Yellowknife is like my bastard brother, a Jon Snow, if you will… I’ve grown up in Yellowknife and am one of the few that can actually say that I was born here. It doesn’t necessarily give me an overwhelming sense of pride, but much like the city itself, it’s unique. It’s hard to explain what life in the north is like to those who have never experienced it. And while most Canadians like to joke about how ignorant Americans can be regarding all things Canadian, I find most Canadians pretty naive about Yellowknife. No I don’t live in an igloo, never seen a polar bear, and most definitely can’t tell you what life is like in Whitehorse.
The city surely has it’s share of problems separate from it just being a city of only 19,234 (Statistics Canada, 2011 Census); Homelessness, lack of proper addictions facilities, and domestic abuse to name a few… and that’s just the downtown core. Yeesh! I’m absolutely guilty of criticizing the city. I have opinions on how things could be done differently that I’m comfortable voicing after needing only one pint of Strongbow to anyone willing to listen. I love leaving, but more importantly I love coming back, after all, it is my home. The winters are brutally cold and seemingly never end, the cost of living is insane, and due to the isolation most people develop a cabin fever that would rival Jack Nicholson’s character in the Shining if they don’t make it a point to leave twice a year. Despite all of it’s flaws I feel compelled to love this place, and even though I’m a horrible spokesperson (see above), I feel obligated to defend it to others. As long as I can remember Yellowknife has always been a transient city, people come and go on a regular basis, some claiming they’ll only be here for a summer, then end up staying for 10 years and four children later. I can completely understand frustrations with this place, especially from those who have spent more than just a year here. As a longtime Yellowknifer I feel that I have a right to bitch about it. Fuck, I’ve earned it, my frostbite says so… And just like a bastard brother, I feel like I’m entitled to have my own opinion about them, but I will be damned if I’m going to tolerate the same from a stranger… Like the old saying goes “blood is thicker than most Torontonians” Or something like that.
Experience the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, then tell me it sucks not to have a Starbucks here. Enjoy Folk On the Rocks, then tell me the music scene is a joke. Watch the aurora borealis from the comfort of your very own deck, and then you can complain of the temperature in September. It drives me absolutely insane when people won’t even give this place a chance because it’s different then what they are used to. Yep, it’s different up here, duh, moving on… That’s why this place can be so great, you can choose to make it what you want. If you choose to surround yourself with only the shitty things Yellowknife has to offer by making generalizations to facilitate your choice to not engage, chances are you won’t be enjoying your stay… OR you can stop holding on to everything you know from wherever the hell it is that you came from and actually partake in some of the distinctive Yellowknife traditions and the awesome adventures that go along with them… You just may find yourself missing your pumpkin spice lattes less (plus you can still get them here, but instead of a global chain, you’ll have to support a local business :S)
Trust me, I hate being this positive about anything… I don’t necessarily love being put into a position where I feel the need to defend this place, but if you’re going to blindly pick a fight with Yellowknife, you’re picking a fight with me.
Now don’t we all feel better?… just remember, bundle up, and try the fish!
I justified getting into a relationship with someone who was admittedly emotionally unavailable with needing to experience heartbreak. Yuuup, I fucking signed up for it. I thought it was a part of life that I just had to experience. Maybe I thought at some point he’d change his mind, or maybe I just wanted to understand country songs a bit better? Regardless, I really thought that when the inevitable happened I would be prepared. I would come out of the relationship a better person, thankful for the experience provided, if that makes any sense… Instead I shut my eyes at every red flag, I ignored my instincts and compromised myself to the point that when our doomed relationship finally came to an end I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. I’ve never had that gut-wrenching hurt before, a fine mixture of sadness and physical pain, but there it was, in all it’s panicky glory. Needless to say I have seen the light, and although wishing that said light was an oncoming freight train, I can now say I’ve experienced heartbreak. Yay!? It can now be crossed off my “Bucket List of Self-Defeating Agony” (It was right between taking up heroin and getting a cat.) What was I thinking?
I don’t want to give this guy too much credit, but I still struggle with fleeting thoughts of what could’ve been and fond memories of our past, mind you they always seem to be wedged between legitimate hatred. I still allow him to enter and exit my life (and other parts of me) at his convenience. In a town this small it’s hard not to witness who’s sucking on his face next to me with no regard for my feeling (I didn’t pluralize that on purpose, before this I was a little worried that I had none), or hear about his latest hookups. Yet I allow him into my house on the rare occasion he remembers that I still have a pulse, and inescapably my bed, hoping this will be the time he’ll appreciate me… All of me, not just, well you know. At this point I’m unsure if I regret the entire relationship or just the part where I was a doormat. I truly believe heartbreak was inevitable with him. I saw the trail of broken hearts and CONSCIOUSLY decided that I wanted to be added to the pile. Again, what was I thinking?
…I was probably thinking that I liked this person, a lot. I wanted to explore what a kind of relationship we could have. The classic story of girl meets boy, boy doesn’t want to be tied down, girl likes that boy is unattainable and eventually wears him down, they fall in love, boy says love from girl is not enough then leaves… How is that not fucking romantic? My first mistake (definitely not my only) was not being truthful with myself and ignoring the blatantly obvious… HE FUCKING SAID HE WASN’T EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE. I know now that when someone can identify that in themselves, you should probably just believe them, there is zero reward in investigating that any further. I also realize that I have pretty good instincts, and my self-doubt is completely unnecessary. I shouldn’t feel guilty for needing basic security in a relationship, knowing what’s important to me is beneficial for all involved. Through this experience the friends separated themselves from the presumptuous ass-faces dressed in friend’s clothing. I still maintain that I’m fucking awesome, and deserving of someone that loves me just as much as I love them… So I guess I did gain some knowledge, seems barely worth it, but silver linings and shit… I still have no clue what country songs are about, but I’m 100% okay with that.
I will forgive myself for letting this happen, working on it. The possibility of going through this again is terrifying. My Mom says I need to get better at guarding my heart. She also blames crack heads for eating all the cereal, so you know… I think I just need to let it go (sounds simple, but this is mind-bendingly hard, way worse than sudoku), be smarter, and trust myself. I can’t be scared of getting my heart broken again, God knows I NEED to get laid and that probably won’t happen while I’m carrying around this baggage. I just have to get past today, it’s the toughest part. I hope next year I will hurt less and the thoughts of him will have faded. Three years ago today I baked the guy a cake, gave him a present, and let him touch my butt… seems like a healthy enough beginning, right? Last year at this time we were in Grande Prairie celebrating his birthday at Denny’s and I remember specifically asking myself how life could possibly get any better? To be fair, I WAS eating cheesy fries at the time. As reluctant as I am, I guess I’m going to have to find out.
Bye Hunky Brewster!
For the record, I did love you with all the heart I never knew existed
I ran out of people who are willing to listen to me in real life and seem to have misplaced my diary, this is where you come in… I have stories and you’re going to hear them.
I promise not to say “literally” too much.