Once I get up I feel better and I pull myself together.

I remember those two letters; it will be O.K.

Everybody has their own dysfunctions; some have more than others, and some barely have any. I fit into the ‘more than others’ category. I have difficulty filtering what I think from what I say. I tend to fan-girl at the worst possible moments. I’m a bit socially awkward and meeting new people is synonymous with getting a tooth pulled. I also have extreme reclusive tendencies, to the point where just going outside can be a lot more difficult than it should. These are just a few examples of how much weirder I am than a good majority of the people I know.

I also know that I’m not alone.

It took me at least four-thirds of my life to realize this fact. Prior to the realization, I knew that people were accepting of ‘the jumpy girl running the cash register‘ or ‘I don’t know why my daughter is the way that she is, but I love her anyway‘ or ‘it’s weird when she hides herself but I like her, I guess‘. It got really messy in my head for a little while and I wasn’t entirely sure I’d make it out alive. Then the realization came. It was a few years ago when I witnessed a man actively avoid physical and verbal contact with everyone else in the cafe I was writing in – to the point where, when it got really crowded, he ran to the men’s room and I could see him peeking out from behind the door to see when the crowd dispersed. I have no idea why he was in the cafe that day, but I am very thankful that he was. It was like looking at a mirror image of what I did sometimes. I was a bit more subtle about it than he was, but it was exactly the same. It hit me in the face then, that I wasn’t alone in what I was going through. That there were other people who fought themselves over going out into the big bad world with all its humanity. It was an oddly wonderful feeling.

I would also like to say that I’ve gotten a lot better since then. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some very bad days, but they aren’t as frequent as they used to be. I still frequently get my ‘run and hide’ instinct when I’m around large crowds of people but I can control it somewhat, where I couldn’t before. Having a somewhat distant family and friends that didn’t push me helped a lot.

What I went through is something that I don’t talk about often, mostly because I don’t like the questions that come with it. The why’s and how’s and the confused looks when I’m trying to tell someone that sometimes the thought of stepping outside my front door used to crush the air out of my lungs. Or that sometimes I still need to meditate before I leave the house so the irrational fear doesn’t overwhelm me. There are quite a few people out there who are incapable of understanding, and I’ve accepted that too. It’s okay to not understand or relate to the crazy reclusive girl. I understand and that’s a good thing.

Dysfunctions and weirdness are apart of everyone. Whether you’re reclusive, fighting depression or another mental illness (possibly more than one), or you’re a giant socially awkward geek that nobody understands, an outcast, a victim, or you’ve just lost a very important person in your life.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

I’m not going to tell you that it gets easier or that it gets completely better, because those would be lies. I will however tell you, that there will be both good days and bad days, and to quote Doctor Who – life is just a pile of good things and bad things. Always remember the good things no matter how hard the bad things try to pull you down and if you can’t remember the good things, cling to those who care about you like a lifeline; they don’t have to understand you to care about you. It could be any one, including but not limited to your cat/dog/chinchilla. Just let them love you… it helps.

That took longer for me to get out than I thought it would. Now that my seriousness is over – get over here so I can internet hug you.

“An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.”

Happy 200th Birthday Mr. Dickens! If only you could have known the affect your writing would still have on the world two hundred years later.

“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.”

“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”

“There are strings in the human heart that had better not be vibrated.”

“It opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises the eyes, and softens down the temper; so cry away.”

“To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.”

“Life is made of ever so many partings welded together.”

Charles Dickens – 7 February 1812 to 9 June 1870.

Let’s talk about libraries.

I have always loved books. My earliest memory is of my father reading me Dr. Seuss before bedtime and I distinctly remember begging him to read me ‘just one more’. I also remember my first time in a library. My hometown has a wonderful public library and I spent the majority of my summer holidays curled up in there with all the books. During my first visit, I was with my babysitter Aunty Barb, a kindly old woman, with arms the size of tree trunks, whom I drove partially mad and quite frankly she had a very strong heart for the amount of times I almost gave her a heart attack. I was an awful kid, but I always behaved myself in a library.

I was enchanted. There was a lot of people, but everyone was quiet; talking in whispers, and it was as if the whole building was sacred. I remember being amazed at all of the books; I’d previously had no idea that so many books could exist in one place before. Aunty Barb was holding her breath and watching me like a hawk, waiting for the trouble to start but none did. I just stood there and stared with my jaw somewhere near the floor. Aunty Barb returned her books and picked up some new ones, all the while staring at me like I had grown a second head. For the first time in the four years of my short existence I was behaving myself.

The atmosphere of a library is singularly unique and I’ve never encountered anything quite like it. I’ve seen a library turn the most rowdiest kids into well-behaved darlings the minute they walk through the door; I was one of them. In my childhood it was the ‘magical book place’ and now it’s a safe haven, a quiet place to think and write and research. It’s a place of right answers and facts. It’s a place of sanctuary. My best friend became my best friend in a library. My grandfather met my grandmother in a library and they fell in love there. Libraries are capable of bringing communities together and contain more knowledge than most people will read about in their lifetime. Libraries can open doorways to different worlds and places; they can help you expand your imagination and they will always welcome you with open arms – much like the books they house.

Disney ruined relationship prospects for me, or rather, they raised the bar of my expectations with ‘Beauty and the Beast’. In the middle of the movie The Beast gives Belle a library. HE GIVES HER A LIBRARY. My seven-year old self couldn’t understand why she didn’t propose to him on the spot. If a person gives you a library, you marry them. I still stand by that ridiculous piece of logic today and if I had been Belle the situation would have gone differently:

“Marry me?”

“But I’m a monstrous beast!”

“Honey, you just gave me a library, your excuse is invalid. Now go see if the candelabra knows someone who will marry us.”

Clearly I should just go to rural France and find myself a cursed prince to love so I can get my own library.

I’m sure you could tell but this still needs saying: I love libraries. It’s an unwavering and fierce love, the kind that never truly fades away. I hope that everyone reading this visits their library today because they deserve more love than they are getting. If you’re open-hearted and love your library it will love you back a thousand times stronger.

Hello Winter.

Mother Nature got her winter on, big time, over the last few days. It’s starting to feel like a normal winter instead of a messed up spring. So, I thought I would clarify some Canadian weather terminology.This is the temperature I woke up to this morning. Luckily there’s no wind chill. I recently learned that when the weather people say “wind chill warning” it means that wind chill temperatures are hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure. That’s basically fancy terminology for “go the heck back inside or you’ll get frostbite everywhere”. Welcome to Canada; home of mounted police, hockey and temperatures that can eventually kill you. Despite this, winter is still awesome.

This happened on Wednesday and made me glee and make snow angels and pelt the neighbour kids with snowballs because they’re the only ones who can appreciate it like I do (despite the fact that there was five of them and one of me, and I lost horribly). That’s what makes me love winter so much. That childish feeling you get when snow starts to fall and it makes you think of hot chocolate and warmth and stuffing snow down your friends pants. Winter makes me remember that it’s perfectly okay to be a big kid sometimes. Even if it makes my mother roll her eyes.

I’m going outside now to make another snow angel simply because I can. Have fun, where ever your winter is.

You give me butterflies.

I made a wonderful discovery on my way home from work today. I decided to take a round-about way home, because walking is healthy, and passed under the overpass on the Main Street of my city. I found a bunch of butterflies.

I did a little research about these butterflies, and by ‘research’ I mean I asked my local friends on Facebook about them; as it turns out, they’ve been there for quite a while. Possibly a year or longer.

Personally, I’m not all that knowledgeable about graffiti (unless drawing Ninja Turtles on my bedroom wall, in crayon, when I was five and getting yelled at by my parents counts?) but don’t most places try to cover up the graffiti as soon as they can? Granted, my city is tiny in comparison to some, and I rarely ever encounter any graffiti – which I find slightly saddening – so I’m fairly certain that my city usually covers the stuff up quite quickly.

Maybe they left this one alone because it’s tasteful and positive? Or perhaps the people in charge of painting over the graffiti in my city really like butterflies and decided not to cover them? Either way, the butterflies are still there and will, most likely, stay there for a good long while yet. I feel kind of proud that my city decided to keep them.

That was totally today’s warm fuzzy.

A warm pair of mittens.

Alright. It’s time to discuss location. This is my province. It’s generally wonderful and it’s shaped like a rabbit which made it super easy to identify when I was seven and learning about my country. I might not have known the difference between Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan but I sure as heck could tell you where New Brunswick was on a map. I remember my teacher being unimpressed with my enthusiasm about us being “the rabbit one”.

I’m proud of my province. I was born and raised here and I still haven’t left, despite my best efforts. I’m fluently bilingual and can transition between English and French without any trouble at all. Something that I wouldn’t be able to do if I hadn’t grown up here.

I’m telling you where I am (sort of) so you’ll know exactly where I mean when I show you what’s been happening outside my window.

Mother Nature has been having more hot-flashes this winter than normal. During the month of January, New Brunswick is usually covered in two feet of snow and it won’t melt away because of our -47 degree celsius wind chills. This January has been virtually snow-less and warm, so I was extremely excited to see the snow start to fall. I took those photos earlier this evening.

Outside now looks like this:

It’s only about half a foot, but it’s so nice to see Mother Nature finally get her Winter on. I’m one of the strange people who absolutely love the cold and snow, so please don’t hold this Winter-appreciation post against me. I’m considered weird, even among my fellow Canadians. They don’t like it either.