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.

Twenty-Three

And so twenty-two is done. I am twenty-three.

Some people have asked me, what’s so bad about 23? Why the fuss? And I know, I know, I was drama queening a little bit, gotta make a fuss around birthdays you know! Adds to the fun! But 23 does feel different for some reason. Usually ages don’t feel like a big deal, at least I don’t find them a big deal, but this one felt different.

I always wanted to be twenty-two. I think I romanticized the age a bit. I was born on the twenty-second, 22 was my jersey number in basketball, twenty-two was my mum’s age when she got married. It seemed like it would be a big year, a special year! It was my champagne birthday after all! #22onthe22 (and I’ve realized I had no champagne all year, this is what happens when you don’t really like alcohol all that much…)

And it was a great year! I finally hit a rhythm and completed my second year of my degree instead of changing my degree again, a wonderful boyfriend came into the picture, I made new friends and had great times with old friends, there was a road trip to BC, adventures in Seattle… Twenty-two was a good year, I enjoyed it!

But see, seven year old Becky would disagree. Seven year old Becky would have graduated by now and would be a teacher. Seven year old Becky would have gotten married this year. Seven year old Becky would be very pleased that I actually have dyed my hair red. (six year old Becky would be quite pleased with that fact too…) So I’m sorry seven year old Becky, red hair is the only part of your plan that will ever come to pass because I’m no longer twenty-two, the goal age has passed. I cannot fulfill your dreams in the time you gave me, but no, no I won’t say sorry for that seven year old Becky, because sometimes some things need a bit more time. You see life isn’t all as quick and easy as dying your hair. Life is messy and doesn’t fit into molds very neatly. The future is unknown, it’s unplanned, and it’s very unlikely to be uneventful.

Now I get to be twenty-three.

Failure, the Monster of Fear

I want to design things.

I keep seeing videos or projects or posters or fonts that make me want to make stuff. I listen to songs that make me want to make things and everything is just beautiful and so well done and I want to be able to do that too, but I can’t.

I hate the learning process. Let me unpack that a bit… I like learning new things, but I like to learn them and be able to be good at them right away. Maybe I like to discover things. Discovering things usually means they’re ready to go, like discovering a talent for something! Learning things means having to not be very good at them at first. It means being able to see something I want to be able to make so perfectly in my minds eye, and not being able to recreate it.

Learning is frustrating, it’s hard, it’s discouraging, it’s frightening. What if what I desire to create is something I will never achieve? What if no matter how hard I work and study and learn, I’ll never develop the ability to truly do to the extent I desire?

This week I feel like I’ve seen so many things that spark that desire to create, but I haven’t created a thing because I’m scared to try and sure I’ll fail. People tell me otherwise and they say I’ll be great, or they say, that’s part of learning! but that doesn’t actually lessen the sting of failure. I’ve built up failure as a monster of a fear in my mind’s eye, I might only be looking at the shadow, failure could be a mouse in front of a candle’s flame, but that shadow on the wall is big and scary and I’m not sure I can face it just yet. I begin to wonder if I’ll ever be ready to face it.

 

These are some things that I loved the look and sound and feel of lately:

Tessa’s music video for her song “Dream”

Dodie’s song “Sick of Losing Soulmates” (heads up, contains swear words)

Episode 1 of Emily’s webseries “Cold” (everything Emily touches is so beautifully made, her Letters to July series are amazing)

 

I turn 23 at the end of this week. It sounds too grown up.

-B

Throwing our own Paint Nite!

Paint Nite has been becoming quite the thing in my sphere of friends lately. I hadn’t really heard of the concept before a few months ago but it seems to be basically a group art class. Materials (canvas, paint, brushes, etc) are all provided and the event is hosted at a local bar or pub or cafe and a host/instructor walks everybody through a painting step by step so everyone leaves with their own variation of the specific piece being taught that night. It’s quite a fun idea really! Problem is, when you’re a poor not-quite-but-close-enough-to-being broke student it can get a tad pricey.

Now I’ve always said I wasn’t artsy, never have I claimed artistic talent or much creativity. My area is video filming and editing and I enjoy that and like to think I’m decent at it, anything that involves drawing or paint however I tend to avoid. As soon as art classes were an optional course in junior high I took French or choir instead, I was out of the art room as fast as possible!

My friends wanted to do a paint nite though. We handily discovered there are a bunch of paint nite style tutorials on youtube and Karen, who is pretty dang artistic, had a bunch of canvases and paint lying around she said we could use so really I lost all excuses. There was a minimal fee, it was at a friends house, there was a tea party involved, how can one say no?

We decided to go for one titled, City Walk, Girl in the Rain which was quite pretty looking and when we arrived at Karen’s place she had the kitchen all set up as a little art studio! Canvases propped up beside paper plates for paint palates, cups of water and new packs of paintbrushes that Bekka had picked up for each of us.

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So we made us some tea and were ready to go!

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I learn by mimicing. I like to hear instructions and walk along them step by step. This seemed to be the perfect learning environment for that, especially as we could pause the video while we all finished a step before moving on.

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Mixing the colours was probably my favourite part. From learning to edit photos a bit I’m beginning to get the hang of balancing around the colour wheel and it was fun adding bit to make new shades and see things like that there was a significant difference in the colour results between, say, adding yellow to red, from red to yellow.

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We worked with a lot of orange. Like a lot. At one point I was pretty sure that there was no way it was going to finish off with the desired yellow dress and bright red umbrella. Everything was orange!

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But suddenly we were painting over the orange and, low and behold, the colours popped like crazy!

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To finish it all off we got to make drips and splatters, to extenuate the raininess I guess, and thaaaaat was pretty fun! First making water paint and then just splattering stuff everywhere!

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I got a little carried away while splattering a couple times, a few became more like splots!IMG_1156

And then it was done, we had created art! I found I actually was quite pleased with the end result of mine, especially for the first time painting anything since required art classes in grade six! Karen and Veera went with more muted backdrops for theirs, in fact Karen’s almost looks like its in a thunderstorm! Bekka and I stuck with the original colour scheme, not adventuring away from the steps quite yet!

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Our final products! (Clockwise from top right, Bekka, Karen, me, Veera)

I was surprised to discover I actually really enjoyed the evening, painting is a lot more fun then I remember! Hopefully we do it again soon!

If you want to give it a shot, it’s super easy! theartsherpa on youtube has a ton of beginner’s tutorials and all you’ll really need is a canvas, some acrylic paint, and some brushes! She even lists the paint colours and all the supplies that she uses in the descriptions of her videos to help you prep! Go forth friends, make art!

-B

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

Long Story Short

Hello, long time no post. How’ve you been? Yeah? Cool/That’s great/Sorry to hear that/Really?

I’ve been good. I mean today wasn’t the best morning but generally I’ve been good, really.

I haven’t posted a personal post on this blog since September 13 when I explained that I would be using this blog for a school project for the semester. I did that and then kind of ditched, sorry! Guess I got blogged out. But really what that means is you know nothing about how my junior year of university is going! Here’s the cliffsnotes version from September to now:

  • I’m doing a lot more major-specific courses at university this year and it’s really fun! I like my major, yayyyy! I started practicum in January, I’m working with the communications and media department at my university so that’s fun! Also really convenient because I commute out to school which takes up a good two hours of driving each day, so doing my practicum at school means I can use my long spares for something productive and I don’t have to do yet another thing on top of homework when I finally make it home at the end of the day!
  • I have a boyfriend. His name is Ryan, I like him lots and we’ve been dating for five months. I don’t know what else to say about this, umm ask questions if you want…?
    Haha okay so here’s the deal, I never know how to talk about relationship stuff and its not because I want to keep it quiet or anything I just don’t want to overshare or seem like I’m boasting in the wonderfulness that is our relationship (which I could do, really!). I’m more than happy to answer questions if you care but don’t expect me to volunteer much unprompted!
Internet, meet Ryan.

And now for your formal introduction, Internet, meet Ryan.

  • I really want to work at DisneyWorld. Haha alright so this isn’t really new, this has been years in the making, but this past spring I applied for the Disney Cultural Exchange program which would have meant I would have been working at Disney World, FL for three months over the summer. I got an interview but would have had to fly out to Toronto for a forty-five minute meeting which I just couldn’t do as a somewhat broke college student. So alas my dreams of working at Disney have been dashed for now but who knows… after all, Winnipeg has a Disney Store!
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See, Disney means hanging out with friends! Disney is a happy place to be!

  • My mum has officially had her new kidney for over a year! Some of you may remember last January when my mum had a kidney transplant due to kidney failure. January 8th was the one-year anniversary of that surgery and everything continues to go swimmingly! The kidney took really well and she’s got more energy and is able to sleep better and eat more and all sorts of things! It’s really nice =)
  • I have managed to keep Rory the fish alive for a year and four months. He’s still swimming folks! That means he has survived me for ten months longer than any of my past fish did… Good job Rory.

So there my update for ya and for future me who may just be narcissistic enough to come back and read these one day… I probably won’t be posted regularly on here because school is craaaaazy and life’s busy but I’ll try my best to pop by! In the meantime, if you’re just dying to keep up with all my comings and goings, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@rlpbeckleston) or Instagram (@rlpdean). I’m around there pretty often!

It’s nice to be back =) Hope all your present endeavors are going well! Talk to ya later!
-B

Facing the “Final Boss”: Anxiety

Approximately 12% of Canadians struggle with a form of social anxiety, with around 6.8 million Americans being diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety is a very real issue for many people in our world and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It is also not something to give into.

As someone who suffers with anxiety I realize this is much easier said than done. When you’re on the brink of an anxiety attack saying “This is not something to give into” will (probably) do absolutely nothing, but anxiety is curable. There are ways to face minor fears little by little and gradually build up to facing the larger ones. Going to a new place for a walk may may not call up as much anxiety as “meeting the parents” for the first time but it can be a way to build up confidence in facing fears and enable you to face the next one better! Think of it as ways to level up! Have to start with the littler “Bosses” and build your way up to defeating the “Final Boss”. Sometimes you have to redo a level a couple times but you can keep building up.

Defeat the game, Level Up!