Familiar

Hello, friends! I hope life is treating you well.

It has been almost exactly a year since I first moved to Vancouver. I’ve been kept busy the last few months by the less poetic parts of mental health, struggling, and stress, including difficulties with banking and work and other less fun things. I have found decent ways to fill my time, but spent many days and nights alone in my little home. (Though some days, that solitude is more than welcome. There’s a reason I live alone.) I have bonded well with the newer people in my life, while missing many people of my past deeply. I have sat in coffee shops on the weekends and tried to write about work, life, transparency, the ebb and flow of time, and the joy I attempt to channel into my life and the lives of those surrounding me.

There are many things I’ve taught myself throughout this transition from summer into fall, through letting myself and the people around me be, as co-existing humans, as people I respect deeply, as politically active citizens. I must remember to care for myself on days I haven’t slept well and am having an off day at work, or have been deeply affected by US politics, or have simply been drenched by the rain. I am as gentle as I can be and I am everything that I need to be, and have everything I need to have for the time being.

We must be careful with each other. We must slowly teach friends, family, and colleagues around us the softness of our hearts, the ways in which we can allow each other to be better. On our less good days, we must be soft and caring with ourselves too. I must let myself learn things, make mistakes, and let myself not be on the same level as people more advanced, older, and with much more experience on this earth are. I must give it time and let myself be young, vulnerable, and joyful.

Others before me certainly have. It is them, the older people, and especially the older women in my life, both new and old, who I see myself in and aspire to be like. I wonder often if they know how much they inspire the softness of my heart.

I’ve also felt and done many good and less melodramatic things. A couple weeks ago, I attended a poetry event at the Vancouver Writers Festival and bought two small poetry books from local writers. After tearing through them, I even wrote a poem! I hope now that I have a window into it, through this event, I can attempt to delve further into the Vancouver writer’s scene with my evenings and weekends. I hope to be able to share a few of the poems I’ve written in the past few months here shortly, after a few more revisions. Be on the lookout!

I’m working on living in the moment, on meditation, on the familiarizing myself with being present each day. Things are finally falling into a very familiar place in work, in life, and in the cadence and acoustics of autumn, to points where it is strange to imagine a life much different than the one I currently lead, though certainly a year ago, or even eight months ago, life looked very different. Yet here I am, finally feeling integrated, completely familiar with it. I’ve gotten very into cooking and baking, and have made myself and some of my loved ones many, many very delicious things.

Vancouver’s autumn is light; there is no season here quite so familiar and poetic. October is also my cat’s birth month (though I don’t know the exact day). This month, she is two years old. Since she is a black cat, and my animal soulmate, I often joke she is my familiar. Her purrs continue to warm even my coldest days.

There is much to be said for the soft, gentle acknowledgement of the distance a mind, soul, and life can change in a year, of the people that have come in and out my life in that time, of the ways God has revealed Herself to me in my most desperate, depressed, and in my most holy, joyous moments. She will continue to do so, I imagine. She always does.

Happy Halloween,
Vivian

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Vivian Gietz is a 23-year-old bisexual Catholic woman, writer, feminist, and activist. A communications and administrative professional, she graduated from the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Gender and Woman’s Studies. She is primarily interested in exploring positive queer and feminist intersections with Catholicism and Christianity through her blogging, poetry, and everyday life. Vivian's abilities and passions are notably demonstrated in the publication of her 2016 poetry chapbook and in her past work as an academic club founder and executive of LGBTQ+ Christians UBCO. Her creative perspective allows her to navigate both personal and professional situations with an emphasis on diversity, inspiration, and spirituality. Vivian’s other interests include fashion, coffee, and Taylor Swift. She currently resides in Vancouver, BC with her beloved cat, Baby.

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