just outside of Winnipeg. Starting there I only knew one person through some mutual friends and I think that was a benefit for me because it meant I couldn’t hide behind friends I already had, I had to put myself out there and make new friends. I also could start afresh, no one knew me, or had any preconceptions about me, I could just be me and be accepted as such, not as “how I used to be” or “how I’ve changed”, but who I am. That was really nice.

I now commute every day with new friends, I’m happy to go to school in the morning (well I don’t like actively waking up, that sucks, sleep is the bomb-diggity, but, like, I’m generally happier to face the day ;D), I enjoy walking through the school doors each day, and leaving for Christmas break last month I felt genuinely sad – I was going to miss these people!

I’ve also enjoyed my classes a lot more, being happy somewhere is a major motivator for me to work hard in assigments and stuff (but not the only motivator, some class just suck but you gotta do them, it’s a thing). In the year at the university of Winnipeg I got 4 B’s, an A-, and a C. This past semester I got straight A’s. I got to take a class on religious themes in literature and we studied The Chronicles of Narnia. We had a Narnia party.

My Narnia class is cooler than your class…

A post shared by Becca (@rlpdean) on

We brought Narnia related snacks, dressed up in costumes, and watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I got marks for making and bringing a jelly roll to class.

Jelly Roll had been eaten up and bonus marks have been claimed!

A post shared by Becca (@rlpdean) on

(also, yeah, I made a jelly roll this year. I baked that. By myself. I was/am really proud of it so, yeah…)

One of my friends did a year long program at this school last year and when we were talking about school stuff recently she described the school as “The place where even the most unique characters can find belonging.” and it’s so true. Everyone I’ve met there is so unique and fun and different in their own ways and yet everyone seems to fit in and be happy and be friends, we all manage to click.

I love it. I’m so happy. I haven’t felt belonging like this in a very long time. It’s nice.

-B

Me: Depression

I’ve probably said stuff like this before but earlier this year when I decided wasn’t going back to the university program I was in, I began to feel really excited for my future, like I just knew good stuff was gonna happen and it was coming and that’s a big deal.

Why is that a big deal? Well in the latter half of grade twelve and until after the new year after graduation I went through a period of what I can only call depression. I’m loathe to call it that because I know the connotations and the mentalities often paired with mental illness. I also know what I suffered was very light depression compared to what many people have to go through and for that I am grateful, but when you’re in it, when you’re in it, it does not feel “light”.

I don’t know what caused me to spiral down into where I landed part way through grade twelve but I suspect it was the fact that this was a last year and big changes were coming and I had no clue, literally no clue what I wanted to do. I am a person who craves structure (and with that often comes a need for control) and not knowing what was going to happen FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE freaked me out and as I went through the year still not knowing what I was doing and having nothing I could dig up peak my interest, I allowed myself to shut down.

Shut down? Well, often when emotions intimate me, I’ve allowed my mind to get into the habit of shutting them down. I push the problem out of the way and ignore it. This creates indifference (can’t see it, don’t need to bother with it. It’s no longer there), and then if it’s something important, when the deadline arrives, this method of coping results in a panic and if it’s bad enough, a full-fledged anxiety attack. I’ve only ever had three anxiety attacks that I can think of and I NEVER want to go through that again. The only way I can explain it is something explodes. The emotions that have been shut down and blocked out suddenly… pop. and everything explodes. Sound is extreme, light is extreme, people can’t talk-shouldn’t talk, there’s just sound and crying and panic and breathing, breathing is really loud and hard to do, and nothing makes sense and my mind stops registering anything and the worst thing you can EVER do if this is happening is ask me “what’s wrong?” I don’t know, that’s part of the problem, I just don’t know what’s going on. Something has become the last drop in the emotional pool to knock down the wall and all the hidden emotions are coming out.

That was a sidenote, sorry. (But seriously, the best thing you can do for someone having an anxiety attack, at least one like that, is just sit down and wait it out. Be there. Don’t talk, just be there. When they’re ready, they’ll talk. Don’t ask, don’t probe. Wait, and then listen. Once they’re done, think before you speak, if you are a person of faith, then you pray what God wants you to say then and there, because if that person just opened up to you that way they’re being extremely vulnerable and they’re are going to remember what you say and if you begin telling them what they’re feeling is wrong in any way, you’ve lost and they’re going to shut back down and think twice before opening up to you again. Be there and CARE)

Oh look, another sidenote. On a lighter note, depression… erm, uhh, nevermind.
So that year was hard because I shut down emotions and told next to no one what I was going through because I really didn’t understand it myself so how could I explain it to them and ask them to help me? To me I simply felt hopeless and indifferent all the freakin time and let me tell you, that is a crap way to live your life.
(In hindsight, just tell an adult you trust, they will be able to help. I mean I don’t know that from experience but I can imagine that’s a lot easier then suffering through it alone. At least then someone else knows and you don’t have to fake happy-and-normal with everyone)

I think what also allowed me to get so far down the spiral was that I stopped doing daily devotions and I stopped really pressing into God. I’ve heard a preacher say you can never stand still in your relationship with God. You’re either going forwards or you’re going back. I know I wasn’t going forwards in my relationship with God, so that means I spent a whole year backsliding and having pity parties. That’s a bad state of mind to be in. I don’t remember what happened but one day it was like something clicked and I realized “I don’t have to live like this…” and so I stopped.

I think that’s what makes many people doubt what I went through was real, the fact that it finished so fast, the fact that I could literally “snap” out of it. I am not saying, “get a grip, you can just snap out of it” to people. It was a mindset change. Like I said, something clicked. I don’t know what it was but in that moment it was like a little bit of hope came back. It didn’t have to be like this. This wasn’t all there was to life.

I never suffered suicidal thoughts but one thing I often prayed was “God, if this is life, it’s not worth it.” I’m not sure if I was accusing him, or just letting him know that’s how I felt, but I still agree with the statement, if that was life it wasn’t worth it. Thankfully, that’s not life.

The last year has been tough. I’m still getting back to where I was with God before it all happened and I’ve still never talked to anyone expect a couple friends (actually, maybe only one…) in this much detail about that year, so sometimes I think I’m trying to do it too much on my own but I still have a very hard time opening up to people (seriously, posting this is tough but telling it to someone in person… I mean I don’t want to say impossible, but…). I’m relearning how to read my Bible. I’m trying to get that foundation because I want it so bad. I want there to be a God who wants to have a relationship with me, I want to know him, I want there to be hope, I want there to be salvation. I need it. I don’t just want it, I NEED it, because life without that, it isn’t worth it. It just feels empty and hollow and bleak. Very bleak…

So I’ve been excited and hopeful for what’s to come for the first time in a long time and a few months ago it was decided that my church was going to restart and revamp it’s post-secondary Bible school from when I was a kid and as soon as I heard that I knew, yes, that was what my next year was going to be. It was going to happen if it happened based on my desperate prayers alone and I was the only student. And it’s happening guys, it’s happening and I’m really excited. I’m going to be getting theological training, and mentorship, and church ministry practicum, and I’m going to learn so much and grow so much in my relationship with God and I can’t wait! I know it’s going to be frightening and I’m going to have to learn to open up to people and I’m going to have to let go of a lot of control problems but I’m, well not ready, but I’m waiting in anticipation and I’m probably as ready as I’ll ever be!

I’m excited. I’m really excited that I AM excited. This is new. This is a new beginning, and it’s going to be good.

-Becky.

Some of my "textbooks" for school this year

Some of my “textbooks” for school this year

Post-Vidcon

It’s amazing how a habit can be made with such effort and then broken in a single moment.

I didn’t have reliable internet all weekend so that’s why I missed Aug 1-Aug4 for blogs posts. I won’t be making them up. It was because I was in LA at Vidcon meeting people and doing things and having fun! Now I’m home and I have reliable internet but my friends are all gone and my room is empty and I’m alone and it’s 1:20am.

This was not a good trade.

I wasn’t sure I would go back to Vidcon next year, but now that I’m home and everyone has gone their own way, I feel like I NEED to go to Vidcon next year!
#postvidcondepression

A full summary/explaination/future-Becky-will-want-to-remember-all-this-stuff will come tomorrow
-B