Wedding speech.

The last couple weeks have been fairly busy for me and I have not had the time or presence of mind to come up with a good post idea. But then I thought, why not post my wedding speech? I spent a lot of time writing it and I think it turned out alright. So that is my post for this week. I don’t know how it will read compared to how it sounded, but just imagine that I am speaking it very charismatically and that everyone is laughing really hard at all the jokes (especially the one about having to wait outside a library for it to open, the wedding crowd really loved that one).

Okay, here it goes:

So I am here because I am Glynis’ BFF, perhaps you can tell by my outfit. But I am actually friends with Josh as well. In fact I think I have actually known Josh a little bit longer.

Josh and I met at camp. In 2009, we did the COLTS program together. Whenever anyone asks me for a story about Josh from COLTS, my go to is always the sombrero story. In our COLTS group, there were four guys and two girls. Nadine and I figured out early on that, being the only girls, we had a bit of power over the boys. Specifically a couple of the younger and more competitive boys. If we wanted them to do something, there were two sure fire ways. Either we needed to do it ourselves and they would follow to prove they could do it too, or we just needed to tell them they couldn’t do it. Josh was immune to this kind of manipulation (or so I thought). So much so in fact that I am pretty sure I had actually had a conversation with him where I told him about our methods and successes. But one day while we were rock climbing inside I guess I just decided to give it a go on Josh. He was about to climb a challenging route and just before he started I said, “Hey Josh, I bet you can’t climb that route with the sombrero on.” (I should add that we had this random super cheap sombrero that someone had left down in the climbing wall). He initially gave me that look Josh gives you when he thinks you’re being excessively silly. You know, head a bit tilted, eyebrows furrowed. He said, “that’s not going to work Raiah” and I said “Okay, I guess you just can’t do it then.” Then he let out a big sigh, stomped across the basement, put the sombrero on, stomped back and climbed the route. 

It was one of my proudest accomplishments in COLTS.

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So that is my go to story. It is a good story because it is so out of character and unexpected for Josh to act that way. There are a couple other stories from COLTS that are much less funny but that more accurately capture Josh’s character. There was the time just a couple days into COLTS when we were paired together to lead on an outtrip and Josh made me lead the part of the hike I was least comfortable in because he knew I would learn more by doing that than by watching him lead. When I tried to make him do it instead he confidently told me that I would be fine and didn’t even entertain the idea of taking over, even though he would have done a much better job. There is also the time I was leading the first hike of our major outtrip and I was confidently preparing to set off in the complete wrong direction. Josh noticed, came up to me quietly, and pointed me to the correct trailhead. 

One of Josh’s strongest love languages is quality time, and it is so evident in the way that he gives of his time and makes people feel valued and important. 

When Glynis told me that she had the hots for Josh, I was not surprised at all. When I found out that Josh also had the hots for Glynis, I was delighted. It is kind of a cliché and I hate clichés, but I really and truly can’t think of someone I would have rather Glynis end up with.

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My new favourite story to tell about Josh happened last summer at Anna and Jeff’s wedding. I was sitting at a table with Josh and Glynis. Glynis was helping run the photo booth. At one point in the night, she had gotten up to go and take some photos and she left her phone on the table. So like a true friend, I grabbed her phone and started to take as many selfies as I possibly could. Everyone else at the table was getting in on the action, except Josh. He quietly got up, walked over to where Glynis was and said “I don’t know if I should be telling you this, but Raiah has your phone and is taking tons of selfies on it.” That was the point that I realized they were in love. A weird time to realize it, I know. But it was a very tangible sign that his allegiance had changed. That he now cared more about the inconvenience of Glynis having to delete photos from her phone than about the hilariousness of filling up someone’s phone with selfies. 

And don’t worry, I got him back for ratting me out. He left his phone unattended a little while later and I gave him quite a few to find later. 

But enough about Josh.

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Glynis.

You beautiful tropical fish. 

You beautiful, naïve, sophisticated newborn baby.

You beautiful, rule-breaking moth.

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Glynis and I didn’t meet until we were 16. Well, technically we met as Jr campers at camp, but I don’t count that. We met for real when we did PIT together in 2006.

Our friendship was a slow burning one. When I try to think of the moment we became best friends, nothing comes to mind. What comes to mind instead is years of slowly building our friendship. Years of presence and consistency. As we made our way through our late teens and early twenties we learned that we could rely on each because we were just consistently there. 

Glynis and I are surprisingly opposite. We recently discovered that our personalities are almost entirely opposite. At least according to Mr Myers-Briggs. The only trait we share is introversion. On everything else we are complete opposites. When we found this out I remember thinking that it was surprising that we don’t disagree more often. Truth be told, I can only think of one thing we have ever honestly disagreed on. And that is whether or not the movie Drive is garbage or great. We used to fight about this so much that a few years ago we had to agree to just never talk about it again. It is our one banned conversation topic. 

But we are different in more than personality. We also had different childhoods. Most notably, Glynis was homeschooled and I was not. My favourite message Glynis has ever sent me came back when we were still in high school. Glynis had been at some sort of event that took place in a high school on the weekend and she sent me a very excited message that said something to the tune of “Raiah! Have you ever been in a school after hours! It is so cool. There are like, empty rooms full of desks… and we found the art room, it is so cooool!” As I read that message I was almost for sure sitting in an empty school waiting for my basketball practice to start. I think my response was, “umm, yeah.”

But whenever I tell that story, Glynis will cut right in at the end to tell the story of when she took me to Seattle Public Library and I asked if the counterweights for the elevator were books. 

The point is, we have a lot of experiences that are different. But somehow that was able to come together to create one of the best friendships I have in my life. Glynis is one of the only people in the whole world that I am my complete and honest self around all the time. This is because over the last ten years she has shown me again and again that she will always support me and that she will always be honest with me. A true friend is someone who will tell you the truth, even if it isn’t what you want to hear. And Glynis and I have worked to make our friendship just that. 

We have done so many things together. We have roadtripped. We have seen so many concerts. Once we drove all the way to Seattle and back in a weekend to see a Noah Gundersen show. We led the PIT crew program together. We got tattoos together. We have gone to music festivals and museums and plays. Once Glynis made me line up with her to wait for a library to open. We have also spent whole weekends lying next to each other on the floor saying almost nothing and watching reruns of Parks and Recreation. It is fantastic. 

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Glynis is a very strong person. When I met Glynis I was struck by her strength of personality. She has always seemed to know who she was and what she believed in and was willing to stand up for it. As a teenager and young adult I cared tremendously what other people thought about me. I’m sure that Glynis did too, but she always radiated this strength of character and she honestly seemed not to care what people thought of her. I was afraid to share my opinion because if someone disagreed with me I would feel personally attacked and inadequate. Even if I was right. Glynis on the other hand was willing to stand up and make her voice heard. I remember watching her in literal awe as she confronted someone twice her age and in a position of leadership above her because he was wrong and needed to be challenged. This is something I have learned from Glynis. Over the years I think, in some small way, some of her strength of character has rubbed off on me. Somehow I have become someone who is willing to speak my mind, stand up for myself, and is no longer worried about what people think of me. In some ways we have grown and learned together. But in this I have learned from her. I honestly do not think I would have the strength of character and confidence in myself if I had not had her as my best friend.

Glynis is also my sounding board. If I am unsure about anything, from hair cut ideas, to travel plans, to moral issues. She is intelligent, well read, and will always answer me honestly. I trust her judgment on all matters. Well, except for movies. That is the once exception, you know, the whole Drive thing. But on all the important things she is completely reliable and never seems to tire of my endless need of affirmation and advice. 

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Last year Glynis had one of the best years of her life in a lot of ways. She and Josh started dating, she moved to Edmonton, she started grad school. At the same time I was having one of the worst years of my life. But Glynis was still always there when I needed her. I cried on her bedroom floor. I called her and burst into tears before she could say hello. I talked about the same things over and over. Glynis was always there, aways ready to listen, and always on my side.

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She is also my proofreader, grammar fixer, and general writing affirmer. So writing this speech was kind of annoying. Usually if I have to write something like this and I am feeling unsure about it, I just send it to Glynis and she fixes all my grammar errors, tense problems, and assures me that it is good. 

I know what you are thinking here. Glynis sounds like the best best friend ever. And that is true, you should be thinking that. But I just have one thing to say to you. And that is back off. She is mine. Well, technically now she is Josh’s, but after that, still mine and I will you fight you. 

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While Glynis and I are different in a lot of ways, we are also the same. We share very similar core beliefs about the world and about people and relationships. We always shared a sort of cynicism and dislike of all things cliché. This is how I knew Glynis was really in love. Josh somehow managed to turn Glynis into a giggling, swooning cliché. I did not think it could be done. Shortly after they got engaged I sent Glynis a text asking her how she was feeling about everything and her answer was (and I’m quoting) “Like the world is full of love and I love it.” Josh sends her into fits of uncontrollable giggles and gushes of mushy clichés. A part of me is just a little bit annoyed because sometimes it gets super mushy. But mostly I am just so happy that she is so happy she literally cannot contain herself and is unable to maintain her more usual stoic exterior. 

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Glynis.

You poetic, noble land-mermaid.

You perfect sunflower.

You beautiful, sassy mannequin come to life.

You unstoppable, glamourous freight train.

You beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk ox.

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You’re thoughtful and you’re brilliant. Your brain is almost as perfect as your face. 

You mean everything to me and I am so happy for you. You’ve found what we’re all looking for. Someone who will tell us when someone is taking a bunch of selfies on our phone. 

To Glynis and Josh.

Written Ahead of Time

It is currently the 24th of July, about three weeks before my wedding (?!?!?!!!!), and I realized that it’ll be my turn to write a post the day after I get married (?!?!?!!!!!?!!!?!). My brain has gone into overdrive re: getting used to the idea of being married, and sometimes I feel a bit stunned, but not in a negative way. We started working on our vows, and I had tears in my eyes and joy in my heart. So it goes.

I’ll schedule this post ahead of time, because I’m not going to write something whilst driving to BC with my husband (!!!!!). I’m so glad I get to marry Josh. He is good to me and good for me, and being with him has made me a better person.

On an unrelated note, Kesha has started releasing new songs and videos, and I adore them. I’ve been listening to Praying multiple times a day, and I want everyone to love it as much as I do. Here’s the video (cw for talk of suicide at the beginning, if you don’t want to hear it you can skip to 0:58 when the song starts proper).

My future self.

So this post is late. Honestly, the reason is that your wedding is in 5 days and I really needed to work on my speech. And I kept trying to make myself do that, but then I would get distracted or spend all my time writing emails to the union instead. I think the speech is finally done. Or at least pretty close to done? I don’t know. But this will be a shorter and less thought out post than some of the others. But it is a great opportunity to tell you a story I have been holding on to for the last month.

I have been holding on to this story for a while cause I thought it might make a good blog post. I think I purposefully did not tell you it when it happened so I could blog about it later.

So, on Canada Day I shot a wedding with Sally-Ann. I was staying with Ginny and there was a family camp going on at Island Lake. Ginny texted me and invited me to go to the Canada Day fireworks with her and the people from family camp. I told her I’d see how I felt when the wedding was over. We were done at about 10pm and I was exhausted. I told her I was not going to come and started the drive back to her house from Hillcrest. Part way there I decided that it would be almost no effort for me to stop. It was sort of a “well, why not I guess” kind of decision and at the last minute I pulled off to go and meet them. This is important because if I had not decided to stop I never would have met Marci.

So I met Ginny and we stood outside in the dark waiting for the fireworks to start. The mosquitos were pretty bad so she suggested we jump in the back of the car she came in. There were two ladies sitting in the front seats. Ginny knew them and had driven out with them. I had never met them before; I couldn’t really even see them in the dark. I was sitting behind the passenger seat. We sort of just jumped into the conversation. I don’t really remember all the details, but somehow the lady sitting in front of me began talking about her friendship with the lady sitting in the drivers seat. She was telling a story of the night before when she had wanted to talk but her friend had gone to sleep early. She then launched into an explanation of how she is an ‘external processor’ and needs to say things out loud to work through them. She said something very close to “yeah, I don’t really need them to say anything to me, I just need them to sit there and listen to me and then I work it all out for myself.”

I don’t know if you have ever heard me talk about how I am an external processor, I think I tend to talk about it more around Ginny because for two years she was the person that I consistently externally processed to, but that is almost word for word how I describe myself. I honestly don’t even think I have ever heard anyone, except myself, use the term ‘external processor’ in conversation before. Like I was sitting behind her with my mouth open, absolutely shocked that she was using my almost exact words. I just stared wide-eyed at Ginny while she laughed. At this point Ginny told me that earlier that day this lady had been telling a story and Ginny thought to herself, “hmm, the way that she is telling this reminds me of Raiah.”

So we laughed about that a little bit. Then the conversation moved on and about two minutes later this lady rubbed her elbow and said, “my epicondylitis has been acting up lately.” Anatomy talk. ANATOMY TALK! (Fun fact: my case study in my athletic injuries course in University was epicondylitis. No jokes.) Anyways, we talked about epicondylitis a bit and I said, “I use words like that all the time, I’m all about anatomy, I have a kinesiology degree.” And she said, “awesome, what are you thinking of doing with that.” And I said, “I’m thinking I’ll get my Masters in Occupational Therapy.” And, I shit you not, she turned around and said “I’m an Occupational Therapist! Usually everyone wants to be a Physio and I have to try to talk them into OT.”

She told me about her job in Vancouver and her epicondylitis. I told her about my plans to go back to school and about when I exploded the bursa in my elbow in high school. Before long we were outside and I had taken my jacket off so that she could feel where the bursa was missing in my elbow. It was crazy. Everything about us was the same. Literally the only difference is that she is a bit more of an extroverted person than I am. But everything else. EVERYTHING ELSE. I just remember being continually shocked and Ginny just sitting there watching and laughing at me while I lost my mind.

Eventually the fireworks started and then Ginny and I left to go home to sleep. But this felt like one of those chance encounters that means something. Like I literally felt like I was meeting a future version of myself. I have never met anyone so like me before, it actually completely blew my mind. And the best part was that I thought she was SO COOL! Like if people see to be me even a little bit like what I saw her to be, I would be so happy. She was SO AWESOME! On the way home Ginny told me that her name was Marci and that she almost always comes to family camp.

I told Ginny to tell her that I was so happy to meet her and that she was so cool. The next day Ginny texted me to tell me that before she could deliver my message to her, Marci came up to tell her that she said that she loved meeting me and asked if I would be around more. She also told Ginny to tell me that if for some reason I end up doing my OT in Vancouver, I can live with her! We met and talked for less than an hour and she has invited me to live with her. She is literally the coolest person I have ever met.

So that is the story. I have met my future self and she is the coolest person in the entire world.

Books

After feeling like a fraud for many months, I’ve finally started reading again. I’m still extremely behind my goal of finishing 52 books this year, but I finished a book today (The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane) and a book yesterday (My Friend Dahmer), and I’m well into an audiobook which I have 12 days left to finish (Uprooted). Sometimes when I’ve been in an extended slump and need to learn how to pay attention again I’ll glom on to a subject and blaze through a few page turners. This time it’s been witches, although My Friend Dahmer is VERY MUCH not about witches.

A word of advice here. DO NOT finish My Friend Dahmer and then go read Jeffrey Dahmer’s wikipedia page right before you go to sleep. It’s a bad idea! To be honest it’s probably a bad idea to read his wikipedia page at all. It is very detailed and very scary.

I’ve started actually using Goodreads again, and found the cord for my kobo so that I can charge it and load library books onto it, and I’ve been doing all kinds of listening to audiobooks. It’s weird how something I love, reading, can feel like a major chore and a drag. I’ve barely been able to read ten pages at a time for quite awhile, but I think it’s turning around. I’m a bit concerned about actually typing this out, because what if I jinx myself? What if saying “I think I’m finally enjoying reading again” will dump me straight back into the slough of reading-despondency? I’m hopeful that I’m back to a better reading pattern, but I want to be gentle with myself. I’m not going to assign myself War and Peace or something like that. I’ll read about witches for as long as I have to.

I don’t think I’ll have to much longer. The Edmonton Public Library is a positive boon and I have been all over ebooks lately (if any of you reading this don’t have a library card please EXPLAIN YOUR LIFE CHOICES TO ME) and today I added three to my kobo. And none of them are about witches! I may or may not actually read any of them all the way through but I’m feeling good about having them readily available to me. I checked out a YA western, one of JK Rowling’s mystery books that she wrote as Robert Galbraith, and Carrie / Stephen King. I read The Shining a couple years ago and surprisingly did not hate it and maybe a scary book will propel me forward. That’s the idea, anyways.

I’m trying to be very forgiving towards myself with regards to my book choices and whether or not I finish things. I tried to shake myself out of this rut awhile ago by buying The Stranger Beside Me and guess what? An in depth look at Ted Bundy was not the thing to get me reading again. How strange.

Anyways, here’s to reading and to enjoying reading. In the fall I have a class on Canadian children’s literature, so I’ve got a pile of 14 books to read on Josh and my honeymoon, and like half of them are about residential schools. I feel daunted but I also feel that it’s important for me to read about. Anyways, I’ve got a bit longer to read whatever I want without guilt, so bring on the witches.