The Best 30 Day Blogging Challenge You Will Ever Do

I’ve been wanting to create a 30 day challenge post for a while now, so I decided to finally do it, even though I don’t really have enough of a following for it to catch on. I was thinking about doing it on working out, or fashion, but I thought it would be best to start with what I know best. Maybe I’ll do a challenge every month in the new year. Anyway, here’s my blogging challenge for December 2016.

Day 1

Refresh your blog’s theme. Also bake a cake and eat the whole thing yourself in honour of Tyler Joseph’s birthday. Make sure you decorate it nicely.

Day 2

Write a personal post. If you can make someone cry while reading it, then you have earned my respect forever.

Day 3

Create a new logo. I won’t yell at you for paying someone to do it, as long as the main colour is neon yellow. If you do it yourself you pick the colours. It must be on your blog for twenty four hours. Good luck.

Day 4

Play a game with your Instagram followers on you account dedicated to your blog. If you don’t have an Instagram account for your blog, make one. If the game involves 2015 meme trivia then you get bonus points. (There aren’t actual points being given for this, it just means I like you more than everybody else.)

Day 5

Make a Christmas giving list – a list of things you would like to give to your loved ones. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then make a list of future birthday gifts/gifts for any other occasion to give your loved ones. If you don’t have any loved ones, go to the bar and make a friend.

Day 6

Grab a friend and go take a bunch of new photos for your blog, including a photo of yourself for your about page. If you don’t have a friend, see the last line of the above challenge.

Day 7

Publish that one post that you’ve been scared to write or post. Just do it really fast without thinking or blinking.

Day 8

Create a plan to dominate the world. Post it and see if your followers are willing to help.

Day 9

Change the font of your posts on your blog.

Day 10

Bake an entire cake, decorate it, and try to eat it in one sitting. Document the experience and share it. If you’re on a diet have a cheat day and thank me later.

Day 11

Write me a cute letter since I have been alive for 15 years and 1 month. Thank me for the cake thing while you’re at it. Also, write a post that is more than 1000 words.

Day 12

Find a reason to put the word “hullabuloo” into a post.

Day 13

Give me 13 reasons to try out a velvet dress this holiday season.

Day 14

If you’ve done every challenge on this list so far, pat yourself on the back and pop open a cold one. Take a day off. If you’ve put up with my bullshit this long, you deserve a break.

Day 15

To make up for yesterday’s break, post two posts today.

Day 16

Write an email to your favourite celebrity begging them to do an interview with you for your blog. Since they aren’t going to respond, find a blogger with a cute blog to interview instead.

Day 17

Write a review for the Youngblood Chronicles. Bonus points if you knew what I was talking about without googling it. Triple bonus points if you’ve already reviewed it.

Day 18

Go on a mission to make one friend. Create a game plan, and attach it to your post documenting the experience. The goal is to set up a platonic coffee date for next Friday. May the odds be ever in your favour.

Day 19

Make your blog background black and your font colours neon for one day. See how many followers you lose. Note: If you blog for a living, this probably isn’t smart.

Day 20

If you want to do the cake thing again, I won’t object. Just make sure there’s a blog post about cute cats to go with it.

Day 21

Since I’m a ridiculous person and this challenge is probably making you cry yourself to sleep, I won’t judge you for drinking a bottle of vodka and taking the day off.

Day 22

See if you can photoshop a photo realistically enough to fool your followers. Tell them you found a unicorn and rode it through a forest in Scotland. Make sure there are at least three photos for proof.

Day 23

Write an apology post to your followers for tricking them. Make sure they know the forest was in Canada, not Scotland.

Day 24

You’re probably super busy with Christmas preparations, so here’s an excuse to get out of some dishwashing: You have to interview at least three family members using the following worksheet as a guide:

Day 25

It’s Christmas! Write a post that your family will see about next year’s wishlist. If you don’t do Christmas, then mail a letter to your parents about how much you want a specific item. It doesn’t matter if you live with your parents, send the letter through the postal system.

Day 26

Since it’s boxing day, so to the store and buy all of the advent calendars with chocolates you can find. The stranger the better. Make a haul post.

Day 27

Everyone is fed up with celebrating now, so plan a surprise party for the grumpiest person you know. If you can’t actually throw them a party, send them some confetti and write them a letter talking about how you know that they love the holidays, so you’re helping them extend the celebration. Send it using the postal service. Bonus points if you use glitter glue on the letter. Make sure they have a reason to write a letter back, and post both letters on your blog.

Day 28

You’re probably getting tired of this. I bet you’re diet’s ruined now, so before you can get back on track bake a cake and eat it. Use a whole can of that store bought frosting, and as many chocolate chips as you can fit on the cake. If you can eat the whole thing without vomiting up all the Christmas cookies you’ve been eating, then you get bonus points.

Day 29

Tired of this bullshit? Too bad! Write a post that is exactly 1000 words about that one killjoy that nearly ruined your holiday. Good luck keeping that one contained to 1000 words once you get going. I understand if you don’t want to post this one, so post it anyway.

Day 30

Since it’s the last time you have a valid reason to do this, bake a cake. Share this one with someone else, just so you can prove that this challenge helped you grow as a person.

Day 31

Cry because you’ll miss doing this. Write a sappy post about how great it was. Make a list of new year’s resolutions that you won’t keep. And last but certainly not least, thank me for making this one of the best months of your life, because you know it was. Also mail me one of the many advent calendars you bought on the 26th because I need some chocolate.

Good luck with this challenge, and I’ll fly out to hug anyone who finishes. If you’re planning on attempting this terrifying challenge, drop a comment, and good luck.

Finishing Strong – NaNo 2016

November is scarily close to ending, and NaNoWriMo is nearly done. I’m dangerously low on words, so I’m going to give you some motivation to try and up my own word count. I’ll also list some tips and tricks for making it through the end of the month with success.

The first thing you should know is that I’ll laugh at you if you don’t finish. I’ll show up outside of your window, point, and laugh. Watch out for me. If you don’t want a stranger standing outside of your window late at night, you should get writing.

Speaking of writing, you should be doing that right now. What are you doing reading this? Get to work, you useless potato!

Looking up cute studyblr posts does wonders for motivation. You would not believe what some highlighters and nice calligraphy does to you.

If you get stuck, then move on. Write something in all caps that says you’re missing words, and move on. You can come back to those scenes later.

When you need to take a writing break take that time to grab tea, pee, and outline a little further. If you have everything outlined already, then make a super detailed outline of the next chapter, including motions, descriptions, etc. That way you don’t need to think of a single thing when you get going again, you can just go.

Since it’s nearly the end, it’s getting a little hard to keep going. I get it. I’m over 10k words behind and writing is a pain in the ass. What I do when I want to quit is envision where my writing could take me. No matter how much you may repress these thoughts, I know you have the image of you being a professional writer hidden in your head. Dig that image out and spend five minutes imagining your life with that career. That should remind you why you’re trying, so get writing!

A good way to get stuff written is to write what you’ve been wanting to write forever. Whenever I need to get going I write a post about my life or my emotions. I love writing about those things because that’s almost the only way I express those feelings. So find what gets you writing, and write about it.

Find ways to make the same amount of writing make more words. Unless you’re writing something pretty casual like me, stop using contractions. Write every sentence in the longest way possible. In December you can edit them to make them shorter if you must, but for this month make them long.

The last weekend of the month is only days away. Cancel all plans. Stock up on writing food, microwave meals, and teabags. Barricade yourself in your bedroom with your laptop and don’t stop for anyone. Try to get yourself to 50k this weekend. I have a three day weekend, so I’m going to write like hell. Set yourself hourly goals with a punishment if you don’t make your goal. That’s how I write as much as I can when I have a long time to write. I tend to procrastinate when I have no time limit, so giving myself short term goals helps me. If you have to pee, say you can go when you write x amount of words. If you’re bored of your current playlist, or you’ve ran out of snacks do the same. Be ruthless.

Fitting in with the last paragraph, getting a load of chocolate and setting word amounts per piece does wonders. I don’t know if you are as chocolate crazy as me, but almost nothing can get me to write faster. Especially if it’s the really good chocolate. Just the thought of those Lindor chocolates makes my mouth water, so I’m going to stock up on those this weekend and that’s all I’ll need.

I haven’t tried the NaNo word sprints, but I think those would work really well to just get the words out. I know that’s what NaNo is about anyway, but I tend to edit my work as I write anyway. The word sprints could curb my habit if done frequently enough, I think.

If you have any other last-minute pieces of advice, I’d love to hear them. Best of luck with all of your projects!

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My Dream Future

Today I’m going to tell you a bit about what I hope for my future. I find that I’m a bit of a scatterbrained person, and posts like these help me sort my thoughts out and give me a bit of direction.

So once I finish high school I would like to go to university without a gap year. I would like to stay in Canada, but not in my province. I would really like to go to Ottawa, but I need to spend some time researching the schools there first. I think I would like to take a journalism program, but I’ve been changing my mind on that yearly for a while now. I think at this point I’ve decided that it will probably be something involving English.

I would like to do my first year living on campus, and spend my second and third year doing online classes and house sitting around the world. I would like to go back to campus for my last year, so I can have a proper graduation.

After that I hope I live in a cozy, but not too small, apartment. I think I would still like to be in Ottawa, but if not I would like to be in Edmonton or Calgary. That way I’m still in a pretty big city like I want to be, but I’m a bit closer to home. I want to have white walls and lots of plants, as well as big windows and good wifi. By that time I hope that I have a blog that is big enough, and brings in enough money, to be a full time job.

I hope I have a close circle of friends that I truly love and trust. I don’t want to spend a lot of time out, but having enough close friends to go out for coffee with someone every few days sounds ideal. My friends will be a lot like me, and understand that I need a lot of time by myself. It would be nice if they were bloggers as well.

I would like to be taking steps towards becoming an art director, and maybe getting smaller jobs to build my portfolio. I would like to eventually work my way to being an art director for bands that I like, or some fashion magazines.

I would like to think that I’ll have a good workout routine, and good eating habits. I would go to a yoga class a few times a week, and eat balanced meals with lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

The most important part of this dream future is my mental health. I hope that I’m happy with myself, feeling secure in my relationships, and just happy in general.

Hope you all liked this post. I sure had fun writing it! Tell me a bit about your dream self/future down below. I really want to see what you all want in life, talking about other’s future really interests me!

Until next time.

15 Things To Do In My 15th Year

15 Things To Do In My 15th Year

On November 11th, I started a new year of my life. I’m going to do what I can to make it a year of happiness and improvement. These are 15 things I want to do to make it my best year yet.

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  1. Eat better. Less sugar, more greens.
  2. Work out daily. Get in shape, just in case the zombie apocalypse happens.
  3. Write more. This is my third attempt at a blog. I want to make it work this time.
  4. Be kinder to those around me. Start showing everyone that I appreciate them.
  5. Refine my wardrobe. Create a capsule that works year-round.
  6. Sell some of my books. I have more than I need, and the extra money would be nice.
  7. Learn the flute. I’ve had one for years, but I stopped playing after music class wasn’t offered. Time to get learning again.
  8. Embrace minimalism. Less objects, more happiness.
  9. Redo my room. It’s been the same for years, and it still looks like it could belong to a ten year old. I want a place that I enjoy being in.
  10. Start doing things that will help me with job and university applications. Blogging is step one. I still need to find other things to do.
  11. Save up enough for a ticket to another Twenty One Pilots show. I’ve seen them live once, and I can’t wait to see them again.
  12. Build my blog. Soon I’m going to get my own domain and hosting. I want my blog to be big enough that it can be a side job in university.
  13. Become more artistic. Get better at things like drawing and graphic design.
  14. Find a passion. Lots of people have written about that moment. The moment they find something that sets their soul on fire. I want that moment
  15. Become a better person. Be healthy, happy, kind, and satisfied with myself.

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Crossing my fingers that I’ll actually follow this list. Is there anything else I should do? Tell me in the comments!

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What I Learned From Two Failed Blogs

Before I started The Rose-Tinted Chapter, I had had two blogs which I deleted after a few months of running them. I didn’t put work into those blogs in vain though because I learned some things about myself and about the blogging world through them. I’m going to share some of the things I learned from those blogs.

#1: I’m a bit of an attention whore.

One of the main reasons those blogs flopped was because I had almost no traffic on either one. I felt as though I was writing for no reason since nobody was reading my work. At that point I was writing very impersonal things, so my writing didn’t even benefit myself. This blog already has more traffic than either of those blogs ever had, so I know my words are reaching someone. (Thanks for reading my work. Knowing that someone is reading this makes it all worth it.)

#2: I need competition in order to work well.

This time I started my blog really close to the beginning to NaNoWriMo. When November rolled around I was horrified with myself and thought I would have to give up NaNoWriMo in order to keep blogging. Turns out there’s a thread in the forums for people who do NaNo with blog posts, so I decided to do that. The competition and the threat of losing makes me write a lot more than I would if I hadn’t signed up for NaNo. In fact, I’m currently sitting in a hotel room while my family is at Chuck E Cheese just so I can catch up on my word count. I decided to skip out on skeeball on my birthday for this stupid competition guys. I’m either really dedicated or really scared of failing.

#3: I should have researched before starting those blogs.

I hadn’t even heard the word SEO before starting my first blog. I didn’t understand how categories on WordPress worked, and my writing was really low quality. Now I know how to make my titles SEO optimized, even if I don’t always do it, and I know how categories work. My writing isn’t top notch, but I’m putting in a lot more effort. In the beginning, I just didn’t know how blogs worked, and now I’m at least making an effort to learn.

#4: I need to write about things that interest me while sticking to a common theme.

My very first blog was really all over the place. My second blog was a little more together, but I wasn’t writing about what I wanted to write. Now my blog is still a bit scattered, but I’m writing about what I want to write about. My first blog had no direction, and therefore nobody wanted to read it because it was everywhere. I didn’t even want to look at my second blog because I was forcing myself into a box that I didn’t really want to be in. I’m much more happy with this blog than the other two.

#4: I need to set solid goals.

When I started my first blog I called it a hobby blog in my head, but in the back of my mind, I had dreams of living the “blogger lifestyle” and blogging full-time. For my second blog, I started it knowing that I wanted it to become my job in the future, but I wasn’t happy with it, and I wasn’t putting much effort into it. This blog I started with a goal of turning it into a job by the time I’m in university, and I’m putting a lot more effort into it. I know that blogging full time is a really hard goal to reach, especially for someone who’s never had much luck with social media, but I need to set my goals high in order to keep trying to reach them. I’m not treating this blog like just but a hobby and then expecting results, I’m expecting the results I work for.

#5: Telling friends and family about your blog isn’t always a good idea.

When I started my first blog I had to ask my mom if I could, and she said I could as long as she monitored it. This sounds really reasonable, but that made it very hard for me to write about what I wanted to write about. I think three of my friends followed my second blog, and that was way worse than just my mom. I knew that I was being monitored, and I haven’t had a close relationship with a friend since seventh grade, so I couldn’t write properly. I was writing what I knew they expected me to write instead of what I wanted to write. Nobody I know in person follows this blog, so I’m free to discuss things like my thoughts and emotions without feeling like I’m being judged constantly. I know that you guys won’t judge me (at least outwardly) because you all want to be here. I have the freedom to write my darkest secrets and I don’t shy away from posting them. Of course, I hesitate since it’s a bit intimidating to share some things with anyone, but I feel safe sharing my heart with you.

I could go on and on about this, but I think five is a good number to leave it on. Thank you guys for reading this far, you’re the reason I keep writing. Have any of you learned any lessons from blogging that you want to share? Do you want to spill your deepest darkest secrets? Did you eat a really good taco that you must tell someone about? Comment it up.

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Surviving NaNoWriMo – Week 2

We are now in week two of NaNoWriMo! For those who don’t know what NaNo is, it’s a challenge to write 50,000 words throughout the month of November. Traditionally you write a novel, since it is National Novel Writing Month, but other projects are accepted. This year I’m trying to write my 50k in blog posts.

Now is the week of self doubt, denial, and in my short NaNo history dropping out can be included. So today I’m going to share my tips for staying on track as the month goes on.

The #1 thing all Wrimos need during November is caffeine. Be is coffee, tea, or that fancy caffeine chocolate – stock up. You’re going to need it. I drink tea, so I have a big box of orange pekoe tea bags in the pantry that I’m really using. During the week you may be able to take it easy on these, but make sure you have a supply come the weekend.

The weekend is when you should be raising your word count, so you have some wiggle room throughout the week. I’ve been doing it backwards, since I’m going to have a super busy weekend, but generally speaking you should be writing your butt off on weekends. (Maybe listening to me on this isn’t a good idea… I’m over 5,000 words behind right now.)

Another tip I have, taken from No Plot? No Problem! is to boast about what you’re writing. If people know that you’re trying to write 50,000 words, then you have to face their laughter when you fail. If you really need motivation then bet something. It doesn’t even have to be money. Have a roommate/family? Get them to hide all the cookies in the house, and only give them to you if you meet your word count. Have a Starbucks addiction? Get a friend agree to buy you one drink a week if you meet your word count every week. Have a ruthless friend? Give them some of your money and tell them to only give it to you if you meet your word count. If you picked the right friend they actually won’t give it back if you fail.

Last thing: Make some writing buddies. If you have people to compete with, then you’ll want to win even more. A real life friend maximizes competitiveness, but if you can only find people online that works too. If you can beat a friend and win NaNo at the same time, then that’s even better for you, and your word count.

That’s about all I have for today. Any of you have some tips to stay on track? I sure could use them about now! So please give me your secrets. I’m seriously desperate.

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Me Using This Place As A Diary Again – Encounters With Canada Edition

(If you just want to see pretty Ottawa photos, keep scrolling because there are a few throughout. If you are actually interested in my life, read on.)

 

Nearly a year ago I went to Ottawa for the first time. My teacher had told our class about Encounters With Canada years ago, and I had been wanting to go for a year or two before I could sign up. Me and my friend signed up for the Science and Tech week, partially because of my love of Sherlock. I went and had an amazing time, and knew I had to go again. I had met so many amazing people, and the city was amazing. So a few months later when it was brought up again in class I signed up with two of my friends to go to the Arts and Culture week.

The week before the trip was a big wake up call for me. I had nothing packed, I hadn’t made a packing list, I had no idea what I needed to buy, and I still hadn’t found a new pair of boots. I freaked out at like 2am exactly a week before we left, and spent a few hours trying to make a complete packing list. (It wasn’t complete – I forgot a towel.)

I figured everything out eventually and had nearly everything together the night before we left. I had to participate in a haunted house that night, so I couldn’t double check my bags, but I thought I did okay. (I blame the haunted house on my lack of a towel.)

The day we left I spent some time at the mall with my parents and one of my sisters and grabbed some last minute things. I said my last goodbyes to everyone, made a few jokes about the plane crashing, then we left.

My friends hadn’t traveled alone before, and neither had been in a plane for years, so I was the guide. Airports are my favorite place to be, so that day was a good day. I could honestly live in an airport. I’m hoping that’s a sign that I’ll find a way to spend a lot of time in airports in the future. (Maybe travel blogging full time? That sounds nice.)

We got to the center and settled in. It was really late, so not many people were awake which was really nice. I remembered that Saturday night didn’t have a curfew, so I told my friends to meet me in the lounge downstairs after they unpacked. We got down there and met with four other people throughout the night, three of whom we spent the rest of the week with. We played cards all night, and that was honestly the highlight of my trip. All four of those people were pretty great.

(I think I’m being long winded here, so I’m going to divide the rest of this post be day and try to be a bit less detailed.)

Sunday

Lots of people were still arriving, so there wasn’t anything planned until after supper. I spent the day with my new friends playing cards and ping pong. I met a few new people, but I didn’t get really close to anyone. After supper, we did some ice breakers, then had our first group meeting. At Encounters everyone is divided into six groups, and your group dictates things like what bus you take to different activities. We had assigned seating this time, which took a lot of the stress away. I sat between two people who knew each other already, but they were both super nice. We went over the next day’s activities and worked on memorizing names, then we were sent to bed. NOTE TO ANYONE GOING TO ENCOUNTERS: The showers kind of suck, but the downstairs one is okay. Bring your own pillow and blanket, both of the ones given to you are a bit thin. And don’t toss and turn, the beds are really squeaky.

Monday

We got to attend the media literacy week at the Nature Museum. We did workshops with Instagram, Twitter, Shopify, and one other company that I forget the name of I’m really sorry. It was a really interesting event, and I’m really glad that I had the chance to go.

After that, we visited the Parliament. Usually Encounters participants have a group photo taken on Parliament Hill, but there was a protest going on, so we took it on the steps of a beautiful building that was nearby. We got to go to the question period in the House of Commons, and I can now say that I’ve seen Justin Trudeau debate. It was a crappy debate where neither advanced at all, but it’s still something.

Monday was HALLOWEEN!!! We were expecting to trick or treat at Trudeau’s and at the governor-general’s houses, but for some reason that didn’t happen. We went to a rather disappointing haunted house at the governor-general’s yard, then went home. It was pretty sad, but at least there was a bit of candy involved! After that, I think I watched some people play ping pong then went to bed.

Tuesday

In the morning a man came in and gave us a presentation called Foundations of Canada. He was a First Nations man and told us the First Nations creation story. It wasn’t a bad presentation, but I was too tired to really get into the whole repeat-after-me-and-do-the-hand-motions-thing. The story itself was interesting, though.

Later that day I did a workshop on animation. My group made a short movie using a sand table, which was really fun. We made a really strange story about a worm who falls in love with the spider, but the spider cuts him in half but the worm is still alive because worms can do that and the worms make a heart together because it’s like they were introduced to a long-lost worm brother bu then the worms become a spider and the love interest spider falls in love with the worm spider thing and everything is happy. God, I miss the people that helped me come up with that.

The last activity that day was called Vignettes of Canada. That’s when everyone is divided by province and we have to make a short play about our province. It was a lot like you’d expect – The Saskatchewan and Manitoba people begged tourists to come to them, the Albertans trashed ourselves, the New Brunswick kids talked about potatoes… I think Canada is the only country where all of the stereotypes really fit!

Wednesday

Wednesday started with a guided tour of Ottawa, and a bit of Montreal. I’ve taken this tour before so I didn’t really pay much attention but being able to just sit and take in the sights was really nice.

After lunch, I did a workshop on making felt. I wasn’t really excited about this, I only signed up because it was the least terrible of the options. It could have been worse, I suppose. I doubt I’ll be going into felting for a living, though.

After supper we did a Peace Module, where a veteran came in and showed us a slideshow and talked to us for a bit, then we went to a cemetery where a lot of veterans are buried and did a candlelight ceremony. It was a really good opportunity to give our thanks to those who served. A few people were walking right over where the veterans were buried and I honestly wanted to smack them. If you’re going to be in a cemetery, especially where veterans are buried, please walk right beside the backs of the headstones of the row in front of you. It’s the least you can do to honor them.

Le R came in to do a mini concert for us at the end of the day. He was a french rapper, and honestly? He sucked.

 

Thursday

The first thing scheduled for Thursday was theater workshops. I’m really introverted, so that didn’t sound good for me. We went to some arts school and it turned out that I was in a group with the two friends that I came here with, which was comforting. It really was a shame that the theater people took the comfort and shredded it when we were divided into smaller groups and I wasn’t with either of them. The girls I was put with were really nice, though, and I made it through the day.

We got to spend some time at the National Gallery of Canada. I accidentally got split up from my friends really early on, but it was actually a lot better to go through that gallery alone. It gave me time to reflect on each exhibit without feeling obligated to talk to other people. I really enjoyed a giant exhibit of photography from Josef Sudek. His photography was really beautiful, I would recommend googling him.

We got to pick what activity we wanted to do this night. I was going to go to a Vancouver vs. Ottawa hockey game, but I wanted to get back early so I went to the Canadian Museum of History. We saw an Imax movie about sharks, then got Beaver Tails. I can’t eat Beaver Tails, so that kind of sucked, but all in all it was a good night.

Friday

This was the last day of the trip. Cue the tears. We got to spend the morning and some of the afternoon downtown. It was the only part of the week where we could really do whatever we wanted, so that was nice. Me and my friends were going to spend it trying to find some obscure coffee shop or something, but it was pretty chilly so we just went to the mall with most of the group.

After that we had quite a bit of free time, then our last group meeting and the banquet. The last meeting was pretty bittersweet since I didn’t talk to my group friends enough to really be friends with them, but I really liked them. The banquet was nice, but it was really just a normal meal with a lot of dresses and some tablecloths on the tables.  We had a variety night a bit later, which was actually really good since it was Arts week and everyone was talented. One girl performed a really powerful piece of poetry that she wrote about one of her friends dying of cancer, and I really struggled to not cry. One of my friends rapped, and he was actually really unexpectedly good. You should have seen everyone’s faces when he started. And for a grand finale, someone got on stage and put her whole fist into her mouth. It was a good time.

The last thing we did before our dance was the talking stick circle. Everyone gathered in the cafeteria, sat in a circle, and had a chance to say whatever they wanted without the adults around. It started with people just saying things about how they enjoyed the week and that they were really glad that they met certain people, but it got really personal really fast. One guy talked about how he’s trans, but his parents are super unsupportive, so he has his birth name on his nametag and he has to sleep in the girl’s dorm. One girl came out as pansexual to everyone, including her home friends, at once. One of my group friends talked about how he should have died during a surgery a while ago. One of my friends talked about having a family that doesn’t really like him, and about how his dad, who was his best friend, died when he was little. My best friend talked about having suicidal thoughts and about one of her friends being diagnosed with cancer just hours earlier. It was really emotional and really hard to hear about friends going through those things, but it helped everyone feel a little closer to each other. I only wish that I would have said something that mattered.

Then came the dance. Everyone’s sob stories were forgotten as we danced the night away. I accidently wore a sweater and couldn’t get to my clothes so I got really really sweaty, but it could have been worse. We had a good time until it was time to go. I only really had one close friend to say goodbye to, so I actually didn’t cry. The one thing that I really loved about that week was that it was 90% girls, so even though I only had one close friend that I was leaving behind everyone was hugging me. Honestly, I almost cried just because I’m not really used to everyone being that nice to me.

I took my first flight with the other two new good friends I made, and I went all the way home with one of them, as well as the two friends I came with. The bitter goodbyes were spaced out, so it wasn’t so bad. I’m seeing one of my new friends next weekend, one of them lives half an hour away from me, and the other lives close to a city that I visit once or twice a year, so I’m not that sad. At least we’re all close to each other.

I’m just going to apologize for using this blog as a diary again, and THANK YOU to anyone who read this to the end. It’s nice to have a place to get these feelings out since I’m not very good at journaling. If you’re going to Encounters in the future I really hope that this post helped you know what to expect, both with events and emotions. If you’re a Canadian student in grades 9-12 I really think you should check this program out. It sounds cheesy, but it’s really a life-changing experience.

Thanks again to those who read this all. You people are the real champions. 

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