Exhale

I was laying in bed in the dark, my eyes were open and I was staring at the alarm clock on my dresser. It was 5:57. I turned and reached for my actual alarm clock, my iphone, and turned off the alarm before it went off. I got up and got dressed and ready very quietly, in the dark, because J has been working so hard and we’ve been going to bed so late. That handsome face deserves to sleep. I was ready with about an hour and a half to sapre, on purpose, before my last final exam of the semester. I decided to close all the window blinds to plunge the apartment in total darkness, and left quietly. I turned the key in the door lock as quietly and and as slowly as I could.

I took the elevator, walked out to the car, and chose to listen to a mellow song to calm my  nerves. I can’t even remember what it was now. Even though I’m not a breakfast eater, I also don’t normally get up at 6am. So I decided to go to the Tim Hortons drive through to get a coffee and a breakfast sandwich. The last thing I need is to worry about loud stomach hunger paings during my exam. I drove to the university, thinking that I would park in my faculty’s parking lot, turn off the radio, and eat and sip coffee while doing one last read through of my study guide. Upon arrival to said parking lot, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one with this idea. It was hard to focus on studying in the car when I was fascinated by watching a bunch of people in their cars in this parking lot, sipping coffee, smoking cigarettes, and studying for the same exam I was.

20 minutes before my exam, I got out of the car, spilling some of my XL coffee all over myself and my study guide. For some reason, today it didn’t matter. I grabbed 2 tissues and wiped it all off. I was wearing my most comfortable lounging outfit, determined not to be distrated by any unecessary things during exam : 2nd skin like black yoga pants that have two little while lines going down the side of my legs, giving me an illusion of slimness (I’d like to think), my Opeth t-shirt (from their stop in Moncton last Fall), my most comfy sports bra, my Shades of Sorrow hoodie (J’s band), and my hair up in a messy ponytail. No make up. No jewelry. I feel like I’m describing my opening segment if I was on ‘What not to wear’. You know me, you know that I LOVE the stuff in my closet and love any occassion to put outfits together. But in the past few years, I’ve come to really not give a single shit if I decide to go out in public wearing comfort. I don’t need to impress anyone but myself. And I impress myself when I am ok with letting myself be kind to myself. But either way, I think I look cute in yoga pants.

I walk the little hill up to the building, climb the stairs to the second floor, and locate room 207 and then head to the washrooms. When I walk towards the room, I notice for the first time that all of my classmates are sitting on the floor and standing in the dark, trying to squeeze in a last few minutes of studying. The classroom door is locked. No one can locate a light switch. People claim whatever sliver of lights they can find. It’s kind of eerie. We’re all studying in the dark, early on a Sunday morning, in an empty and quiet faculty. Are all early mornings this quiet and eerie?

I’m leaning against the brick wall, my coffee is sitting on the floor next to me. I’m tryingto drown out everything around me to also squeeze in a few more supply chain, international marketing, sales, marketing communication, etc facts and information. My back hurts. I look up in the air, discretely counting on my fingers while listing the different components of an integrated marketing commnicaty strategy when the teacher comes barreling down the hall in her flashy red skirt suit, stopped dead in her track in front of me, turns to me and asks : “Is the classroom locked?” It takes me 3 seconds to snap out of my studying reverie before I say : “Ummm… YES!” As if it was the first question on the exam.

I walk into the unfamiliar classroom and I try to assess my seating options as fast as I can because the heard of my classmates is moving quickly, claiming the best seats. I choose a seat in one of the front rows, as to minimize distractions. I am relieved to see that the 2 guys who also chose my row decide to sit 1 seat apart from each other and from me. Aaah, my bubble. The teacher then starts breaking up teams and friendships. Apparently it’s harder to cheat if you’re not sitting next to your friend? I don’t know. So she sends a guy to sit right next to me, in my bubble. Bah! I move my set up a little tighter and closer to me. On my right – My XL Tims coffee and a full bottle of water. What? Exams are dehydrating! On my left – 3 sharpened pencils, 1 eraser, 1 travel package of facial tissues, and my burt’s bees. In the pocket of my hoodie? The little crocheted snowflake that Julien’s mom gave me for good luck for my very first exam. It has brought me luck so far.

The teacher is talking about her zero plagiarism tolerance policy, that even a doubt is sufficient to yoink away our exam copy and send us on our way.

Teacher : “If I have to repeat myself, it’s -1 point!”

Random classmate : “But Ms…”

Teacher : “-1 point.”

[Rest of classmates trying to hide nervous and incredulous smiles.]

At some point a guy in my row turns his exam copy face down, and walks out of the class. I assume he’s going to the washroom. I also assume that the teacher is going to flip out and not let him finish his exam. I assume right.

Satisfied after two revision read throughs, I get up and bring my copy on the desk at the front of the class, and find my name to sign on the sheet, as instructed. Another student gets up and walks to the desk, and stands next to me. I’m thinking “Shit! She told us to wait at our seats and that only one person is allowed at once at the front desk and signage sheet! Surely she’ll see that it’s him and not me!” So I sign my name so fast that it’s not legible, grab all my things, and the rest of my now cold XL coffee, and walk out of the exam room, feeling FREE!!

I feel so free! I’m sitting in my walk in closet. My laptop is sitting on top of my ‘Joy of Cooking’ book, which I’ve never used for any other purpose than to prop up other things, which is resting on top of my little vanity mirror desk. The radio is playing at volume 3. Just loud enough for me to hear it. The rest of the apartment is still in total darkness. Minou (the cat) is still sleeping in her storage room, and J is still sleeping in bed. About 10 feet away from me, outside my closet door. Every few minutes I stop typing to hear the love of my life gently snoring. I know it’s creepy, but I love watching him sleep. I’d open the door right now to take a peek, but I don’t want to risk waking him up just yet. Here I am, sitting quietly in my 8×10 closet, feeling so FREE!!

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Life is so damn good!

I’ve never been happier than I am now. I didn’t think that this kind of happiness was for me. I didn’t think that I deserved this much love and joy in my  life. I don’t want to brag, I just want to shout my thankfulness from the roofs!

About a month ago, I was frolicking in the warm clear waters at Sugar Beach, St. Lucia, with the love of my life. That place was indubitably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in. I have seen a lot of beautiful places, but for me, letting St. Lucia’s warm waters free me of gravity and letting my body float under the warm sun, between their famous two majestic pitons was amazing. An exorbitantly priced resort is also on this beach, other cruisers told us that it costs $1500 to $3000 a NIGHT to stay there! So I really, really took it all in the most that I could, because I know that this beautiful island will most likely only ever be a day trip for me. During our private tour, the speedboat we were on just stopped working and its computers shut down. We had to be rescued by another boat. I was so scared of falling in between the two boats! But even with that adventure, my day in St. Lucia is still one of the most beautiful days of my life. Being in the water, surrounded by lush green mountains just recharges me.

About a week ago, J picked me up right after my university class, and we drove to Halifax, NS to see Black Sabbath in concert. It was really awesome. Because Black Sabbath are just –wow, and also because there are few things I love more than being bombarded with confetti!!! Also on the top of the list are wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men! Seriously.  I love those things. I saw three this week!

This week I had 3 day meetings in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, sandwiched by two un-jiggable university classes, which made timing pretty darn tight. J agreed to drive me and stay and work out of the hotel room without hesitation, as usual. How did I get so lucky? Our hotel room was really modern and awesome. We will surely return there whenever we are in Charlottetown next.

Speaking of things that I love – like the warm summer breeze, starry skies, butterflies, a good pho, music, and food, among other things… during my cruise vacation I came to a decision: I’m just going to eliminate things that make me unhappy, or that I’m solely doing to please other people, from my life. During my vacation, for the first time ever, even though it was the best most amazing vacation of my whole life, towards the end I definitely started missing my life here at home. And my actual home. Since I have stopped worrying so much about pleasing the other residents of my apartment building, I’ve begun to kind of love this apartment. I’ve bought frames, and framed happy pictures of us from the cruise. I also framed a beautiful print of a sea turtle in my bathroom. This place really is home. I also missed my cat Roxy terribly! Speaking of Miss Roxy, she spent the day at the vet and came out with an antibiotic shot for a probable urinary tract infection. I hope she feels better soon :/ Poor minou. We are to collect a urine sample in 10 days and bring that in for analysis to make sure it’s going away. Wish me luck with that!

So, remember this post? https://crazymrsnancy.com/2013/10/19/i-havent-blogged-in-over-a-month/ I did it. I stepped down as the president of my chorale, and also I quit as a chorister altogether. I truly am grateful for my 5-6 years in the chorale. I think that the rehearsals and performing on stage really helped me come out of my shell, which helped me generally in life. But it was just time. My focus is now on different areas of my life, and I am so happy. This coming week is also the last scheduled yoga class that I organize at work, before taking an undetermined hiatus. Is it ‘normal’ to love yoga but to prefer a solitary practice? I think that I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m just not someone who generally enjoys social interaction in large groups that much. I just don’t enjoy group anything, really. Is that a bad thing? I’ve honestly been wondering if there is some kind of diagnosable socially awkward thing about me. I am in the foot-in-mouth queen.

I’m being kind to myself; I learned that in yoga class. I am also being honest with myself. I really need a lot of down time/free time/ alone time. I am an overly sensitive person. I am an introvert. Lately I’ve also been doing a LOT of thinking about what it is I really want in life. I want to love all the days of my life. I don’t want to just live for the weekends, you know? I want a lot of alone time. I want to live close to work so that I don’t waste a lot of time commuting; I love the business of downtown. I want to travel. I want to eat good food. I want to see concerts and live music. Last week my application for compressed work weeks was approved! My work schedule is going to be Tues-Fri 8am-6pm, and I get Sat-Sun-Mon OFF!! Three days in a row, every week for a year! I think that it’s going to be worth the longer work hours to have a day to devote to university stuff and more occasions to get some good sleep in. I’ve been having sleep issues lately.

I’ve also been able to choose 2 courses that are given online for my summer classes. I’m so excited about that. About the compressed work weeks, about the not having to force myself to go to choir anymore, and the option to do yoga in my own living room, with my own music. I feel like I will be so much more productive at work if I only have to be social 4 days a week. I feel so free. I feel so excited about my life and my future plans. But is it okay to accommodate my life to allow myself to be this comfortable in my introversion?