Confessions of a Canadian: 09.11.13

I never wanted to be a journalist. 

The news is depressing.

Those could have been high school me’s famous last words, as I tried to fight anyone who even dared suggest I go to the journalism school only an hour from my home. 

I was half right. The news is depressing, but here I am now, a senior in college, doing journalism. And it’s only slightly ironic that I had to go to school in another country, 800 miles away, just to end up right back where I never wanted to be.

This year, as I watched all the freshmen move in, I turned into a clichéd college senior as I confessed my envy over their current position. Wouldn’t it just be great to go back to being a freshman?

And then I really thought about it, in that over-analytic way English majors do, and I realized I would never, ever want to go back to freshman year. Taylor Swift will get back together with Harry Styles before I’ll ever want to go back.

And it’s not just the homesickness I wouldn’t want to relive, but also those ice breakers and group activities and orientation rotations that are just so much more than any introvert can handle. 

What I want, I realized, is not to go back, but instead to have another four years from right now. Or maybe I just wish I could’ve been who I am now freshman year. It sounds as though I’m asking for time travel, and though that would be cool, all I really want, all I think I’ve ever really wanted, is to just be me. 

This, however, is proving to be the most impossible task, as “change” isn’t just something you face when you grow taller in the eighth grade, but it’s like this permanent shadow constantly prompting you to move forward.

Had I written this column last year, it probably would’ve been called “Donuts, Wheat Thins and Coffee.” Then this summer I gave up donuts, Wheat Thins and coffee, which is the equivalent to a Real Housewife giving up shopping—a big deal. And I know it’s a big deal because people keep asking me how I’m faring without the sugary carbs, and then they follow it up with “I don’t even recognize you anymore” (which is ridiculous, since I look the exact same as last year, just maybe I have a better haircut now). 

So I learned a really quick lesson here: I need to chill with the obsessive food Tweets, because maybe, just maybe, I’m a little bit dramatic. Like when I would tweet, “I cannot write this paper until I eat a donut. I cannot. I refuse. I’m on strike,” I wasn’t actually striking. Striking is a bold concept a bit too foreign to my innocent Canadian self. Maybe I need to stop embellishing, but is it so wrong to sacrifice the whole truth and nothing but the truth if it can make the story (or a tweet) better?

Does anyone really care that I tweeted about eating carrots at 4:08, when really I ate carrots at 4:03? Does anyone even care that I was eating carrots at all? I gave up a lot of things this summer. Including crying. And though maybe crying wasn’t a rehab-worthy addiction like donuts, but rather the effect of my love for Nicholas Sparks’ movies and those horribly beautiful YouTube videos of soldiers returning home from war to surprise their children, giving it up was a feat nonetheless. 

I thought about giving up Twitter, too.

I thought about disappearing completely from the Twitterverse, silently. But I also thought about departing in a more dramatic way. Remember that rap Miley Cyrus posted when she gave up Twitter back in her Hannah Montana days? 

I really, really thought about it. Because couldn’t Twitter go in the same “waste of time” category as crying? 

“I’m going three days without it,” I dramatically declared, as if three days were equivalent to forty in a desert. 

Then a really deep and powerful thought hit me: if I give up Twitter, how will I be able to see when Oprah tweets the airing times of her sit-down interview with Lindsay Lohan?

And speaking of Lindsay Lohan, if she can leave rehab still allowed to smoke, can’t I keep my one final vice—Twitter? I mean, it’s hardly carcinogenic. Its only real flaw is that it allows people to think they know me better than I know myself.

I’d like to think I can’t be defined in 140 characters, but if you multiply that by my 7,091 tweets, then yeah, I guess you have a mini autobiography, one that emphasizes my junior year dependence on carbohydrates. 

In twenty years when Miley Cyrus is re-watching her 2013 VMA performance and having an existential crisis over her entire young adulthood existence, I, too, will probably be looking at every piece of “art” I’ve ever written and simultaneously wonder, “What was I thinking?” 

Ever so slowly, I’m becoming okay with that. I’ll go through phases where all I ever want is a pair of combat boots, and three months later I’ll be throwing them to the back of my closet pretending they don’t exist. I’ll be more inconsistent than your iPhone Weather App, but two things will remain true: I will always be Canadian. And I will always hate sneakers. 

The alternate title of this column was actually “Confessions of a carb-loving Canadian,” but I figured if I want people to stop finding me in strictly defined boxes, I should probably stop putting myself in them. So I went with the one thing that can never change—my Canadian-ness.

Therefore, I’ll always say “bagel” with a skewed accent.

And I’ll spell neighbour with a ‘u,’ and lose points on papers because of it.

And I’ll continue to tweet about my love for Canada, because that really is one addiction I cannot beat.

After all, tweets are like blogs, just shorter.  

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