Two Suitcases and One Pair of Socks: A Hobbit’s Tale

June 11, 2012 I hoped on a plane to leave Ottawa on a whole new adventure all my own, with only two suitcases and one pair of socks to my name. The past year has been more than I could have ever dreamed, more than I could ever expected and at times, more than I could ever have handled on my own. Being here has changed me. There have been highs and there have been definite lows.

Just days after flying out my grandpa suddenly fell sick, and a couple weeks later he past away. Not being able to go home for that and be there to support my family was tough. If it weren’t for my grandpa, I don’t think my mom ever would have warmed up to the idea of letting me move half way across the country by myself. I owe what I have now to him, and what I’ll have in the years to come to him, and his help in my move to Peace River.

I haven’t seen my dad or sister in a year, or my mom or step dad since October. Which is rough cause you start to feel disconnected. And then there’s my friends, many of which I don’t really talk to all that often anymore. Makes me wonder what things will be like when I visit home in the summer. I miss my friends back home every day, but I have made many friends here who make it bearable. I still speak to my best friend, Anna, quite often. But I’ve also been lucky enough to find a home in Emily, someone who I can count on when I need to talk, even if I don’t like what she’ll say in return. I hope that once I move away I’ll still find the time to come back to Peace River to visit Emily and Curtis as their family grows. Then there the  friend I was forced into, my loud and obnoxious roommate, Mathew. Then we have our two Clark Kents (who I’m PRETTY sure don’t have actual super powers but you never know) Daniele and Logan. And every day my group of friends is growing, with bee keepers, electricians, welders and corrections officers.

I’ve dated a few people while being here. I have felt things, and seen things I’ve never thought possible. Both good, and bad. I came here with a goal. Work hard, establish a career and it’ll only go up from there. Nothing can ruin that.

Other than that, in the past year I have met extraordinary people and have been blessed with radio life. I’ve attended one Bud Country Fever (and actually enjoyed it). I lived through the 2012 Moth Invasion and am currently in the middle of Round 2 against those things. I was at Peacefest 2012 and am geared up and ready for this years show. I’ve been in a helicopter and I lived to tell the tale. I’ve survived a Northern Alberta winter and I’ve enjoyed every second.

This year has gone by so fast and on the other hand I feel like I’ve been here forever. I guess all I can really say is ‘Thank You’ to everyone who had a positive influence on my experience in the Peace.

I dream of the day that I can get closer to home. But I’ve come this far and my strength will carry me farther. In the pursuit of happiness.

One day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure it’s worth watching.

What would you do if tragedy struck someone you love? Would you be prepared? Grief is a powerful thing. One second you can be laughing and happy, and then in a split second it’s right there. In the snap of your fingers it’s a tear in your eye. Losing someone you love changes you; sometimes for the better, but sometimes the darkness consumes you and you never really find your way out.

My brother and I had the typical brother/sister relationship growing up. I can’t honestly say that I remember much but we always looked pretty happy in pictures. Justin and Kari would never play Scrabble with me because I would make up words, to this day I still suck at Scrabble and I blame them. As we got older we fought more, there were a few incidents where he’d get angry and hit me. But I was always there to bring him a glass of water when he was hung over. Then once we were in high school it changed, he acknowledged me at school as his little sister even if it was just to ask me for lunch money, he made sure no one messed with me and would even sometimes hangout with me when we were home alone. I always looked up to him and not just because he was taller than me; he had strength in him that was undeniable. There was a side to him that not many people had the chance to see. He was dependable, he was adventurous, and he was a true friend. Justin did what a brother, son and friend should do; he cared.

May 17, 2008 was the worst day of my life, and I remember everything about that day. It’s been five years since Justin died. Sometimes I still wait around for it to hit me. Justin is dead. He’s gone. I can keep telling myself that but yet sometimes, even after 5 years, I don’t believe it. I can talk about him now and smile, but I also have days where I can talk about him and it’s that instant rush of emotions causing me to feel a hole where my heart had been just moments ago. I was only 16 when we lost Justin. I was a kid; I wasn’t supposed to feel that kind of lose. I had to be strong and hold it together for the sake of my mom but sometimes I couldn’t. As cliché as it sounds, going through this showed me who my true friends were; who would always be there and who was never really there to begin with. Losing my brother has made it incredibly difficult to allow myself to become attached to another person; it makes you see how fast they can be gone. Losing him has made me a little insensitive because I hate the awkward silence in a sad moment. My brother was one of the biggest influences on my life; I wouldn’t be where I am today or who I am today if it weren’t for Justin. He taught me to be who I am and do what makes me happy, make your life extraordinary, never be afraid, be adventurous, take chances, be smart, have fun but most of all losing him taught me to be strong.

Justin never got to live the life he deserved, so I’ll live the rest of my life doing everything I can to make him proud. I don’t know exactly what I would say to him if I had the chance, but I would make sure that he knows that I love him and I will carry him with me. If tragedy has ever struck someone you love, I applaud you for making it through it. You’re stronger than you know.

The Scavenger Hunt

Life is like a really long and really weird scavenger hunt. You look for things like happiness, security, beauty. We collect memories and tears, and signs for streets with funny names. We all go through life looking for a soul-mate when things would be so much easier if like was more like a menu than a scavenger hunt. Your four cheese ravioli for me and a mate for my soul, please. How can we trust another person with everything that we are? In my experience, the people that I let in only ever hurt me. When you love someone you say you would never do anything to intentionally hurt them yet sometimes you find yourself doing things you know would hurt them and you don’t even think twice about it. Surprisingly, I actually don’t find myself doing this but I’m finding it being done to me. It takes every inch of my being to not do things that have always come natural to me. But when I’m sitting at the bar watching him take a shot from between another girls legs because I have to much dignity to allow him to do it to me, I wonder exactly what it is that is keeping me with him. You can only hear someone apologize so many times before you start to wonder why they keep doing things that require an apology.  My commitment issues are so legendary that even my mother made jokes about an apocalypse whenever I got into my latest relationship. How much longer do I need to be “commitment Kelsey” asking myself why “Mr. Faithful Boyfriend” is constantly texting other girls and then deleting his conversations and sticking his head between someone else’s legs in public?

If life was a menu, and I ordered a soul-mate, would that person expect me to act like stripper white trash?

Love, or something like it.

Love is a funny thing. It’s fragile, and we aren’t always it’s greatest protectors. When you love someone you’re supposed to love them unconditionally, flaws and all, regardless of their past. So what do you do when the past of the person you love haunts you every day? You can never escape it because there’s evidence everywhere. You worry every day that you made a huge mistake but you know that you’re too deep in to get out without getting hurt, but it hurts more not to run. How can you love someone but yet hate them so much? You want to change them, bend them to your will. Is it even possible? You judge them by their clothes and their music, their intelligence and their decision making. What do you do when you want to give up on someone but you can’t walk away because you know how much you’d miss them, even if you hate their music, and their clothes, how you can’t have an intelligent conversation. Can you love someone if you don’t respect them? I guess you have to let yourself see if things get better, deal with the heart break later. You can’t know in just a few months if you’re going to be with someone forever, and nobody meets their soul mate when they’re 10 years old. Give things time to get better, or get worse. Give your decisions time, because you can’t just jump into something and never look back. Not when it’s not just you that suffers. I let go of someone I loved once, a long time ago. And I think that maybe he still has a piece of me. What do you do when you can feel yourself losing another piece? I can’t help but wonder…

Is the past ever really in the past, or do they call it history because we’re doomed to repeat it?

Four Months And No Signs Of Quitting

It’s been four months since my last day in Ottawa and although I keep falling more and more in love with Peace River, I miss home. So luckily this weekend I finally get to see my mother and step dad. They’re driving all the way from Ontario just to visit little ol’ me for a couple days.

Nancy, my mother, is the strongest person I know. Her mother was killed in a drinking and driving accident when my mom was twenty-six and she spent twenty years in a marriage that only gave her four things to live for, my siblings and myself, and the strength to find a new life. After a few years with the love of her life, my step-dad, tragedy struck again when my big brother Justin was killed. It’s safe to say this tore my family apart and brought us all together at the same time. Most recently, my grandfather got very sick very suddenly and died, right after my arrival to Peace River. My mom, she’s everything I inspire to be.

Kerry, my step dad, my life has been extraordinarily better since my mom started dating Kerry. Growing up, music was always just a thing in the background to everyone in my family except me. Music was my life, I lived it and breathed it, I thrived for it. I would sit for hours and listen to music, dissecting the words, becoming friends with the artists as I learned about them and began to understand their emotions. When my mom started seeing Kerry, I finally had someone to share this with. We’d spend hours upon hours driving around and grilling each other about every song that came on the radio. He was there for me when my own father was less than what a father should be and now when I talk about my step-dad he’s not just a step-dad, he’s a friend.

Being away from home has been remarkably hard, but I know that by being here, working hard and making a life for myself I’m making my family more proud that I ever could have if I had never left.

MUSIC REVIEW: FLORENCE + THE MACHINE – CEREMONIALS

When I first heard Florence + The Machine after their 2009 release of their debut album Lungs I thought, ‘How could they ever top this?’. Well, 2 years later, with both feet in my mouth and my head up my ass, they release Ceremonials. And it gave me a reason to cry. What is that reason? I didn’t write these words, I didn’t write this music, and I envy the musical genius who did.

Once again the hard-hitting, emotion filled songs of Florence + The Machine have left me absolutely breathless. With the haunting vocals of Florence Welch there is no way you can listen to a track without getting completely wrapped up in the immensity of emotion.

Florence has been quoted to say the album was written around the concept of drowning, something that she is fascinated with. The single “What The Water Gave Me” has been confirmed to have been inspired by English Writer Virginia Woolf, who drowned herself in 1941.

With a theme so intense, you can expect nothing short of mind-blowing passion from Florence + the Machine.

I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest by this album. I would say there is not a single disappointing track, and would recommend this album to any music lover who craves real passion, emotion and intensity in their music library.

10/10

MUSIC REVIEW: PATRICK STUMP – SOUL PUNK

Patrick Stump, the frontman of pop/punk band Fallout Boy, recently released his second solo album. It’s called soul punk, and with its rythmic mix of soul blues, electronic dance and his signature pop/punk vocals, it’s understandable why. I listened to the album constantly for a week after buying it, and have changed my favourite song almost every day. From the inspiring lyrics of Coast (It’s gonna get better), to the hard-hitting electronic dance punch in Explode, to the party anthem Run Dry (X Heart, X Fingers) ; this is the kind of album you can’t get sick of.