Growing up we were always taught not to speak to strangers, however, talking to strangers online isn’t a new thing to me. It’s 2017, we all grew up with the internet. From the age of 17 to 23 I spent more time than I’m willing to admit in a chat room. When I first started going I would, like any 17 year old, cause shit. Be a pain the ass and piss people off.
I was really good at it too – it’d become something of an art.
It wasn’t your regular chat room. I can’t really describe it. It was such a close knit community. We were there for each other. I mean really there for each other when we felt like we had nobody else, as you tend to as teenagers. It was an escape from reality that we turned to so much- it began to feel like home at the same time. When you spend that kind of time in a chat room you, just like anywhere else, develop close relationships with the people you speak to.
I can only hope to build the same kind of exchange with all of you!
Fast forward to seven years later. I still have a handful of friends from the chatroom part of my life, who I speak to and see on a semi-regular basis. We float in and out of each others lives but it’s never anything but love. A couple of them I’d consider best friends. They know me inside and out. They care for me and my heart more than I do. That means something to me.
Before I was open about it, I used to think I would take my chatroom days to my grave. But I’m grateful to have found that outlet. My heart swells being able to say I have friends all over the world.
I have a tendency to fall in love with every person that’s willing to show me their soul. It’s so rare. We tend to dance around the surface of friendships and I’ll be honest I want nothing to fuckin do with it. That’s not who I am. When I care for a friend I care about everything. I’m there for them. I’ll listen, I’ll encourage – I’m a great outlet. Your highs, your lows and everything in between – I will be around for it all if you let me.
I see potential in people. My friends and I think the main reason we’re friends is because we constantly say “I fucking hate people”. I was thinking about this the other day and you know what? I don’t actually hate people. I love people. What I hate is how shitty they can be. We dance around the surface because of past relationships, hardships etc.. We’re guarded because we try to protect ourselves from ever feeling that way again but that’s no way to live.
You cannot live life constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I realize this is much easier said than done but once you realize that life is all about the ups and downs and how these are the things that make you grow you’ll live a more fruitful life. Our biggest problem is that we think we shouldn’t have any.
I like to think of life-like being caught in a blazing fire. You wake up and the house is burning what are you doing? Do you give up? No. Your natural instinct to fight for your life kicks in. Maybe right now you’re fighting your way out of a blazing fire and you’re not sure you’re going to get out alive but you know what? You have to keep fighting.
Don’t let the fire win. Don’t succumb to the flames.
The people I admire most are the ones that aren’t afraid to share their dreams and goals. People who chase the world and know they’re capable enough to do it.
I’m 26 and I’ve spent a lot of time in interviews for corporate jobs. Their favourite question was, without a doubt, always:
‘Why are you looking to the change the direction of your career?’
Maybe this should have been more difficult for me to answer- but it always felt plain as day. I didn’t like my career. I was thrown half-hazardly into finance and risk assessment. And while it’s worked out the last few years and provided challenges and problems I enjoy solving- it has never been what drives me.
Rather- it will never drive me.
A lot of days, I feel like I’m back in high school and doing the bare minimum amount of work to pass a class I couldn’t care less for.
But I can’t say that. I tell them my original role of risk assessment and management, penalizing accounts for infractions- wasn’t how I wanted to spend my time. I wanted to help instead of reprimand. Little people, underdogs. People who are shut down by others and have to pick themselves back up every time. Dealing with every hardship but understand you will always come out the other side a stronger person and keep pushing forward. People who- once they realize that potential strength inside them and find others with the same strength- the possibilities are endless.
I genuinely want you to know- that while you are staring at computer screen, planning your next holiday or figuring out how to split up the three weeks vacation your boss let you have- I need you to remember this: there are no ceilings. I repeat, there ARE NO CEILINGS to what you can do.
We’ve been having work done on our house, and I had a chance to speak with one of the contracted workers. I’m so happy I did. He spoke about his goals and his dreams. He told me about how hard he has to hustle, because he knows it will get him to where he wants to go. He was an underdog. He knew struggle- real struggle. And from that he’s learned there is nothing he can’t overcome.
Platitude as it might be, there’s truth in the phrase: success comes from failure. For those at your desk with the déjà vu mug, contemplating those dreams and those goals you tried to achieve- wondering how long this is supposed to take- it’s normal. It’s normal to struggle and hit walls. It is so normal and it is okay to be frustrated. Your patience, emotions and strength will be tested and you’re gonna fall so hard you’re gonna wonder whether it’s worth getting back up again. It’s okay. Please, face your mountain of a goal. Face it head on and take that grueling hike. You are going to want to give up but keep pushing. The view at the top– it’s a height most people will never reach.
It starts with a plan. Remember, nobody shows up to the Himalayas to climb Everest without one.
I’m sitting on the subway, like any other morning commute, and I’m looking at all the tired, somber faces sitting with me. How many of these people are happy? How many love what they do? Nobody is speaking. They sit quietly, on their way to their 9-5 grind- and I realize it’s not them who’s unhappy. It’s me. I’m projecting my lack of fulfillment on to strangers.
I have these dreams of waking up on a beach. I explore the world, try new things, learn about different people and break out from my comfort zone. I want to break out of my own life.
I was raised by kind, good people who wanted the best for me. They encouraged me to do well in school, to find a steady job, buy a home and have a family. They do their best to provide this for me because this is their life. That is their generation’s life, the baby boomer life. This is a good life.
But I’m craving for more.
A life where I help people. Sharing my vulnerabilities in a way that reaches out to a person who needs those words. To build people up. I’ve finished my commute and instead of somber faces, I’m projecting my feelings on my coffee mug that says Déjà vu.
This mug makes a good point.
“How dare he treat her like that with all that she does for him” I sighed in frustration. “Now tell yourself that. You need to understand that you deserve no different”
I sat there for a long time after my friend said this to me. Understand, I try to focus on the best in people. Until you take a step back. That’s when it’s clear, and you’re able to see they’re not nearly as special as you’d like them to be.
I tell people you’re my best friend. That I love you. That you make me laugh uncontrollably. That you are my absolute favourite person. I don’t tell them that you shut me down when you disagree. I don’t tell them that you make me feel small or you’re not always there when I need you. That you left me when I needed you most.
I begged you kicking and screaming. I asked you not to take our differences to the extreme that you did. I wanted to tell you that if we do this we’ll never be the same. That our friendship will never be as we know it. That we’re both incredibly stubborn and will never recoup. I said nothing. How do you find the words when you’re not convinced this is the last conversation.
I’m sad because I know that this is just how you react when you’re faced with any sort of confrontation. I’m sad because I know that, for you, this isn’t meant to be forever. But I’m afraid it may be for me. I needed you. Really needed you. You said nothing. You literally walked out on my life when I needed you most and I don’t know that I can forgive you for that.
You are going to miss me. You are going to realize that I was the only constant in your life. That I was the person you shared your highs and more importantly your lows with. That if you were frustrated I’d listen. That you overall just miss my friendship, love and company. I don’t know if you’ll reach out. You’re a stubborn mf so you probably won’t but you’ll realize you fucked up. That you lost the most genuine person in your life over nothing.
I don’t want to be your one life lesson. I don’t want to be the one to make you realize you can’t keep gaslighting people because you don’t know how to deal with yourself. That there are consequences to your actions. I also don’t want you to think that it’s okay to walk out whenever you want and return when you please.
You know it’s funny you constantly tell me to speak up for myself more in life yet you’re the first to shut me down.