Tag Archives: Dig

Winter: Three Feelings Before Breakfast

When words, photos, songs inspire fiction.

Hygge (Danish): Taking pleasure from the gentle or soothing things

Song: We Move Lightly – Dustin O’Halloran

I wake up not with a start but slowly, like my eyelids are savoring each second before bringing daybreak into view. I am warm but not too hot, I can tell that my hair is more disheveled than usual, doing the frizzy split-end thing I hate, but I don’t really care. The scent of the fireplace downstairs meets my nose before my ears can pick up the crackle, and the goosebumps that greet the skin on my arms pushes some of the grogginess aside. Smell has always been my foremost nostalgic vice, my fondest memories and most sought-after day dreams coming immediately after certain scents hit my nostrils.This morning smells like smoke and coffee. I look to my right and catch a glimpse of a few candles from last night, melted down and sloped from such a lengthy burn, and thoughts of the evening start to filter in. A sleepy grin paints itself across my face when I hear him shuffling around downstairs. This old cabin does nothing for soundproofing, it creaks and groans with every step or strong breeze from outside. I don’t mind this at all though, I like listening to him mill about in the morning. He’s not always a morning person but when we’re out here he seems to love getting an early start. For no particular reason, I think, other than to just take in the quiet.

I am still wrapped up in the covers and when I roll over to face the big bedroom window, I am greeted with the sight of snow falling with so much fervour that the trees appear as wrapped up as I. I am grateful to him for opening the blinds before I awakened because looking out of the glass this morning feels almost ethereal. I snuggle in even more knowing that I am completely protected in this little house, the perfectly languid energy flows inside and out of these walls.

Gluggaveour (Icelandic): Weather best enjoyed through a window

Song: Promise – Ben Howard

I swing my legs off the bed and pull on some pyjama shorts and my softest hoodie. He always pokes fun at me for wearing shorts around the house in the dead of winter but I like to think it creates the perfect opportunity to wrap my legs up in the softest blanket on the couch without getting too hot. I can hear the jingle of the dog’s collar downstairs and assume there’s already more than a few paw prints in the fresh snowfall outside. As I tip-toe down the staircase, I try to avoid the creaky spots so I can sneak up on him from behind. He’s wearing jeans and the cozy long-sleeve I always steal from his closet – I can tell he’s already changed out of his first outfit of the day, likely wet from the thick falling snow outside. I swiftly wrap my arms around his back, clasp my hands across his chest and bury my nose into his shoulder blades. He’s startled at first, his whole body jumps a little, but quickly relaxes into my arms. He sets his cup of coffee on the counter and runs his hands along mine. I can feel the immediate warmth in his palms from the mug but his fingers are still cold from the outside. I take a big breath in, savouring every bit of his smell in that moment. He turns around, brushes some stray strands of bedhead out of my eyes and leans down for a long, slow kiss. I can tell he hasn’t taken a sip of his coffee yet because he still tastes like peppermint, my favourite flavour. He hands me a mug, earl grey tea with a bit of almond milk (he knows tea makes me feel cozier in the mornings), and I saunter towards the living room. The dog is curled up beside the fireplace and lifts his head when I reached down to give him some good morning head scratches. My eyes are still glued to the window, it’s somehow snowing harder now than it was when I woke up only a few minutes ago. I walk a little closer, bring my mug to my lips for a sip and watch as the glass pane steams up almost instantaneously upon my exhale. My mind intrinsically wanders to the mountain adventure possibilities this snowfall will bring, but keeps me still just watching. Today it seems, is a day best spent inside.

 

Chrysalism: The amniotic tranquility of being inside during a storm

Song: Master and a Hound – Gregory Alan Isakov

I feel his chin softly rest on the top of my head from behind. I’m not sure how long I’ve been standing there for, eyes jumping from snowflake to snowflake, watching as they weave themselves into the fabric of white settled over every surface. He muses that I must be staring into space but I tell him I’m looking, observing the patterns that take shape outside these walls and simply processing the spectacle of it all. He gets it. He understands the type of child-like wonderment I get from the marvels of nature, because he feels it too. I’ve always been able to tell just by looking in his eyes. He follows me to the couch and I laymy feet in his lap and finish the last few sips of my tea. I begin to drift back to all the moments that have led me to this point here. So many late-night conversations about our shared fantasy to one day spend winters out in the trees, my insistence on building a shed outside for all our outdoor gear and his inevitable acceptance that it would be worth the effort, our monthly weekend trips to the mountains that allowed us to fall in love with waking up to a foot of fresh snow. I spent so much time as a young woman day dreaming about mornings like these, I let the utter comfort of this moment completely envelop me. I have been relatively pain free for almost three years now, cherishing each minute that goes by without it. With the dog by our sides, my feet in his lap, and memories of the night before playing on loop behind my eyes I let out a deep sigh. Today I will let the snow fall around us and crystalize the windows. I will let the logs smolder and the keep the kettle hot. Because for once, I know that this is exactly where I should be. I am happy, free.

 

Under the Guise of the ‘Chill Girl’

The following is inspired partly by an article I recently stumbled upon, but mostly rather by a massive period of self-discovery and introspection I was forced to face over the last couple months. This article put into words what I simply couldn’t over the summer, when I adopted a version of myself that was so focused on appeasing others, I started to resent the parts of my personality that make up who I am. I’d like to think that this response is almost my reemergence into trying not to give a fuck about the constructed ideas people have of me, and instead, actually speaking my truth again. 

-N

https://www.vogue.com/article/how-to-let-go-of-chill-girl-persona

 

Under the guise of the “chill girl”, I misplace the parts of me that want to scream and dance and speak truths. All of a sudden all eyes find me and every word that is uttered as I leave the room becomes an attack – at least in my mind. I am to walk with my head up high not because I feel true confidence but because it is a way to sew in another a piece of armour, a badge to show just how unbothered I wished to be towards the world around me.

But this mask was my demise.

The vulnerability that wanted to escape so badly banged and thrashed against the walls of my plastered on smile, authenticity slowly siphoned out and replaced by a rudimentary set of expectations dictating that I was not to reveal my disguise under any circumstances.

We say yes to the billboards on our foreheads that scream “This girl has it together, she’s everything you’ve ever wanted and she’s never been more nonchalant about it.”

We change our costumes from the baggy “I am infinitely unbothered” to the tight-fitting “I am the pinnacle of confidence” a few times a day, only to step out of our skin at night wondering why we feel so itchy.

“I never expected this from you, I always thought you were just a cool, chill girl”

Variations of this swing around my ears and I cringe knowing how many have put me on a shelf, smacked a sticker on my forehead and decided that this is what I’m worth. Every facet of my personality cowers in the corner and hangs their heads knowing that it will not be safe to come out.

I work to slowly revise the words written all over my skin. The words that have become tangled in messes pushing back in forth between the vulnerable and the safe.

I have been taught that safety only lies in hiding the real.

We are not on this earth to be your puzzles, your codices to unpack and solve. Why do you chase us and convince us that our worth only relies on our ability to keep you guessing? Why is it that so many of us stand convinced that our feelings are fundamentally undesirable, only to come out of the woodwork when given permission?

Death to the chill girl, I think to myself.

But how can something disappear when it doesn’t even exist in the first place?

Fuck your reading habits.

I’ve always been the preliminary girl

the intermittent girl

the escape girl.

The one kept on the back burner

the one used as a vessel for things that cannot be expressed

to the ones they actually attach themselves to

What is it about me that screams

Use me as the prologue to your love story

Use me as the magazine you read to pass the time

Use me as the dirty novel you hide under your pillow.

These pages are my own

Bound with a discipline

That could only be learned through sewing back in

The pages that have been carelessly ripped out

I am not your old, overdue library book

I am the riveting fiction you can’t put down

The true story that inspires you

The poetry that changes you

So do not place me in the depths of your nightstand

Only to open me as an escape from the reality you grow tired of

I am a work of art

Sprung solely from my own fingertips.

 

-fuck your reading habits

 

 

 

Self Affirmations

Your body is strong, dear girl

For not only do you carry the immense weiht of your own thoughts

But hold tight to the thoughts of other as well.

 

Not many will know what it’s like to feel the world the way you do, sweet girl

With soft eyes and a tender soul, resilient yet often victim such anguish

Not many will understand what it is like to feel with their whole existence all at once

 

From the depths of your belly to the hairs on the back of you neck

You feel

And you mustn’t fall for the tricks of those who cannot taste pain in the backs of their mouths

Or feel the sunshine course through every synapse and nerve

 

You must learn that those who are meant to stay will not look at your naked heart with fear or misunderstanding

But rather

Will sit down next to you

And ask if they can show you theirs too.

 

Intangible Aches

I am not broken
You cannot see lines
Cracks
Fractures
But I feel it
The pain that runs along my pathways
Coursing behind my vision
Ebbing down my neck
Filling the spaces
Between the top of my head and my toes.
You cannot feel a scar
The bruises have faded
But every time I lift my head from my pillow
I am forced to relive that single impact
And face what will hurt most today.
It’s the invisible force without a face
It lurks
In the shadows
I can feel it pulse through every vein
Nerve
Fibre
Slowly collecting pieces of me for itself.
I am not wonder woman
Though sometimes I like to think I am
And some days it’s me holding the golden lasso around its neck
But some days it turns the noose on me instead
You cannot see lines
Cracks
Fractures
Only the pain in the shadows
With a rope in its hands.

– when injuries become intangible

 

“Did you miss me?”

“Did you miss me?”

Of course I miss you.
I miss you all the time. When you’re not around you’re all I think about and I do everything possible to push thoughts of you down, think about something else or replace you.
But there you are anyways.

And when you are around, it’s almost worse. You’re right there but you’re so far away. I can’t touch you or feel you when every atom in my body wants to know what it feels like.
I can’t breathe.
Ever since you came back I’ve had a pain in my chest from every word I’ve kept in my lungs, all the words I wish I could say to you. I want to fight you so hard for making me feel this way but all I can seem to think about it what it might feel like to kiss you again.

And then the cycle repeats it self. The butterflies that come with the the unrelenting thoughts are caged just as quickly and my breath hitches, unable to let itself in and out of my lungs without effort anymore.

I’m stuck, stifled. I can’t be with you or without you and I don’t have a choice in either.

You’re not mine to think about.

I’m stuck, in a cycle that begins with gears turning and ends with me throwing a wrench in the system only for it to get dislodged over and over again.

Do I miss you?

Constantly.

  1. And I can’t breathe anymore because of it.

Pedestrian At Best (An Unexpected Weekend)

May Long weekend series or days I wasn’t expecting to be extraordinary, but gave me some memories I won’t soon forget and relationships with people I find myself loving unconditionally after such a short period of time. I’ve been lucky enough to really feel like a kid again a few times over the last month, laughing so hard I feel like my lungs are on fire. This weekend may have been the spark that reignited that fire.

Stacy had been on the fence about coming down to Calgary for a bit but last minute decided to book a day off work, pack her friends Aksel and Alex into a van and drive into town for Elliot’s birthday. We kicked off the weekend driving over to surprise Elliot and through a mutual affinity for making Stacy the butt of the joke, an instantaneous friendship formed. In typical Noelle “I’m really not gonna drink too much tonight” style, I was a bit hesitant when I was thrown into a game of slap cup and ended up getting stuck with the very first janky king’s cup in the middle of the table. When Alex offered to share it with me, at that moment I had never been so relieved about the gesture. Stone cold sober is not the ideal state to throw back a king’s cup and from there I was certain I was surrounded by some seriously quality humans.

Two bottles of wine on Elliot’s balcony, multiple scenarios of “show me your new tattoo! Wanna see mine?”, one bathroom floor nap and endless conversations I don’t remember later, Stacy and I capped off the night by taking a ride home with an Uber driver that yelled at me for getting his own directions wrong. Fully not caring and falling asleep in the back seat, I somehow made my way back to my bed and was awoken to a motherfucker of a hangover and Stacy telling me all about how she forgot to pack pants.

The next day was brilliantly sunny and began with Phil and Sebastian’s coffee on the riverside patio of Charbar, as Stacy, Aksel, Alex, Elliot and I decided a tour of the city was in order.

And by ‘tour’ I mean a trip to several of Calgary’s patios for hangover food and Caesars.

Charbar gave us coffee, National gave us tatertots, and Alforno’s gave us delirious conversational slip-ups and the unfortunate coincidence of me stumbling upon my recently divorced cousin’s tinder date. Trying to remain unnoticed while hearing Aksel ask for an order of “bologna” in lieu of a Bellini or telling everyone I was taking a class called ‘Backpacking for Basics’ (The basics of backpacking) was unachievable.

Photo: @alrightstace

I was dying from my blisters due to my Chucks not being able to support what I assume was 300,000 steps, so we cruised back to my house and spent the subsequent hours lolling around on the hill until the sun dipped down. It felt so good to be able to laugh hard like that again. I had realized that due to all the stress that came with moving and school, I couldn’t remember the last time I had one full day of laughter with humans that made it possible for me feel so at home within a matter of minutes.

bb Stace in the trunk

Also we saw like, seven wiener dogs running right for us from the base of the hill which is a really great way to end a day in anyone’s books, I think.

We capped off the night by drinking another few bottles of wine around the bonfire in my backyard and drifting in to the type of ideologically charged conversations communications students tend to have after drinks. It made me smile so big when after a heavy conversation capped off with most of us discussing in about how we had all written some sort of paper on a related topic, Aksel (the only non-comms student in the vicinity) had stated that he genuinely wants to read the things we all write. His interest in the lives and thoughts of my friends really resonated with me – I was so lucky to be able to get to know a group of such authentically genuine humans.

Diane (left) Richard (right) really killing the matching outfits

When we decided to wander across the street to take in the view under the cover of darkness, I nearly rolled down the hill laughing when I had pointed out that outfitted with the pashmina from my couch and one massively oversized wineglass, Alex bared a stunning resemblance to Diane Keaton. If the King’s Cup hadn’t already cemented our friendship this moment did; we decided that in a romantic comedy about our lives I would probably be played by Richard Gere.

The next day we decided to take to the mountains and climb up a trail in the Bow Valley. After rolling up the trailhead blasting Courtney Barnett’s “Pedestrian at Best” (weekend trend) we started a trail that felt like a 90 degree angle for a good two and half hours. None of us had really entertained the thought of snow since it was approx. 27 Celsius at the base but low and behold, our trek up the mountain started to be tinged with white and allowed for many, many falls.

Poor Aksel was in a knee brace and shoes with the tread of alpine skis and he probably fell the most out of us all, but trooped through nonetheless. I was already sporting a solid patch of ice burn on my butt as most of us were wearing shorts when we fell into the thigh-deep postholes. Also not really taking into account the fact that snow is reflective of the sun, the post hike sunburns were real. After arriving to the first lake, which was completely frozen, we made the decision to push on up a ridge we had no business tackling as one misstep in the now waist deep snow would have likely been the end of us.

Aksel sans knee brace, or anything else really

When we got down to the part of the trail I think I can speak for all of us when I say we were all feeling aged. Complaining about our knee and hip joints worse than a bunch of eighty-year olds, we were more than ready for the sweet release of bare feet that came with the parking lot. We cruised windows down, to the light of a perfect sunset, back to Elliot’s condo in Canmore where some of the group had a few shrooms waiting, although the only thought on my mind was how quickly I would be getting food in my belly.

Canmore on a Sunday night was so peacefully quiet, but holy hell trying to find any food whatsoever was a challenge my little hypoglycemic body was not up for. Worth noting that I walked into a bar and when I asked if they do take-out for the burger I was salivating over, their response was

“Normally we would probably do something like that for you but our weekend menu is generally meant to be plated so really the whole experience wouldn’t be what we intend and therefore we probably cant accommodate takeout.”

Listen up, I don’t see any Michelin stars on your door and I’m so hungry I’m about to eat you if I don’t get some real food here. FIGURE IT OUT. 

I managed to order a pizza to the condo so that I didn’t have to risk having a 12-hour long stomachache that the Chinese food at the house would have surely given me and we came home to Rita, Stacy and Elliot shrooming on the couch. Watching Stacy get super emotional about how attractive all her friends are while Elliot just sat smiling at space while I downed my probably fourth or fifth bottle of wine in three days proved to be the welcome finale to an unexpected weekend.

Sitting on the roof under the stars or falling asleep cuddling with the crew, I felt so lucky to have a weekend that gave me instant friendships like these ones.

What I expected to be a mellow weekend in the city turned out to be the example of what I wanted the rest of my summer to look like.

I really like these people.