Tag Archives: She Get Personal

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.

 

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.

Finding My Stride and Those Who Helped Get Me There

When I first moved to Vancouver, Google Maps was my best friend.

I mean this in multiple senses of the word because: A) The city confused the hell out of me and B) I didn’t really know anyone.

Having the ability to hop in my car and drive away from my eight-by-ten, concrete walled jail cell of a residence room, was a bit of solace in a very lonely first six months. I filled my tiny mini-fridge with fresh fruit and pre-prepared food to avoid the lonely slog to the dining hall and tried to cover the cold concrete with happy photos but never actually felt at home. When I left campus, I racked up a data bill like no other, using Google Maps as a vice to counter the panic I used to feel turning down the wrong road in this city. It was a time filled with a lot of introspection, hesitant perseverance and more than a few bathroom cries.

Now I find myself almost two years later, reflecting on how much things have changed since then and I want to reach back in time, give nineteen-year-old Noelle a little squeeze on the shoulder and tell her:

“Just you wait and see how good it’s gonna get.”

~

Community.

When I was a fresh newcomer to this city and this life, I was so determined that I would find my people almost immediately. I scrambled to find the type of interactions usually tied to the tales of those moving to new places but things felt forced, uncomfortable and just genuinely didn’t fit.

I will always be so thankful to the little voice in the back of my mind that told me to line up for puppy therapy ~by myself~ two months into my semester, because otherwise my life would be missing the massive, sparkly puzzle pieces that are my university girlfriends, the first friends I made that semester and the ones who have made my life infinitely brighter. I owe everything to the girls who saw something in me that day and continue to help me grow into the person I want to be.

~

In January of this year, I had made a deal with myself that I wasn’t going to make resolutions, because to me it seems to have become a practice stuffed with empty promises and inevitable letdowns. I did however, allow myself to jot down a few attainable goals and aspirations I could slowly chip away at during the new year, ideas that I felt would help fill some of the gaps I was still seeing in my Vancouver life, a year and a half in.

“Find a community, find your tribe”

Focusing on healing from my injury kept me away from my rugby team and although I would always be able to rely on my close girlfriends, I missed the feeling that came with having a big group where I just fit. Allowing myself to try different activities and branch out into several different communities put me on the right path towards discovering that new tribe, but a lot of the time I still didn’t feel like much was sticking. I was seeking a tribe based around a multitude of single interests and it wasn’t until a few months ago that I found what I was really bound to latch onto, was a group of individuals interwoven, but way too extraordinary to simply place into a single category.

And I want to take a moment to express a little gratitude for those who burst into my life all at once.

The ones I met on St. Patrick’s day at a party where I felt instantly comfortable, although stone-cold sober. The following weeks of considerable banter, group bedroom chats at house parties, sunset beers and 2am gastown stumblings have allowed me to believe that sometimes the best things don’t necessarily require time, just memories and a dry sense of humour.

The ones who helped me rediscover my love of skiing, who didn’t care that I was a little rusty and watched me fall on my face off jumps and rails. Thank you for pushing me to be a little bolder, reinforcing friendships, and sharing chairlifts and beers with me.

The ones I met when we were all dressed in gold and bedsheets, the ones who made my birthday an incredibly blurry series of belly laughs I wish I could remember more of. Skipping past the small talk and straight into the drunk swapping of sexual war stories is the shit I live for.

To the one who hit the road with me, who dealt with three days of damp clothes and snoring bunkmates and hurricane-force winds. Sharing beach burritos and bottles of wine all the while figuring out just how many parts of ourselves overlapped, was an absolutely perfect start to summer and I wouldn’t have changed a single moment of it.

Finally, the one who made my last week in town one I had been waiting on for a long time, who made me feel comfortable and happy and a lot less pleased to go. You made a difficult day exciting and put an easy smile on my face much quicker than I had expected. You’ve made me feel like my leaving isn’t abandoning, but maybe instead just incentive to come back sooner.

~

It wasn’t until this week that it hit me just how much everything around me had shifted in such a short period of time. Things finally felt as if they were coming together, like I had spent months building off good habits and following my gut – therefore discovering a path that felt right. School had wrapped itself up nicely and allowing myself to feel proud of the work I put in felt like a good reward in the end. I spent the week prior beaming about nabbing the job I’ve been waiting for for years, running off the high of what is to come in the following months.

The overwhelming rush of gratitude hadn’t truly hit me until yesterday when I looked at the people around me and realized just how amazing things have become, thanks to those who ran full force into my life all at once.

A day buzzed off of caffeine and sangria, soaking up the sun on long walks and ugly-laughing over popsicles.

A day waking up and going to bed with the same smile on my face from the day before.

A day that told me the difference between those who say “congrats” and those who say “I’m so incredibly proud of you” when I talk about my new job – reminding me that these are the ones who believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself.

A day that showed me how Calgary is my hometown but Vancouver is now my home.

~

I have my favourite places in the city, I have my handful of good coffee shops where the baristas know my name and I no longer have to use Google Maps when I drive.

But honestly, none of it would matter if I wasn’t able to spend my time with the people in this city who have built me. I’m grateful for days so filled with happiness and confidence in where I’m headed.

Although driving back to my hometown leaves my heart a little heavy knowing the next couple months will look a lot different than the last, I count myself lucky to have enough light in my life to feel blue about putting those parts on hold for a bit.

Forever thankful for people who jump into our lives head first and are more than happy to stick around for a while.