One of my many dreams is to work as a freelancer. Yesterday, it almost started coming true.
I signed up for a website which helps employers find freelancers and vice versa, for fun. It was one of those things where out of nowhere you get seriously caught up in this one idea, then you work on it for hours and hours. That happened over the winter break, when I suddenly decided to become an aspiring painter. It was all I thought about for a week and I watched countless “watercolor paintings for beginners” videos. This time was no exception, I was determined (and maybe still kind of am) to become a freelancer.
The funny thing is, I landed a job. But of course, not everybody is fortunate enough to know exactly what they’re doing the first time around. At least, I wasn’t one of those people. I did all the steps where I made an agreement (where I was dumb enough to say I would refund what was paid if I decide I could not complete the project), talked about the details with the employer, but life doesn’t go that easy.
In less than 24 hours, I managed to do everything a freelancer is advised not to. I undersold my services (it seemed like enough at the time), did not declare a deposit prior to starting work (I did, but she kind of just ignored it and I let it go), did not declare to be paid for work I have done regardless of completion, and did not find out the true scope of the project. The outcome of this hard lesson is clear: I struggled with the task and did quite a bit, but not money ended up in my pocket.
That aside, some of the postings by employers are beyond outrageous. Some people have the nerve to look for a ghost writer for a novel! The craziest one had to be a job interview over the phone though, which is actually committing fraud. Nonetheless, the idea of a freelancing career continues to live on in my dreams. Here’s to hoping I will land a second job, for which I hope will involve less frustration and tough lessons.
It’s weird just how easy it is for my day to be ruined. I live a simple life, the kind where I literally plan an entire day around a small event like getting a haircut. The excitement involved can seem unreal to a lot of people, but that’s the way I roll. So when I call in to ask if their main hairdresser is available today, and I’m told the devastating news that “No, he’s off on Mondays and Wednesdays”, I can’t help but feel devastated. And really, really annoyed.
This is where my driver’s license and $2.75 in my pocket come in handy. The essence of my summer is literally buying an iced capp (kind of like your frap from Starbucks, but a lot cheaper) and going for a drive. Nothing beats a good soundtrack for my driving and an icy coffee-licious drink to cool off the heat in my head. If gas wasn’t so expensive you can bet I’d go for a drive everyday. The other day I took a slight detour on the way home, and drove up north for 2km where the farms are (why yes, this basically means my house is in the middle of nowhere). I felt free and ten times lighter, surrounded by endless fields of green and a wide blue sky. The one regretful thing about being the person behind the wheel though is that I can’t really look at everything around me while keeping an eye on the road. Perhaps next time I will find a place to park so I can thoroughly enjoy the view.
I’ll be moving back to campus in a short six days and I’m starting to feel a bit panicky. Will I be able to find a new source of stress-relief? Soon it’ll be much too cold for my favorite drink, nor will I have enough free time to really explore the city when I’m down in the dumps. I just hope I won’t find myself back to the destructive cycle of drama-watching to patch up the empty spaces in my heart.
At the end of a drama I recently finished watching, called “Two Weeks”, the villain has lost sight in his eyes. When his corn falls out of his tray and his fellow inmate takes it instead of returning it, I strangely did not feel satisfied. This was a scene that was meant to be gratifying for viewers. The sly and cold-blooded villain has his food taken out of his mouth, just like he has done unto others. There is no sweeter revenge than this, but I felt sorry instead of glad.
In no way am I saying that this villain does not deserve his ending, but I am sorry for his helplessness. A man who had so much control over everything in his life, even people, seeing him as a blind and helpless man left me feeling cold. Even rotting in jail for the rest of his life will not pay for the deeds he has done, so why did I feel so uncomfortable watching him accept the fact that his corn was stolen and there was nothing he could do about it?
There are many types of characters that I hate watching, but more than back-stabbing, lying, and evil ones, I hate the ones who don’t know how to fight. The ones that wallow in self-pity and do nothing but cry about it. If I wanted to see that, I would just tune into my own life and watch myself do it. Dramas are supposed to inspire hope in people, that we can make a change in our lives. So when I saw the villain silently accept his fate, I wasn’t bursting with glee, I was frustrated. I wanted to see him fight his ending, but continuously fail. I wanted to see him struggle before he realizes the control has slipped out of his hands. That kind of an ending is so much more torturous than just living his life silently behind bars.
Today I will remind myself that I am blessed. The things I should be grateful for are countless. There are things in my life where they are so “normal” that I never even think to be grateful for. I’m neither Caucasian nor do I come from an upper-class family, but this does not change the fact that I am privileged.
Not being able to see my favorite singers and bands perform in KCON 2014 is not a crisis, not having clean water is. Not being able to justify spending thousands of dollars just so I can see these people who restore my sanity at hard times is not unfortunate, not having a loving family is. Not being able to see these people who don’t even know of my existence before I reach the age where I stop fangirling is not frustrating, not having the means to become educated is.
I recognize that it’s not the end of the world if my friends were able to go to this convention while I sat at home. I recognize that it’s wrong of me to be a jealous and bitter mess. I recognize that it would make me a better person if I can move on from this and remember that at the end of the day, I am incredibly blessed.
I have a cute family who let me make my own decisions as I see fit. I’m pursuing post-secondary education at a great university, for much less money than it could cost me. I can drink the water that comes out of my tap, I don’t have to put on a mask when I leave the house, if I can’t get a ride I can walk, my functioning nerves allow my fingers to play piano, I may be myopic but I still see. I have great friends, my boyfriend is incredible and we love each other.
I live as a free citizen of my country who can vote, own property, practice religion as I please, and marry whomever I please. People say sorry to me even when it was me who bumped into them. I will probably get paid the same amount as a man with the same position when I enter the work force. People have been ignorant and insensitive, but they have never directed a racist remark at me.
What I have in my life is not normal. They are what blessings are made of, and I am more than capable of not feeling sorry for myself just because my circumstances did not allow me to go to KCON to see some celebrities. Today, I will remind myself to be a grown up. I am better than this.
Dressed in a flirty flare skirt and decked out in my cute loafers, I went to downtown Toronto to have dinner with a friend I have known for seven years, online. Yesterday was the second time we have met each other in person, our get-together allowed by her internship at a design firm in Toronto. The night was a wonderful kind of experience, but not one I could’ve had with any of my other friends.
After a brief hug once we spotted each other at the busy bus terminal, we launched into conversation as she led the way around the hustling city. The one thing I worried about the most was a potential awkwardness between us, even though none of that has happened during our virtual exchanges. It was a strange thing, to be in a city with someone I’ve known for so long but have only seen in the flesh twice. Not to mention Toronto is as strange as any other foreign city, given that I’m a suburbs girl, sheltered by condos with a limited height of 12 floors and the occasional farm land in between housing. But the entire time I felt safe (for the most part), bold, and weirdly alive.
We walked a staggering 3km along Queen St W., trying to find a restaurant that was both safe for my weak stomach and our wallets. To be perfectly honest, I can no longer recall what it is we talked about for the hour that we walked. Perhaps it was about school and our plans about whatever future we could see ahead, perhaps it was about quirky things that have happened during our summers, but none of that really seems to matter anymore. What I know is that she exuded a kind of energy that I craved, and it was wonderful to know that she also enjoyed my company.
Her accomplishments are a mile long and her talent is endless, but she did not make me feel inferior. It’s strange to feel so equal next to a girl so successful, as I have always had trouble with remembering my worth in situations like this. But the entire night was like that. I did not fidget or tug at my skirt, I did not constantly make sure I looked presentable as we passed by window displays. I felt at peace. We talked for a good while after we finished our meal, and even after we’ve reached the intersection we were to part. And standing under the incandescence of the street lights, with hundreds of people walking past our conversation that never seemed to end, I felt that this was the kind of life I want to lead.
“I want nothing but to fall asleep in your arms tonight” is a romantic thought, but experience tells me whoever says those things are either insensitive to discomfort, or they’ve simply never tried it. Sleeping in someone’s arms is only a pretty picture, because what is so nice about putting part of your body weight on your partner, while restricting your airway with your partner’s chest? It’s only tiring for one, and suffocating for the other.
The general public has a tendency to be “goo goo ga ga” over all kinds of things considered to be romantic. Sleeping in someone’s arms, leaning one’s head on the other’s shoulder, holding hands in negative 20 degree weather, the list goes on and on. I do the same thing. Romantic scenes as such in dramas and movies make me squeal comparable to a seal, and as cheesy as some things are, I love them nonetheless.
As much as I love them, however, it doesn’t change the fact that most of these things are really darn uncomfortable. Not to mention incredibly impractical. Leaning my head on my boyfriend’s shoulder is a very tiring ordeal, which is why I often only do it for less than a minute. It’s nice to be close enough to do that, but the feeling is not unlike sleeping on a bus with a tilted head. Holding hands in winter time is only feasible if you live in a place like California. Mittens are warm, sure, but you know what’s even better? Putting your mitten-wearing hand inside the pocket of your coat. Sharing an umbrella is only cute when your umbrella spans 5 feet and the rain is no more than a drizzle. My squishy thighs might be nice to sleep on, but you can bet my boyfriend will pick his pillow over my lap any day.
At the end of the day, romance does not exist in “couply” gestures, just like how it does not exist in fancy restaurants or an expensive diamond ring. Romance exists in the person you love and the bond you share. A relationship is not expressed in physical contact, but in a deep sense of belonging and bliss. To find two people in love is to search for an unspoken intimacy.
It’s when I’m the only person left at my table, that I wonder if I should’ve stayed home. Or maybe I should’ve gotten acquainted with my sister’s table of new friends, even though there is nothing in common to talk about. Or maybe I should’ve moved with my parents to their friends’ table even though I would only be able to listen to a conversation I have no interest in. Life is a strange place to be when the only people with your kind of thoughts is you.
Truth be told, I’ve always been like this. I dislike crowds for their exhaustive nature, I dislike meeting children of my parents’ friends, I dislike all the situations that involve an awful lot of uncomfortable small talk.
The best of my friends did not start with small talk. They all started at unexpected places. Jackie Chan, flip flop tans, band camp, those were how some things started, not “so what do you study at school now”. Behind all of small talk is nothing but abyss. Empty and endless. I feel all the discomfort from the core of my bones and I wish I could feel otherwise. At least at times like this.
I miss my bed at home and the feel of my keyboard under my fingertips. I miss the floor I sometimes lie on when my back needs cracking and the feeling of my blanket on my bare legs. I miss the weird smell of my messy room and even the feeling of hitting my shin on the edge of my desk. Travel is a funny thing, especially in the way it makes you feel.