Tag, you're it! 20 questions

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I'm a bit late to the party, but I've been tagged so here are 20 random facts/stories/answers about me.

1. I nearly didn't make it into this world My heart stopped before I was born, and thanks to a knowledgeable doctor and a hard working mother, I survived.

2. Because of this I like to look at each day as a gift that I may not have otherwise have the chance to experience.

3. Some days I'm far worse at this than others and can easily turn into a bitter, resentful and defeated human being when stress is high.

4. I've battled a decent amount of depression. I've thankfully come to the point where I can identify the symptoms of it and just go through the motions until my mind is in a better place.

5. Losing my cousin to suicide, who I very much considered my other younger brother growing up, was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I could relate to him keeping the depression bottled up, but I couldn't wrap my head around how bad things were that he couldn't face another day or reach out for help. I don't blame him, life simply has cruel twists. I like to take his memory with me when things are good, as if to share the experiences he can no longer have.

6. Depression and self-doubt led to my own binge drinking problems that a lot of young adults call 'growing up' these days. And by that I mean the first five years of my adult life were been spent blacked out more times than I can remember, doing stupid things, and occasionally hurting people I care about, who were thankfully willing to forgive. I went with the 'work hard, play hard motto'. I did manage to complete two degrees and an EAL teaching certificate, work part time -- until fifth year when it jumped to fulltime with night classes --  and volunteer with two different organizations during this time as well. 

7. The experience has made me who I am today and I don't regret going through it; although I'm happy to have stopped drinking. I'm more forgiving and understanding, with patience many people have noted in my classroom.

8. Since then, I've been able to sit back and see just how large a role alcohol plays in our society. Going out becomes a completely different experience. I wish more people shared my herbal tea fixation. I get invited out far less by my friends. I've also noticed nearly all my teacher co-workers seem to 'joke' that wine or hard liquor can solve most problems.

9. I've spent enough time sitting alone, crying and wondering how the hell people solve their problems when they can't drink them away, while laughing at how overdramatic I'm being. I just have to ride them out, let out the emotions, and find a different distraction. Wattpad anyone?

10. I rediscovered my joy for writing just before I stopped drinking in June 2013 and it's been a nice help working through it. My amazing boyfriend helped quite a bit too. It helps he went the same sober route I did a few months after we started dating.

11. I never expected to find someone I would actually consider sharing a life with and definitely not so soon. I've been through my share of bad dates, dead-end relationships with decent and less decent guys, not to mention I come with a whole slew of trust issues. I usually have one foot out the door and the temptation to sabotage things, but somehow I've made it through over a year and keep wondering if the moments we're sharing will be quirky stories to tell our kids some day.

12. I'm terrified of getting chronic progressive Multiple Sclerosis like my aunt. She is amazing and handles it incredibly, even after her husband left her post-diagnosis and her son has little to do with her. I know I'd be far too stubborn and independent to accept the conditions, and worsen the symptoms for myself. The disease has taken my aunt's ability to walk, given her tremors in the limbs she can control, taken her vision and short term memory, but has been generous enough to leave her optimism, a warm smile and kind spirit. If MS doesn't come for me, it could be Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, heart disease, or diabetes.  

13. In case you haven't noticed, I can be quite the pessimist and tend to go toward worst case scenarios. I can bounce back from all of this well enough; I've been doing it for years. So let's revisit that life is a gift opening statement.

14. I've had the good fortune to travel to and/or live in many wonderful places including my own country, Europe and most recently Asia. The people make the trip for me. I've realized I can go to beautiful and amazing places, but if I don't connect with the people there I won't enjoy it as much. Quite the challenge for the introvert in me.

15. Given this thought, I'm trying couch surfing in Asia this winter so I can see countries from the eyes of locals and learn more about their culture. Sound sketchy? Don't worry, I have a wonderful boyfriend to accompany me, am getting to know the hosts beforehand, and will try to take self-defense classes.

16. I'd love to make a side income writing about travel or anything really. Writing was always the dream growing up, until I realized how complicated and hard it would be. For some reason, I thought teaching would be an easier and less stressful route since I already worked with kids and taught random things like badminton and sing-a-longs to toddlers. The past two years in the profession have proved me wrong.

17. I have discovered that after two degrees and a couple term positions, I haven't found my dream career. I know I want a fast paced job that allows my creative mind to solve a variety of problems. I need to help people in some capacity and leave the world a better place than when I entered it, or even make a difference for a few people. If I can do that for a living then I'll be happy.

18. You might be thinking, but a writer? I feel writing is a wonderful platform to make social problems more visible, to bring a reader into the life of another whose opinion they may not have considered.

19. Take for example a discussion the root causes of homelessness, where many people I love and respect make blanket statements like, 'Giving them money won't encourage them to work'. No, but there are so many underlying issues facing our homeless population, at least here in Canada. For our Indigenous population who are homeless, the problem's roots lie deep down in policies like residential schools that ingrained the belief of cultural inferiority along with abuse that led to a breakdown in the family structure and at times perpetuated the cycle of abuse leading to mental health or substance abuse problems. The current open and accepted prejudice against Indigenous people only worsens the hate for ones culture and self. This is a gross overgeneralization and not meant to assign blame to any group, but it goes to show that there are very few easy solutions or simple problems. Not in a world as complex as ours.

20. I feel like I'm getting way too personal and invested for a twenty things about me list. I have a tendency to ramble and jump in heart first.

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