Gloves Are A Scam or, Why Am I Always Cold?

In the past couple of weeks, I have bought two pairs of mittens which greatly disappointed me. One I returned, and the other I was forced into keeping due to those two lovely words sales associates love to say: final sale. Before these weary purchases, I had been hesitant to purchase any sort of glove contraptions due to a belief that I still hold pretty strongly: gloves are a scam.

If you’ve ever lived through a Canadian winter, you know that finding the right pair of gloves is an exercise that requires time, precision and a certain delicacy. Not only do your gloves have to keep your hands warm, they also have to allow you to be dexterous when juggling the million things you can now carry; they have to make sending a text from your phone quick and easy; they have to be easy to keep track of (how many gloves have you lost?); and they have to be cute. I know that’s asking a lot from just one winter accessory but that’s just how it is.

I, however, am not so demanding. I’ve sacrificed many expectations of my gloves—easy phone access, trackable, cute— and I still cannot find a glove to satisfy my needs. All I ask is for them to be warm and to fit! Take these mittens I am now committed to. Upon the first five minutes of wearing them outside, I feel my thumbs slowly firm up as they freeze into solid blocks. Five minutes later, the other four phalanges start to tense up, and as I clench my fingers into my palm in an attempt to get blood flowing through them, I notice that my palm is my freezing cold! It’s completely ridiculous.

But were the gloves truly to blame? If I’m being completely honest, I’m pretty much always cold no matter how wrapped up I am. In addition to gloves, I have a hard time with parkas, thick socks and winter boots. As much as I would like to believe it, all these things couldn’t be scam artists. And according to science, they’re not. According to Dr. Martha Gulati (via The Cut), being cold all the time can be attributed to the slowing down of your metabolism when you sit still for a long period of them. She stated that she was never cold when she was moving around at work visiting patients, but couldn’t help shivering when she was sitting down and working in her office. Which makes a lot of sense. It definitely explains why after 30 minutes in any one of my lectures, I begin to shiver, no matter how warm I had felt in moments prior. And unless you do jumping jacks before you leave the house, you probably are already a cold brick when you step out onto the mean winter streets.

So maybe gloves are not really at fault. It seems that yet again the human body has shown the extent of its weakness and delicacy. Maybe it’s too much to ask of gloves to battle against such a messy beast. We ourselves can barely handle the bodies we’re in. But I won’t lower my expectations yet. One day, I’ll find a glove that is worthy of Toronto’s brutal winds. Until then, frozen fingers it is.

SUMMER ‘18

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This summer started out a bummer--I didn’t have a good job, my future was really uncertain and I spent more time worrying than enjoying myself. Eventually things figured themselves out, as they’re wont to do and I started a new job where I’ve met some pretty cool people. Hanging out with them has reminded me of how good it is to just have fun and be open to dancing, whether your drunk or not. That sort of attitude has snuck its way into my summer playlist which, in my opinion, is full of BANGERZ and that I’m pretty much listening to till there’s snow on the ground. One of my faves on here is “Heart to Break” by Kim Petras which is really just the bop of the summer. One thing I’m really embracing this summer is the idea of risking delight. I’m always so cautious, so “practical” and I let that hold me back in a lot of ways. It means a lot of missed experience and a lot of unnecessary regret. This summer, and the rest of this year, is about being open to experience even if it breaks me, even if it makes me cry. With this playlist I’m officially crowning this summer as the summer of dancing your ass off and having one or six martinis. We all deserve it. 

THE CHALLENGE

Artwork by  Jasjyot Singh Hans

I haven't written in almost a month. Scratch that. I haven't written anything that I'm remotely proud of in a month, maybe even longer. I sort of abandoned this blog for a few weeks in my attempt to conserve energy and I wrote a few things for uni that made me want to smack my head against my keyboard in a dangerous way. On top of that I hated everything I wrote. It all sounded stupid and fake and NOT LIKE ME AT ALL. Even writing this post feels a little bit excruciating because I'm not sure exactly what it is I want to say, even though I've been sitting with it in the back of my mind for four days now. Whenever it comes to these moments, when I feel like I'll never really write anything again, I can't help letting my insecurities take over. I just start to think about alternative career paths, about doing a job that lets me write but that doesn't give me as much anxiety as sitting down to creatively write does. To put it simply: I feel like quitting. But I promised myself that I would stop quitting when things got scary so here I am trying to push through. But I feel blank. I feel devoid of the passion and the excitement that I felt a few months ago when all of this was just a scary endeavour I was exploring in my journal. I have all the prescriptions--morning journal pages, inspiring quotes, readings--and yet I still find myself just typing words without any connection to themselves. I want to be a writer, but I don't feel like a writer. I don't feel like I could ever be a writer. And I know part of that comes with putting pressure on myself to be a certain type of writer, but still...

I don't want to publish this, but I'm going to. For full disclosure. As a reminder to myself. I wanted this week to be the week that I threw myself back into working on this blog and being creative, but I don't know where I am. And I need to figure that out. I'm going to take this week to do it. Let it be a sort of vacation of sorts. I want to read a lot. Keep my computer out of my bed. Watch 50% of the movies on my Netflix list. Take time for myself. I don't know if it's the perfect antidote, but it's a beginning. 

Redefining Success

What is success? These days it seems like there’s an overflow of articles, books, podcasts, etc. that are all trying to give us some definition of success. Although it can be inspiring, it can quickly get overwhelming, especially when no one definition feels right.

Late last year, I had my biggest struggle with success. I had made it my goal to be the most well-rounded student you’ve ever seen. I was going to raise my GPA, have an internship and do more creative work. And on top of that, I was going to read more books for fun. I knew trying to balance all of that was going to be tough but I believed that hustling was the key to success and so it would all be worth it in the end.

So I worked hard at it. I studied everyday, making sure I was doing my readings and practicing my French. I went to my internship each week and made sure that I was working on my projects whenever I had a free moment. At the same time, I was managing and co-editing a blog, as well as working at my part-time job on the weekends. At first, I was thrilled with all the work I was doing. Yes, I thought, this is what successful women do! I thought that if I could handle my immense workload, then I would be proving something. To the people who thought I was lackadaisical and unserious. To my future bosses. To myself.

By mid-October I was burnt out and unhappy. I started panicking when things would go wrong and I felt like nothing was in control. I kept on working but I wasn't sure what for.  To top it all off, I didn’t feel proud about anything I had achieved. Not about my grades, my internship, my work. Nothing. I didn’t feel like a success, I felt like a failure.

I recently read an interview with Phoebe Lovatt, writer and founder of The WW Club, that articulated my current feeling about success: 

I think the only key to success is deciding what success looks like for you, and not getting derailed by someone else’s version of it. To me, it’s asking myself: how often am I waking up and looking forward to my day? That’s success. It’s not about how much money I have, how many followers I have, how much I’m impressing people. If I don’t wake up and feel like my day is a day that I want to have, then what am I doing?
— Phoebe Lovatt

I'll be honest, this is easier said than done. It's easy to say that you don't care about how much money you have or how well your business is doing when you have achieved "conventional" success. When you're just a person working hard to get something published or bring an idea into fruition, it's hard to look at your life and feel like you've been successful. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't. Having a big idea about success is not a bad thing. In fact, it's important to keeping us motivated. On the other hand, it's important that we celebrate the smaller things that contribute to our being able to pursue the big ideal of success. Like finishing a draft, no matter how messy it may feel. Or having a difficult conversation with a friend. Or finally going to yoga class after months of putting it off. These are all challenges that we overcome and that's what success is about. Overcoming challenges. Or maybe it's not. That's up to each of us.

It took a lot for me to come to the point where I realized I had to evaluate my relationship with success. I had to think about why I had defined success the way I had for so long and why I wasn't satisfied by it. I had to tap into some darker, uglier parts of myself that I often try to talk away. And it's not like I've found the answers in the process. In fact, I'm still trying to figure it out. I know it's a process. I don't feel like a success, but I do feel successful.