may in review, 2019

There are two theories for why May is called May. 

One, that it’s distantly named after the goddess Maia, whose name I admit I first reacted to with: who? Then the Classics student shame caught up and my brain had to whir and realize this was Hermes’ mother and one of the Pleiades. 

The second option, courtesy of Ovid because of course it is, offers the possibility that May comes from maiores (ancestors, but let’s go with ‘old people’ here as a translation) as opposed to iuniores (lit. the young ones) being the stem for June. I like this theory a lot more — not because it’s Ovid’s, nor because I’ve always liked that the English words ‘major’ and ‘junior’ come from such obvious cognates, but because I sure as hell feel like I aged enough to approach senility this month. 

I was hoping it would all end with April. It didn’t. I feel three times older than I actually am, with the back pain and struggling mental faculties to back it up. 

Most of the pros this month are also cons, so let me work my way up from there to the only four things that made me happy this month. Excuse me as I grant myself the luxury of whining when I’ve been hanging on for dear life for three months in a row now, though I seem to do that every month nonetheless.

Con: Being 21. That’s it. You know how I asked 21 to be kind to me? It wasn’t. Part of the reason behind all the chaos might be the universe exacting revenge for me telling my high school psychology teacher I’d want to be 21 forever. I don’t anymore. I don’t want to talk about it, think about it, relive it. So, universe — point made. 

That said, this renders it a pro that I am not 21 anymore. I turned 22 last May 8th, and let me say that I have never been happier to turn a year older. The past couple of months have been much nicer than the ones that came before it, but 21 as an age, and 2018 as a year, was straight up traumatizing. If I was drafting my character arc, this past year would be the lowest of the low. Saitama in the beginning of One Punch Man. Kakeru from Run With The Wind, stealing bread because that’s the bottom he’s reached. 

Another pro-con: I am taking my first ever writing class this spring term! A short-story course, because if I had to rank my writing genres and how confident I was in them, short stories would be down there with verse poetry. Possibly lower. Definitely lower. 

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve had fun in the class so far, and my workshop-mates are all lovely people who weather my love for the Before trilogy well. But it also happens to be a con because it forces me to come to terms with how much my relationship with fiction writing has changed since the last time I did it. Which was yesterday, but still. I used to think fiction was my deepest love. After a year of critical essays and investigative pieces, I don’t know anymore.

The last and most important pro-con: the Nuance end of the year event. One of the best nights of my life, yet also a reminder that my time with the team is officially, contractually over. If you told me last September that I would feel this way considering how anxious I was after our first meeting, I would have rejected the entire notion. But leaving Nuance, even with two pieces still left to write, feels like losing a substantial part of who I am now, of who I’ve become since I joined. Possibly because my Nuance experience is behind so much of the identity adjustment I’ve experienced over the last year; it changed my world, changed how I view the world. In terms of reaching deep inside me for my own personal experiences and realizing there’s worth in talking about them. In discussions about sex positivity, gender and sexuality — and religion, which I didn’t anticipate would become such a large factor in my worldview as I transition from 21 to 22. 

Nuance changed how I view activism / artivism, how I think of grassroots organizations, how I estimate the value of my own contribution to both. Being part of this publication has been one of the most eye-opening things in my life; not because it changed my perception of the world altogether, but because it widened my worldview where I didn’t realize it could go any farther than the keyhole I was viewing the LGBTQ+ community through as a helpless Gen Z. I feel empowered, a word I’d never used before in reference to my various identities — empowered to write about who I am, empowered to realize that my thoughts are opinions worth arguing and exploring. I’ve always been open to discussion, to being proven wrong, but it’s never occurred to me that I can do the same with someone, that I can prove someone wrong as well, that there’s authority in my experiences simply because it’s mine. 

So thank you, to all the Nuance team members, to my editors, to our founders: I don’t know who I would be right now if not for the last year I’ve spent writing for and with all of you.

With that said, here are the pop culture things I enjoyed this month, despite all the existentialism I’ve been nursing: 

  • Robert Pattinson as the new Batman. That’s it. 

  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, written by the ever brilliant Mariko Tamaki and beautifully illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, was a pleasant surprise. Not because I doubted this pair-up in any capacity, but because I hadn’t expected the story to hit home as much as it did, and to reach such depths in its discussion of toxic relationships. I’m of the opinion that there should be more LGBTQ+ stories centred around unhealthy relationships in teenhood, whether deliberate or not; this isn’t to paint us in any unpleasant light, but because there is so much to explore there, and because support systems and relationship norms aren’t often debated in this context. Laura Dean delivered, and I can honestly say this is going on my list of favourite graphic novels of all time. 

  • The Goldfinch Trailer was finally released and god, someone needs to stop me from rewatching because the amount of times I’ve done so in the past week is reaching unhealthy levels. I do have my reservations about how the movie looks like a child of a Joe Wright and a Joel Edgerton trailer — but you know what? Have you seen a more beautiful trailer? I haven’t. The song, the Roger Deakins cinammon tography, the faithfulness to the book if those brief shots from New York and Las Vegas and Amsterdam were anything to go by. From Pippa to Hobie to the Barbours to Boris. God, the sound I made when Aneurin Barnard first showed up in it was inhuman. September is too far from now. I know it will be here before I know it, but September is too far from now. 

  • The Toronto Raptors got to the playoffs, won, and holy shit, we are in the NBA Finals. For the first time in history. This Raptors season has been the most patriotic I’ve felt since Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue’s gold-winning Moulin Rouge program at Pyeongchang, and the tears I shed for that is nowhere close to the way my heart keeps contracting and expanding every time I remember that we are in the Finals. Against GS! Of all teams! And with two of my favourite ex-Spurs on the team! I am ecstatic! And anxious! At the time of writing, the series is tied 1-1 between the two teams, and both games have been the most nerve-wracking 48 minutes of my life. It’s bound to only get worse from here. 

I expect plenty of more Raptors gushing in the post for next month. Let’s hope it will be good, relieved, teary-happy gushing. Please, have mercy on us poor Canadians and give the Raptors their first win because they — and we — sure as hell deserve it.