Thursday, August 30, 2012

Your Past Is Yours

As I've said a squibillion times before, the past is the past. We cannot change it. It's a done deal. All we can do is confront our wrongs and, even though it is one of the hardest things to do, we must let go. 

Every single person has a guilty filthy soul. Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh, but it's kind of true. We have blemishes on our records that can't be wiped away. Since I can't speak for all of you, I am going to speak for myself. There are a lot of things I've done that I wish I hadn't. Things like being deceitful, back stabby, angry for no reason. I've stayed with others because I was afraid of being alone. Hurt people I loved. Committed thievery. Wrecked things that weren't mine. Lied. Cheated. Broken hearts. Been vindictive and spiteful. Blamed others for my actions. Used my past as an excuse for my bad attitude in the present. And I've refused to take responsibility for myself and my own happiness. 

I can't undo those things. And so, unlike a lot of people, I've forgiven myself. But I haven't forgotten. The past is a reminder to us of where we've been and where we don't want to go again. It no longer guides me or derails me, but I see it in my face and hear it in my words. Without it, I wouldn't be the incredibly flawed and odd girl I am today. And you wouldn't be the person you are without your own past. It's been a long journey to get here, and not all of it has been bad, but for some reason we reflect on the wicked far more often than the good. Here is the simplest of truths...I am not perfect, and neither are you. I have never been perfect. I will never be perfect. In this, we are the same. 

We are human. And it is a human condition to make mistakes. In an ideal world, we would tell ourselves to do better, try harder, love more, and be nicer. Then we let go of our pasts and forgive ourselves. It isn't an ideal world, though. People allow their pasts, the good and the bad, to follow them around. They bring baggage into new relationships and grow cynical and bitter over past hurts.  

But sometimes the pasts haunting us aren't our own. 

Lately, I've been wondering over jealousy, relationships, and trust. Yes, people have a hard time confronting and accepting their own pasts, but they have an even harder time accepting other people's pasts, especially if they are emotionally invested in said person. For some reason, it is difficult for people to butt out of what isn't theirs. If I've learned anything over the last couple decades it's that humans are curious creatures. They think they want to know everything when they really don't. 

Then there are those who think they want to share everything, when they really don't have to.

Yes, you have a past. Yes, another person found you attractive. Yes, you've slept with other people. No, I don't care. Why are you telling me all this? What exactly is the motivation behind it?  

I've been in the oddest of situations where people have told me all the wonderful things their ex did for them or the sexual experiences they've had with other girls. These things aren't necessary to share and will only invoke unhealthy feelings of not being good enough or jealousy. Which might just be what the other person wants. Sometimes people want to make you jealous. They want a reaction. And I know that sounds bonkers, but my friend recently told me that it can feel good to have your girl get possessive and jealous. Of course, I just don't think that's healthy. Why on earth would you want someone you care about to feel that way?

Ego. So much comes down to ego. The desire to be wanted. To feel important. And to leave a lasting impression. 

Since we are talking about the past and ego, last week my ex-ex called. (My ex before the last ex) He'd been thinking about me for some reason. One memory in particular stood out for him. We were at the Brickyard watching Mudhoney and this blonde woman was all over him, putting her arm around him, whispering in his ear, caressing his back, giggling like a dippy doodle. I was young and foolish and hot tempered. I went over, pushed her out of the way and told her to back the eff off. To my ex, this memory is awesome and I acted in a fashion that, to him, was ego stroking. 

To me, this memory is horrible. I remember how I felt. The night was ruined for me. And the funny thing? I wasn't even all that mad at the chick, but I wanted to rip my ex's head off. It wasn't my place to push the woman away. He should have done it on his own. At least that's what I thought. It's interesting to me how he enjoyed the way I reacted while I felt put on the spot and disrespected. Strange how we all view things differently. He liked the fact that I was jealous.    

Relationships, both past and present, are tricky.    

A couple months ago, a guy I was talking to kept telling me intimate stories about his ex. Eventually, I said, "Look, I don't mind you sharing, but why are you sharing the dirty Skyping you did with your ex?" Because some things are best left unsaid. 

He told me women have always wanted to know about ex-girlfriends. I actually chuckled, because I thought it was a joke, and he said, "What's so funny?" 

*awkward silence* 

Even odder, I went on a date with this guy and he said to me, "Tell me about your ex." 

"Which one?"

"The one you're going to leave me for." 

Yes, this was a first date. No, there wasn't a second one. And can you say insecure?

I am a firm believer that people don't really want to know about their partners past girlfriends or boyfriends. They might say they want to, because curiosity gets the cat, but what it truly boils down to is whether or not the ex was more attractive, fitter, wilder in bed, funnier, or smarter. Oh, that sounds terrible, doesn't it? But it's true. In the end, people just want a little reassurance, for their lover to tell them they are better. 

Unfortunately, you can't always be better, which is why I don't ask about exes. (Just kidding.) Well, sort of. When push comes to shove, I'm not a jealous person. Not now. I have been in the past. It's hard to hear someone tell you they will never love you fully because someone else still holds a part of their heart. Fortunately, that has nothing to do with the past and everything to do with your boyfriend being a complete idiot. (I think I just over-shared.) Jealousy just doesn't look good on me. It comes from insecurities and, to be honest, I know who I am and what I bring to the table. I'm not here to play the comparison game. Mostly because I don't have the time or energy, but also because I'm one of a kind and it isn't fair to other girls. (That was totally a joke).

When we look at a partner's ex, a crush's past, a lover's seedy history we should simply shrug and say, "whatever", while still respecting it. Because even though it isn't ours it did mould the person we care about. We don't belong wading through other people's intimate moments or old hurts, but we do have to understand they exist. In the end, the only thing we have control over is now and how we move within it. I choose to go without jealousy and worry. 

With all of this said, yes, there are key notes to your partner's past you should be privy to, like if they murdered someone or once ate a ten foot long hot dog. A loose knowledge of their history is a great thing. If you aren't a jealous person, feel free to explore past relationships, but know what is their's and what is yours. Understand how they felt isn't necessarily how they feel. And if you aren't comfortable talking about it, wise up and say so. I talk about my past a lot, because I have no secrets and am a bit of a blabber mouth. That said, I'd hate for the past to ruin a future happiness and so I try to be selective with what I share. And maybe that's the key. Selectiveness.   

In the end, people can't change their pasts just like you can't change yours. I don't want anyone holding mine against me. So why would I hold someone else's against them? It'd be hypocritical. And I ain't no stinkin' hypocrite. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

For The Sake Of Sexy Times

I'm not a size two.

Or even a six, or eight.

When I jump, things jiggle. A lot of things.

Several years ago, I was born two months early and weighed a whopping four pounds five ounces. My mother said I looked like a kitten. That I could fit in her hand. That I was tiny. But something happened. I got bigger. I grew. Until one day, I looked in the mirror and I was a twelve year old butterball.

The interesting part about bad body image is that you aren't born with it. Babies don't look down at their chubby thighs and snivel about how roly-poly they are. They don't care if their thighs chafe. Likewise to looking good. Babies don't pride themselves on how well-defined their arms are, or the poutiness of their lips.

Body image, self confidence, and the lack there of, is learned. It is moulded by the interactions we have with the world around us. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are influenced by what we read, watch and listen to. If we weren't advertising wouldn't be a multi billion dollar industry and name brands would cease to exist.

Thinking back on it, I wouldn't have known I was fat if not for the names my brothers and certain kids in elementary school called me. At first, I thought they were mistaken. Surely, I wasn't fat. I mean, they must have got it wrong. Except, then I started looking at myself. The discomfort and shame started out mildly, but grew over time. When I reached high school, and the deathly period of puberty was in full swing, things changed. I was no longer slightly put off by my ratty hair, Buddha belly and weird little nose. I was obsessed with them. My flaws, or more accurately, my perceived flaws, consumed me. I became this insecure little creature who pulled herself apart every time she passed a mirror. My reflection made me flinch. And I constantly took note of the differences between myself and the other girls prancing down the halls.


That's a word people don't often use when they talk about what they look like or how they are. There is mental health and physical health. And I've been wondering how mentally healthy this world we live in is. Sometimes it feels like people are never happy with themselves. Everywhere we turn there is pressure to look better, be thinner, appear younger. But it isn't healthy. Our fixation on this ridiculous idea of what beauty is baffles me. Because this outside of ours, it's just a shell. And I am a firm believer that beauty shines through. If you're pretty on the inside it will reflect in your eyes, your smile, and the lines on your face.

Unrealistic expectations. The media and other people put them on us, but that pales in comparison to what we expect of ourselves. We are our own worst enemies. We pick and nit and agonize over the most ridiculous things. The shape of our eyes, length of our hair, curve of our smile, straightness of our teeth, and the list goes on. In the end, it doesn't matter where our insecurities and self doubt come from, or even what they are. We have to take responsibility for how they overrun our lives, how we let them rule us. More importantly, we need to ensure they don't ruin our futures.

In order for this to happen, we have to let go. Let go of what we hate about ourselves. Let go of what we find ugly. Let go of the expectations we feel the world places on us. And let go of our fear. Because it all comes down to the fear of being found ugly. Unworthy. Unwelcome. And unwanted.

So, let go. For the sake of sexy times.


There is no room for self-conciousness when you're knocking boots. There, I said it.

Back in the day, when I was a green young thing eager to get some experience and put a couple notches on my headboard, I was horribly self concious. The thought of being naked on my own was enough to freak me out. Don't even get me started on being naked with someone. Meditation and calming scents were needed. In the early years of my adventures, I had a constant monologue in my head about what the other person was seeing or thinking. Most of it revolved around my thighs. My thighs were out of control. Actually, my thighs are out of control. Not were. I mean, I haven't tamed them. They are nearly as rebellious as my arse.

Regardless, sexy times were not sexy for me. They were nerve-racking, uncomfortable, and, while I hate to admit it, unsatisfactory. Simply put, you can't enjoy the moment if you're thinking, "Does he notice the way my tummy jiggles? Is this angle flattering? Oh, God, is that what I look like? Who put that mirror there? Am I being punked? That's not me. That can't be me." Trust me. I was a mood killer.

The truth of the matter is, these days I can't be bothered to waste time and energy worrying about how jiggly my bits are. And being naked is one of my most favourite things to be. Especially with the right company. It isn't that I don't have frustrating moments of self doubt or questionable self-esteem from time-to-time. I do. But for the most part, whatever. Maybe it's because I know my heart is drop-dead gorgeous, but I've let go of my worry and fear, my crippling lack of confidence. Mostly for the sake of sexy times.

But also because I'm happy and healthy. I'm going to enjoy these moments as long as these moments are around to be enjoyed. I refuse to let my thighs stand in the way.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shark Week Redux

As you all know, I'm a people pleaser.

That was supposed to be met with sounds of agreement. Not crickets.
Okay, fine. I do what I want, especially when it comes to vlog and blog topics. But every-so-often, I am influenced, or inspired, by the people around me. The boys and girls, lovely and unlovely, smart and thick as bricks. Either way, life often delivers unto me all the tools and information needed to craft intelligent, witty and hilarious posts for you all to gobble up. (Sometimes I get hyperbolic)

Well, it was brought to my attention that my last blog topic, titled Shark Week, may have been a bit misleading. To be fair, I did say in the first sentence that it wasn't actually about sharks, which I imagine was very defeating. I mean, I know how amped up people get over sharks. They love them. We are absolutely head-over-heels in love with these amazing creatures. So, I understand the crestfallen feeling when someone looking for an article on sharks actually ends up reading an expose on female pipes and plumbing.

Sharks are way cooler than menstruation. Fact.

And that is why we are here. Again. But this time. I'm talking about sharks.


First and foremost, did you know that Discovery Channel's television program, Shark Week, originally aired on July 17, 1987. See, I didn't. I didn't have a clue that this week long extravaganza had been going on for so long. This event is held every year, normally in the summer months of July or August, and was first intended to raise awareness for sharks, as well as respect. These days it's pretty much the highlight of most people's lives. Screw having children and getting a house. Birthdays and Christmas have fallen to the wayside. Life revolves around Shark Week now. It's a phenomenon that has swept the nation. Actually, swept many nations. Did you know it is broadcast in over seventy-two countries? That's the truth. I'm not making that up.

So, what's with all the interest? Why are people so smitten with these razor toothed predators?

That's easy to answer. They are awesome.

But around these parts, I don't like to simply tell people what is awesome and have them accept it. Actually, that is what I prefer, but in the case of sharks, there are so many cool and astounding facts that I can give more information instead of just my word. So, here are ten amazing things about sharks. Are you ready?

1. Sharks don't have bones. I know, right? How weird. They are a group of fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, which is fancy speak for - they are made up of cartilage. You know what that is. The stuff your ear is made out of.

2. These beasts under the sea are fast. So don't even think about entering a race with one of them. For the most part, sharks cruise at an average speed of 8 KPH, which is about five miles, but, when feeding or attacking, the average shark can reach speeds upwards of 19 KPH, 12 miles. The fastest shark, and one of the fastest fish, is the shortfin mako shark and he can burst at speeds of 50KMP. Yep, that's 31 miles per hour. Speed demons, these guys are.

3. The teeth of a whale shark, which is actually the largest in this family, is absolutely harmless. It will actually allow divers to hitch rides on their dorsal fin. Oh, and their teeth are no bigger than a head of a match.

4. One of the most interesting facts I've learned is that some female sharks can retain the male’s sperm in their bodies for use when she is ready to reproduce, even if that does not happen until next season. Can you imagine if women could do this? Well, technically, they can. Just freeze those little guys.

5. Classically, sharks are depicted as solitary hunters, combing the oceans for food. This stereotype only applies to a select amount of the species. And the sharks are sick of it. Even the solo sharks meet for breeding or at rich hunting grounds. The ocean is just one big office water cooler. The truth is, sharks can be highly social and remain in large schools. Sometimes more than 100 scalloped hammerheads congregate together. That happens to be one dinner party I don't want an invitation for.

6. Mother sharks do not feed the embryos growing in their womb. Embryos are expected to eat the unfertilized eggs and, when those are done, each other. If human reproduction was like this there wouldn't be any more octo-moms out there.

7. Apparently, sharks can smell a single drop of blood in the ocean from up to three miles away. If that's not enough to wow you, I don't know what is. Most people I know can't even smell when they've crapped their own pants, let alone someone who crapped their pants three miles away.

8. Much like humans, female sharks are bigger and more aggressive than males. You see what I did there? I made a bit of a joke. Although with the rising climb in obesity and the hormones in our foods, I wouldn't doubt the accuracy of my joke.

9. Most interestingly, sharks have several rows of teeth. When they lose one, another takes its place. A shark can produce up to twenty thousand teeth in its lifetime. They lose a tooth every other day.

10. Some female sharks have evolved so they have an extra layer of blubber to protect them when they mate, as the males like to bite during coitus. Kinky! Is there anyway that I can claim this is why I have an extra layer of fat? Please?

There are far more cooler facts as well. I mean, we would be here all day if I truly nerded out. Sharks are simply mind-blowing underwater dwellers.

Oh, and most importantly, they aren't as scary or aggressive as people like to make them out to be. I suppose we should blame Jaws for this one. Damn you Steven Spielberg for perpetrating the angry shark persona. The truth of the matter is, more people are killed by lightning strikes or coke machines falling over than shark attacks every year. Sure, sharks are highly effective predators, streamlined for speed and equipped with hundreds of teefies to eat you with, but they don't consider humans a delicacy. Unlike humans, who target sharks for all sorts of reasons, including their fins for soup and their skin for leather. Millions of sharks die every year at the hands of humans, but only a handful of humans die every year due to sharks.

Fearing sharks is silly. We should take a page from the Melanesians and Polynesians who revere and worship them, calling them the lords of the sea. I mean, don't get me wrong. Sharks are predators and a lot of them will eat you if they are hungry and you're bleeding in their territory, or three miles away. Still, there's no need to worry about it.

Anyway, I have this video to share. It blew my mind. I hope it blows your's too! The awesomeness is about 35 seconds in:

So, there you go, love. A blog about sharks. Just for you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shark Week

This isn't about sharks. Well, not really. But there will be blood.

I don't really PMS.

Yeah, that isn't a great opening to a blog. Ugh. Whatever. Let's get this crimson show on the road.

I know men the world over, and maybe some women, will roll their eyes when I say I don't get crabby during my period. Some may even call me a liar. But I'm not lying. It just doesn't happen. I don't get cramps either. No, really. I don't.

Those women who need cold and hot compresses, a bottle of Midol and a pound of chocolate to get through their seven day sentence have my sympathy, though, because I understand what they're going through. I've had a cramp. Once or twice. It's not fun. Actually, it's the opposite of fun. It's the unfunest. Not to mention the stabbing pain in my ovary a couple days before Haemoglobin-fest begins. It's enough to drop me to one knee and send up an entreaty to God.

But I've never been laid up for days at a time, curled into the foetal position, wishing death upon my uterus.  And even without the cramps it isn't pleasant. There's bloating, breast pain, back pain and the actual joy of bleeding for a week. Oh, and that's not everything, but I don't want to get any more graphic. Mostly because I have a sensitive stomach and don't want to make myself nauseous. Even though I don't experience PMS, I understand it. In my mind, women have the right to be a bit grumpy, if not downright homicidal, because their bodies are overrun with hormones and being put through an obstacle course of ridiculousness.

Some men might think women should get used to their 'time of the month'. They should adapt. I mean, after all, we have it every month from the time we are twelve-ish to about sixty-ish. That's plenty of time to adjust. Except, it changes as we get older. Our diets, exercise, and medications all contribute to our symptoms. So, I might not PMS today, but in a year, I might give bitchy a new definition. Who knows? Regardless, it isn't a picnic.

Which makes me think about Clueless - you know, the 1995 classic film staring Alicia Silverstone. In one scene she tells her teacher that she was surfing the crimson wave and had to haul-ass to the ladies room. Up until a week ago, that was my favourite phrase to describe the act of menstruation. Still, it doesn't sum up the experience accurately. Neither does the whole Aunt Flo visiting nonsense. It isn't a visit! It's an endurance test to see how well we handle gore. To be honest, I hate most of the terms associated with this week long Plasma Party. Period, rag, redwings, red tide - Gross. But none irks me more than the phrase 'that time of the month'.

Have you ever noticed how it's usually thrown onto the table as a snide remark? Like it's a punchline. A joke for everyone to have a good chuckle over. Oh, har-dee-har-har. Suzy's bleeding from her neither region. Has been for five days. Poor girl's boobs are so tender she threw her cat across the room when he stepped on them the other night. Oh, and she needs to change her tampon but there's a line up half a mile long in the ladies washroom because it's that time of the month. So unfortunate her uniform is white.

Why is this phrase tossed about so casually?

First, it's a bit personal, don't you think? I mean, is it anyone's place to comment on whether or not a woman's uterine lining is in the process of shedding? Secondly, the remark is always made in the attempt to explain behaviour people don't like, usually bitchy comments and snide remarks. But just because someone is in a grumpy mood doesn't mean it's 'that time of the month'. It might just mean they aren't exactly impressed with life at the moment. Or how someone is acting.

And lastly,  it isn't like we want to be knee deep in the red tide. No one looks forward to it. Well, unless you've been unsafe in the sexual department or recently switched to a new birth control. Then it's all, "Good news, I'm not pregnant. Bad news, the love box is out of commission." No, I don't refer to my Vagasaurus Rex as a love box. It was just an example.

Now that I've cleared that up. Can we cut this phrase out? It's a pet peeve. And I find it hugely disrespectful. Not just to women in general, but to the miracle of bleeding from our vaginas for a week without dying.

You know, I didn't even mean to go down that route. What I wanted to say was, there are so many terms for the riding the cotton rocket. (That one is another favourite) But none of them accurately sum up what's going on mentally and physically, that is, until some genius discovered that a shark's brain looks very similar to a woman's lady bits.

Thus, in conclusion, a period will be known as Shark Week. Not only because sharks are methodical and intelligent beasts, but because there will be blood. And ruthlessness. Fingers may be lost. Personally, it makes a lot of sense to me. And the best part is it's a phrase I can say without cringing.  Here ends this week's health and body issue. Next week, we'll tackle how to properly wash yourself. Meaning I'll teach you how to rope someone into soaping you up and rinsing you off. Yep, I go above and beyond here. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

If You Go Into The Woods Today

I didn't have the greatest day yesterday. It totally took the wind out of my sails, which sucks because I've been coasting along at full mast for weeks. Wait...that doesn't sound right. I meant to say, I've been flying high, skipping through life, and giving strangers hi-fives. My face hurts from smiling. Some say it is all about balance, so I suppose it makes sense that a down period was coming.

I'm not going to blow it out of proportion. I just got some not-so-great news which left me a worrying ball of irrational thoughts about mortality and guilt over not being the world's greatest daughter. Tears were shed. Yeah, you heard me. I cried. But only when I had to tell Rae-Bots that I couldn't go down to the U.S of A for Mexican food and outlet mall shopping. I really had my heart set on chips and salsa and ravaging the Vans store. 

Because of the bad news resulting in the cancelled trip, I decided to comfort myself with food. Why? Because I'm a fat girl at heart and old habits die hard. Anyway, I opted to make sweet tea biscuits, except I accidentally used baking soda and not baking powder. Four tablespoons of baking soda does not good tea biscuits make. It was disgusting all up in my mouth. The worst part, I hoped it was just the one biscuit and ended up taking a bite of another. I might as well have licked a battery to make myself feel better.

I fully expected the bad day to extend itself into the rest of the week, as bad days sometimes do, but this morning I remembered something that has me laughing. And it isn't even five yet. Usually I only do my best grunting and blinking so early in the morning. But laughing? So, I have to share. 

This last weekend, I took a trip over to the Island. Since some of you might not know what 'the island' is. Well, I mean Vancouver Island, which is home to Victoria, and a plethora of other places. For those of you who aren't aware, Victoria is in fact the capital of British Columbia, which is the province I live. And it's a pretty amazing place. To be honest, I haven't explored the Island all that much. I mean, I've visited Victoria, and their top notch wax museum, but for the most part, up until the last month, I hadn't really explored. So, I went over to do some adventuring with a friend. 

Since he knows all the hot spots, he took me to see the sights, and one stop found us at Elk Falls. I'll say it was spectacular, simply because words never do nature justice, much like pictures never really capture how breathtaking it is. So, it was spectacular and here is a picture:  

Of course, this wasn't what had me laughing, so I'll refrain from droning on about all the trees and falls and greenery and junk and get to the story. Before we made it to the falls, we hiked this path that just so happened to be closed with an advisory that it was dangerous. Since he needed to fill his badass quota for the day, we climbed through the fence barring our way and headed out. As we picked our way along, I scanned the surrounding area and what did my eyes behold? 

A pair of underwear. Tighty whities. And they were dirty. Very dirty. 

They weren't even all that far off the path. Just laying to the side, a foot away, all soiled and lonely. 

I never understand how these things happen. It's like when you see a random shoe on the highway. How did it get there? Who's is it? And is there a foot inside? I mean, I can safely say I have never left my underwear out in nature. Even when you make a surrender flag out of them, you take it with you when you leave the woods. Underwear is expensive. Who are these people who can just discard it willy-nilly?

My friend naturally assumed someone had been out enjoying the pristine sights and soothing sounds of Mother Nature when they crapped their pants. His whole 'your outside this shouldn't have happened' comment was what first set me off this morning - just the utter bafflement in his voice. Being the classy lassy that I am, I came up with the theory that the person didn't actually crap their pants at all. They had explosive diarrhoea, squatted in the bush and, after making a mess of themselves, was forced to use their undies for clean up. 

It still doesn't explain why they discarded their underwear a foot from the path, though. Who does that? Put them in the garbage if you don't want them any more. Furthermore, who even wears tighty whities anymore? That was the most disturbing part for me. Well, and the poo streaks. 

And on our way back, when we passed the faecal garment for a second time, my friend said, "Well, I did say I was going to show you the sights." 

No matter where I go in life, when I think about that comment, I will always laugh. A perfect line at the perfect moment. The delivery priceless. And the memory has been made. Even now I can't compose myself enough to finish. 

Screw a teddy bear picnic. If you go into the woods today you're probably going to find discarded skivvies. Let's just hope they aren't dirty. Because let me tell you, that image will never, ever leave your head. You can't prepare yourself for things like this. But isn't that the beauty of life. We roll with the punches and go around the dirty underwear. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tough Stuff

Lying in bed the other night, I found myself smack dab in the middle of a conversation I wouldn't have allowed myself to have a year ago. Not because it was uber controversial or super heady. I mean, we weren't discussing religion or politics. It wasn't even about fetishes. No, it was far more nefarious than that. I was speaking from my heart. Ugh. I know. How terrifying. There were even feelings involved.

All right, I'm only teasing a bit, but some of you might be sitting there thinking, "Really? I always thought you were a pretty candid lass with an impeccable way with words which is both enthralling and informative." (Wishful thinking?) Either way, yes, I often say what is on my mind, but what's in my heart is another matter.

There are a lot of things I hold close to my heart and tamp down before they have a chance to escape from between my pretty lips. Truly speaking from my heart about matters of love, trust, companionship and feelings is, to put it bluntly, a no-no. Or, at least, it always has been. The operative word being has - that's some past tensing right there. You see, writing a blog about life and love is easy. I can remain detached from it and make is as impersonal as possible. That said, verbalizing my feelings and thoughts aloud to someone I adore is another thing. My blog is an anything goes zone, everything I write here is to be taken with a grain of salt. And most posts are random musings I put down in hopes of calming the cacophony of thoughts in my head.

In my younger more jaded and cynical years, I didn't write about my feelings. And I certainly didn't talk about them. I simply wasn't that sort of girl. Actually, I was the kind of girl whose throat closed up when things got too emotional. Not even the shallowest of breaths could escape. Emotional conversations made me contemplate heading for the hills and living a life fit for Grizzly Adams. Hermiting seemed like a rational response.

It doesn't take a genius to understand why, either. I'm perfectly aware the way I grew up, the ties that bind me, have made it hard to be vulnerable. Divulging emotions, personal thoughts, desires, and hopes and dreams makes us open targets for sharp words and careless actions of others. Because, if you didn't notice, people often react without thought. As the story goes, I have spent the last couple of decades going out of my way to avoid vulnerability. Showing tears or genuine happiness was akin to peeling the skin and bones away from my heart and exposing the raw nerves to poisonous toxins and medieval weaponry. How dramatic!

You see, I grew up wanting to be strong. Hard. Unbreakable. No one was going to get past the steel box I built around my heart. I wanted to be the Ice Queen of British Columbia. I know you'll think that's a joke and it sort of is, but mostly it isn't. Raised to believe crying was a sign of weakness, I found myself determined to swallow my sadness, choke back my disappointments, remain aloof and distance myself from the abundance of feelings battering around inside me.  For many years I had an embargo on tears. I wanted to prove I wasn't a soft little girl. I wanted to be tough. 

But being tough wasn't what I assumed it would be. My version of tough was harsh. Soul damaging. It held me back in relationships, both simple friendships and the more complex romantical ones. As I fought desperately not to let anyone hurt me, I ended up hurting myself, and quite a few others along the way. To this day I have issues about being open. It still scares me. But what scares me more is missing out on important human experiences, ones I've shrugged off in the past.    

Let me explain. 

You know how nice it is to be comforted? To have someone rub your back and hold you as tight as possible. The feeling of being safe and watched out for. For someone to whisper 'everything will be okay'. That things will work themselves out. The feeling of soft kisses on your tear-streaked face. To have someone pull the sleeve of their hoodie over their hand and palm your tears away. The warmth of a body next to you, rocking you gently, letting you sob it out. Bawling into the shoulder of a friend, lover, or sidekick. How reassuring it is to know you aren't alone, no matter how miserable you are, someone will listen and care and be adorable to you. It feels so lovely, right? 

Well, I don't really know, because I can't tell you the last time I was comforted by someone. Whenever someone tried in the past, I rebuffed it, shut them down. Simply put, I haven't a clue how to accept their consoling. When I'm submerged in an emotional moment, I feel weak and vulnerable, which in turn makes me feel silly, stupid, and shy. Even more so, I get frustrated, irritated and, as ridiculous as it sounds, I want to be ignored. Left alone. To sort and deal and let loose on my own.

You know, after re-reading that tiny little paragraph, I realize how bizarre it sounds. That's the funny part about hangups and baggage you carry through from your childhood. Much of it is unreasonable and next to impossible to work through and let go of. It's imprinted on us and we carry it around for so long, often forgetting it's at the bottom of our suitcases. And then, BAM, it makes and appearance and ruins our trip.

Lately, I've spent a lot of time letting go.

Times change. Yeah, I know Bob Dylan got to that long before I did, but it is truth. Things aren't the same as they were ten years ago. I'm not the same person. So much of what I thought to be right and true was wrong. Like, for example, life isn't a solo sport.   

We have friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives for a reason. What's the point in surrounding ourselves with people if we can't let them see who we truly are? To hide even the smallest things away feels deceitful. Which is why I'm making a conscious effort to speak from my heart. To say what I am feeling, not just what I am thinking, even if it means bearing my soul and allowing my heart to be an open target. Sure, self preservation is important but it doesn't trump affection and kisses and trust and contentment.

And to feel like you can say anything to someone and know they won't judge you or hold it against you. That they will listen and hear your words. To feel safe and trusted and in turn give trust and make the other person feel protected. Well, I imagine that to be the greatest feeling in the world.

So, while I babbled on about that which I'd normally keep to myself, I thought about all this junk. And I found myself enjoying how things can change. That is, if you let them. You can be any person you want to be if you have the drive to fix what is broken, if you have the time and energy to invest in yourself. This one little conversation was important for me. I may have not articulated myself to the degree necessary to make myself clear, but when the little voice in the back of my head told me to put a lid over my thoughts and emotions, I didn't. I kept talking. And that makes me hopeful, not only for the hear and now, but for my future self, the girl waiting up the road, just around the bend.

See, I always wanted to be tough, but only realized recently that it takes more strength to be soft, vulnerable and compassionate. True toughness isn't about being distant and cold, it's about breaking past the person you used to be and moving forward even when you are uncertain and scared. It's about keeping your mind and heart open and entertaining the possibilities life holds, enjoying the idea of what-ifs. Being tough is giving love, and not expecting anything in return.

That said, I'm pretty sure anything spoken after two in the morning falls into the safe zone and is void from comments and judgement, right? Isn't that a rule? I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere. Or maybe I just made it up.
Heart Rock

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Serious Case Of Unseriousness

The other day, I posted a quote that I absolutely adore. It's by Yakov Smirnoff. I'll share it here so you know what I'm talking about:

I believe there is a direct correlation between love and laughter. 

And I do.

The quote received some interesting replies, mostly jokes revolving around how Smirnoff is often linked to love (it's a joke because Smirnoff is also an alcoholic beverage). That said, one comment left me humming and hawing. (Just a side note, whenever I write hawing, I think of a horse braying. I myself can't bray very well, but I have been known to do an excellent whinny.) To sum it up, the person said that they love to laugh, that laughter is funny, but life isn't. 

Except, that can't possibly be true, because I find myself laughing at life every day. Even in times of true and utter heartache I've laughed. Through tears and misery, through twisted moments of sheer horribleness, I've seen humour. So, then I got to thinking, I'm I backwards? Is life serious and I just didn't get the memo? 

Now, I know I have a skewed sense of humour. I can thank my father for that. Also, I have an over active imagination. What other people might not find giggle-worthy often has me out right guffawing. (To be honest, I have no idea what a guffaw looks like. I imagine it is something Jughead would do from the Archie comics, or Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. A weird stupid noise. The only reason I am using it in this instance is because I just don't want to abuse the word laugh. No one likes repetition. Well, except for that Daft Punk song Around The World. Everyone likes that little ditty.) 

Let's just pause for a second and take it for a spin: 

I just did a rather amazing chair dance. I'd show you how I broke it down all robotic like, but I've been mocked enough since I showed my sweet, sweet moves in a vlog that featured Le Tigre's song Deceptacon

What were we talking about? Oh, right. Laughter, life and keeping things serious. 

Maybe all of this comes down to perspective. 

The other day I went out to a show at this club down town. Often when you go to shows, you get patted down and your bag searched, especially Mary Poppins type bags like mine. This occasion wasn't any different, except prior to the show I'd popped out to pick up some new underwear. Being the environmentally friendly girl that I am, I insisted I didn't need a bag for my undies, because plastic is the devil, and I just shoved them right on in my bag. Because I like to make everyone's job as easy as possible, I started rummaging through my bag, to give the bouncer-guy a decent gander at all the goods I was toting around with me. Well, in my enthusiastic shuffling, I'd accidentally dropped my underwear. On the ground. At the bouncer's feet. 

He went to pick them up. 

I practically shouted, "Oops, I dropped my undies." 

To which he replied, "This is a first." 

And I said, "Really? Happens to me all the time." 

He laughed. I laughed. Everyone surrounding us laughed. And I thought to myself that the whole situation was pretty awesome. I mean, it was unplanned and unrehearsed. And life delivers these sorts of moments every day. We all do ridiculous things, no exceptions. I embarrass myself on a regular basis. Daily, if not hourly. The key is to own it. Embrace it. And spread it around. If I can make someone laugh, then my job is done. I know a lot of people who hate being the butt end of a joke and are mortified when they are made to look foolish. So what. The truth of the matter is, I'd rather be a joke than a depressing statistic.  

Perhaps it is ingrained in us to worry over how quickly our lives are being eaten up, to fret and toil over the bad things and to keep a straight face when things fall apart. I find this most unproductive. I mean, death and bad things happen. They always have. They happen whether we laugh, take life seriously or live in a bubble of fear over being hit by the Broadway B-Line (which really does rocket) on our way to Commercial Drive. Worrying and wearing your big boy serious pants all the time won't stop the clock, though. Old Father Time and the Mister Grim Reaper are in cahoots and they are cashing in our chips, even if we haven't finished playing our cards. They don't give a damn if you have a rummy in your hands or twenty one or a straight flush or whatever. They are random dudes and aren't going to wait until we're ready.

People always say life is too short. It really is. Even with all these drugs that have allowed us to keep living, and living, and living. I mean, the average life expectancy 100 years ago in Canada was 58. Now it's 81. Can you believe that? We've managed to give ourselves 23 more years to live. Twenty-three years of diapers, walkers, false teeth, and being rude to teenagers simply because we've lived longer. Sign me up! That said.It goes by far too quickly. If this was 1912, half my life would be over already, and when I think about the last ten years I have this "where the hell did my youth go" feeling. But I can't take it seriously. 

There is no guarantee on tomorrow. Which is why I highly encourage people to laugh and act silly and play like children. Kick leaves. Blow bubbles. Eat dessert before dinner. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at others. Have fun. I mean, I'm not saying there aren't times for seriousness, but for the most part a serious case of unseriousness is in order. Because I'd rather go out laughing and light hearted than worrying and weighted down by things I cannot change. Seriously. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Walk It Off

When I was in high school, I played a little bit of rugby. Shocking, right? I know I seem like a meek and mild lady who prefers embroidery and fine china to mouth-guards and cleats, but that's simply not the case. I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to be tackled to the ground by another girl, shoved in the mud and have half a dozen angry ladies trample over you in their attempt to get the ball you're holding like a security blanket. And that's just rucking and mauling, I don't even want to get into a propping and locking. Oh dear, I reckon that's a nerdy joke only rugby players might get.

Our team had this coach who, simply put, must have been out of his freaking mind. I mean, he actually volunteered to coach the girls' team. Hanging around fifteen chicks who are going through puberty and right in the middle of the most awkward stages in their lives doesn't really seem like a good time. But, he liked rugby and coaching, and honestly, he did a pretty good job. The team wasn't all that bad. This isn't about rugby or the fond memories I have of the hair pulling and biting, and that was just travelling to the games on the bus. This is about our coach and this absolutely bonkers saying he had. Every time one of us got hurt, which pretty much happened every practice and game, he used to say, "Walk it off."

And it's funny, because today as I did a two hour trek around this gorgeous lake in the heart of Burnaby the saying just popped into my head. One moment I was thinking about this lily in the middle of the lake and how I wanted to get a picture of it and then *pop* there it was. It's so strange how you don't think about something for years and years, and then, all of a sudden, it's crystal clear in your mind and you're knee deep in old memories you'd completely forgotten about. It happened when I was camping too. Except, that memory was about super personal family junk and I won't be sharing it with you. Not that you aren't special. You are. Just not that special.

Getting back on subject, as I walked around this park/lake/lovely part of the city, I was thinking about how when you've twisted your ankle or have a dislocated shoulder 'walking it off' is a ridiculous notion. I mean, it's physically dangerous to do it. But for other emotional or mental ailments, it's actually kind of genius.

Hmmm. I fear I'm doing a crappy job of explaining this. Let me break it down for you.

About one year, three months and seventeen days ago, I was completely broken. Shattered soul. Fractured heart. Mangled morals. Lost little lamb, really. I didn't know who I was, had forgotten where I'd come from, and ended up hurting someone I never intended or wanted to hurt. Not that I'm big on hurting anyone. Or anything. Regardless, I decided to strip my life bare and start again, and I did it all for the sake of fixing myself. Like I've said a million (only slightly hyperbolic) times before, you can't be happy with others if you aren't happy with yourself.

The thing is, pulling the trigger is harder than one might think. At times in order to get happy, you have to force yourself to live on Misery Lane for awhile. From experience, Misery Lane is bleak, ugly and not exactly a place you invite friends and family around for a visit.  It's cold there. And the darkness is suffocating. There's no streetlamps or anything, which means it's hard to find your way out of the darkness and into the light. Misery Lane is where you break hearts and homes, and it's hard breaking hearts and homes. Especially when it is your own heart and home you're breaking.

That's why a lot of people stay unhappy, because they can't fathom the idea of hurting more than they are, they can't handle the pain of Misery Lane, so they remain in their broken state. And I don't blame them. Sometimes it's easier to deal with the heartache we know than face the heartache of the unknown.

But here's the thing, after one year, three months and seventeen days, roughly, I'm a different girl. Similar to the  one who existed before the last ten years happened, but also so much better. I give love without expecting it in return and I understand the importance of silly things like affection, playing, laughing and cake. Even more so, my music knowledge has at least tripled. Not to mention, I have developed an extensive vocabulary that allows me to write some pretty nifty sentences from time-to time and I absolutely slay at Scrabble. Well, if I'm not distracted and it isn't late at night and it's not too hot.

So, how the hell do these events tie together? What does my old miserable self have to do with my high school rugby days and quirky coach and how do those things tie in with my hike today?

It's all pretty simple. I walked it off.

Misery Lane, heartache, and the darkness. I walked it all off. Advice I was given years ago, came into play without me even knowing it. I never consciously set out to walk off my hurt and confusion. It just happened. But once I started walking, through parks and forests, along beaches and even short jaunts up to the grocery store, things became easier. My senses cleared. And I saw the world around me.

Walking afforded me the luxury of going slower, of opening my eyes and taking note of the world as it was and how it changed every day. Somewhere along the line I started to realize how everything on its own seemed so insignificant, even my own existence, but together it formed the earth. I saw balance. Give and take. I saw the importance of togetherness - of love and respect and hope. And I saw beauty. Everywhere. All around me.

If you asked me two years ago what the most important piece of advice about life I had was, I'd have said something jaded about not trusting anyone and how apathy and ignorance will be our downfall. But now, it's all about beauty and truth, and the only piece of advice I have is to move with love. It's strange to think how night and day I am. It's not to say I don't have cynical moments or at times lapse back into my misanthropic ways. No. Those are a part of me.

Now I see a bigger picture, though. A path. A journey I'm smack dab in the middle of. And to be very honest with you, right now, life is pretty amazing.

Oh, and I took some pictures, for those people who prefer them to words.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Safe Word Is "No"

I've been mulling over writing this blog for a couple months. Yes, months. For some reason, as much as I wanted to touch on this subject, I was hesitant to write it. Maybe I simply needed to get my thoughts in order. Or perhaps I hesitated because I don't want to come off as judgemental or preachy, because I honestly do not care what goes on in people's bedrooms. Well, as long as it doesn't involve animals, children or people who cannot speak for themselves. But I think that's a given. None of us should stand by while an innocent is exploited in that abominable fashion.

But, I digress.

I understand people like to play. In the playground, at work, at the water-park, and even in the bedroom. Playing is great. I one hundred and twenty percent support playing. And there are all different ways to play, especially in the sack, and I highly encourage people to experiment. Not only to spice things up, but in order to figure out what you like and what you don't like. It's kind of a natural thing, exploring one's sexuality.

The truth is, I don't judge other people's sexual proclivities or fantasies, even if they make my throat close up in fear when I think about them. But I worry about how people's desires can affect others. And I'm not talking about the fallout of your boyfriend wearing women's underwear or your intense desire to attend a furry convention. No, I'm talking about something far more simpler than those things.

I mean the word 'no'. And the decline of its power. 

Here's where I get personal...

Once upon a time, I was getting some heavy petting in a room half-lit with black lights and a red lava lamp. I wasn't feeling well. Simply put, I wasn't in the mood for any form of action. So, I said the magical word. No. Except, for some reason it didn't pack a punch for the guy I was with. He kept going, like the word wasn't said at all, and, rather horrifically, I found myself feeling guilty for even saying it. Why? Because when you're in a relationship, which I was with this dude, you tend to think there are things you should always do.

There are no shoulds in relationships. But we live in this world that pressures us to have sex and be sexual all the time. Like we're these sexy bots with only one goal in mind. The idea of a woman in a relationship saying 'no' to her husband or boyfriend is considered a faux pas. And the idea of a man turning sex down from a woman is unheard of. But it does happen. And if a wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't want to get down and dirty, he/she doesn't have to. They have the right to say 'no'. Except, in relationships, it's almost like that word doesn't exist.

I'd love to say the red lava lamp moment was my only instance of the word 'no' falling on deaf years. It wasn't. Since then, I've been in three other situations where my 'no' simply wasn't good enough. Or where I was told that my 'no' clearly meant 'yes'. Thankfully, I'm not as young as I once was. Luckily, I've been able to stop the situations before I'm forced to murder the other person.You see, jail really wouldn't work for me. I'm too pretty for prison.

All jokes aside, it wasn't until the most recent incident that I realized how much the mighty 'no' has fallen. Not only is it disregarded, but the excuses as to why it was are overflowing. I don't want to get into details, because most of you have probably already eaten and this really isn't a story to be told when stomachs are full. Actually, it's a story that probably shouldn't be told at all. All that needs to be known is that I removed myself from the situation, something I wouldn't have done when I was nineteen. Chances are I would have let my guilt, shame or fear be my guide and would have just toughed it out.

Here's the thing. I understand that situations can cartwheel out of control. Boys might get the wrong signal or misinterpret body language. Girls might think they want something only to realize minutes later they don't. Our likes and dislikes vary. Some of us bite, spank, pull hair, and even choke one another. Others won't participate in such activities. Everyone is different. And, just like we all enjoy different kinds of snacks, we all like different sorts of foreplay, during play and after play.

The truth of the matter is, even when we 'like' an activity it can rub us the wrong way. (No pun intended)  A subtle look, or touch can alter an entire situation. And it's surprising how fast okay can change to not-so-okay. Enter the word 'no'.

I'm a firm believer that 'no' is the equivalent to slamming on the brakes. When uttered, everything should screech to a halt. There should be a role call and the question, "Is everything okay?" should be asked. Regardless of the situation, no matter if the word is said by boy or girl, I abide by 'no', mostly because I don't want to force someone to do something they don't want to do, but also because I know what it's like to   not be heard.

The line isn't so clear for other people. Men and women alike can have fantasies that are rough, that revolve around domination and submission, or even degradation. People role play. They tie each other up and paddle arses until they're red and swollen. And, honestly, I don't have a problem with that. I'm not as vanilla as this halo may have you believe. Except, the thought of someone choking me makes my skin crawl and I really don't find anything attractive about rape, even though I recognize these are two things a lot of people fantasize over.

You see, I'm not a 'no means yes girl'. 

Which means, I don't say no when I mean yes. First, I think it's a dangerous game that sends mixed messages. How are partners supposed to know when no means yes and when it actually means no? See, it's confusing already, and we aren't even having sex. Secondly, there are other ways to play hard to get and tease. Not to mention the plethora of other words out there for us to utilize and toss about in the throes of passion. And last, but certainly not least, this 'no means yes' game makes it harder for people. Once a man or woman, has a 'no means yes' partner, they might not listen when their new partner says this small but very important word.

The last time I was in one of these horrible situations, the guy later said to me, "See, I told you we needed a safe word." I sat there for a few minutes as the awkward feeling of 'what did I do wrong' crept up on me. But then I realized, I didn't do anything wrong. And then I said, "Actually, the safe word is no."

Dan Savage once wrote that it shouldn't be a matter of 'no', but a matter of 'yes'. That we should have to hear a 'yes' before all systems go. It's an interesting idea, but 'yes' isn't always uttered. To some degree, it would take the spontaneity out of things. Middle of the night sex where you don't even talk would cease to exist. And let's be honest, that's some of the best kind. Besides, we are still afforded the luxury of changing our minds. Even if we shout yes from the rooftop, we can still revoke it and say 'no' later.

I haven't got it all figured out, because I have no idea what someone wearing a ball gag would do in these situations. All I know is that the word 'no' should be respected, by men and women alike. It's important. Not only for our general safety and well-being, but so that the lines aren't so skewed. Until further notice, the safe word is not pineapple or Farrah Fawcett. It is 'no'. Okay?


This blog is not about BDSM. For those who engage in these sorts of activities, I understand the need for a safe word. Also, I would like to stress the importance of the two (or three) people involved to communicate their thoughts and expectations before they indulge in this sort of play. With the ever-growing popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, interest in BDSM and sex contracts has been on the rise, which is a little worrisome, as I fear some of these happy, horny housewives don't fully understand what it is they are fantasizing/eager to try.

That said, people who do participate in testing the limits of pain and pleasure usually don't jump into it without thought. Regardless, they do have the right to say 'no' whether it is using that word or their safe word. Since I myself do not engage in this type of play in an extreme form, I do not need a safe word, therefore mine will always be 'no'. The title to this blog is a flippant response to something said to me. At the time we were not in a situation that warranted a safe word and so my 'no' should have been sufficient.