Kristyn Filip | Fulcrum Staff
Illustration by Kyle Hansford
THIS IS THE last piece I will ever write for the Fulcrum. Unless you’re my mother or someone else who “follows my work”—and if you are, oh my God, thank you—this is probably highly insignificant news to you. Or maybe you’re the jerk who left a rude comment on one of my articles posted online, or you’re someone who just doesn’t like me, or you thought I would run this newspaper into the ground—haters gonna hate, after all—and the end of my tenure as Editor-in-Chief pleases you. In any case, I’m on my way out the door, I’m passing the buck, I’m hitting the open road, and as much as it feels like a 10,000 pound weight—one pound for each issue we print weekly—is about to be lifted off my chest, I must admit I’ve come to love the heaviness. Well, “love” is perhaps a strong word, but I’ve learned to enjoy its company, at the very least, and I’ve derived a strong sense of professional purpose from carrying the load.
Leaving the Fulcrum feels like a graduation of sorts, and perhaps it’s only fitting that I use my last column to share some of the realizations I’ve come to this year. None are particularly brilliant or earth-shattering, despite the immense pressure I feel to write something remarkable—this issue will, after all, sit on stands for months and be immortalized in the university’s archives and likely be dug up by some crazed fan after I publish my memoirs (right? That’s the dream, at least). Remarkable these realizations aren’t, but hard-won they are, and now I share them with you.
Don’t make plans to move across the country to be with someone who doesn’t love you
This seems obvious, but it’s something I did and very nearly followed through with until reality bit me in the ass. I’m someone who was considered a “smart kid” in elementary school, so if this can happen to me, it can probably happen to anyone. I suggest you be on guard for it. The next time someone you are in love with asks you to move a great distance to be with them, your response should not be “Yes!” It should be “I’d like that, but before we make any concrete plans, I must ask: Do you really love me? Or are you just lonely out there and looking to exploit my willingness to be with you at almost any cost?” Stay put until you get a truthful response. Better yet, screw it all and move to Toronto. That’s what I’m doing, at least.
Eat at the Moon Dog Pub and Grill
I can’t stress this enough. I ate there on a near weekly basis this past year, and let me tell you, I don’t miss my former haunts at all. As a 19-year-old, I relished a bar with a loud crowd, a sticky film covering all surfaces, and rickety and unreliable chairs and tables. A few years later, and my tastes have matured substantially. I’m not saying you’ll find me tossing back cups of tea at the Chateau Laurier or anything, but a good night out with friends no longer consists of screaming to be heard over the strains of karaoke or watching the group of people at the next table go to the bathroom in pairs to help each other out with their beer-induced vomiting. At the Moon Dog, I don’t have to worry if my wallet is going to get stuck to the top of the table—they wipe those down fairly regularly there, imagine that—and I know I’ll always find a seat and be served exactly what I ordered. Go often enough and the employees will come to know you by name and your order by heart. If you’re not ready to leave the campus bar behind, I recommend you try Sunday brunch at the Moon Dog. Order the eggs Benedict and tell Zena I say hello.
Go on vacation with your best friend
If you get the opportunity to do it, just go. Move your schedule around, eat Raisin Bran for an entire month to save money, inconvenience people a little if you have to, just do whatever it takes to spend a few days on the beach with your best friend in the middle of a miserable winter. Your soul needs it. Trust me.
Don’t take shit
I took a lot of shit this year and I really regret that. I’m a non-confrontational person by nature, and that has been a curse perhaps more often than it’s been a blessing, especially in a job that demands I lay down the law. I’m more inclined to seethe silently than I am to address my concerns, but eventually you have to woman up and speak up, unless you want to be walked all over like a day-old copy of Metro at the bus stop on campus. So don’t take shit, but you should always…
Say what you need to say
Yes, those are lyrics to a John Mayer song—shudder—but they’re true. If you love someone, tell them. If someone is being a dick to you and you’ve had enough, tell them. If you need help, deserve better, have a question, have an answer, want to leave, or are dying to stay, you need to say so. There have been a few times this year where I’ve avoided saying what I needed to in order to dodge awkward moments, but when I really think about it, my entire life could easily be reduced to a series of extremely awkward encounters linked together by some slightly less awkward ones. I am in my twenties, after all— trying to find a place in this world, as uncomfortable a process as that may be, is what your twenties are all about, right?
You are never too busy to do what you love
Contrary to what I learned about moving across the country for “love,” there is something you should most definitely pursue at all costs: your passion. In the middle of December, I came across an ad announcing open auditions for roles in The Vagina Monologues. I grew up doing musical theatre but stopped when I started volunteering for the Fulcrum, which became my extra-curricular activity and then my job. Even though it had been a few years since I was last on stage, seeing the word “auditions” on the poster made me feel that certain ache in the pit of my stomach that any theatre kid feels after a lengthy hiatus. Despite the ache, I initially thought there was no way in hell I could audition. I have a paper to run, for Pete’s sake! And another job to attend to and friends I’ve neglected and a family to call once a week. I felt guilty at the very thought of putting any energy toward something that wasn’t the Fulcrum. But then I gave my head a shake and went to the audition. I got a part, and for the next three months, I spent four blissful hours a week rehearsing in the basement of a community centre with the rest of the cast. I put my cell phone away, I closed my laptop, and I didn’t allow work to consume my every thought, and damn, did that feel good. Sure, I had to work a little bit harder on Mondays to make up for the lost hours, but trust me, I didn’t regret it for a second.