Reality Check

Reality Check

Life has a way of keeping you anchored to the ground. By nature, humans are dreamers. We may dream big or we may dream small but we dream all the same. Some of us dream of things, some of us dream of ideas, and so on and so forth. Whenever we get too enamored with our dreams, reality strikes hard and fast to keep us from soaring too close to the sun. Some dreams are able to survive and flourish while others are left to burn.

When I was young, I had this silly dream that my family would grow up and live side by side in California. We’d all get separate houses in the same street in Los Angeles and we’d see each other everyday. It was a very unrealistic dream and I grew out of it relatively quick. Though, as the years have gone by and my family has shrunk in size, the losses haven’t hurt any less.

My immediate family is my mom and dad, my sister, and my two brothers. Initially, we gained a new member when my sister was wed and then another new member when my eldest brother married. It proved to be short lived. My sister moved to Edmonton a mere week after her wedding. And my eldest brother and his wife lived with us in Toronto for 4 years before moving to New York City just a few days ago. If I’m lucky, I get to see my sister and her husband once a year. I’m expecting my brother and his wife to visit around the same amount.

It was just a dream and I don’t fault them for leaving. There were better opportunities available to them in Edmonton and NYC. So why would they stay? And they seem happier there. At the end of the day, that’s what’s most important.

It still hurts. Losing your family to distance hurts. You start off calling and texting them everyday but that doesn’t last too long. Eventually, both sides get busy. Daily calls turn to monthly calls before stopping altogether. It is what it is. Maybe one day we’ll all meet up in Los Angeles and discuss how silly dreams can be.

Until then.

House Party ’17

House Party ’17

Whenever I try to recall certain events in my life, they play through my head like scenes from a Hollywood blockbuster with extremely high production value. Stories of relationships, and fights, and heartbreak are etched into my DNA. For better or worse, they’ve made me who I am.

About a year ago, I attended a house party with three of my friends. Aside from those three, I didn’t really know anyone there. It had been one of those Facebook invite parties that people send out to everyone on their friends list. I’d been in a group project with this one guy and we’d added each other on Facebook and that had been my ticket in.

It was your average party. There was loud music, lots of alcohol, beer pong, complete with a large house overstuffed with horny college kids. Midway through, I lost my friends. I had their numbers though so it wasn’t anything to panic over. For some time, I hung out in the living room. It might’ve been a half hour or it might’ve been two hours. Eventually, it got too stuffy and I retreated to the backyard.

And that’s where it happened. I saw a girl and a guy I’d never seen before engaging in an argument. I didn’t make much of it at first. Arguments are nothing to scratch your head over. But suddenly it escalated and the guy started being physical with the girl. He started holding her down and forcing himself on her. There were people all around but no one made a move. Instinctively, I tackled the guy to the ground, though he was far bigger than me and he overpowered me in no time and started throwing punches at me. However, by then, people had begun to take notice and were eager to help me. Long story short, he got thrown out of the party.

I spoke to the girl after. She was obviously shaken up. I can’t even imagine the type of psychological trauma that inflicts on someone. The guy had been a classmate of hers. He’d liked her but she’d rejected his many advances and it had all come to a head at this party.

I don’t understand how a guy could think that harassment was the way to go here. How is a person raised into believing that forcing themselves on someone is the right thing to do? How do you justify that to yourself?

You hear about things of this nature happening all the time but it’s so unreal when it happens in front of you. To this day, it shocks me that no one made a move to stop the harassment when it was first happening. People only acted after I was down getting my ass beat. And that’s not to say that any of them are bad people. I don’t even know if any of my friends would’ve intervened. A lot of times you think you’ll act a certain way during a problem, but once you’re actually faced with that problem, you act completely different. You freeze up. Or you just try to ignore it. And more often than not those are not the solutions.

As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

Career Plan

Career Plan

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be the pilot of a fighter jet. That was the ultimate career for me. I mean, what’s better than piloting a fighter jet? I’ll tell you. Lots of things are…but I didn’t know any better back then.

In middle school, I sort of forgot careers even existed. I’m not sure what was going through my head at the time but I never gave my future the tiniest bit of thought. Middle school just felt all encompassing for some reason. It was a simple life. All I had to do was pass French somehow and life would work itself out. Easy.

High school proved to be a slap in the face because that’s when I realized my life wasn’t about to figure it’s own shit out. That was quite the bummer because that meant I would actually have to put in some effort. Engineering became my obvious first option because my dad was an engineer, as was my eldest brother. Though I soon realized that I had no particular skill in that field. Next up were business and law which I found painfully boring. I ended up settling on the sciences. I gravitated towards them mainly because my grades were amazing in chemistry, physics, and biology and my parents were strong-arming me into becoming a doctor. So I was like, why not? How hard can becoming a doctor really be?

Answer: very fucking hard. Flash forward 4 years and I’m about to limp my way to a degree in Biological Science. It’s awful. I knew by my second year that I couldn’t make a career out of the sciences, and not because I was trash at it, but because it wasn’t interesting to me whatsoever. But also because I was trash at it. My grades were actually really good but I didn’t care for the subject. I only even did my MCAT because I thought it would be a waste of my time to do a degree in Biology and not at least attempt it. Low key, I’m glad my score ended up being subpar. Don’t tell my mom.

So here comes the question, what the fuck do I do with my life now? What’s my career plan?

Answer: ____________. Your guess is as good as mine.

Conflicts

Conflicts

Fights are unavoidable. Whether it’s with your family or your friends or your significant other. Everyone’s just different, and these differences lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications and downright pettiness. It can be difficult to compromise sometimes. It can be difficult to understand the viewpoints of other people.

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with conflict. Certain people will write letters to the person they’re upset with and will hide those letters until the next day and see whether they’ve cooled off or not. Other people will keep their feelings strictly to themselves and just live with it. Then there are the people who will lash out directly and will argue or fight their way into a resolution; different solutions for different people.

When you’re angry, you tend to want to say things that you shouldn’t say, and once you’ve said those things, it’s hard to come back from that. You can try, and sometimes it works, but other times there’s always that underlying awkwardness of the truth that came out between you two when you were both hyped up on dopamine.

I’ve lost a large number of people due to some sort of conflict. Sometimes, it was them acting like an idiot. More often it was me acting like an idiot. And very rarely did the people I lose find their ways back into my life.

I’ve seen numerous friend groups break apart due to fights. One of mine did. I remember having this one friend group from high school that consisted of 5 people. We’re basically down to 2.5 now which makes Twister much less fun to play.

It’s tough losing people because of conflict. But it’s also inevitable.

Modern Romance

Modern Romance

The biggest problem with modern romance is the illusion of choice. Dating websites and dating applications have made it so easy to find people that no one is willing to compromise anymore. Don’t like how someone’s nose looks? Back to Tinder. Don’t like how they didn’t reach for the cheque immediately? Back to eHarmony. People are willing to throw decade long relationships in the trash for a chance to find someone new who fits every single one of their boxes.

And it doesn’t stop there. Our generation gets bored so easily. A friend of mine ended his 4 year relationship with his girlfriend because he was getting bored of being with the same person for so long. He literally ended it because he was bored, and I hope I’m not the only person who thinks that that is ridiculous. And it relates back to having this illusion of choice. I’ve seen many great relationships fall apart because the parties involved wanted to date other people just because they know they can. Just because a new person is a swipe away for them. People are so afraid of settling for less nowadays that they choose not to settle at all. No one is willing to build with someone anymore. Everyone wants instant happiness.

I remember when I was in my first relationship. My girlfriend told me she loved me after three months, and I remember thinking, no you don’t. I remember thinking there was no way she could love me after three months. Love doesn’t work that fast. She didn’t even properly know me. How could she possibly love me? It bothered me but that’s how fast people work nowadays. Sex after the first date. I love you’s after three months. And then cue the breakup after six.

What a time to be alive.

Trust Issues

Trust Issues

When you trust someone, you’re essentially giving them a loaded gun pointed in your direction, with the hope that they won’t pull the trigger. More often than not, people will pull it, and you’ll load the gun up and hand it right back to them.

How many times does someone have to break your trust for you to stop loading their gun? How many times does it take for you to realize that you’re better off not trusting them at all? Or not trusting at all?

It’s a difficult choice to make. The person you trust is your comfort place, and they didn’t become your comfort place overnight. It took you time to develop that comfort with them, so when they break your trust, it hurts. And when they do it again and again, you start to lose that trust altogether. It gets to a point where you start to expect that from everyone you meet. Essentially, you shut yourself off.

For me, it’s always been difficult to trust people. I think of it as a character flaw. There are things that I’m very open about and then there are things that I’m not open about. I’ve met plenty of genuine people in my life that I was unable to fully trust. In retrospect, I should’ve trusted them over those that I did. So far, there have only been 2 people whom I trusted 100%, and both of those people broke my trust. The first person broke it two years ago and the second person broke it a few days ago.

What I’ve learned is that people judge, even the people you love. You can try your best for them but they’ll only see what they want to see. And it sucks especially when you care about what they think. Now, I’ve never been one to care what others thought about me. But there was one person whose opinion mattered to me. It still does. But I’ve given up on them because they gave up on me. They lied to me and judged my every move. They didn’t deserve to know me like they did. They won’t ever again.

Unrequited Love

Unrequited Love

Everyone has their own definitions of love. There’s familial love, friendly love, and romantic love. Each has it’s own different flavor. And everyone has their own ways of perceiving it and expressing it. A kiss on the forehead might be someone’s biggest expression of  love while for another individual, something more intimate would be required.

Out of all, romantic love is what’s most sung about and written about. Humans crave romance. They crave the physical intimacy of another person who connects with them in a way that no one else does. And that can be difficult to find.

I thought I was in love with my first girlfriend. Looking back on that relationship, I realize that I wasn’t. I wanted to be though. I had this notion in my mind where I wanted my first girlfriend to end up being the woman that I marry. It sounds ridiculous but growing up on Disney movies will do that to you.

After my first relationship crashed and burned, I went on a tear of sleeping around with girls who didn’t mean anything. It was a way to escape it all. I didn’t want any sort of feelings. I didn’t want to be tied down and let down again.

Everything changed when I fell in love with my best friend. Everything that I’d been wanting to escape caught up with me in the blink of an eye. And it’s been all consuming. It gets scary and overwhelming at times because you can feel yourself changing. You start to show someone parts of you that you’d never dreamt of showing anyone. It’s not that you lose yourself to it, it’s simply that you start to put someone else’s happiness above your own, and no one likes doing that, right?

There are days where I have tried so hard to get over it. There are days where I have hated myself for it. But as Barney Stinson so eloquently stated, “I couldn’t stop loving her anymore than I could stop breathing”. The feeling will always remain. And when in the future she ends up with someone better, that’s alright because I want her to be happy, even if it’s not with me.