Out of your discount chair and into the bathroom. You splash water on your face. In the mirror, you take a look at yourself from all available angles. Your reflection reprimands you: stop being a sook. Go for a walk, figure out how you’re going to get your shit together.
Outside, low-hanging summer fog makes a crawl space of the city. You stomp until pavement becomes stone, stone becomes moss and cliff. You find a space to plant your arse and regard the persistence of your ocean. Find a way to keep going, it seems to say. Don’t drown in your own petulance.
Easier said than done. It’s so easy to submerge yourself in thoughts of what you could have been. A little spitfire. A praiseworthy example. An actual nation. Instead, it’s obvious your ruggedness is an act. Lately, everyone sees you as a failing grade, a low price, a summer of span worms. There’s always something wrong with you.
Stop it. Start small. Count your blessings.
- You are loved – fiercely, tightly. Those who’ve left you get served a lifetime of nagging desire, a leaky faucet of yearning they can’t turn off. You’re some heartbreaker, you are.
- You have talent. You are rich in potential. But so far, few have noticed. Or they’ve ignored it for their own ideals.
- You are unique, like a mystery to dig up. It has caused a hundred misunderstandings from those who wanted to change you. It’s your charm and your downfall.
Your individuality has been shrouded in ill-fitting outfits gifted by those who couldn’t be bothered to learn your size. You have remained distinctly yourself through attempts at re-schooling, etiquette lessons, elocution, TAGS. Any commitment to make you over turns into a make-work project.
The waves crash below, suddenly testy. That ocean doesn’t do anything on anyone’s terms but its own. Why should you be anything else but yourself? If you want to be someone no longer shrugged off as a lost cause, you need to do it your way.
Bridget Canning writes and teaches. Her debut novel, The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes was selected as a finalist for the BMO Winterset Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book (Fiction) Award, The Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Fiction, and the IPPY Award for Best Fiction, Canada East. She was raised on a sheep farm in Highlands, Newfoundland and currently lives in St. John’s.