The past three weeks have been something, something special. The day after Thanksgiving my parents left for Hawaii – they went on vacation to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, and I stayed home. What with midterms, university, extracurriculars, and well, life, there was no way I could join them. As much as I love my parents I’m happy that I had that time to myself. I’m also grateful that they left me the car to use at my leisure.
Being on your own teaches you more about who you are than a lifetime of schooling ever could. I do not say that lightly, academics are a large part of my life but they’re not everything.
Nothing is everything.
My parents just came home this past evening. However, that wasn’t the first “homecoming” that occurred since they left. Two weeks ago I drove to Montreal and back. Until two weeks ago I’d never driven past Richmond but I rose to the challenge and transported myself, along with two of my sorority sisters to attend an anniversary celebration for the McGill chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi.
I wasn’t sure that I was capable of doing it. Sure, I’d driven before – up streets, down streets, up and down side streets, but still something in my head told me I couldn’t handle it. But I did. I even parallel parked on a Montreal hill in traffic – those of you familiar with the city know how difficult and terrifying that feat can be for any driver. Granted I was a little far from the curb – I still did it though.
I don’t regret it. At all. Not the early 5:00am wake up, the two hour drive there, or even the two hour drive back when my sisters were asleep, and all I wanted to do was join them. We made it home in one piece.
I came home confident. Happier. Facing a dragon must fill a knight with adrenaline but until the beast is vanquished I can only imagine that fear must also tinge that high. Well, I definitely conquered my dragon – highways don’t scare me.
That evening, starry eyed over my successful journey ‘across the border’ I offered one of my sisters a ride home from chapter that night. As I dropped her off we both noticed a strange light on the dashboard of the car – the low tire pressure indicator had flicked on and was staring me mockingly in the face. I panicked, just a little, but I panicked all the same. The idea that my freedom could be so easily curbed was a tough pill to swallow. Thankfully, in the morning I was able to take the car into the dealership and everything was taken care of, the recent cold snap had done in the tire pressure.
When I related the story to a dear friend she remarked, “You’re so grown up.” Usually, I would brush off a comment like that with a laugh or a pithy remark – instead I just thanked her because she wasn’t wrong. Somehow, between the essays, formal committee meetings and sorority events I had grown, and I am still growing. I am becoming myself – I am coming home to myself, becoming the person I am supposed to be, and the person I am making myself into.
The Tuesday after that Sunday I found myself with a larger family tree – sorority family tree that is – I am now the proud Big Sister (a.k.a. Big) of two New Members (a.k.a. my Twiddles or Twin Littles) from Carleton’s AOII chapter. I have TWINS!
When I found out I was so ecstatic, I don’t think I screeched so much as squealed with delight! My relationship with my Big last year did not work out, full stop. But I swore to myself that if I was ever lucky enough to be blessed with Littles that I would help them have the best possible experience with AOII, and life at large.
I came home the night of Big/Little Reveal, actually the next morning since when I was on the road the clock clicked to midnight, a Big. I came home a sister with more responsibilities, people to take care of, and expectations to uphold. I came home happy and feeling loved.
*Disclaimer: This is part of the post will be personal, more so than any other piece I have published on my blog and if that doesn’t appeal to you please, feel free to scroll on by. Cheers.
Reading Week followed Big/Little Reveal but before that week of bliss came the events of October 22nd, 2014. I came home that night shaken to the core but stronger, I felt the emotion behind #OttawaStrong; I was united that night with my fellow countrymen and women. I listened to Prime Minister Harper’s address and Thomas Mulcair’s – I watched, listened, prayed, and talked – to friends and family. I came home that night weighed down by the events of the day. I came home wary, weary, and wounded. I came home older, but I still went home to the same house. It never changed, it never will – not matter what I go through it will still be the same, that is both comforting and saddening.
The weekend leading into Reading Week I went on a trip to New York state to attend a sorority conference. I spoke with sisters from different schools and a variety of different states; I had the opportunity to meet with executives in AOII and I networked with sisters. The weekend was productive, enlightening, inspiring, and exactly what I needed.
All of the presentations and information aside the most important conversation I had that weekend was with a fellow sister from Montreal. We started off on safe ground -sorority life, the pitfalls and joys of crafting, elections, and other general topics, then somehow we hit deep territory. Soon I found myself expressing my frustration over how stress is perceived as both a weakness and an asset, how I was afraid of judgement from my friends, my peers, and even my sisters for “giving in” to my emotions at times.
My sister looked at me square in the face and said, “I feel that way too.” Suddenly, I wasn’t alone. I mean I know that logistically I’m never alone, heck even my dad said that tonight, but I’ll get into that later.
So we began to talk, really talk – not converse or politely speak to one another on subjects of mutual interest – we talked for almost three hours. I told her how I’ve been coming to terms with myself, I’ve been coming home to myself, and I’ve been realizing that I’m not very open. I’m one of those people who will find out a lot about you when we speak, but you’ll probably go away only knowing a few random facts about me. I’m tired of that, I’m tired of pretending when I’m not okay. I told my sister this and she empathized. She told me that she’s very good at not letting people see “those emotions,” you know the ones – the ones that make you angry at yourself or make you cry, those ones.
Well, I’m done with that, at least I’m working on being done with those feelings. I described to her how when my parents left on their vacation I had had ‘one of those bad days that only gets worse’ but then on my way to study across campus a friend joined me. She asked me if I was okay and I was so upset that I said no – I told her the truth. I felt homesick, I felt sad, and lost. And the best part, the most surprising part was she cared. My friend listened, she hugged me, she talked to me, and I realized how much I’ve been missing out on.
I’m not saying that you need to spill everything about yourself to each person you meet, but friendships cannot develop without trust. Love cannot be founded upon anything but mutual trust.
I am done coming home to my own disappointment. To my own white lies – *Newsflash* “I’m fine.” usually means that something’s up. I am not perfect in any way shape or form.
I am going to start coming home to me – the real me – the one I don’t always let others see because she’s not perfect. You know what? Sometimes I get stressed but that doesn’t make me weak. I’m a leader but I’m quiet – that doesn’t make me ineffective. Delegating doesn’t equal slacking off in my books. I am not weak. I am not useless. I am not less than anyone else.
I am going to let people see me – at least I’m working towards that, as my sister said to me, “It’s difficult.” It is tough to get people to respect you, flaws and all when you don’t necessarily accept all of yourself yet. I’m working on it – I’m working on coming home.
And that all leads me to Reading Week, and more specifically to tonight. Three days ago I came home with my full licence – my G – a feat I wasn’t expecting myself to accomplish, but I put myself out there regardless and it worked. I went with my gut, I trusted my abilities, and I did it.
Well, that’s the same philosophy I adhered to tonight. Yesterday, I was texting back and forth with my brother (non-biological but might as well be brother) and we were discussing sexual orientations. You see, he’s gay – I hope in advance he doesn’t mind me putting that here – but I’ll know soon enough. So, I was asking him a few questions in preparation for writing an article for my campus newspaper on the topic of asexuality.
I am by no means combining or confusing the definitions of homosexuality and asexuality – they are different, but both fall under the fluid spectrum of sexuality so I felt him to be a relevant resource. What he didn’t know was that as he typed back answers filled with information on asexuality and how it is perceived by others in the world is that I’d heard or read all of it before.
I identify as asexual or ace. This means that I feel no sexual attraction to people. Point blank, full stop – that’s it that’s all. No, it is not because I feel a connection to celibacy or have a lack of dating experience. Something has always been off in me or so I thought, I never associated people with the term “hot” instead I would just think about how said person would give really good hugs or nice cuddles at most. I am still romantically oriented, though in the sense of a demiromantic – someone who requires an intimate connection with another person in order to create a romantic relationship.
I stumbled upon the world of asexuality when my mouse accidentally clicked on a tumblr post this past summer. The more I read the more reassured I felt, the more stories I saw the less alone I felt, and finally, tonight I told my parents. Some may not see the reasoning behind this – so I’m not sexually attracted to people, what’s the big deal? Well, to me it is a big deal and telling my parents was part of that big deal. I wanted them to understand more of me, to see me as I’m coming to see myself. They were loving, accepting, and just a little curious – I would expect nothing less.
I finally feel as if I’m coming home. After the past three weeks I am definitely coming into my own – I am becoming me, and it terrifies me – but in a good way.
*For resources on asexuality see the link below: