Friday, 12 December 2014

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't"

This is why.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

2014 passed in a blur. I admit that I'm mildly confused.

2014 acted like a thick wall between everything that preceded it and the present. The past is actually in the past now. All the stories that were interlinked, the emotions and motivations that were carried on year after year suddenly stopped there. All relationships severed, all ties cut, all mental blocks removed...

I've felt very tired in 2014. I have a career that many would envy, but it leaves me exhausted. I sleep my weekends and evenings away. Is this a life I want to live? In 2015, I hope I will find something that I will actually enjoy doing.

I've been hiking more often in 2014, both alone and with friends, which was my main enjoyment in 2014. There are many other mountains I'd like to hike, and many landscapes that I dream of. In 2015, I hope to discover much more.

I've been dating a lot in 2014. Some that I think I would be happier if we never met, some that I think I would be happier if I could fall for them...but I can't and I'm left to wonder why. Why is sometimes the person right, but timing isn't...and other times, it is the other way around. In 2015, I hope to meet the right one at the right time.

I've travelled to Central America in 2014, made friends with locals in Guatemala, explored Honduras on a horse, climbed a volcano in Nicaragua, partied it up Costa Rica and learning about Panama's fascinating history. I hope to keep on travelling in 2015. In fact, I'm going to India and Nepal in 2 weeks.

There has been no drama in 2014, no empty aches...they say that it's a sign of happiness and maturity, but I don't feel overwhelmed. Nothing. I'm left with silence. I'm not sure if I'm satisfied....I'm not sure what is supposed to happen next...

What science says

Thursday, 4 December 2014

I recently learnt something new; impulses originate in the amygdala, which is where emotions and motivations originate from, especially those related to survival. It’s where emotions are at its purest form as it is unaffected by external factors. Then, emotions are processed into rational thoughts in the frontal cortex …not the other way around. That means that humans are motivated primarily by emotions but, they will use conscious decisions to justify their unconscious decisions.

Mark Manson, author, explains that “our frontal cortex may paint a colorful picture of the person and the situation, but the amygdala's initial reaction is what chooses the color palette to begin with."

Although, he said he was a mind-type of person, the truth is that he was following his heart from the beginning as well, just without realizing or admitting it. In return, all I do is more analyzing…I’ve been slowly falling into a slave of my own mind, just like he did. Our emotional reactions are a combination of so many factors, both unconscious and conscious that we'll never pinpoint them all with any certainty. However, I guess it gave me a sense of security by doing so...

…And most of the times, following your heart will just earn you the label of crazy person. removing mental blocks rather than constructing new models of information. It is what I’ve been trying to do…

Big Slide

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A year ago, I bought my first pair of hiking boots without ever being on a hike. I always felt there was something about being alone in the woods...something poetic, therapeutic and magical.

My first hike was a "difficult" hike; the loop of Mont St-Josepth, Mont Victoria and Mont Megantic. That hike almost destroyed me, but I didn't stop. I slowly bought all kinds of gear to make hiking funner and easier, learned some techniques along the way and built the confidence to hike alone.

Now, I'm able to initiate other people to hiking, most of my entourage hiked at least once with me, which I really appreciate and proud of. Last weekend, I brought some friends to Big Slide Mountain. The view was amazing; probably one of the nicest view in the Adirondacks.

People often assume that I love hiking...I'm still not sure if I do...but one thing I know for sure is that I'm really addicted to that feeling of complete exhaustion, emptiness and relief.

Dating game part 4: When you're opponent is your heart

Saturday, 18 October 2014

This one will be the last one I talk about in this series.

I don't want to miss any details, but it's been a while now. I've written about him before without mentioning specifically about anybody. I've written so much about him because I'm still trying to justify it.

It was towards the end of 2013 when I moved to a larger firm. People often say they would never date a coworker, but the thing is, we work in different teams in one of the largest firms; we never have to deal with each other at work. We would certainly never talk to each other if it wasn't because I went towards him. It's almost as if we worked in a big shopping mall, and I work at Wal-Mart while he worked at Target.

I think people don't want to deal with this because they are scared of what might happen if you date someone from work and end up hating each other, the person might spread rumors, you might still have to see their face at work and deal with all the awkwardness...but the reality is that by the time it happens, one of us would have already quit the company. I think it used to be not so appropriate back in the days because people used to work in the same company until they retire, but in today's age?!

This is how I first saw him. One day in December, I was in the office, concentrating on work and suddenly heard someone talking quite loud behind me. I turned around to see who was talking so loudly and saw him. He also saw me looking at him. At first, I actually thought he was someone else I met at the company's training. I didn't pay much attention at first, but he kept walking back and forth so many times that I noticed him more. Then I went to the washroom, and saw him in a office, but the name on the office door was not the name of the person I met at the company's training...and I was just curious to know who he was.

I though he was cute but just like any cute guys I see, I forget after a while. Until the end of January, we walked past each other in the hallway during lunch time. I was walking towards the elevators and he was probably going back to his office. We were staring at each other, but we both had a blank expression on our face. I didn't even realize that it was the same person who was talking so loud several weeks ago. I noticed that he was taller than I thought. While I was waiting for the elevator's doors to close, I saw him rushing out. We stared at each other again, with our blank face, through the glass door while the elevator's doors were closing.

Not sure what happened during that expressionless moment, but I suddenly really wanted to talk to him and get to know him. I thought of many ways to go talk to him that day. For 3 days, I would go to work determined to talk to him, but I would always go home frustrated because I wasn't able to get myself to do it. I seriously had trouble sleeping for 3 days because I'd be thinking about talking to him the day after. I was so nervous. At the same time, I like that kind of excitement; it feels like I'm going on an adventure.

Thursday, I was still determined to talk to him, and I absolutely had to do it. I didn't want to think about this anymore.

I knocked on his door, and here's how it went.

"S'cuse me, I didn't want to bother you, but would you know the code for the photocopy machine?" I know. What a lame excuse, right?  I actually knew the code for the photocopy machine, and I didn't even actually need to use it either.

"No, no, you're not bothering me." He was smiley and very receptive, which surprised me, because he usually looks very serious and I thought he would be mad that I bothered him for such small matters. He wrote the code down on a post-it for me.

Later, as I was leaving the office, I dropped by his office again. I forgot what I wanted to say the second he looked at me. I stood there looking at him, and probably made him very uncomfortable. There was an awkward silence for 5 seconds, and if you think about it, 5 seconds is very long. I couldn't find my words. "What's up?" he said.

"I actually knew the code for the photocopy machine." I finally said.


"I just wanted to talk to you."

"Ah...that's cool," he replied, without any expression or even looking at me, which I was really pissed about, but then, what could a normal person possibly say that isn't too corny or embarrassing on the spot like that, right?

"What is your name?"

"X, and you?"

I told him my name, and he asked me questions like who I work with, if I like it here, etc. It was mostly him asking me questions, because I was still very embarrassed, nervous and excited that I didn't know what to say. I felt like I'm in high school. I wonder, does he find me cute too? or just really creepy?

The next week, I talked to him on the company's messenger. I asked him very directly if he had a girlfriend. "No" he answered.

"Do you want to hang out then?" I asked.

"I'm not sure that's a good idea...since we work in the same company?" I already expected this answer.

"I personally don't see a problem with that, but I can understand that you might feel that way."

"...but a drink 5-7 would be fine I guess." he added. At this point, I already took it as a rejection, so I didn't answer.

"???" he typed.

I thought about it for a while, and said "I'll leave you my number, and it's your choice whether you want to text me or not." He texted me his number right away and we talked a little bit that evening.

After that, we would text each other once in a while...but I'm not sure why we never met. I think mostly because it was always last-minute plans. He invited me once to grab a drink with his co-workers, but I already showered so I didn't feel like going out. Another time, it was near midnight, and I was actually already in bed, but I asked him if he wanted to grab a which he said he was too tired. That night, I felt like something changed. He told me how he wasn't comfortable with the idea of hanging out with someone who works in the same office. "Follow your heart," I said. He seemed to agree at first...but a few days later, I asked him when are we actually going to walk the talk. He said he didn't know. "Should I take this for a negative answer?" I asked. He never answered.

...I somehow managed to convince him again. I told him that the right way and the easy way are sometimes the same, and sometimes the only way was a leap of faith. I hoped he could see what I see..and he did for a while. But soon enough, he changed his mind again. I was frustrated, because I tried to convince someone of things they did not believe in, and I clearly knew that it's not possible...but I gave it a try nonetheless. I'm someone who will always try, even when I know the results, because I choose to believe. This is when I wrote Follow your heart.

I think the reason why I still think about it till this day is how he messed up with my mind...even if he didn't mean it, because I know he's a nice person, but he is wishy-washy...and I didn't cut him out sooner. When he changes his mind, and I convince him that it's okay, but he changes his mind again a few days later... it kills me a little bit everytime. It frustrates me when I think about how much time we wasted running in circles, when all I wanted was to get to know him...and I can't believe I ran in circles with him too. Why did I stoop down to this level? I never met someone who confused me to this point; it's such a mental torture. This is when I wrote Unlearning.

I'm such a silly believer for creating all these coincidental situations. I go to bars to have fun, and I go on tinder to meet someone new, but the truth is that I was looking for him wherever I went. I just can't believe that we came across each other for no reason. In the end, am I not just turning myself into a detestable person? This is when I wrote Non-attachment. I hated myself for not letting go and to care as much as I do.

Sometimes, I still wonder why we came across each other without getting to know each other. I'm someone who believes that everything happens for a reason, but I haven't figured this one out yet. This is how adventures are; you just never know how it's going to turn out. One must acquire understanding in order to be free; how can I be free if I don't understand why? I really should just forget about it, and one day when I'm ready, I'll be living the answer without even noticing it. For now, I guess the best I can do is to live the questions and the unknown. I've never been scared of adventures anyways.

Nowadays, I still see him in the office once in a while, we barely look at each other, its almost as if we don't know each other...but I'm not going to lie, there's still that whirlpool of questions forming inside of me that I hide. I still think about it and I wonder what could've been had he just made one step forward. For now, he's still living life the right way...

Dating game part 3: The BMX guy

Saturday, 4 October 2014

I don't know if this one is worth talking about because I can barely remember why I liked him. I think I'll just talk about him without going into details...

I remember it was towards the end of my biggest mandate. I worked until midnight that week, and I was mentally drained. On Friday, I was supposed to go to this event called Jackalope, which is an demonstration and competition event; mainly for skateboarding. Yes, I have a thing for skaters since high school.

I went home and took a nap, I was not far from cancelling on my friend, because I was so dizzy. I forced myself to get up nonetheless. We watched that flatland BMX demonstration, which he was part of. He had curly blond hair that was tied up. Other than that, the only things I noticed was how skinny and tattooed he was...totally not my type of guy, but he grabbed my attention, because he performed so much better than the other BMX guy.

The next day, I added him on facebook and we talked almost everyday; he said he saw me at the event. However, I also notice something about him that started bothering me already; he seemed to have a hard time refusing things...and his method to do it is by changing the subject completely and immediately, which pisses me off everytime, but I tried to ignore it at first.

We hung out the following weekend. The original plan was to go to the Tam-tams, which I never went to, but it wasn't a nice day so we ended up driving around. When we drove past my high school, he said "I went to this high school." I was like..."Huh? I went to this high school too!" He is two years older so we probably never noticed each other. We had nowhere to go so we went to the Belvedere in Westmount to talk.

One question he asked me that I still remember was "Are you like the man in a relationship?" to which I confidently answered yes. "Are you more like the girl?", and he timidly said yes. It was pretty sweet and we even saw a rainbow.

Here are a few things that I learned:
-He spent a few years in China and speaks fluent Mandarin
-His dad's been to over hundred countries in a Westfalia
-He's starting a business to promote BMX
-He's traveled quite a bit too, but always for competitions
-We went to the same high school
-He went to cegep St-Laurent and I went to Vanier, which is next door

The thing is...he's the complete opposite of what I like in men. I don't like blond hair, blue eyes, skinny guys without good jobs...and he was all of that. But he had a passion for what he was doing, which I liked a lot and I rarely met anybody like him. I like talented and knowledgeable men, no matter in which field.

The next week, he was going to New Orleans for his competition and I was leaving for Central America. We found out that we were leaving on the same day around the same time, so I asked him if he wanted to meet up at the airport. He took hours to respond to each texts, without ever answering the question itself. My question was pretty straightforward, and I really don't appreciate that he doesn't answer straightforwardly.

As I was going through airport security, I was still hoping to see him but I didn't. So, I just went to my departing gate. Then, they announced that my gate changed, so I had to walk back...and that's when I bumped into him. I thought he probably didn't want to see me, so I was just going to say goodbye and tell him that I'm going the other way. But he said he wanted to come wait with me, which was sweet of him...but then, any friend would do the same.

I was only leaving for three weeks, but I had the feeling that we might not talk to each other anymore when I come back, because we barely knew each other. I made an effort to talk to him once in a while during my trip, but eventually got tired of it because I felt like it was always one-way; I was a guy chasing a girl.

I felt a distance between the sense that I don't think he understands most things I do. For example, I don't think he understands responsibilities, and why it's not always about what I want, why do I choose to work in an office, why did I stay in school to suffer, etc. Maybe he even thinks that I'm a superficial and materialistic kind of girl.

When I came back to Montreal, I didn't go to his event that he invited me to before I left. The reason I said I would go is because I wanted to see him...but he doesn't even care that much about me anyways, so I didn't bother.

I can't remember how I realized that he doesn't like me, but I sent him a postcard, and asked him if he received it. He said he will open his mailbox later, but it took him several days to open the mailbox. If someone I liked sent me a postcard, I would go open my mailbox the second I hear about it.

One day, I got even more fed up when he asked me to come hang out with him. "Where?" I asked...but once again, he changed the subject completely. It's not the first time he does that, and this time just hit my limit. I can't deal with this. We stopped talking to each other completely now. I don't feel sad or anything, I'm too impatient for that.

There really wasn't that much to say about him...not much happened. I decided to write about him nonetheless because I go on so many dates that I stopped making efforts...but with him, I felt like there was a little something...

Dating game part 2: Sherbrooke's lullaby singer

Friday, 3 October 2014

This one actually makes me a little bit sad.

One Thursday afternoon at work, I didn't have much to do, so I went on Tinder. I started talking to this guy who lives in Sherbrooke. At first, I wasn't very interested because Sherbrooke is kind of far, but he was a pretty good conversationalist; our sense of humor was similar and we had fun talking to each other.

Here's some background information about him:
-turning 28 in November
-6 ft tall, green eyes and curly brown hair, which I love
-plays in an orchestra
-recently started his company
-lived in Montreal for 7 years, but moved back to Sherbrooke a year ago

We decided that we should meet for dinner in Bromont, which is about halfway between Montreal and Sherbrooke. We talked earlier during the day, everything was fine; I took a nap and then drove to Bromont to meet him. He ended up not show up. He said that he texted another person "À Tantôt", thinking that he texted me. He didn't receive any answers so he thought I ditched him. I was so mad that he wasted my time and I swore I would never talk to him again.

The next morning when I woke up, I was not so angry anymore, so I texted him "Hey ditcher!" He apologized again. I assured him that it's fine but if he still wants to meet me, it will be in Montreal. He answered it's perfect because he has to come to Montreal to meet someone for business later during the week. We spoke on the phone that night; I thought he seemed like a nice guy and I really wanted to meet him. I rarely want to meet anybody and I rarely even talk to somebody so much without even meeting them in person beforehand. We texted each other everyday, several times a day, and would also send pictures to each other. He even sang me lullabies on the phone, like "Frère Jacques" and some folk song called "Juste une petite nuit".

He texted me quite often. One time, he texted me "Elaine, I find you quite independent". I didn't understand why. "I didn't get any news from you the whole evening"...but we actually spoke 5 hours ago. It stresses me out sometimes, but I've never been with someone who texts me so often that I don't need to wonder when I should text, because he does it first all the time.

...I was also stressed about the possibility that, for whatever reason, we'll never meet and never get to know each other...the possibility that we meet but for whatever reason, we start distancing from each other...and even if we end up dating, the possibility of breaking up. I thought a little too far, I know, but I can't help it. Sometimes, I just wonder why do we even bother if it ultimately ends up in sadness, bitterness and indifference?

We finally met for the first time on Thursday in Montreal. We went for supper together. The restaurant was not the best, but we had a great time. He was quite sarcastic, but fun to talk to. Our conversation was sweet and effortless. He asked me questions such as, would it be difficult to introduce a boyfriend to Asian parents, if I like driving long distances, etc. He seemed very interested in my culture, which I could understand, because he's not from the city so it's rare for him to see any Asians. I gave him a lift to his car because he was parked far and it was cold, but we ended up getting lost, haha. It was quite of an adventure.

On the weekend, I went to Sherbrooke to hang out with him. I drove at 140km/h, but guess what, it still took me 2 hours to get there due to traffic. It was a little painful, and I'm not the most patient person in the world, but I made it. We went grocery shopping; I carried the basket while he picked what to eat. It felt a little strange doing this with someone I barely knew. When we got to his apartment, it was a little awkward because there was absolutely nothing to do, so he tried to kiss me but I rejected him. I just wasn't mentally ready. We decided to go for a little walk in the park instead. He seemed so sad and wasn't very talkative. I'm not sure what he was thinking about. He said he was shocked that I didn't want to kiss him.

After we went back to his apartment, we wanted to watch a movie but his TV wasn't working. So, we just sat on the couch and talked. He was sleepy, so I let him lay down on my lap. Then I laid down too. It was so comfortable to be next to him. We cuddled and kissed and then...I shouldn't have. I felt like I had nausea because I was so worried about a million of things. And after we made love, I knew it was over. I thought it could've been different this time.

We went cooking after. I chopped the vegetables, and he cooked the chicken.  As we were eating, he told me some personal things about his mom. I criticized his chicken to which he replied "If that comment came from a friend, I would feel attacked, but from you...I kind of don't mind." He looked at me "...because I don't care about you." and smiled. "Do you eat without cutting your meat at home with your parents?" "Well, I usually try to eat more politely when I'm with other people, but with you, I don't mind...because I don't care about you." That's our sense of humor. Although, it looked like a cute moment...I felt like it was just dragging on. It didn't feel natural to me. I knew it was a bad idea to sleep with a guy so early. I just can't be wasn't innocent and effortless anymore.

The next day, I was even more stressed. I was unable to work. I kept wondering, is he going to text me today too? I have girlfriends who are able to live in this kind of unpleasant uncertainty; they have so many questions that they don't dare to ask...because clearly, they care a lot more than the guy does. But I don't want to be like that. I'd rather demolish everything and drown rather than continuing to float in this gray area.

I was pretty calm, and I chose my words carefully and I doubt anybody would be offended by this, right?

I didn't think that was an honest answer...and I he replied with another question which probably meant that he felt attacked.

I actually wasn't even on Tinder anymore, but I went back on it this morning, because I wanted to understand. I found out that he was on it almost everytime I logged on. When you want an answer, you should just go find out. Nothing's wrong with that, right? I could tell he was definitely on the defensive. He answered every thing with another question...

Maybe I ruined everything with what I just said, but I tell myself that if he is not serious; it's better to have everything ruined. Now that I read it again, maybe I could've used different words, but I really believe that you don't have to try so hard if it was meant to be. I'd rather ruin whatever there was between me and him, than ruin my relationship with myself; I will never compromise my feelings.

...I don't know what to say. Am I the crazy one? His reaction shocked me. I really didn't understand why such overreaction. I was just trying to talk to him calmly. Was what I said so offensive? I just wanted everything to be clear. It's true that we saw each other two times, but we talk to each other everyday, doesn't that mean something? Did I attack him when he texted me "I find you too independent, Elaine"?! Did I tell him, "Dude, we never met before, can you calm down?!"

If they make you feel alive after one date, why not think about the future? Why gloss over emotions? Why do we not care as much as we do? I don't want to even go on a second date with someone if they don't share the same goals as me. So, say it out loud and just follow your heart. I just want to go on a crazy ride with someone...

Waw...that's very uncalled for.

Does he think he's smart or something? I tried to call him, but he didn't want to talk. He wanted me to leave him alone obviously.

I knew there is nothing I could say that could help the situation at this point, but I hate to leave things hanging like this.

I asked him to call me when he will be more calm...but it was probably a bad idea to tell someone who is clearly not calm to calm down.

I thought about it for a bit and I suddenly remember that conversation we had at the dinner table. He told me that his dad left his mom five or six years ago, so I asked him if he sees her often. "My mom did something very mean to me when they divorced, she became crazy. I'm not sure I'm ready to talk to her again." Five or six years ago means he was 22 or 23, which should be around the time he graduated from university. Then, I also remember him saying that he actually came to Montreal to study because his girlfriend at that time (the one he dated for 4 years probably) was in nursing and she came to Montreal to study, so he followed her. When she graduated, she returned to Sherbrooke, but he stayed...meaning that they probably broke up, which is again around the time he graduated. I feel like all these incidents are linked. I took one last wild guess...and I knew what I was about to say will either make or break everything. I took a risk.

Did I guess it right? I will never find out. I will never know what happened to him, and he will not know what happened to me either, but there is always a reason why people choose to act a certain way.

Nonetheless, I found an explanation to all of his actions; Insecurity! That would explain everything!

He is insecure, which is why he texts me so many times a day...
He is insecure, which is why he is always on tinder...
He is insecure, which is why he overreacted when all I did was talking to him calmly. I probably said something that triggered something in his sea of memories.

...but then, am I not an insecure person as well?

I find that really unfortunate, because I liked him. However, I think I've acquired an understanding as to why this happened...and I feel better now. Tinder it's so accessible and convenient. You tell yourself that there is better, but you never get to know someone properly.

I thought about texting him a few days later when he would've calmed down, but I ended up deleting every trace of him. Why should I even text him? I don't have to deal with this bullshit, I've had enough of shitty men in my life. Just one more doesn't make a difference. Why should I care.

There's a reason why we didn't meet the first time in Bromont; it was just not meant to be...and even if you force it, it's not going to end up well. Do I want someone who discards me so easily? Everyone has a past and sometimes, it's hard to get past the surface of things. If a guy was mature enough though, he'll understand this. He clearly doesn't.

Most importantly, Sherbrooke is too damn far.
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