Episode 1: Rebirth
// JJ Brewis

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good.” —Nina Simone W ith each new calendar year, we see an opportunity to revitalize and reinvent ourselves. The idea of a fresh start brings with it an onslaught of personal goals, or “resolutions” as we’ve come to call them. We compile lists of itemized benchmarks we’d like to make, in order to improve our lives in terms of growth, ease, and comfort.

As with any year, I’ve noticed a majority of people’s resolutions centred around one common goal: to attract a mate. It’s our primal instinct, so it makes sense that we as a human race would use this time of rejuvenation to pretty ourselves up and reel someone in: “I want to eat healthier, go to the gym, and dedicate more ‘me’ time.” The irony of all of these seemingly personal endeavours is that they are often simply a façade, and cover up the true reason, which is genuinely about making ourselves more desirable to possible partners. Physical relations and partnerships are aspects most of us seem to be looking for, and having New Year’s resolutions integrated within the search, even if it’s a subconscious choice, is a great gateway into giving in to our physical and romantic instincts.

Two years ago, I wrapped up a column for the Courier divulging intimate details of my love life. I have never had such an overwhelming response to my writing, and I was always surprised when people told me they’d never tell personal details like the ones I’d shared. Yet, the stories are all part of what makes me who I am today. With a colourful, sometimes hilarious, and often surprising cornucopia of dating experiences in my midst, I am an entirely different person now than I was even two years ago. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not removed from the New Year’s resolutions I’m speaking of. I’ve hit up the gym and munched on salad every January for past countless years. But in reality, I’ve likely been more focused on hooking up with someone than actually becoming healthier. In speaking of New Year’s and the shifts that come in terms of love, I come to think of a New Year’s Eve past and how it would ultimately change me forever. I was seeing a man by the name of Stephan whom I met through an acquaintance. From our first date, I had quite high hopes. Most of the guys I had seen at that point had somehow let me down or given me a bleak perspective on the archetypes of men: shallow business class, apathetic artists, too-busy-for-you academia devotees. This one seemed different though; even from our first date when he rented a car to drive me out to an abandoned barn in Langley to drink $8 wine, I was charmed in the naïve way all my friends had grown to worry about.

This was at a point in my life when, despite how much I told myself I was comfortable being alone, I was still desperately clinging to the idealized concept of “having a man” – and it didn’t matter under what circumstances or opportunities it came about. I had come to overlook even the most obvious of faults, and began to blow off other valuable components of my life just to make more time for this new “romance.” The entire arc of my relationship with Stephan shows just how much I gave up of myself, and how every action I made was pivotal around this one aspect of my life. I’d spend time getting really dressed up on days I knew I’d see him, and rush my morning routine on other days because I thought it didn’t matter. I would forfeit my own interests, and, given that we were quite fundamentally different, I’d often end up at socialist documentary screenings rather than the indie art-house films I’m more in favour of.

I began to overlook everything that I was compromising in myself because I had a man in my life. It’s a toxic scenario in retrospect, but many of us have been there. Why is that? Are we really able to accept partnership over personal satisfaction? Clearly I was, for this period in time.

For New Year’s Eve, he told me that he had bought us two tickets to the Biltmore. Despite having pre-arranged plans with friends, I predictably bailed to spend the time with my relatively new beau. Horrible move.

In a cinematic turn of events, the warm, generous man I thought I knew instantly became a satanic monster over the course of what was supposed to be my first “not shitty” New Year’s Eve. He drank more than his share, and the mean (or “honest”) drunk came out, and he started to badger me with insults throughout the night. Luckily some of my friends had ended up at the same party, but as I went to introduce him to one of my best friends, he raised his eyebrows and turned around, darting away. “What the fuck?” I thought. The pity party began long before midnight. For someone who, despite his faults, had a reliable charm, this was a very dark side I hadn’t seen a glimmer of before.

As the countdown to the New Year began, he slumped back over to me to stick his tongue down my throat before throwing up moments after, on my new shoes. Then he disappeared, and as the club started clearing out an hour later, I realized I had been left, intoxicated, miles from home on New Year’s Eve. To top it all off, I had left my bag at his house, with pre-arranged plans to stay over. My options limited, I trudged through the snow, cussing into my gloves to keep warm. When I finally arrived at his house, there he was, sprawled out fully naked on the couch; smoking the most poorly-rolled joint I’ve seen in my life. “Oh, sorry man,” he said, responding to the furious look on my face. “I forgot about ya.”

And as I cabbed back to my home in New West, crying to my poor driver about my terrible night, in that moment, I sobered up. Not to alcohol, no; I’d go on to have one of the biggest binge years of my life. But in terms of sacrificing myself, and losing myself in the process, I realized that he had picked the most opportune moment to completely and utterly embarrass me and fuck me over. When I woke up the next day, I never made any official resolutions. But subconsciously, I realized exactly what part of me had changed, and it was long overdue. In the words of Drake, “I’m doin’ me.” And most of the time, that is quite literal.

But being okay with that is a huge step.

//JJ Brewis, columnist
//Illustration by Lydia Fu

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: