Before PTSD, I wanted to go to law school. Sometimes I still think about it. But my mental health had other plans. So I
struggled survived my way through university and made it out with a GPA that put law school out of the question, and if my GPA hadn’t torched my chances, my persistent lack of faith in myself would have.
Anyway, while I was surviving university, and searching for ways to escape all the things that go on inside my head, I found some healthy ways to do that and some really unhealthy ways to do it. Like drinking.
I joined one of the campus papers kind of on a whim. I showed up at an open house kind of meeting and, for reasons I will never be able to explain, decided to join the news team.
I think it was the first time someone other than my parents told me I was good at something. The news editors would completely rewrite everything I wrote, every week, and then tell me I was really great at what I was doing. I didn’t get it at first, but I loved it enough to become a Student Journalist. You know the type. I love thinking back and remember how seriously we took ourselves and everything else. I’d give anything to feel like that again.
(Because everything relates to hockey, I got through the cancelled NHL season because by that time I’d become a news editor and basically spent my life in the Tribune office.)
Anyway. I don’t think I ever really thought about doing that for a living at the time, and I quickly realized, once I was in the real world, that I couldn’t do it for a living in the real world.
This week, I saw what I might have become, and the idea makes me a little sick.
There are a lot of journalists and specifically news reporters I have a lot of respect for. That will always be true. And this isn’t about them.
But I am tired of seeing, on Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube—when you post that you were running in the Boston Marathon on Monday but you’re safe, or that someone affected by a tragedy was your friend or your relative, or your video of the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas—a comment from a reporter, identifying his or herself, who he or she works for, and could you speak to them about your experience, or your loved one, or what you saw, for a story? I’m all for doing what it takes to get the story, but it often comes as putting desperation to file a story ahead of sensitivity.
Also, does that ever work?
I am tired of reading stories like “Canadian who witnessed tragedy is back home, says it was terrifying.” There are a lot of Canadians in the world. A whole bunch of us right here, in North America, in fact. I don’t want to seem like a jerk, but who the fuck cares whether or not someone who witnessed a horrific attack was from down the street from me or not? I want to know that the people who were there are safe, and that Boston will be okay, and who did this, and how, and why. Saying someone who was there is a Canadian like me doesn’t make me want click on your stupid story. (I don’t know if your story is actually stupid. I didn’t click on it, because of the title.)
I am tired of seeing shit like what CNN did or what the New York Post did. It used to be that when something happened, you would hear about it and turn on CNN. They’d be on it. If CNN wasn’t working for you, there were other networks. Now everyone wants to be first, or most sensational or most gory. Last night, as the fires burned in Texas, I followed my friend’s tweets. She was reporting what the local news was reporting. I basically trusted someone livetweeting what was happening on her TV over news networks and news websites.
I don’t even fucking know where to go to get my news, because the news sure as hell isn’t bringing me it.
I realize that this is how a lot of it’s done, now. I get the part about social media, and about how everyone feels the need to be first. I get the part about our insatiable need for all of the details as quickly as possible. I get the part about how when you’re trying to make a living as a reporter, you have to do what it takes to keep your job as a reporter.
I don’t know enough about the media industry or its consumers to know if this will become how everyone reports news, or if this will eventually get better. Either way, I could never be a news reporter. Not because I feel like I am above all these things.
Because I’m scared I wouldn’t be.
So I’m down a few pounds.
Also, the other day I decided it might be a good idea to try and make an effort to look nice for a whole month (not starting today, FYI anyone who runs into me).
And then the question hit, as it always does whenever I lose a few pounds or get dolled up to go out.
Doesn’t all of this weight loss and makeup and stuff directly contradict the whole idea of trying to love the way that I look? I wouldn’t say I feel like it’s hypocritical as much as I feel like it may be counter productive.
What do you think?
At the time this post is scheduled to go up, I’ll be out running in my weekly group training session.
We’re doing 16K this week. And when I say “we” I mean the other members of the team who are running the half-marathon in San Diego. I’ll probably end up doing a bit less, because I am the slowest runner, and they make you turn back after you’ve run half the scheduled time.
I think I’m roughly halfway through this crazy idea I had where I decided to run a half-marathon for charity, even though I had never done any kind of fundraising before and am kind of fat.
“I wish it could be more.”
I get this a lot. A lot a lot. When I thank people for donating. When I thank people for getting the word out there. When I thank people for giving me running tips. When I thank people just for asking.
Here’s the thing though. It is more. It is so much more than you know.
This is more fun and more rewarding and more inspiring than I ever thought it could be, but it’s not easy. It’s not easy to train for a half-marathon when your body is only trained for window shopping. It’s not easy to ask people for donations when you’re shy and awkward and quiet (except when drunk).
It’s not easy to drag yourself out of bed on Saturday mornings to go train, when you think about it. It’s really not easy to have a naked Zdeno Chara avatar on Twitter for a week, either, come to think of it.
Anyway, basically what I’m saying is that this shit is hard.
What I’ve learned in the last two months is that people are amazing, and there are more people out there that care about this cause (or me or both) than I had imagined. Total strangers have donated. A Twitter follower I’d never interacted with has donated. Old friends and new friends and internet-only friends and random acquaintances have donated. Someone I not-so-secretly idolize, who has no reason to know who I am, has donated. People I literally hadn’t spoken to in seven years donated. People who have never met me donated through retweeted links and Facebook shares.
And people who can’t donate have helped in so many other ways, like getting the word out, donating their time, their skills, or their stuff to help raise money.
People are amazing.
“I wish it could be more.”
Every cent counts. Every single one. It all adds up. At the end of the day, however long it takes me to run this thing in San Diego, what it’s about is raising money to help fight cancer. Until there’s finally a cure, we all wish it could be more. So every dollar is a huge deal. Every retweet, every share, every running tip, every music suggestion, every “how’s it going,”every single thing that’s going to help me get to the finish line and raise this money is a huge deal. It’s more than you know.
My run right now should be going well, because I carbo-loaded and went to bed at a reasonable hour. It’s probably being fueled by the fact that last night, someone who’s never met me donated through a link my friend shared on Facebook, in case you think for a second you aren’t doing enough to help when you share the link.
But I still have a long way to go in terms of raising money to meet my goal. I just want you all to know that everything you’ve done to help me get this far, and everything you do to help every day, means more to me than you’ll ever know.
A few weeks ago, I did something stupid. Monumentally stupid. I’ll bet it’s not uncommon, though. In a fit of writerly self-loathing, I deleted an entire work of fiction I’d been working on, THE thing I’d been working on, having decided that it was complete and utter shit and that I needed to start from scratch. I don’t know if other aspiring failed novelists do this, or if any successful writers do this, but I’m willing to bet a good many of them have.
Maybe you’ve done this crazy thing, too.
And if you’ve been there, you’ll know the feeling, having completely erased all traces of the work itself (other than perhaps your initial notes when the idea first came to you), of stopping dead in your tracks while you were going about your day, as you come to the realization that you trashed some really good shit. Or the potential for some really good shit, anyway.
And you’ll also know the feeling, as you scramble to remember and recreate what you’d thrown away, of wishing someone had caught you in the act and smacked some sense into you, because again, you probably trashed some really good shit. Or the potential for some really good shit, anyway.
I don’t really know what made me do that, but I have one guess.
You see, I am tired of writing about me.
As you’ve probably already figured out from having spent two seconds with me or reading my blog or Twitter feed or whatever, I am completely and profoundly and thoroughly messed up. And for the past couple of years (and sadly, not longer than that), I’ve been working on becoming unmessed up. And what happens when you try to get unmessed up from how messed up I was is that you first have to get to know yourself, and all your issues, and all the reasons for those issues, as well as you possibly can.
So right now, there is nothing in the world I know better than I know me and my issues. Not the people in my life. Not the people who aren’t in my life. Not my job. Not the things I love, like sports and traveling. Not the things I hate, like inequality and the Boston Bruins.
You write what you know.
And I am tired of writing about how messed up I am. For one thing, it’s incredibly narcissistic, and for another, it’s really boring. I work on my issues all day, every day, and then I sit down to write, and find my issues on the page, just disguised with different words. It’s exhausting.
So, in an effort to know other things and consequently write about other things, I decided to shamelessly borrow an idea from a friend, and made a list of 30 things I would like to do before I hit age 30, in August. Adventures, tasks, experiences, accomplishments, you name it. I’m not sharing the list here just yet, although some friends and my sister have seen it (accountability, yo), because I’m going to write up a blog post for each thing I do. Some of them are frivolous, others are practical, many are just things I have always wanted an excuse to do. The one thing they all have in common is that they are a break from Working On Myself (although some of the things might have a positive effect on that front).
I promise this is still a hockey and life blog, although it’s been light on the hockey lately (all the hockey stuff has been on Eyes On The Prize, so go look!). There will be hockey on here, I promise. And there will be some sports stuff I’m pretty excited about. And there will also be 30 posts, between now and my 30th birthday, in no particular order. Pass, fail, half-accomplish, whatever, I’ll write one for each.
Anyway. This blog is still alive, and I hope you’ll come back and read it and possibly laugh at me.
So March starts tomorrow and ends with Easter so I’m setting myself a challenge because I am apparently otherwise incapable of doing things. No really. I’m obviously feeling angry and frustrated with myself lately because that’s what I do when I’m tired and overwhelmed and my life doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. So I’m posting my challenge in public because that’s been working for me so far.
For the next 30 days (until Easter, basically), I will:
- Sleep at least seven hours a night.
- Go for a 30 minute run on weekdays, either in the morning or right after I get home from work.
- Never go above my daily calorie goal, because I know how to eat and basically whenever I go over, it’s emotional eating.
It’s awful that I have to challenge myself to take care of myself, but sometimes I forget what’s important. Wish me luck.
So I may or may not have joined a cult.
I have started training for a half-marathon (to take place in San Diego in June) with Team In Training, to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, but I finally signed up this year, and then I went to the first group training session on Saturday and I am embarrassingly unprepared and humiliatingly out of shape.
But I’m going to do this. I’m going to run the half-marathon and raise lots and lots of money for the LLSC on the way.
In fact, thanks to a bunch of you, I’m already well on my way. I’d been aiming to hit $1,000 by the end of January, but as I write this, I’m only $45 away from that and the month isn’t even half over yet.
So why am I doing this?
- Because fuck cancer.
- Because I wanted to do something really cool and going to San Diego for a half-marathon and doing it for a good cause is really cool.
- Because I’ve never done any kind of fundraising before.
- Because fuck cancer.
- Because challenge.
- Because I put it on my list of things I wanted to do before I turn 30.
- Because fuck cancer.
- Because I want running to become my happy place again and right now it feels like nothing but torture.
- Because need to get back into shape and I want it to be about more than my own vanity.
- Because fuck cancer.
So, how can you help?
- Donate. Here’s the link. Every little bit helps.
- If you can’t donate, there’s still lots of stuff you can do to help. Like helping me spread the word. That’s really, really, big-time help.
- RUNNING MUSIC SUGGESTIONS OMG. I suck at music. I don’t know anything. And I’m going to be running so many hours for so many weeks. And then the event itself is going to take me a couple of hours. So any and all running music suggestions are a huge huge huge huge huge huge help, you have no idea. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org People usually say, “well, what do you like?” I don’t know. I’ll try anything to see if it works. And I will be so grateful.
- Fundraising ideas. I’m a n00b at this but if you’ve ever raised money for charity before and have suggestions for what worked for you, please let me know. Over at Eyes on The Prize, Berkshire and I are writing blog posts of your choice for donations. Any and all other ideas are always appreciated.
I’ve been reading Fever Pitch. I haven’t seen the movie, and I think I’m just going to refuse to, forever. If you’ve read the book, here’s a question for you. How far into the book did you get before you thought, “this book is about me. This book is totally, totally, about me, and most of the people I know?”
(The second page.)
I have been trying to explain, to myself as well as other people, why I love sports venues so much. Smelly, crumbly hockey rinks. Decrepit ballparks. The quiet, sterile Air Canada Centre. The Bell Centre, which is beautiful and loud and home.
Very shortly after I learned the meaning of a word I never wanted to know, my friends Andrew and Sarah and I jumped into my car and drove down to Boston for the weekend. I spent the weekend in my favourite city, with some of my favourite people. Most of it didn’t really register, for obvious reasons. I wish I’d been better company at the time, but I know that wasn’t going to happen.
There are lots of perfect moments, don’t believe anyone who tells you you can’t have them all the time. Mine happen everywhere, but disproportionately so in hockey rinks.
And a ball park one time.
That weekend, Saturday evening, in the middle of a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals, of all teams. Between my lovably loud friends and a group of very nice, very drunk people from Maine. I don’t know what the score was at the time. I don’t even know what the score was at the end of the game, just that it went into a million extra innings and the Royals won. I’m pretty sure people on both sides of me were talking to me. I couldn’t hear them.
For the first time in two weeks, for the very first time in two weeks, for a second, one second, the grief let up a little bit.