Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm Thankful For...

A lot of the time, we wait until something bad happens to reflect on all the good in our lives. Sometimes it takes a hard time to make us appreciative of the easy times. Every now and again, I wonder if it is ingrained in humans to focus on the negative and what they don't have, instead of the positive and what they do have. Don't get me wrong, it's easy to get caught up in the daily grind. We've all shuffled along with our heads down, eyes focused on the steps we're taking and not paying attention to who or what is around us. So many of us have this innate feeling as though we are striving for something, we have a goal, a place to get to, a destination - an end point.

The end point is a lie.

And I'm not just talking about death, though that certainly has a place in these ramblings, but the end point to all our struggles and weariness. The moment we arrive and say, "This is what all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears was for." The reality is a bit harsh, but truthfully put - tomorrow does not exist until it is today, and there is no guarantee it will even arrive.

Individually speaking, we don't know when the end point is, neither in death or in life. While it is a beautiful thing to have goals and hopes and dreams and something to aspire to be, it shouldn't rule us. It shouldn't cloud our senses and make it impossible for us to notice and enjoy what surrounds us every day. Living for the future is a silly idea. Living for the now with hope for a future makes more sense to me. Appreciating what we have, while we have it, is something I highly encourage.

Over the last year of my ever-surprising life, I've learned to be thankful for what I have. These things change, depending on mood and weather, but every single day of my life I am thankful for something. But sometimes I don't say it. And sometimes the people I appreciate don't know that I do. So, today, I am going to say it...today I am thankful for...

Being able bodied enough to get up, get dressed and get out the door.
My sister's voice.
Being able to hug my mother.
Sidekick Love.
Morning check-ins and end of day good nights.
Etnie's meow as I petted him on the way out of the house.
How close it is to October.
Oliver snuffles.
Jay's unwavering friendship.
The changing colours of the leaves.
Crispness in the air.
RebRebs patience in teaching me how to knit.
Apple cinnamon everything.
Being afforded the luxury of having food in my cupboards and a roof over my head.
Days off.
Those who read my blog and watch my vlogs.
Thrift stores.
Rae-Bots text messages.
Silly little love songs.
Teasing people.
My father's cursing.   
My fish mug.
Where I live.
The city and mountains and ocean.
Raindrops sounding on the windowpane.
The ability to bake and cook delicious things and feed the people I love.
Terrible girly movies.
Laughing until I cry.
Cute boys.
Plaid shirts.
Adorable underwear.
Words and books and reading.
Hand holding.
Sight, smell, tasting, hearing and touching.
Nautical things.
Double entendres.

These are just a few things I appreciate this morning. The list will grow as the day gets longer, as I wake up and remember all the awesomeness that surrounds me. A lot of these are constants - they are what I love and appreciate every single day of my tiny insignificant life. But over and above all of these things, I am thankful that I have the chance to be thankful today. To appreciate people and things and moments.

I am thankful I am here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Life Is Funny

Once upon a time, a cute boy was driving me down to the ferry and I thought to myself - life is funny. I even said it out loud. What seemed like a random observation really wasn't. There was this whole rampant, crazy process that led up to the thought.

And it kind of went like this...

Sitting in the passenger seat, feet tucked underneath me, I watched the sun splice through the trees and chase over the hood of the car. The dress I wore was hiked up, barely covering my bits, but it was okay because I was wearing tights and my knees were pressed together anyhow. Even though the blazing sun heated the car, the window was rolled up, because when it was down the wind was too noisy. So, it was warm. Almost too warm. Moisture threatened to break out on my upper lip.

At the nape of my neck, random curls of hair played with the damp skin, slightly annoying, but also a reminder of the nap I had earlier in the day. Alone in the park, determined to do some edits on a story, I decided taking a snooze was more important. When the Sandman beckons, I listen. I woke up sweaty, grassy and with the imprint from my glasses pressed into my face. I didn't do much, just waited for the cute boy to get off work, but as I laid out under the sun, I felt at peace. Worry-free. Light and breezy. Like what a bird feels when gliding through the sky. The moment brought on this rush of contentment. 

The joy of simply being.    

Hot and slightly sticky, hair tousled, dress too short, shoes off, grass stains on my knees, I realized I was perfectly comfortable. There, in the car, holding hands, watching the scenery pass by, I was satisfied. With life. With love. With myself. There was not a dollop of self-conciousness or fear or anxiety. Instead of simply smiling to myself, I turned to the driver, the cute boy, and offered him a smirk. He was driving, so he probably missed it, but that's okay because my mind was in the middle of this hurly-burly anyhow.  

That's when I had a flashback to the fist time I hopped into a car with a boy I'd never met. It just so happened to be the same boy. And to this day I find it curious that I completely disregarded everything I knew about Stranger Danger. Some might not think it any big deal, but you don't know how cautious I usually am. But for some reason, I threw all the hesitancy away and agreed to something I normally wouldn't. And now, if anyone ever asks me if they should take a twelve hour car ride with someone they've never met before, I'd say, "Probably not, but do it anyway." 

Even though that first car ride was awkward and ridiculous, I'd do it over just the same. In a heartbeat. There I was, in the present - sweaty and comfortable - reflecting on our first car ride together, where I was sweaty and uncomfortable. It was a different car. A different time. A different place. But we were the same people, we just hadn't found our groove yet. 

That groove, isn't it an interesting thing? It's when you reach this understanding with yourself and the other person that you can say and do as you please. Where anything goes. You may not know the person inside and out, or have the knowledge or love that comes with a decade long friendship, but you hit a stride that is easy and non-restrictive. That moment is very cool. When everything falls away and you're able to simply exist. To be.  

The last couple months ticker taped through my head. A parade of moments. Words. Emotions. Wonder. Awe. Excitement. Uncertainty. And laughter. As the memories marched by, I thought about how things had changed, but how life had somehow remained the same. I was still me, with the same job and home. Same friends. But everything was still different.   

And it's crazy how some people can fit into your life so quickly. How they can be a stranger one moment and in the next be someone you can't imagine not knowing. As the car sped down the Island Highway, I thought about all this and how life is funny. I even said it out loud. And he may have agreed and asked why I said it, but I couldn't very well explain my train of thoughts. I mean, could you imagine? He'd think me nuts. Or nuttier. So, I simply said, "It just is funny."  

All I know is, life is funny. It is surprising. And adaptable. It shifts and moves. Changes without us realizing it. Without us giving it permission. It's riddled with choices and options. And sometimes you do something, completely out of your character, and you end up somewhere you never thought you'd be. The possibilities are endless and, just when you think you have it figured out, another mystery is revealed. A new journey starts. 

In the moment, all hot and sweaty and a bit heavy hearted over going back to the mainland, I was genuinely happy. It was the kind of happiness that creeps up, wraps itself around you and squeezes until you take notice. It's a sneaky bugger, really. You don't realize it's there until you catch a glimpse of your reflection in a mirror and see you're smiling for no reason. Or when you sigh and there's nothing behind it but the incredible feeling of being at ease. And all you can do is think to yourself, life is funny. 

And strange. So very strange. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What's Going On?

Last week, What's Up by 4 Non Blondes came on my MP3 as I was driving home. As I let out my rather pitiful rendition of the song, I thought, What is going on? No, seriously. I glanced over to the car next to me and saw a couple in a full throttle fight, like screaming match. The only reason I couldn't hear them was because I was too busy sing-shouting, "And I scream at the top of my lungs WHAT'S GOING ON?"

Hindsight, this kind of seemed like an appropriate time and place for the song. Needless to say, I was tempted to roll down my window and actually shout at them. Driving is not the time or place to have an argument. For one, it's dangerous. As you all very well know, I am all about being a badass, but I prefer not taking my own life or anyone else's while participating in badassery. 

The thing is, I've had these moments before, but none quite so face slappy. On a daily basis, I look at the world and think, what the bleeping bleep?! (Those are swears of the eff variety.) Once upon a time, it wasn't so bad. People's anger and hurt and pain and grief didn't used to run me over. This was a long time ago - you know, before Facebook - but now, everyday, I see all this discontentment and rage.  

There isn't much to do but inhale and exhale. And try to show a little love. 

But sometimes...well, sometimes it's hard. 

Sometimes people are so unloveable. They are pissed off at everyone and their mother. They are dirty (and not in the good way), but filthy and piggish. Argumentative. Sad. Depressing. Ignorant. Judgemental. Determined to ruin other people's days. Stubborn. Hostile. Passive aggressive. Deceitful.  

Even more so, people are distracted. 

I've been there. Obsessed with belongings and acquiring, trying to figure out the things that will make me happy. A new camera, a fancy laptop, a house, a boat, a vintage car, trips all over the world. But all along I knew happiness came from within. It was never in possessions. My sadness was directly linked to not liking who I was and what I was doing.     

More so than anything else, our own actions hold us back. It isn't anyone else's fault. Responsibility isn't such a fickle creature. If you need distractions to keep you away from your own company then maybe it's time to take a serious look at what it is your doing. Who you are as a person. And what exactly you're putting into the world.  

Two weekends ago, I found myself out to lunch with a few people, one of them a good friend. Now, I love my friend. He's funny, gentle, silly and essentially, at the core of him, a wonderful person. It's why I was there. To see him, to spend time with him. But there I was, watching the conversation go around the table, listening to the stories they had to tell, completely detached from the whole situation. I was simply watching. And underneath the ill-thought-out jokes and barbed comments about other people, I heard pain and anger and confusion. I heard sadness. 

Except, none of them were to blame. The divorces, annoyance with their ex-girlfriends, the horrible girls they met on on-line dating sites, lack of money, troubles with their bosses, anger with their co-workers, irritation with their friends. None of it was their fault. None of them had done anything wrong. It was everyone else. And I thought, what's going on?

Ever since I was a little girl I've felt like I don't belong here. Like I've done this before. A hundred times. And doing it again just seems silly. Repetitive. Similar to Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, except different because I don't actually remember the other moments I woke up. There's just this unrelenting feeling - I've been here before. 

Like I'm a spectator. 

There have always been these moments, like the one above, where I'm out with a group of people and I find myself floating outside the experience. Not living it. Only watching it. And I'm listening to the conversation, seeing the horsing around, the laughter, people enjoying the moment...and there I am, taking it all in, and witnessing a different situation all together. I see people who are completely un-self-aware, ones who are terrified of being alone, desperate to get bigger and better belongings in the hopes they will be happier. People who are determined not to take responsibility for their own unhappiness and so eager to distract themselves away from who they are and what they are doing. 

I know it seems like I am exaggerating. You might be thinking there can't possibly be that many unhappy people in this crazy world. But there are. Every single day millions of people's Facebook statuses confirm it. And then there are the news articles, phone calls, cynical comments, blogs and vlogs and interactions with other people that send the message viral. On top of that, more and more people are being diagnosed with depression and are on Prozac or Lexapro. It's beginning to look like most people aren't happy. 

And these people that aren't happy want someone to fix them. Anyone. They want to be handed a cheque, a house, a new car - and they think it will change their lives. But quick fixes do not exist. And self reflection is hard. 

To see the person we show the world is one of the most difficult things to do, especially when it is so far off from the person we want to be. It's hard to take a step back and realize you aren't the vivacious, engaging, hilarious creature you once thought you were. To assess your life and take note of all the hurt you've caused, not only to others, but to yourself, is time consuming and heartbreaking.  

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." 

Every day we make a decision. We wake up and decide who we are going to be. If we don't like the person we've been - whether it is a liar, cheater, misery spreader, negative Nancy, smoker, ball of anger - we must decide to change. That's the first step. Deciding. Once we decide to better ourselves, then we can actually start the processes. It might be long. It might be tedious. But it is so worth it. 

Yesterday is done, but who are you going to be today, or tomorrow? A cheater is a cheater until they decide to be faithful. A liar is a liar until they decide to be honest. And a misery spreader is only a misery spreader until they decide to shine some light on other people. Then they can move on to step two. Execution.  

It's not easy. Heck, most things in life worth doing rarely are. But it is within our power to be the people we want to be. Our happiness, health, peace of mind, lightness of heart, are all things we are in control of. They are ours to keep and change. Not anyone else's. And we need to take responsibility for ourselves and say, "Yeah, I'm not happy, but I'm going to be...here's my plan."  

There is a bright side to all this unhappiness and that is...

People are generally good. I honestly believe that. Despite the cheating, lying, and stubbornness, at the core of their being, humans are good. They want to do good. They want to help. The problem is, they feel they need a chance to shine, which unfortunately usually comes out only when a tragedy hits. What people don't realize is that there is a chance to shine every single day. Every time you get up. Every time you see someone. Hell, every time you update your Facebook status or comment on someone else's.

Drop the anger and hate. Stop complaining. 

Spread some love.

Do it for yourself. And so I can stop asking, what's going on?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Insecure Love And The Size Of My Thighs

Often when I'm out in public, I listen in on other people's conversations. Some might think this is rude, but I like to look at it more as human studies and not sticking my nose where it doesn't belong. For the most part, I listen to arguments, low whispers, loud laughter, and anything if one of the people has a French moustache. Don't ask me why. These are the rules. I simply obey them.

Yesterday, I was on the ferry making my way back home after a lovely trip over to Vancouver Island and I noticed the two girls in front of me leaning in real close and talking all serious. So, like any naturally curious and slightly ill-mannered person, I turned the volume down on my music and tuned my ears to their conversation.

Let me take a moment to say, these girls were young and pretty. Young like mid-twenties and pretty like what Hollywood tells us pretty is. I myself probably wouldn't date them. They wore too much make-up for my o'natural liking, seemed too high maintenance (as we all know I like my gals to get dirty from time-to-time) and neither of them had the curves I covet in my girls. That said, they were pretty.

Their conversation, on the other hand, wasn't.

With all the hush-hushy-hushness that was going on, I honestly thought I was going to hear about how one of them was pregnant or had mounted their ex against their better judgement. But no, what I heard was a laundry list of insecurities. And the most baffling thing said was uttered by the slender blonde girl in the yoga pants.

"I just know he'd love me more if my thighs were smaller."

I simply sat there staring at her, mouth agape, in shock as she went on talking about how her boyfriend said he loved her, but that he's holding himself back and she knows it has something to do with her weight and the way she looks. And, much to my horror, her friend simply nodded and replied, "Guys are such visual creatures, looks are sooooo important."

I audibly groaned at this point and had to disguise it as a cough. Dudes the world over took a blow and these girls didn't even bat an eye. Gross generalization...you betcha!

Yes, we've heard it a hundred times before, men like to see things. They are turned on and engaged by sights, colours, and shapes, while women are more emotional and rely on feelings and mood to get ye olde engine revving. But the whole visual thing isn't linked to perfection. Sure, men like to see boobs, but they don't have to be perfect boobs. Yes, they like pretty girls, but they don't have to be models off a runway, or super, sultry sex kittens. Each and every man is different. (Surprise) And what is visually stimulating to one dude might not be visually stimulating for another. Think of it like art. Some people are all about abstract art, they understand it and the skill required to craft it. While others think Jackson Pollock's work is a mess on canvas and prefer the more classical portraits from the Renaissance era. Then there are those of us who love Man Ray.

This makes me sound like an expert on men. And I am. Clearly. (Sarcasm font)

After slouching down in my seat, and staring at these two befuddling creatures, I had a very bizarre thought. If love is directly linked to the size of one's thighs, I'm in a world of trouble. Mostly because I am packing enough heat in my thighs to put the Mafia to shame, but also because this would render my whole idea of love obsolete! There goes my assumption someone would love me if I was kind, giving, affectionate, attentive, pretty-ish, smart and funny. Crap. It's all about my thighs!

All jokes aside, yeah, I know physical attraction plays a role in the whole love equation, but I never thought it was reliant upon it. Isn't that part of the lusty game? Well, I wouldn't know. I've never played the lusty game. Meaning, I've never 'hooked up' or been in a relationship that was driven only by physical attraction.

Firstly, I'm not that type of girl. When I look at someone, I can see what's attractive about them, but if their personality is that of a wet mop I'm not letting them punch my dance card, so to speak. Sense of humour and general wittiness is far more important than perfectly quaffed hair or six pack abs, neither of which are high on my list of ideal mate traits. The thing is, after knocking boots, I want to be with someone I can chat with, or someone I can actually laugh and make jokes with while having a romp. Mental stimulation and giggles for the win.

Secondly, I'm not the girl people lust after and can't keep their hands off of. This has nothing to do with my self-esteem or me not having confidence. It has everything to do with me being an awkward, cheeky, sarcastic tomboy. Trust me, sexy is not my middle name. There is nothing more hilarious than the thought of me in some skimpy lingerie. My body is not bodacious. And while I think I am cute as a button, I know I'm not sun-kissed, hairless, svelte or drool worthy. Tongues do not fall out of mouths when I enter a room. There usually is some pointing and a bit of hiding, though.

But don't get all down about it. What I lack in lustiness, I make up for with heart and enthusiasm. No one loves like I do. It's one of a kind. Original. Cannot be duplicated. And isn't directly linked to thigh size. Not that boys every have sizeable thighs. Ever notice that? Except for dancers, they have some serious quadriceps.

The thing is, Little Miss Yoga Pants' thighs were half the size of mine, and yet her insecurities blew me out of the water. She went on about herself in this negative fashion for close to an hour, making sure to tie all her faults in with how much her boyfriend loved her. Boobs - not big enough. Hair- not long enough. Ass - too jiggly. Eyes - a boring brown colour. The list was long and ridiculous. As she aired her self-doubts for her friend, myself, and the two other people sitting near us, I realized that if she changed everything she disliked about herself, she would be a completely different girl altogether. Somehow I doubt that's what her boyfriend wants. But what do I know?

Halfway through the conversation, I had to fight the urge to lean over and ask, "Is there anything you like about yourself?" And by the end of it, I was floored by her perception of herself.

We all have insecurities, things we don't like that we want to change. It's a human quality. And wanting to improve isn't a bad thing. It's when we fixated and obsess over our perceived flaws that the situation goes awry. For some reason, we love to overlook the good traits we possess. Probably because we are striving to be someone we aren't, something we see on television or in magazines.

Simply put, constantly picking ourselves apart is crappy advertising. Some people say, there's no such thing as bad publicity, but I disagree. When you advertise the wrong things, then the wrong types of people will be attracted to you. Even worse, if you're constantly talking about your flaws, your fat arse and bad skin, then that's what people will begin to see. Talk about bad self promotion.

Think of it like work. If your manager only comes to you when you've done something wrong or wants to talk to you about areas you need to do better in, then you start to question the job your doing. If you never hear good feedback you'll assume you aren't doing a good job. It's why they invented this thing called constructive criticism. So, apply the same logic to your relationships, most specifically the one you have with yourself. If all you talk about is what's wrong with you, other people will start to believe it, and so will you. As you concentrate on your imperfections, your assets and strong points fall to the wayside. You forget them.

This girl on the ferry, I'm positive she had good qualities, but it was hard to see them through her insecure psycho-babble. And isn't that the kicker. It is so unattractive to see and hear someone constantly beating themselves up. Oh, don't get me wrong. I have yet to master the high self-esteem, happy with everything even my cellulite and stretch marks, got no chains on me attitude. Some days it's hard not being the prettiest girl at the party. Heck, some days it's hard not even being in the top ten. But if I can't be the prettiest, skinniest, sexiest or loveliest, then by God, I'm going to be the funniest. Or at the very least, the one who makes the weirdest noises.

Our self-doubts and areas of improvement aren't just going to go away, but it's time we all made a concious effort to focus on the good. So do me a favour, go forth and exercise some constructive self-criticism. Whenever you say something negative about yourself, make a point to say two positive things.

And for the love of everything big and small, love does not get stronger the smaller your thighs get. Or waist. Or ass. If it did, celebrity couples would last forever and ever.

Love only gets stronger through time. Trust. Patience. Intense kissing. And cake sharing.

Well, that's what I think, at least.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oh Boy!

Today, I'm going to the island.

I'm stoked.

Beyond stoked, really.

It isn't just because this week kicked my arse and the island is lovely and calming.


I get to see cute boys.

And get some kisses. ♥

There might even be cake.

Oh Boy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Issue At Hand

Lately, I've been concerned about something pretty serious. My hands.

You see, I love my hands. I do. They aren't the prettiest. To be honest, they are a bit on the small side, and I don't have long elegant fingers. Hand modelling certainly isn't an option for me. I have poor cuticles and raggedy nails. Sure, they are soft as soft can be, but that's not enough to appeal to all those people out there who have hand fetishes. 

Actually, is that even a thing? I mean, I know people have foot fetishes (though I don't understand them in the least), but are there people out there who go gaga for pinkie fingers and a plump palm? I'm guessing it is an actual fetish. Clearly, I'm not worldly enough to know for sure. There seems to be a fetish for everything these days, including water bottles and, believe it or not, theme music from retro television programs. I don't know about you, but the Dukes of Hazzard song really gets my motor going.

I digress. 

We were talking about the much more interesting subject of my hands. Even though they aren't perfect or even beautiful, I love them. They can type over 100 words a minute. Hard to believe, right? I mean, that's a lot of of pounding of the keyboard. You can't even see my fingers, that's how fast they are moving. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. I don't have Flash Gordon hands. But they always deliver what I need of them, which is most excellent because I like to write. It's true. I write a lot. Books, blogs, short stories, flash fiction, and even a terrible poem here and there. Not only do I love to write, but some people even think I am pretty good at it. 

Which is wonderful, right? 

Well, yeah. It is. Except, I have a job where I use the computer all day long. In an average day, I can send upwards of fifty emails. That's a lot of freakin' emails. And I am constantly tap-tap-tapping away at my desk. This is posing to be a bit of a problem. 

You see, my hands hurt. A lot. They ache all the time. There is a dull throbbing nestled into the joints that never goes away. Some days are worse than others. But Saturday, for example, I honestly couldn't do much of anything with them. Just sitting in front of my lappy made them scream. The pain has been going on for awhile, a year or so now, but these days it's really bad. My writing has slowed to a trickle. In an effort to distract myself, I have turned to editing, but I'm a creative creature. I need to create in order to concentrate. So, the editing isn't going all that well either. 

The pain and lack of writing is an issue. A big issue. If I don't write, I get complacent, bored, sad. If I'm not creating, I don't have a purpose. There is no outlet to the thoughts streaming through my head. I get derailed. And the longer I go without the word weaving I so enjoy the more doubt I have over what I am doing. I hate doubting something I love so much. Questioning it, sure. Knowing I have a crap-ton of room for improvement, that's healthy. But doubting it? It's counter-productive and utterly defeating. 

The worst part is I only have two options...Get a new job or stop writing. Jobs aren't as readily available as they once were. And I need to pay my mortgage. Where does that leave me? And even if I get a new job, there isn't any guarantee that the pain will ease. I worry about what it's going to be like in thirty more years. Will I even be able to write at all? If not, who the heck is going to type out my stories as I dictate them? 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Actions Vs Words

I thought I'd end this week of disenchantment over relationships and love with a bang. Or, more accurately, with a blog. I've already written two this week, what's one more? They say it's therapeutic to talk about what keeps us up at night. Who 'they' are is a mystery to me, but I've been kept up a fair amount this last week. Literally. I've had very little sleep. Actually, blogging might not be the best idea, and I fear this is going to be a long one, but here we go...

First, I want to reiterate to you all that I love love. I honestly do think it is the only way forward. People need to love themselves before they attempt to love someone else. That said, this week it has been a struggle to embrace love, to show it to those who are angry and bitter. I've been weighted down by a heavy heart and have been fighting the urge to hermit myself away.

Second, let me make it clear that I'm not disenchanted with my relationship. On the contrary, it's lovely and budding and, if given the right  amount of water, food and affection, it might actually grow into something quite phenomenal. Unfortunately, I know not what the future holds and I've misplaced the keys to the DeLorean. But a bit of mystery is part of the fun, isn't it?   

Let me preface this all by saying, I'm not good with words. Well, that's a lie. What I mean is, I am not good with THOSE words. The 'I love you' words that people put so much stock into. These simple eight letters are completely blown out of proportion, like there is supposed to be this big pivotal moment when they are said with fireworks, confetti, a brass band and a stadium of applause. And cake. There should always be cake when the words 'I love you' are spoken. (I may have thrown that last part in for my own enjoyment)

Talk about expectations. Ridiculous expectations! At the end of the day, they are only words, but that doesn't mean they aren't important to people. I mean, I cannot tell you how many times girls have ranted over the words NOT being spoken and gushed when they HAVE been said. For a lot of people, they are the big reveal. The moment when a relationship goes from casual tomfoolery to a serious romance. These words change things. At least, that's what I hear. 

I myself think a bit differently about 'I love you'. 

Once upon a time, a man told me he loved me and I replied, "No you don't. You just think you do." Yes, looking back on it, this was a terrible response. In the moment, I didn't think he did. It was only a couple weeks into the relationship and we really didn't know each other. Of course, he could have very well loved me, but even now I doubt it. My response was knee-jerk, and it came from a girl who honestly doubted whether anyone could ever love her. The woman (I use that term loosely) I am today knows you can love someone the instant you see them. You can love someone simply because they are human and you want them to be happy and healthy. I love a crap-ton of people. Some I have known for two days. Some I have known for years. 

This isn't the type of love people think of when these words are uttered. They think of Hollywood romance with flowers, chocolates, grand sweeping gestures and knocking boots all night long. But this just seems contrived and unnatural to me. Not realistic at all. But, people think when you say you 'love' someone, then you are IN love with them. It's not a causal love you have for all creatures big and small. No, it's big, bold and beautiful. It's heart stopping and knee knocking. At least, that's what the movies say. 

Except, love isn't black and white like most people think. There is a lot of grey area.  But the words, when uttered, are cut and dry. They are a commitment. They are serious and not to be taken lightly.  

So, what happens when you don't say them? How will someone understand you are committed? Will they know you care about them? Can they possibly understand how deep your affection runs? 

I'm not sure. I like to think my actions speak louder than my words, or lack thereof. (Oh, look! A tie in to what the blog is actually about.) Alright, I may not say "I love you" a lot- at least not during daylight hours when the other person is awake - but I do try to show them that I am theirs and theirs alone. In my mind, if they feel important, that they have my undivided attention, then I don't have to vocally tell them I love them because I am doing it in little ways. Truthfully, I don't know why I shy away from the words. For fear of looking foolish, perhaps. And not because I fear they won't be reciprocated. No, I believe if someone doesn't love me then they wouldn't be running around making a scene with me. Maybe I refrain from saying them because I like to keep things fun and easy. I love you always seems to bring such drama and an intensity I don't know what to do with. Now, now, don't get me wrong, I'll say the words, but I do believe how I treat someone is just as important. If not more. 

My idea of love, of being in love, is different. It's something natural, easy and fulfilling. I explained it in a vlog I did about wanting a sidekick. How there are boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, but then there are partners, teammates, people who support, love, cherish and do everything in their power to ensure their other half is happy.     

The thing is, I know that other people's ideas of love (romantical love) don't exactly match my own. It is, to say the least, very disheartening how flippant and meh people are about it.  

And now, for an example. 

A friend of a friend recently told his girlfriend that he loved her. It was a big deal. The guys razzed him. The girls swooned. And even though him and his girl live a couple provinces away, they were going to make it work because they were in love. Cue the audience saying 'awwww'. Well, a couple weeks ago he signed up for this on-line dating website and started going out with other girls, unbeknownst to his long-distance girlfriend. After dating (and shacking up with) some random girls, he 'realized' how great his girlfriend was and decided to give up the extracurricular coitus. Today I learned these two are talking about moving in together. 

This whole scenario left me in the worst mood. Not only because he was being dishonest and cheating on her, but because everyone made such a big deal of him telling the girl he loved her. And then, to top everything off, he told my friend that the only reason he did it was because saying the words freaked him out and made everything too serious. Ummmm. What? He said it of his own accord. I don't remember the girl holding a gun to his head and demanding he say the three little words. As far as I know, there wasn't a cattle prod, handcuffs and the threat of death involved. 

That's the thing. You can say whatever words you want, but how you act matters. Hence, the title of this blog. Actions can render words obsolete. So, yes, they do speak louder. Telling someone you love them and then proceeding to cheat on them with a wide variety of local mares is not only contradictory, but a sleezeball move.  Stories like these make me wonder how many other people are double crossing the ones they quote-unquote love. The answer is probably more defeating than I realize. And it is a brand of 'love' that I want absolutely nothing to do with. Because it isn't love at all. 

Another example? A couple of weeks ago a man made a pass at me. I told him I wasn't interested. Then I realized, he was married. He didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with this. And so, I recoil from the words, from marriage, from all these important things that are supposed to signify to our lovers, and everyone around us, that we are spoken for. That we are taken. 

I hope I'm not the only romantic. That there are other people who believe being in love with someone means there is respect, trust, faithfulness and, above everything else, honesty. Tonight, I choose to believe that not everyone in a relationship is just waiting for something better to come along. That some of them are happy and have no intention of wronging the one person they are supposed to do right by. 

This all seems so complex. But don't we make it that way ourselves? People put so much pressure on these words. They make them out to be this big deal. The simple truth is, if I feel loved, and the other person is acting like they love me, then the words do not matter. So, the verdict is in.

Actions rule.

But the words are still nice. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Signalling Your Intentions

As I was driving to work this morning, a zippy, flashy Mustang cut in front of me and forced me to slam on my brakes in order to not slam into the back of his 'look-at-me' car. Though it shames me to admit it, I did a very accurate impression of a pissed off sailor and contemplated flipping him the bird when I sailed past a couple minutes later. Okay, so I restrained myself. That time. But when he cut me off near the Gaglardi exit, I switched lanes, sped up, and gave him the middle finger.

For a moment, I was satisfied, then I just felt silly. I mean, I have such small hands. No one takes my middle finger seriously. It's sad and pathetic, not intimidating. Still, the size of my finger doesn't discount the emotion behind the gesture. I was angry. Not because he wanted to get in front of me. No, I love to let people in. But he didn't use his bloody blinker!

We have turn signals for a reason. To let the people around us know what the hell we are about to do. Otherwise it's just madness on the roads. Could you imagine if no one used their flashers? It would be utter mayhem. Which makes me wonder why people think they don't need to signal their intentions. After all, it helps keep us all safe, prevents car accidents, and, last time I checked, is the law. I can't imagine these buffoons want people to rear-end them, but what do I know? Maybe there is an elite squadron of morons who enjoy being rammed from behind. (Oh, don't be dirty. You know what I mean)

By this healthy little rant, you can probably guess that I'm an advocate of the turn signal. I like it. And I use mine. I lead by example. Not only do I use my blinker, but I even use it when there is no one else on the road. That's how dedicated I am. Some people rarely use their signal, and when they do it's always at the last second. You need to give ample warning, so the drivers around you have time to react. One blink does not a proper merge make.

Yes, I understand there are a lot of people out there who don't pay attention to your flashing light or who speed up when they see it, but that doesn't mean you need to act like an idiot too. Try not to stoop. It isn't like using your blinker is hard. It's right there, near your left hand, hanging out. If you can turn a light switch on, you can use your turn signal. There really is no excuse not to use it, other than being an ignorant, self-centred, fool who thinks the world is looking out for you and your haphazard ways.

After the Mustang got off at Kensington, I took a couple calming breaths and started thinking about our own personal blinkers. No, not the ones on our cars. The ones on us. Our words.

Now, I imagine some of you are like, what the heck is this crazy lady talking about?

It's actually very simple.

Every day of our lives, we cruise along, lost in our own worlds, surrounded by other people. We drive our vehicles, our bodies, from place to place, and while our main concern is our own safety and getting to our destinations, we need to understand that our actions directly influence the other people travelling with us. And our travelling companions are more vast than we might realize.

Friends. Family. Lovers. Co-Workers. People standing in line at Starbucks waiting to order their Latte Frappie Crappo. Whether it is for a couple minutes, a week, two months, or lifelong, they are riding with us. And it is our responsibility to ensure that they are aware of our intentions. So, we have to use our signals. In this rather genius metaphor, our turn signals, what lets the people we interact with on a daily basis know what we are up to, are our words. Yep, words. They are our flashes, blinkers, turn signals. They let other people know whether we are going to change their travel plans.

Whether we are talking to our parents, telling them we aren't going to home for the holidays; a friend, letting them know we're upset over something they said; our sidekicks, notifying them of our deepest affections; or the person in line at Starbucks waiting on their Latte Frappie Crappo, telling them your order is kind of big and that you're going to take a few seconds. We are signalling our intentions. We are keeping them in the know and not blind siding them by our actions.

Our words act as a type of safety feature. Sure, they can be counter productive, much like when someone forgets to turn their blinker off, or has a burnt out tail light. But we have them for a reason. And I cannot stress the importance of letting people know our intentions. Use those blinkers, flashers and hand signals. Use your words. Talk it out. Be considerate.

You know, I thought this was a pretty clever observation at four thirty in the morning on a Thursday. Now, I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Behavioural Glitches

It's irritating when you're perfectly aware of your behavioural glitches. That sounds so robotic. At first, I called them flaws, but that seemed so harsh. I changed it to 'issues', except that can encompass so many things and I wasn't sure you, the reader, would understand what I was getting at. So, I adjusted the sentence to read defects, only to erase it because I didn't think it was PC enough. And here we are with behavioural glitches.

Even more frustrating, to the point of pulling your hair out, is when you have no idea how to work past your behavioural glitches. Some might simply embrace them, shrug their shoulders and say, "This is who I am, deal with it." I can't do that. Partly because some of my behavioural glitches work against me by preventing me from being happy. This doesn't fly for me. Since, I don't want to walk around unhappy and let the past derail my future, I've decided to dedicate time to confronting my...flaws. My issues. My deep-rooted emotional crap.

Today I am talking about one of my most aggravating behavioural glitches - owning other people's emotions and problems. This is a pretty big subject for me. You better get comfortable. We might be here for awhile.

We are all influenced by other people.

No, I'm not saying we are copycats or clones. Rest assured, you're a vibrant little piper and you drum along to your own unique beat. That said, you're still subjected to people every single day and, whether you like it or not, they influence you. Sure, the degree in which they influence you varies, but they still have a morsel of power over your life. Whether it is your taste in music, clothes, movies, or food, people guide, shape and mould you. Oh, they also have the ability to inspire and discourage you. Push you forward or hold you back.

Interestingly enough,people don't spend a lot of time thinking about how they influence others. Strangers. Friends. Lovers. Parents. Siblings. We interact with them and they interact with us. Whether we are bit players or have starring roles, we hold a place in each others lives. Even if we only have a cameo in the second act, our actions and words could change the entire show! That thought freaks me out. Yeah, I'd love to change someone's day for the better, to inspire them, encourage them, be some sort of awesome ray of unbeatable sunshine blazing down on their dark day and warming them from the outside in, but that's not possible to do every day. Sometimes I'm a nasty, sharp-tongued, frustrated bitch, and I'd hate to think about what sort of influence I am on those days.

For the most part, I watch what I say and do. Not only because I'd hate to negatively affect someone, but because I've only recently started learning how to communicate properly. Ever since I was a child, I was under the impression my feelings and thoughts came second. Those sharing circles in school never got anything out of me. These days I understand the importance of talking to people. Not at them. And listening. Not just hearing. But actually listening and understanding.

When it comes to other people, I'm a bit of a tough nut. Flippant comments from strangers or a co-workers bad mood don't affect me. I can shrug those things off without a second thought. But when it comes to people I care about, the ones I adore, respect and want to be happy, I am highly influenced. Most notably by their moods. Granted, if anyone spends all day with a sour-puss they are bound to feel a little angsty, but I am talking on a grander scale. I own other people's emotions and it is one of my most frustrating behavioural glitches.

Let me preface this by saying, it is irrational and utterly ridiculous, but I feel guilty when someone I care about is upset and frustrated. I'm not talking about simply being empathetic or sympathetic. I'm talking about me internally reverting back to the meek child I once was, tip-toeing around the person in question and trying desperately to fix whatever is wrong. Yes, it's messed up, but I take it personally when someone I love is complaining, in pain or agitated.

All I want to do is fix whatever is wrong. Except, a lot of the time, it can't be fix. Certainly not by me. And often the person doesn't even want me to fix it. They want me to sit there and listen and offer a consoling head nod or back pat. Unfortunately, I lack the necessary skills to identify what is my fault and what isn't. Sounds bonkers, right? Well, it is. What's even worse is that I know it's my behavioural glitch, but have no idea how to change it.

It doesn't even matter what the issue is. From the big to the small, I get myself worked up over other people's problems. It can be as simple as the dog misbehaving, a stranger saying a barbed comment or them sleeping wrong and having a kink in their neck. Essentially, these things are out of my control, yet I feel responsible for them. And when it comes to the big things, the deaths and family turmoil and financial issues, well, they are still out of my control and unfixable.

How do I reach a place where I don't feel at fault? Even when I know in my heart that it isn't me there is still an inkling of doubt, like I am inadvertently and unknowingly contributing to the problem. Like just my presence is enough to make the situation worse. All I want is to be loving and give the person the support and affection they need when they are upset. In the past, I used to shut down and withdraw, grow quiet and sometimes even get angry. That isn't fair though. People have the right to express their emotions. They are not responsible for my behavioural glitch. And even if I tell them this is something I do, I cannot expect them to stop complaining or sharing their problems for the sake of keeping me at peace. People need to vent. The last thing I want is someone I care about tiptoeing around me, not sharing and bottling up their own emotions. I am responsible for my reactions. I control that. But I'm not doing a very good job.

Last night, I was text battling my sister about this very issue and in an oh-so-simple way, she said, "When we were growing up we were taught that we were responsible for other people's feelings. You're probably experiencing a trigger from childhood. It might be connected to a fear of losing what or who you love because you can't change to meet their needs."

Well, slap me in the face and call me Sally.

Not only do I have a tendency to suppress my own feelings, but it's ingrained in me to take responsibility for other people's. How very backwards of me. As you may or may not know, I've been working hard at own my own feelings, confronting them and throwing them on the table instead of disregarding them like they aren't important. Because they are important. This road to being a functioning adult is long and confusing. I get lost so easily.

The truly painful part comes from recognizing how much this behavioural glitch has derailed me in the past. It's hard constantly feeling to blame. It's harder feeling helpless and useless, and being unable to make things better. In the past I didn't identify this behaviour. I didn't understand where it came from and took it out on the other person, demanding they they stop complaining for the sake of my sanity. That wasn't fair of me. I recognize the importance of allowing people to have their emotions and not tangling myself up in them or taking them to heart.

Perhaps being able to recognize this behavioural glitch is the first step to correcting it. For now, I simply remind myself that I'm not responsible for the rainy day, a computer crashing, misplaced keys, a barking dog, or car troubles. And I'll try to hush the little girl inside of me who is harbouring a major guilt complex, the annoying bitch, and try to influence people for the better. Like ensuring they listen to good music.