ogres are like legumes

The Victorious Chowder

I grew up being the empathic kid who would be the one telling people “you don’t need to go fight that person, be the better person.” I was a fairly big introvert for about half of high school. I started to break out of that in the second half. of course, at that point I was getting confrontational with my family as young, angsty people are wont to do. when i moved to ottawa, I was still a bit of an introvert. perpetually being the scrawny kid will do that sometimes. this was university. i remember my dad and sister came out to visit once, and i found out much after the fact that when they left, my sister started to cry because she didn’t know what had happened to me. I never understood where that came from, and when I think back on it now, I still have trouble figuring out what that might have been. I think that living in residence and engaging in more social activities further broke the introvert and empathic mould. i started to learn that sometimes you have to be the asshole. this was a slow lesson. there was more confrontation, my outlet for two years was an anthropology professor I had who opened her door to me no questions asked. I’ve lost touch with her and I’ve always had a bit of guilt over that. essentially, I would have probably suffered a total mental collapse if it wasn’t for her. I hope that some point in the future, I’ll get a chance to let her know I’m ok. confrontation ultimately led to my moving transferring to SFU. The first year or two, I still had a deep seeded resentment about that. Most of the time I was in my own world about it. I’d get stopped in my tracks over it suddenly, and would start to get worked up over thinking that people were constantly talking shit about me behind my back. It was an odd kind of parallel that existed in my head. I was having a good time with people in rez and in my classes outwardly. Inwardly, having moved across the country, being broken up over friendships falling apart, and being resentful, it was a bit of a horror show. still, the positives were starting to outweigh and overshadow the negatives. I was breaking more out of being an introvert, getting involved in more things and with more people, and still learning the important lesson that sometimes you have to be the asshole. going out with friends, I’d still have the occasional attack from fear or odd paranoia you get when you grow up as the introvert. by this time I’d built up my own family circle. I had/have a steady support base to lean on. grad school rolled around, stressed rolled around, the occasional disagreement with my family would roll around. they’ve told me several times that for a long time they felt they had to walk on eggshells around me or i’d just fucking snap and hated having to think that. I never saw in myself what they did that made them think that. I wasn’t aware of it. when i sit back and think about it now, I can pick things out. I didn’t want to leave what I’d built up in Vancouver. especially not to move back to Alberta, and a small city. for months after I got here, I would sit in my apartment on weekends, or go up to my parents because i had nothing else to do, and no one to do anything with. in the end, this is probably a good thing. i feel a lot calmer around my family than I have in years. I still probably piss them off more than I think I do, but I’ve managed to reconnect with them more after years of living away from home. i found friends here who spend their time riding on eight wheels and running into people. i’ve taken on responsibility with them to train and organize. i’ve kept learning that lesson that sometimes you have to be the asshole, and when people don’t get their way, you have to keep being the asshole because in some instances it’s the right thing to do. but it’s also important to never forget that having an empathetic streak keeps you grounded and is appreciated by people who suddenly find themselves in a situation you’ve been in before.

at the start of March, I’ll turn 27. for the first time ever, I think that I feel fully aware of how I’ve calmed down and mellowed out over the angsty, stress case that ruled the inside of my head for years.

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