Did I Build That Castle?

These past few weeks have been a little difficult. I’ve been thinking a lot about walls and castles and metaphorically what that looks like in my life (I blame Piers Plowman). I’ve written about this before, but I usually find it difficult to open up to people, and sometimes I’m mistaken for being cold. I find that I have this immediate reaction where I put walls up.

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Please Don’t Read Me



I have one of “those faces”. I feel like recently in particular, I’ve had to say to people, “No, don’t worry. It’s just my face.” See, I have chronic “bitch-face”. It suuuuucks.

What’s bitch-face?

Well, beloved reader, bitch-face is basically when someone constantly looks like they want to drop kick a baby off the Grand Canyon while eating ice cream. Or, to put it to you this way, you know your face during traffic in the second hour when you’ve given up? Yeah, that face—that’s bitch-face. It’s having that face constantly—when you’re happy, sad, angry, very tired, and usually when you forget to have an external emotional reaction to something.

It never used to bother me until one night when my brother was talking to me about his relationship. I must have looked disinterested, because he looked at me finally and said, “You don’t actually care do you?” To be honest, it was an emotionally charged conversation and I did care, but I was thinking mostly about how to respond and forgot to actually do that.

I realize this makes me sound like a robot, and I’ve actually been called that before by people that still love me, but that’s—I guess, in a way—what bothers me about it. See, I joke about bitch-face a lot, but I really do mean it when I say it’s just my face. I’m terrible to read, because I’m an introvert and because I’m not good at expressing my feelings externally. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel things. It just means I don’t like to put my emotions on display. I don’t cry in public, I don’t yell right away when I’m angry, and I don’t always say, “I love you”. I feel like I don’t show enough excitement because I don’t flail about screaming, and I don’t know why I am the way that I am, but I know that if I’m going to be that person that’s okay with who they are, then this is a part of me that I need to be okay with. And for me that’s really hard—in fact, it’s probably the thing I struggle with the most, that I’m willing to admit.

So, reader, I don’t know if this is a rant, or a plea or something else, but I do know that I don’t like being read, solely because I feel like most people get it wrong. I do feel things—a lot of things—but on a very private level. I do believe that I’m not the only person that’s like this. I think we all have private and public selves, but some people are just better at expressing themselves than I am. I do think that we have to be okay with who we are, even if it’s not something that’s easy to be okay with and, in a way, maybe for all of us, that’s our struggle.

First Month: An Observation


It’s a little weird, but when I was a kid, September meant something different to me. September meant everything that I loved—my freedom, my lack of math homework, and my hours of Anastasia marathons—were suddenly coming to a grinding end. September meant homework. September meant bedtime at a reasonable hour, and September meant a juggernaut of newness. September, now that I think of it, was the first time I realized I hated change.

What’s strange, though, is that university is somehow different. Now I don’t know if that was just because I was working and doing summer school, but when September came around, I couldn’t wait to get back to school. I actually liked school, and I, especially now (as this is one of my last “first  months”), like the first month of school.

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Singleness is NOT an Epidemic

Kimberly Johnson

Last year, I got into the show How I Met Your Mother. The show is basically a story about a guy, named Ted, who sits his kids down to tell them the “long story” of how he and their mother met. I’ve been binge-watching the past eight seasons, and I’ve totally misjudged the level of awesomeness that the cast and the writers are on. The way they tie things together throughout the seasons is mind bogglingly brilliant. I’ve realized something about Ted though. I think Ted had to go through the journey that he went through to get to a place where he was mature enough to be in the kind of relationship that he and the mother have.

I bring them up in a post like this because I’ve learned something from that show, and it’s something I was told years ago, but never really listened to.  It’s this:

“Everything has a season.”

My parents used to say that to me all the time, and it’s something I seem to find true.  I firmly believe that everything happens when it needs to happen, and wasting time worrying about something (or someone) not being in our lives does nothing for us but cause unnecessary stress.  There is a time to be single, and there is a time to be in a relationship, and while neither option is entirely perfect, both are important parts of our lives that co-exist, on some level, for some reason.

I am so sick and tired of seeing people feel bad about their singleness (this goes for me too). I can’t count the number of times when I’ve had the following conversation,

“Are you single?”

*Sighs and shrugs/sags shoulders*


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Someone Explain Handshakes to Me…


I had this interesting encounter over the break. I was at a Christmas Eve service at my church and I was greeting a friend of mine. Now I thought we were at that level of familiarity where it was okay to hug, but then it got weird. He went for a high five, I went for a hug, and long story short, we ended up doing the arm-worm, like two kids at a club who forgot they could use their legs to do that dancing thing.

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Some Thoughts During My Third Year Crisis

Kimberly Johnson

I had a conversation with an adult recently that just got on my nerves. If I’m honest, I wasn’t mad at him – I was mad that I couldn’t answer him.  This was his question:

“Oh, you’re an English major. What do you want to do with that?”

I responded with something like:

“Oh, uh…I’m not too sure yet.”

And I was pissed… and pretty disappointed. See, I actually want to be a writer – a novelist specifically – but I am crap out of my mind scared to mention that to “practical minded adults with real jobs.”

I feel like as a culture, we tell others:

       “Do what you love!”

When what we really mean is:

“Do what you love as long as you make some serious money.   Otherwise, do other things.”

This worries me. I don’t ever want to work a dead end job. I really (call me juvenile) want to be one of those people that actually love what they do. I just don’t want to be stuck. Now I realize as I write this, it’s not like people wanted their dead end jobs…actually the term ‘dead end’ is pretty judgmental.

I am saying this though: I want to do something with my life that makes me happy. I just don’t want to wake up thirty years from now, dissatisfied with life.

So what’s my point? I guess I’m honestly saying, my future makes me nervous… And I don’t know how to be cool about that, but maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. If I’m looking for some kind of lesson out of this feeling, it’s this: the first step is to unapologetically say what you want out of life. So…

Dear man at the beginning of this post,

Hi! My name is Kim. I want to be a writer…novelist specifically. I want to write something that matters someday to someone. That’s pretty risky financially – I get that – but I want a crack at it. Why? Because I want more out of my life than stability.

Do I Have To Die Before UTM Shuts Down?

Kimberly Johnson


There was a time when news of a winter storm brought a sense of hope to my soul. As a child, it was tradition to crowd around the big grey box (remember those?) at 6am and wait for the weather man/woman to announce the cancellation of your board’s school day.  The night before, my brother and I would pray extra hard that tomorrow our dream would come true, and then (because we shared a room) we would fall asleep under the gentle glow of street lights reflecting off of piling snow.

That was the dream.

And then I grew up and went to UTM.

Now, if there’s anything I know about this school, it’s this: if there was an apocalypse and zombies were feeding on the limbs, brains, and hearts of faculty and students, UTM would still be “open and proceeding as normal.”

While I appreciate UTM’s “Go get-em” spirit, sometimes I just wish UTM wasn’t so persistent on staying open. Frankly put, sometimes you gotta shut down, take a nap and wait for the storm to pass.  Sometimes, Kim must return to her blankets away from the mean, horrible thing called snow.

On a certain Tuesday a few weeks ago, there was a particular storm that ravaged my beloved Mississauga. I awoke, rather disgruntled, because mornings aren’t my thing (unless a coffee is promptly handed to me…then and then only are they my “thang”). I glanced out my window and gasped. My beautiful city was under attack. Snow flew everywhere and my surroundings were despicable. I immediately grabbed my phone to check Twitter. I scanned my feed.

Surely this will be the day. Surely classes aren’t running. Not with this abomination called snow, I thought. Nothing. It was 8am, which means my fears were realized. I had school. My brother didn’t.

My heart sank and so did my stomach there after as I got ready. I slipped on layer after layer, wrapping myself in sweaters and jackets. I looked like a very terrified brown snowman – scratch that – a super hot, mostly disgruntled, terrifically brown snowman. I examined myself in the mirror and muttered a line from “Sexy Back.” It felt fitting.   I wobbled to the door, mumbled a prayer and that speech from Brave Heart (even though it has nothing to do with my particular predicament), and I left my home – that sweet comfortable home. I journeyed across the wintery tundra, muttered the twenty third Psalm like an old man with conviction, caught my bus and wondered:

Do I have to die before UTM shuts down?

Why All-Nighters Suck

All-nighters are like a bad hangover. You tell yourself you won’t, yet when the time comes, there you are, doing what you said you wouldn’t do. Plainly put: all- nighters suck.

I’m in my third year of university and I still haven’t figured out why at least once a semester (doesn’t matter what courses I take), I find myself pulling an all-nighter. Do I lack self-control and an effective schedule? Yeah, probably. Will I change? Maybe—fourth year—fingers crossed.

I’ve never enjoyed an all-nighter; they’re not meant to be enjoyed. They’re a terrible way to do… anything. So, from one disgruntled student in the middle of an all-nighter herself, here are five blunt reasons why all-nighters suck:

Reason 1: You look like cow poop.

I say this with love, I swear! This whole post is one big verbal hug! But seriously, after an all-nighter, your face looks like cows took turns using your face as a toilet.  You have on yesterday’s makeup, you’re wearing yesterday’s clothes, and for some reason your face has aged 10 years. All because you didn’t sleep.


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