RnR Interview: Christina Zelinsky

My longest friend ever. See? I’m not that evil, I can maintain friendships. Some of my best childhood memories happened at her house or on my way to her house on Fillion street in Montreal. We would call each other (pre-cell phone days) and then leave our houses at the same time and meet halfway between our houses and then walk back to hers. We would swim in her pool, we would go to the park (get stuck in trees), sing at the top of our lungs to the Sailor Moon soundtrack or to Savage Garden, we would spend endless hours laughing, chatting and sketching our fave characters. Then she devastated my life, by telling me she was moving away to the dark side (Ontario, dramatic I know) and thus began our penpalship (is that a word?). Over the years, through boyfriends, bigger distances, disagreements, lost time and then coming back into contact again; we have found a new familiarity, openness and honestly in our more mature friendship and I’m all here for it. Read her interview!

Light Conversation

Q: What is the tone/sound of your alarm clock?
It’s called: Spirit

Q: Morning person or night owl?
A: Night owl, but that’s not helpful with a baby

Q: What’s your fave quote?
A: “If the PoPo shows up remember the first call is to your lawyer and not your mom” Louise from Bob’s Burgers or… “You can’t help when, where or who you fall in love with Mister Bradley” (some play I was in, in high school, but I forget the title)

Q: Sandals or Sneakers?
A: Sandals in the summer but never with socks, and runners always, even at my job, although that’s not by choice, they’re required there.

Q: Your word for the year
A: “Momma…” because trying to teach a 9 month old to talk is hard, and I think I have said it 7 million times today at least. He only seems to say it when he’s upset, and looking for me.

Q: What’s the last picture you took?
A: My son chewing on a toilet roll…with all the toys he has for teething, he instead crawled his way into the washroom and pulled the empty roll out of the recycling bin.

Q: What book would you recommend?
A: Currently? Doctor Spock. But only because my friends are all having babies now too.

Q: Countryside or beach?
A: Beach all the way… especially in Florida, it’s so beautiful there and warm.

Q: One fun fact about you.
A: I am fearless lol…I’ve done the CN Tower edge walk, the walk around the outside of the CN Tower wearing a harness well actually 2 harnesses and I’ve gone parasailing, it didn’t freak me out at all… no hands!

Q: Electronic or paper calendar?
A: Paper calendar, I’m not big on electronic equipment, except my phone.

Q: Most used emoji?
A: Probably a smiley face.

Q: Fave flower.
A: White carnations, they smell nice for a really long time

Q: Savoury or sweet?
A: Currently sweet, I mean it’s Halloween and there are candy bars so…

Q: Favourite Animal?
A: Lions, they’re powerful, strong, majestic, and fierce!

Q: Fave music artists.
A: P!nk, The Pretty Reckless, Petula Clark singing Down Towns, System of a Down, Creed, Linkin Park, The Bare Naked Ladies, Sharon Lois and Bram, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Frank Sinatra, Peter Paul and Mary, etc…too many to list…music soothes my soul.

Q: Fave season.
A: Fall, esp. in Montreal with the really red leaves, also fall because there are no bugs and I can wear sweaters, jump in piles of crunchy leaves, and the clocks go back so an extra hour of sleep!

Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
A: As a really little kid Once Upon a Potty, as a kid in grade school the last vampire by Christopher Pike there were like 7 books in the series, but I liked vampires and horror stories. Ironically as a teenager I really liked Peter Pan and Wendy by J. M. Barrie, and I really loved The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.

Q: How would you describe your fashion style?
A: Comfortable… I like funny T-shirts, yoga pants, jeans, no socks, unless I have to go out… so, yeah… I’d say comfortable

Q: What do you do to relax?
A: What do I do to relax…Hmm…I like listening to YouTube videos like Hellfreezer, or AskReddit, sometimes I watch TV if the baby is asleep, but mostly to relax I’ll probably be napping.

Q: What’s your most favourite place, you’ve traveled?
A: Florida’s Walt Disney World! The rides are Amazing, the weather is nice, even when it’s raining, because it’s so hot you don’t stay wet long. It really is The Happiest place on Earth.

Q: Which element best represents you?
A: Fe because I’m a strong female… (also that’s iron) but if you mean water, fire, earth, and air then it’s fire because I’m an Aries with a fiery personality.

Deep Conversation

Q: How would you spend an ideal day?
A: Spending time with my family, my partner and our son, we don’t have to be doing anything important, just as long as we are together that’s ideal enough for me.

Q: What are you most thankful for?
A: Probably also my family. I couldn’t ask for a better partner, he is an amazing father and just overall a loving caring man, and our son is an amazing little boy, very curious and smart. And I’m thankful that even though he was born early he was alright, even if we had to spend a week in the hospital, praying they wouldn’t have to put him in the ICU, except he got better and I am thankful that he is perfectly healthy.

Q: Current role model?
A: The women who seem to know exactly what they are doing, and have it all together.

Q: What causes you anxiety?
A: Money. Maternity leave does not pay well.

Q: If I could grant you one wish, what would it be?
A: To win the lottery maybe lol, would be nice to own a house I suppose. Renting is alright, but it’s not mine.

Q: What 3 things bring you joy?
A: My son, My partner, dogs and cats because they all make me happy.

Q: When was the last time you meditated/prayed?
A: When my son got sick and had to get an IV in Emerge and we spent quite a few hours in the hospital. They weren’t sure what was wrong with him, scariest thing ever is seeing this helpless little person, who depends on you completely feeling horrible and not being able to tell you what is wrong with them.

Q: Would you say your religion is central in your life?
A: No. I would say I believe in something, but I don’t necessarily believe whole heatedly in organized religion, there is a lot of politics there.

Q: Can you recall a pivotal moment when your faith/belief helped you deal with something in your life?
A: No, because more than religion I believe in myself. My own ability to assess and use my own critical thinking to sort out my life.

Q: What’s some of your favourite memories of us as kids?
A: Some of my favourite memories of us as kids would be…the one summer where you and Brianna were at our house and we went to the park with my mother, you climbed a tree, but were afraid to climb down and said you wouldn’t jump, so my mother had to climb the tree to get you down. My mom never came across as boyish to me, but she used to do that kind of thing a lot as a child. Anyway, afterwards we went to the other park and swung from the branches of the weeping willow tree. Hmm another memory would be one summer, we were playing in the pool in my backyard and your brother came to pick you up, but my mom told him to jump in the pool so we all started playing in the water with a beach ball. Oh, that reminds me of the time we were playing in the pool playing water volley ball and sent the ball over the fence into the neighbors yard and then had to run around the house in towels and some guy was staring at us mouth opened while driving thinking we were naked lol or that time we went to the round hearth in the sixth grade and went snowshoeing, for some reason one of your snow shoes came off and you sunk in the snow up to your thigh and we had to fight the snowshoe back on, that was interesting lol ugh that trip I forgot my pillow and slept on my sweater stuffed with my jeans lol.

Q: What would you like your legacy to be?
A: My legacy… I’d like it to be the happy memories my child has of me and his father, I’d like my legacy to be how my son sees the world, and how he treats others. I want my legacy to be the values we instill in our child and how he uses them when thinking of himself and others.

Q: Describe yourself in one word.
A: Random.

Q: If you could meet anyone from the past, who would it be?
A: Groucho Marx the king of timing, except for when he died…I mean no one remembers he died the same day as Elvis.

Q: What is one thing you would like to overcome/conquer?
A: The world! No…I don’t know. Maybe my clinical depression? But, it’s not one of those things that will overcome. So instead I’ll just own it, because it’s manageable. I’ve been on medication for over 10 years and I’d say for the first time in a long time I’m happy. I don’t need to overcome or conquer maybe just aim to maintain my happiness because I want to be happy, I want to be here for my son and for my partner. Life is too short not to maintain your mental health or keep your dreams in perspective.

Q: What do you see when you look in the mirror?
A: My reflection, a mother, a child, a sister, and a friend. Someone with hopes, fears and dreams.

Q: What advice would you give anyone who is struggling with embracing their uniqueness?
A: The Nike slogan…”Just do it” because there is no reason to be an automaton, in a world where you can be anything just be yourself. Life is too short to not be who you are, it’s better to be Happy, to live.

Q: You mentioned that you have managed your clinical depression for over 10 years now, what advice would you give to someone who is struggling with their mental health?
A: Well generally you don’t always know something is wrong, or if you do a huge part of it is denial, like “nothing is wrong with me” , or “I’m ok” but I would say, once you get past that and you really realize I’m not ok, like… “I’m not happy” or “I don’t feel emotions” or you feel like the world would be better off without you/ no one would miss you or you hate yourself or whatever, regardless of if you’re depressed or anxious, once you’re able to acknowledge something is wrong, that these aren’t normal feelings get help. There is no shame in talking to a doctor, there is nothing and I cannot stress this enough NOTHING wrong with taking antidepressants or anti anxiety meds, they do not change who you are, they do not mean you are crazy, because no not only crazy people need medication. There is still a lot of stigma and misunderstandings about mental health and mental health treatment. Get help for your self first. Focus on making your self feel again (and yeah I mean Feel. Feel normal, feel human, feel emotions, feel happy) and just know that it will take a long time, but it’s worth it. Well and the obvious, don’t think you feel fine and just stop taking your meds, it doesn’t work that way. Take them every single day, and talk to your doctor if you think you are ready to stop taking them. Talk to your doctor if you think you are having adverse reactions like more depression instead of less, also keep in mind it takes about 3 weeks to a month to really realize you feel a difference. After that educate not only yourself on what your mental issues are, but educate your family and friends, so that they can start to understand why maybe you aren’t happy, or about how anyone can have depression or anxiety or what ever issue you have, and that no, medication or talking to a doctor DO NOT change who you are. The best explanation I can give you on depression is like this; serotonin is the hormone that makes you happy “normal” now picture a hose on at full blast, we’ll say that is how “normal” looks so the majority of people seem fine and the hose is running it’s all good, now if you have anxiety or depression imagine a hose with a kink in it, it still has water trickling out right? (Well that is someone with depression or anxiety, the serotonin is still coming out but not enough is coming out, so taking anti anxiety pills or depression meds, just helps to balance out your hormones, and bring them up to where they need to be, i.e. helps sort out the kink(s) and puts the hose back on full blast). Weird analogy, but I hope it makes sense.

Q: How has the loss of one of your closest friend’s changed your perspective on life?
A: Well I mean there is the obvious life is short, and it brings your mortality into question, but no I wouldn’t even say that bothers me. As someone who’s been clinically depressed for a long time I’d say death doesn’t really bother me, I see it all the time in my job. We all die, and it’s not horrible, I mean when you die from illness yes it’s sad, but positive that the person is out of their pain. Losing my best friend doesn’t change my perspective on life, instead it changes my life, because losing your best friend is like losing a part of yourself. What I mean is we grew up together hung out all the time even in the summers, we shared so many memories and knew what the other was thinking or doing, and whenever we would get together to hang out, even if we hadn’t seen each other in a year or two or three, it didn’t matter. When we met up it was as if time had stood still and we could pick up our friendship right where we left off, as if we had been together only yesterday, instead of however long it had been. So it doesn’t change my perspective on life, but it changes my life because you realize this person will never walk in the door again, never laugh with me again, never get to meet my children or be there when I need someone to talk to. It goes back to my depression question above; always have someone who gets you and can talk you down, talk sense into you when you are feeling at your worst. It makes me sad knowing that when we were kids he told me how much he wanted to have a family of his own, and now he never will. So even though my perspective on life doesn’t change, my best friend dying changes my life because in some ways you end up feeling very alone. You’re obviously not, but when something happens good or bad you think about how you wish you could tell that person, and wind up talking to them in your head. 

Q: What relationship advice would you give?
A: To others? Depends on the question. But if it’s general advice…wait for the right one, you don’t have to settle. There doesn’t have to be movie fireworks or shooting stars, but a feeling inside, you’ll just know.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Be loud, be yourself and spend more time with those who matter to you.

Q: How has your life changed now that you have become a mother?
A: Well I have a tiny person to worry about now and that’s terrifying… There is no instruction booklet so I just have to jump in feet first and hope that I’m doing it right. Also I find myself watching cartoons after my son has fallen asleep lol.

Q: What is something you accomplished this year that you are most proud of?
A: Pushing out this small person I call son.

Q: What was something that was difficult for you at the beginning of the year, but is no longer difficult?
A: Watching my poor old man cat suffer…it’s not difficult now because he’s now at peace, which gives me comfort since he isn’t in pain anymore, but it is still sad that he isn’t with us.

Q: What was the most challenging thing for you this year? Or the last few years?
A: Having to make the decision to put Jack to sleep. He couldn’t walk any more, wouldn’t eat, putting him to sleep was the most humane thing I could do for him, but at the same time it’s the hardest most challenging thing because that was my little fur baby, protector of my human baby, and my best little buddy.

Q: What 3 most important things have you learned this year?
A: 1) that all males have probably peed on their own faces at some point in time
2) that it is ok to ask for help
3) that a year without your best friend is very hard.

Q: What’s your most important goal for this year?
A: To be the best version of myself.

Q: How do you plan on achieving them?
A: Hem? Meaning…my goal? It’s pretty self explanatory. Self evaluation, help from my partner when I need a shoulder to lean on/ someone to talk to. By looking at my son and just the knowledge that this little person needs me; they say that “love can move mountains” and I suppose that’s true, because I would do anything for that little boy.

Q: Of the books, you read this year, which was your favourite and why?
A: There is no time to read a book with a new born now closer to a toddler crawling around, there is hardly enough time to get a good night’s sleep.

Q: What do you love most about yourself?
A: My sarcasm or my eyes either one really. The why is because I find me hilarious, even if I have a dry sense of humour. I love my eyes because the only other person with the same eye colour as me is my son. Dark blue eyes with a gold ring inside them are not like my mother’s brown, my sister’s green or my father’s very pale blue eyes.

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