february in review, 2019

A short post for a short month, with brief moments of both the highs of wistful happiness and the lows of apoplectic rage.

I had a week-long break from school this month—nine days where, ostensibly, I didn’t have to worry about anything. I did anyway. My sleep schedule has been unfairly screwed over, as par for the course whenever I’m on break, and by either association or extension, my mental health has also not been at its greatest this month. But more on the latter later.

Snow days were abound this month as well, the weather stubborn and unforgiving. I never thought I’d wish for there to not be a snow day, but by the third or fourth time my classes have been cancelled and therefore had to have its entire syllabus rerouted, I was sick of constantly pushing things off from where my anxiety expected them to be.

Despite all that mess, though, I enjoyed quite a few of the small things in life:

  • Rent: Live’s rendition of “Will I”: I’ve never been all that fond of Rent, mostly because I’m still not set on how to feel about it considering the mixed responses of the LGBTQ+ community to it. For most of my teenhood, the only songs I knew were staples like “One Song Glory” and “La Vie Boheme” — though my vague memory of the movie is solid enough to remember that the original “Will I” took place in a support group. And, while otherwise a disaster, I thought Rent: Live did really well in moving this song to the streets of New York, with Mark filming as people sang from street corners and park benches. It was heartbreakingly effective in hammering some things home, if only as someone who was born the year HAART became the standard for HIV treatment and who always feels like I don’t have an appropriate grasp on how devastating and horrible the AIDS crisis truly was. And I don’t. It’s a part of history I never forget, but that doesn’t even come close to the devastation that the older generation had to experience and confront. It wouldn’t ever be enough to read about it, everything always information that I am privileged enough to say is secondhand, but there’s something simple and straightforward at the core of this scene that stayed with me a long while.

  • UNIQLO HEATTECH: I had the misfortune last February 12th of queueing for a concert in the middle of a snowstorm, bad enough that my classes were cancelled though the show was not. In preparation, I bought HEATTECH leggings from UNIQLO — and, truly, truly, truly, I had never bought a wintertime anything more worth it than the $20 I dropped on these thermal wear. Between this and the coats I invested in, this winter has been a lot more bearable for me than it has been for other people.

  • If Beale Street Could Talk and Can You Ever Forgive Me? are different enough, if both brilliant in their own ways, that they each deserve an entry separate from each other. Only I saw them both on the same day, an hour apart from each other, and as such, they are interlinked in my head as one blanket feeling of overwhelmed… something. Beale Street, in particular, defies description, but that’s expected of someone as endlessly wonderful as Barry Jenkins. Both films deserved more Oscar nominations than they got, and I don’t regret blocking off a whole day from my break to strike them off my list before the weekend of the ceremony.

  • Westdale Theatre, too, deserves a shout-out for housing those two movies and for finally eliminating my need to trek to Toronto just to see independent films. I was a freshman when this place closed, and to see it reopen, shiny and renovated and offering films I am more than excited to watch, has me falling for this city a lot more than I already have.  

  • That said, Hamilton’s cameo in The Umbrella Academy also deserves to be its own entry, if only because, for all that this city is consistently a filming location, it never seems to look like itself in the shows and movies they’re in. Or always lumped in with a thank you for Toronto, as with Shape of Water. But I didn’t have a problem with that in The Umbrella Academy, which had an unmistakable shot of Redchurch, one of my favourite cafes in the city, in that iconic “Run, Boy, Run” scene.

  • Nathan Pyle is an artist whose work I first encountered on Tumblr — only to find that he has a great Instagram account that is now the sole reason I ever go on Instagram at all (until I’m hounded to update it by people I will not name because I know she sees this).

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse winning Best Animated Feature. Oh, thank god.

With those out of the way, I want to spare a few moments on two things that gave me grief this February:

  • My new medication has been rough-going, my body unused to all these side effects I didn’t have to worry about before. I know it takes a while, and I’m prepared for that, but the first weekend following my first couple of doses were just so horrible that I’m now wary to change my dosage. I do think it has improved my cognitive situation, though, if not my emotional one, and for better memory and a little more energy, a little hand tremor and loss of appetite seem like a good price to pay.

  • The winner for this year’s Best Picture. Absolute bullshit.

March is bound to be an awful month, the way November is always unbearable because it’s so busy in the term. But a lot of the problems on my plate right now are responsibilities I took on myself — a full courseload, two jobs and an extracurricular activity I’m sure I was peer pressured into — so in the end, there is very little to self-righteously complain about.

I’ll have to take it step by step and hopefully make it to April by the skin of my teeth, but I think it will be fine.

I hope.

I also hope I didn’t just jinx it.