The Whole Knee Thing

One of the most painful, enlightening things about my 30s (so far) has been my knee injury. 

I fell and blew out my knee a month after I asked my long-term partner to move out of our home. My brilliant plan was to train to run a half marathon as he moved out. That way, I wouldn’t have to watch him pack and leave, that way I wouldn’t need to bear witness to my heart breaking over and over again. 

Yeh. 

I watched that shit from the couch with my knee elevated and an ice pack. That was just…. epic. Since then, it’s gotten worse, gotten better, gotten re-injured, and pretty much ended my running career. It’s caused other injuries, taught me patience, and pretty much become a focus on my meditation. 

I’ve been thinking about this injury a lot. Especially lately. I was getting ready to start physio, in order to start running again, and I slipped and fell. Tore my jeans, landed on my bad knee, and totally screwed it up. Again. Thankfully, I had already made the doctor’s appointment, so I was able to talk about it with my doctor about it. 

Which brings me to my point of this whole thing (as my knee starts to ache). 

I started this blog without a theme in mind, and I generally have kicked my ass for it ever since. A lot of my inspiration comes when I’m lonely or sad or angry. Wanna know how bloody well how hard it is to write when those are the drivers? I bounce all over the place here, and I can go months without writing because it’s all… over the place. And these are the days where I think – whelp. A theme would be nice. 

And, since there is currently a theme in my life, I’ve decided that it’s time for a GD theme for this blog. 

Because my knee was injured again, and I was going to my doctor, I confided that I wanted to start running again. As she inspected my knee, I told her that my goal for the visit was to get a note for physio so I could take the first steps towards healing enough to run. She looked up at me, and in her very gentle manner said… 

“I want to be clear on this. You’re beautiful, and your heart is totally fine – but you can’t participate in high impact sports anymore. If you want to ever run again, and if you want me to not highly, HIGHLY recommend surgery and heal your knee that way – you need to lose weight. A lot of weight.” 

Boom. 

I’m not unaware that I’m a little bigger. I also, as mentioned on this blog a bunch of times, feel stunning in my skin. I eat pretty clean – think green smoothies and salads during the day – but as the years have gone on I’ve slowed down. I hate that I’m so busy, because it makes eating well very, very difficult. Since last summer, I’ve either been on the move, at work, or trying to sleep. I eat when I can, and usually it’s not great food. In addition to all of this, I hate cooking for one. I HATE IT. I hate meal prepping, I hate eating the same thing for four meals at a time. So I eat the shit that’s fast and easy. 

And now I have to lose my “I’m so busy, I’m so lonely” weight. To be precise, I want to lose 40 to 60 pounds of that weight. Because I carry it well, but Jesus Christ. 

So, I took the first steps. Because I’m so bad at this on my own, I recruited help. Like, real professional help with this. So, I went to Jenny Craig. 

And then my heart almost exploded with the number. Literally. Stepped on the scale and I almost died. I was mortified, and almost in tears immediately. It didn’t help that they wanted to ask about my relationship with food, or what I’d tried before. I am devastated that I am here. I cried when I talked about wanting to run again, I cried when I said I was too lonely to cook for myself.

So. I have signed a contract. I’m no longer in charge of making my own food. I’m committed to moving an hour a day, and eating 6 meals a day. Because I’m so done with this. These shoes were made for walking. And those steps aren’t great, but it will get better. 


The Tetris Lesson in real time

When I was in high school, I had the best shirt ever.

Black, short-sleeved, with an angry fairy on the front. Eat My Dust. It fit me perfectly (both physically and otherwise). Short spiked hair, blazing a trail as an active martial artist and truly not giving a fuck who thought what of me. I was fearless and fierce, and I loved that shirt.

I loved that shirt. I have no idea what happened to it, but I wish I still had it. I’d make a pillow out of it.

Because. Ridiculously.

I’m being bullied again.

I have to face a pack of bullies. Every. Single. Day.

And I’m sitting here, with tears held in my throat, ignoring the bullies. Like I always have. These tears won’t leave until I get home (edit: They left on my drive home. Crying in traffic sucks.) I won’t give them the satisfaction of seeing the effect they are having on me. I find it slightly ironic that it’s been a full 20 years since this all happened. Like, are you all fucking kidding me? Don’t you have something better to do than NOT invite me to things? Or pretending that you can’t hear me when I’m speaking to you? Or sitting with your back to me so that I’m physically excluded from a group conversation?

Truthfully, all I really want to do is go home, have a glass of wine, watch a sad movie, and cry myself to sleep. I really want that right now. I want someone to rub my back as I cry, and I just want to cry until my makeup is gone and I’m empty so I can be brave and make myself face it again tomorrow. Even as I’m sitting here. Safe on my couch. I just want to cry.

However. As Mick said, you can’t always get what you want. And I have a curling game tonight so. There will be no crying. There’s no crying in curling. I’m sure I read that rule somewhere.

On days like today, days where my banged-up little heart just wants to be loved and accepted, I try to remind myself that I’m fabulous. That I might not fit everywhere, but I have the ability to move (because I am not a tree!!) and I can move as far and as often as I like. True, this can be seen as “wherever you go, there you are”, but it also serves a higher purpose.

Mainly, I like being happy, and being actively bullied makes me very sad. If I have the ability to remove the things or people that are making me sad, I’m going to do so. I get to choose. And, even though it makes me very sad, I’m still going to try to Because, let’s be real.

tetris

I’m trying my very hardest to rise over this. I’m trying to remember that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d rather be someone’s shot of tequila. I’m trying to focus on the fact that I am a kind person by nature, and my kindness won’t go anywhere, and that I’ll always strive to be kind to everyone. That I’m unusual and varied and sweet and have moments of darkness and longing for acceptance and love, but I’m not ever going to fit in everywhere (but where I do fit in, boy do I fit!). And today (no matter how much I’d like to not be on the receiving end of bullying and that I’d definitely love a glass of wine and a huge cry and cuddles) I’m very sad… but tomorrow is a better day. 

Fuck bullies. 

I need your help.

Mahatma Gandi apparently said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world”. Cheesy, I know. Also misquoted (hilarious, especially coming from someone who thinks misquoting and taking things out of context is funny – I’m looking at you, anyone with a “To thine own self be true” tattoo). However cheesy and misquoted it is, it’s one of my guiding principles. I try to be good to my fellow humans because I think that kindness is important and something that the world needs. I volunteer my time and energy out to the world because who knows what will change the world. Today, though, I have an idea. A hope, a wish, a crazy Christmas thought.

The first time I volunteered, I was about 8 or 9. Maybe 10.

My mom and I went to Santas Anonymous to fill hampers. I spent the morning in a warehouse with a tinny radio, carefully following a checklist so each basket had the right gifts for the right age group. I also had to check if each basket had the right food – Kraft Dinner, instant mashed potatoes, that kind of thing. The people were nice, it made my heart happy, and it was one morning in late November.

The next year, I was on the ground crew. Rather than pack the hampers, we delivered them. Now, as some people might know, my little hometown is full of drugs – specifically, meth. So that was harder – my little heart broke at some of the places we visited. We got to be Santa for these people – some of whom I recognized from school. I remember feeling super grateful for my parents at that moment – grateful that we had a house and food every night, grateful for my baby brother and for our Christmas mornings, grateful for my two kick-ass amazing parents who remain amazing and kickass.

My parents taught me how lucky I was, and that we had so much that we owed our communities to give back. I always have. Since that period at Santas Anonymous, I have had quite the volunteer log. Much to my failing memory, here’s the list so far:

  • Walked dogs and cuddled cats at the Hinton SPCA
  • Did media relations for the Canadian Breast Cancer CIBC Run for the Cure
  • Became the Run Director for the same run
  • Organized a charity breakfast for 800
  • Taught taekwon do (yes, part of my black belt training, but definitely something I would have done otherwise)
  • Taught illiterate addicts to read and write (hey, did you know that 42% of Canadian adults have low-literacy levels?!)
  • Joined an arts board in support of mental health
  • Joined the Freewill Shakespeare Board (after 6 years volunteering before that)
  • Became a karma yogi at Noorish
  • Joined an awesome crew for Edmonton Folk Music Fest
  • Flew to Africa to teach communications and advocacy strategy at a childs rights organization

And my memory fails me – as Yul Brenner once said “Etc, etc, etc!” There is more. I have more events that I can count – times where I leaned in and carried water or food and pushed and created and joined. Because I believe that I can help make the world a better place (not alone, mind you. Maybe I can start a ripple that becomes a tsunami of change).

To that – at one point in my career, I began working with the homeless. Not directly with (I’m not a social worker), but as the communications pro telling the story. I was told in my interview that people working for this not-for-profit (and generally in this sector overall) had an 18-month shelf life. I made a year and 4 months – 2 months shy of 18. My heart, while has capacity to grow and change and adapt, was far too soft to handle this work. After my second Homeless Connect, for example, I ended up in my shower for an hour sobbing. I had talked to a girl – she was 14, LBGTQ, and her parents had thrown her out. She couldn’t find a home, because who wants to rent to a kid, so was selling herself to supply her drug habit. My heart broke a thousand times over in the 14 months I was working there – I still have friends working in this sector, and I am in awe of them. Their amazing selves and amazing work do so much good for our world.

Recently, sadly, I became aware of the death of one of our cities’ homeless – a sad tale of freezing to death behind a dumpster. Even more sadly – he’s one of 1,752 homeless in Edmonton. The numbers are down (thanks to our amazing agencies and hardworking front-line workers!!) but we still have over 1,700 people without a roof over their heads. And, suddenly, in all its Canadian-ness – winter has arrived in Edmonton, with temperatures forecasted to be -20 ish all week (and the wind making it feel like -30), and winter will be here for awhile. I’ve been thinking about this since Saturday, and now – I’m asking you to help me.

Every single front-line agency in the city needs help. They need mittens and jackets and warm socks and long johns and blankets because winter is HERE and death due to exposure is a real thing. I’m starting to collect these items – I’m planning on starting a collection at my workplace as well – but I will be collecting these things personally as well to be delivered in a week or two.

Help me with this. Send me new socks and mittens and whatever gently used or new items you can manage. I’m happy to meet you, or give you my address – hell, I’m even happy to wash your gently used items before I deliver this stuff! – but I can’t not be involved any longer. Neither can you – 1,750 people need us.

Serenity.

Nope. Not that serenity.

I’m talking Serenity.

Home to Captain Malcolm Reynolds. To Jayne Cobb, and Inara Sara, and Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye. To Sheppard Derrial Book and Zoe and Wash Washburne, and Simon and River Tam. My first real step into geekdom.

There is a scene in the pilot that is replaying in my head lately. Without giving it away, near the end, Sheppard Book is on his knees in front of Inara.

Book: I’ve been out of the abbey two days. I’ve beaten a lawman senseless. Fallen in with criminals… And I’m not even sure if I think he was wrong.
Inara: [softly] Shepherd…
Book: I believe I just… I think I’m on the wrong ship.
Inara: Maybe. Or maybe you’re exactly where you ought to be.

Right now, I am so lost. About everything. Even this space. A place I created to simply write and celebrate my geeky existence. And now I feel like it needs a theme or that I’m giving it one that’s based in my anxiety. I think I’ve written 15 drafts in the time since my last post, and I can’t bring myself to hit publish.

I am so conflicted about my life right now. There are moments when I look at what’s happening, and I don’t recognize myself. I’m anxious, and fearful, and waking up with dread in my heart. I feel like a stranger in my bones. Like Book (all of the Firefly characters, really), I feel like I “been out of the world for a spell… like to walk it a while.” I feel like I’ve created this life – a good life, a life built on my own back with so many amazing things! – and now I am searching for an escape from my life.

Like the wise Sheppard said… I believe. I just think I’m on the wrong ship.

One thing that keeps me (mostly) sane is my belief, shockingly.

I’m not a church goer. At all. I don’t have a secular belief system. My relationship with God is complex and simple, gentle and terrible. I’m not Mal – I do believe in God. I also don’t believe that my God has abandoned me – I feel that presence all the time.

Like tonight. It wasn’t a great day at work, and I went to the kiva (I love Noorish. Have I said that lately? I fucking LOVE NOORISH.) for my karma shift. As I was walking up to the building, I noticed a familiar shape next door to Noorish. Sitting outside the Cuban cigar shop, smoking a cigar and bullshitting with another firefighter, was JM. He was facing away from me, and I knew it was him before I even got close – I know that shape so well I could draw it by heart (you know. If I could draw.). I caught the eye of the other man (who was, at one point, a dear friend of mine) and he couldn’t place me – I was so relieved. I ducked behind the building, walked into the kiva, knelt to the floor in front of the alter, and started to weep. Cherry on top of the freaking day. I seriously think that breaking up requires the division of neighbourhoods. “Oops, sorry, Garneau is actually MY place. You are required to stay a kilometre away from Noorish at all times. It’s my safe place.”

But, as I lay there, head on the floor, weeping in the candlelight… I knew I wasn’t alone. I could feel it, almost like someone had laid their hand between my shoulder blades and started rubbing my back. I WAS alone – I was opening the kiva tonight – and I just knew it was God. It didn’t take me long to stop crying after that.

Yes. I realize this sounds insane. It’s happened to me a few times there – whether it’s just plain energy, or the tears that follow a heart opener, or singing as I’m cleaning and feeling a presence. Full stop. I know who it is. I know that I’m safe. That it will be okay. No matter what shit comes, I know that I’m not alone.

Even tonight, where I feel like I’ve fallen into a well. I can hear the voices, and the laughter of the people outside of the well – I’m clinging to the rock, just at the edge of the darkness, shaking with effort trying to crawl back into the light and out of the well. The darkness is licking my feet – and it would be so easy to let go and fall back into the blackness that used to rule my world. But tonight, as I laid there and cried about my loneliness, and about my shitty day at work, I knew I wasn’t alone. Maybe I am clinging to the wall of the well, but I’m certainly not alone.

Which is something else I share with Book, I guess. Maybe I am on the wrong ship. Maybe my path isn’t what I thought it was. Maybe I’ve chosen the wrong career. But I am not alone as I battle. Which, let’s be honest, is pretty comforting. Almost as comforting as the wine.

Two choices, I suppose. Choice the first. Succumb to the lost feelings of the black. Let go of the wall, tumble into the well, trust that I can climb back out once my arms have rested. Choice the second. Trust that I’m exactly where I ought to be. Trust in my ability to  be strong enough to lift myself out of the well. And trust that, even with my misgivings, I am on the right path.

Shiny.

I’m going to go to Stettler tomorrow and be bad guys. (Well, not really bad guys. My best friend is pregnant and doesn’t really drink even if she’s not pregnant. And the rest of us are too old to get into *much* trouble). But I can’t end a blog post about Firefly and leave that line out.

 

The dirtiest word I know

During my first stint at university, I worked over my summer and winter breaks at a pulp mill in my hometown. I was a heavy duty labourer, a heavy duty equipment operator, and overall grunt. I can’t start to explain some of the messes I found myself in – black liquor, lime dust, hog, wood chips. I was on the business end of a shovel often, and usually in a place disgusting and dirty. The smell of fart was impossible to wash out of my clothes. I was generally surrounded by men, usually my father’s age (hey, it is my father’s workplace – he got me the job). In that time (4 summers and winter breaks, and 6 months after my university convocation), I heard a lot of colourful, descriptive language. Like, a lot a lot. Used in all kinds of circumstances. Examples include such fun (and non-fictional) times like:

  • Standing over a frozen chain as wide as a tire on a truck with a dude with an awesome handlebar moustache and a crazy temper, each of us holding crow bars trying to get it back on track, in -40 degrees Celsius.
  • Standing tank watch – 12 hours of staring at a hole in a tank. No newspaper, no one to talk to, minus the dudes doing the work in the empty tank. Which echoed. We weren’t allowed to look INTO the hole. Just at the hole.
  • Watching a man tip over a forklift into cable spools each worth thousands of dollars. Each.
  • Helping a fellow student and friend undress, so we could brush the lime dust off of him before it got wet (potential helpful life tool – lime is caustic when you add water).
  • Helping a man get kneepads and Vaseline for a job I didn’t understand (and was quickly given an insane excuse for the use of said knee pads and lubricant).
  • Sitting in a darkened room, watching millions of dollars’ worth of equipment shut down immediately, for no noticeable reason (someone pulled a cord in a different department – it took us 5 hours to figure that out).
  • Being sent into “The Tunnel” with another student and a shovel, with someone hiding under a fast-moving, unprotected conveyor belt, waiting to scare us.
  • Being stuck in a forklift, and having to be rescued by a 16 tonne front end loader. At midnight. With only a teeny horn to get anyone’s attention.
  • Having a book I was reading torn in half in the lunchroom (it was my friend’s deceased father’s copy, to boot) because it was the Devil’s work and I should be ashamed of myself

I have heard things I never wanted to hear. Swear words. Sexual expressions. And yet, with all of these curse words, these creative slurs used to describe chains and people and wives and tools, there is a dirtier word. Imagine that – the dirtiest word I know, I learned outside of my heavy duty labour background. Even worse, I identify with that word now, more than I ever have before in my life.

I am a feminist.

There. I said it. The dirtiest F-word in North America. Maybe even the world.

The longer I sit on this post (draft 1 happened in July 2015), the more I feel like I should be ashamed of this. I have friends who I respect who disagree with me, who will engage with me about equality and reverse feminism, and I find myself saying “I’m sorry – I’m not trying to offend you. It’s not misandry.” I have been told that “I don’t understand” and that my feelings are wrong. That “Yes, your life is so hard cause you r female give me a break.” So, here’s a non-exhaustive list as to why I’m a feminist.

I’m a feminist because when a woman is raped, we ask what she was wearing, or asked why we didn’t close our knees.

Because the United States Republican frontrunner for president wants to punish women for abortions, and he’s still in the running for the presidential nomination.

Because last week, (my formerly beloved) radio show host Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted on four counts of sexual assault. So, not enough evidence to be guilty, but not innocent either. The women who testified were torn apart for speaking to him afterwards, for not remembering every single detail of the attacks (a decade later), for telling parts of their stories. This article sums up my full feelings on this trial.

Because earlier this year, a pop star was told that she couldn’t break her contact with a man who is accused of drugging and raping her – she can’t do her job, because their mutual success is more important than her sexual and mental well-being.

Because men are often ridiculed for reporting domestic violence and rape – after all, men want it all the time, right? How can you rape the willing?

Because I don’t feel safe walking down Whyte Avenue alone from about twilight on – even though I have two black belts.

Because there is huge controversy about LGBTQ policies in Alberta schools, and I honestly don’t get why anyone would disagree with such a policy. Really? Not supporting every kid just blows my little mind.

Because I think that sex education should be sex positive – that both sexes should be taught that consent is absolutely mandatory and that sex should feel good for EVERYONE INVOLVED and that kink is normal and nothing something to be mocked.

Because I think that we shouldn’t ridicule women for enjoying sex however they want to enjoy it, but somehow if you’re female and like sex, you’re a slut. Case in point (I won’t link to anything about this story because it bothers me so much) is Alexis Frulling – the woman who was filming having public group sex at Stampede last year. She lost her job and her home as fallout from that video being released and then going viral, and then had to turn to sex work (i.e. stripping) because no one else would hire her. To the best of my knowledge (and research skills), the men in the video suffered none of the same fallout. Which, to me, is utter and complete bullshit.

Because this year, in the wake of one of the most anticipated films since The Avengers, Disney decided not to release a Rey action figure initially (don’t worry – massive outcry changed their tune quickly). That said – they didn’t release a Black Widow action figure for Avengers: The Age of Ultron, either. Because you know. Girls don’t count.

Because in 2015, news broke that Alberta has the largest wage gap in Canada. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen – women make (on average) 42% less than men do.

Listen, I could make a list all day – hell, I could likely list reasons as to why I’m a feminist for a full time job. I’m not great at feminism – I don’t understand intersectionality or gender fluidity, and I’m still learning in a major way. It’s the dirtiest word in my vocabulary – and I urge you to look into it. A fun starter (fact check it. I dare you.)


Oh, and also – I’m not arguing any of these points with anyone. Cool, you’re not a feminist. If you don’t want to believe in equality (and fighting for it), that’s your battle. I’m not nearly as skilled at verbal discourse in this subject as I’d like to be.

Dating?

I’m opening this post with words of caution. Strong language, NSFW images, parental supervision advised. This geeky kitten is angry.

I have lamented on the topic of online dating for awhile, and now, I’m just angry. Today was the day that my last fuck was officially given. I AM OFFICIALLY OUT OF ONLINE DATING FUCKS.

When I “meet” someone, I try to be authentic. I want them to see me, so I’m going to be honest (“Sorry, not entirely comfortable giving you my name yet, here’s why!”), I’m going to call people on it if I’m feeling rushed or uncomfortable (“Can we stop with the sex talk, please?”) – basically I try to be a sweet, kind human online because I try to be a sweet, kind human IRL.

And then shit like this happens. Oh I’m sorry, KEEPS HAPPENING. We are going oldest to newest messages here, people. I have hidden screen names but not photos, because really – if you know this person, they deserve a smack and zero loving.

NSFW, obviously.

Dating 4

From my online profile. I received about 15 messages before this – at that point, I thanked him but told him that I didn’t think we were a good match.

Dating 2

After received a message from him, congratulating me on having “curves in all the right places”, this is what I saw when I opened his profile.

Dating 3

He messaged me about a week later, claimed his friend stole his phone, and when I didn’t answer THAT message, he wrote to tell me that I was likely too old for him, even though he did have a cougar fetish.

I’m 32. Am I considered a cougar now?

Dating

This, oh this. This is the final straw. This is opening of the anger door. This is the unleashing the Hulk.

We chatted, had a date. He’s an accountant, maybe. On our date, he told me that he actually wasn’t an accountant at the moment- he has the degree, but actually works as a carpenter. He told me about his father living in Penticton, and his mother in Vancouver, and we got along fairly well. Tonight, actually, would have been date 2.

But I am uncomfortable with lies. I’m not going to tell you my name, but I will tell you my first initial, and WHY I won’t tell you. Why bother lying about your career (and we are talking full bore- he told me about his work, told me about the company, gave me the amount he forecasts he will be making in 10 years, the entire thing)? So I mentioned that I was uncomfortable with the dishonesty. Then he tells me over text that, in fact, his father doesn’t live in Penticton, but in Edmonton – and that’s where my date lives. With his father, on an acreage, outside of the city.

Boom. Second and third lie. “But that’s it! I have been honest about every other thing!”

Too bad. I’m done. I tell him so, and then he proceeds to beg me – he’s crazy about me, he didn’t think that a good girl would go for him with his circumstances, he hates dishonesty too but he liked me so much- even going so far to offer to take me out for a nice meal (because we are both foodies) to make up for this little white lie.

My response to the meal offer is in green.

When in the hell did it become OK to treat other people this way? When did the lunatics become so normal that I can’t even see them? And on that note – am I also a lunatic for believing that, maybe, I might meet a normal human online? Or, the question I kind of hate myself for thinking – what’s the matter with me that I’m attracting these kind of people?!

I am so done. I am so angry, and so unjustifiably angry with factors I can’t control. I’m angry at these men for objectifying me. I’m angry for being blasted for being authentic. I’m angry because I thought I found my human, and had no desire to date ever again, and yet here I am. I’m angry because I’m searching for radical intimacy – the kind of intimacy that is cuddling and laughing and debating over big issues. The kind of intimacy found late at night under the covers or watching the sunrise on a beach or in the silence of the mountains. And, frankly, I’m starting to doubt that something like that exists in this city, which also makes me angry.

So. I’m done. Account is deleted. I’m going to take some time, and maybe shake down my friends for introductions later in the new year. But for now?

I’m done. My pissed off, bruised up, romantic heart is done with shit like this.

The Cowardly Lion, Cheese Graters, and the Topic I’ve Avoided

You know the thing about getting older is that time goes faster. The list of what I can’t believe feels so long: that I’m in my 30s. That I’ve been done university for almost 10 years. That I’ve been living in my condo for almost 2 months. That I haven’t blogged in two months. That I completed the 8 week Glow Challenge almost 6 months ago. That my yoga practice has slipped to one or two classes a week. That it’s been a year since the New Job. That it’s been a little less than a year since I’ve been for a run. That I have spent my last year growing into myself, and learning to cherish my friendships like crazy. That I’ve read over 55 books so far this year.

I have never meant for this to be a space where I blog about my health, or my lifestyle. With everything I have going on, I like to ignore that part of my life. The yoga challenge was never something I did to look better – it was something I did to feel better about myself – that I looked better afterwards (in all kinds of ways – I glowed, I shrank a little) was only an added perk. But, in ways that feel inevitable, here I am. I don’t have anything to say about geeky things, although I could. I’m back to self love. The theme I can’t escape. Only this time, I’m looking at self love in the fashion of “holy crap I haven’t ever been bigger, and something needs to change”. Let me be clear – I think I’m pretty lovely. I love my body, love how strong it is, what it’s capable of. I love being curvy, and I have never felt sexier in my own skin than I do at 32. It likely makes me sound like a conceited jerk – but I think I’m pretty awesome, just as I am.

But.

But.

In order to be healthy. In order to run again. In order to keep my organs safe and sound (because, hey, they aren’t right now). In order for my physio and my doctor to approve my inverting in yoga. In order to live until I’m 100. I need to do something.

To that – I have a friend. We met in university, and we have remained sometimes and very sporadically close through the years. He doesn’t realize how lovely he is, and I don’t think he realized until recently that I had a crush on him. To me, he’s always been handsome – he has a huge grin, and a laugh to match. He’s genuinely kind, and so smart. I feel very blessed for this friendship. That said – my lovely friend decided a few years ago that he was tired of being soft around the middle. I didn’t notice it, and whenever he pointed it out I thought – “nope, you’re fine just the way you are”. But my friend wanted to make a positive change for himself. So he got a trainer and a nutritionist and started lifting weights. Now, whenever we text, I’m guaranteed to get a photo of his progress. Which, I might add, is an amazing perk of being this man’s friend. He looks pretty darn good in his underwear – think Chris Hemsworth shirtless in Thor.

The point is, one night before he moved to Calgary, we were having a glass of wine at his place while he was meal prepping. As he boiled his chicken and made up his rice, I took a sip of wine and asked him “Dude, doesn’t it get boring eating the same damn thing EVERY SINGLE DAY? Seriously. You didn’t add any spice to anything!”

To which my lovely, smart friend walked over to me, lifted his shirt, and told me to rub his abs.

“That, N, doesn’t make it boring. That makes it all worth it.”

I’ve always shaken my head at that. I’m certain that I shook my head that night (I also didn’t take advantage of the whole “rub my abs” situation – which, I will add, I feel is a misstep. My friend has abs that resemble a cheese grater. Not my “forever” type, but goddamned if I don’t appreciate that from afar. ALSO, WHO SAYS NO WHEN THEIR HOT RIPPED FRIEND SAYS RUB MY ABS.), but recently, I’ve stopped shaking my head at it. Will I ever be the type of human to eat the same food prepared the same way every time, day after day? Likely not. But I want to be the type of human who feels good about herself all the time. I want to be healthy for my body, so that I can continue to do the things that I like doing. I want my body to stop aching after curling. I want my feet to be able to carry my body when I run, rather than stress fractures making them ache for days afterwards. Hell, I want to be able to wear high heels without having to kick them off under my desk because my feet start aching. I want to be able to invert in yoga – to backbend and shoulder stand without worrying about aggravating an old injury. Hell, I’d like to have the strength in my core to do a headstand in yoga. I want to be someone who can forget her injuries, dammit, because I’m an accident-prone klutz who has so many – a blown knee, stress fractures, a weak back, a pelvic floor injury – and all of these things keep me from feeling AWESOME after a work out, and they keep me afraid of working out – admittedly, I am terrified to repeat these injuries. And, ridiculously, I have the cutest pair of blue jeans that I’d love to rock again. (Yes, this is partly fuelled by conceit. I think I’m a babe, and I want to keep thinking that. Oh well.)

So, after meditating a lot on this, I have come to this conclusion. I am the Cowardly Lion.

Lion

It’s easier to stand in the corner, tugging at my tail, afraid of the judgement of others, afraid of myself and my shadow. It’s easier to hide myself away than shine – I don’t like attention, I don’t want to stand out in a crowded room. I prefer the silence of my life – I prefer things orderly and clean and simple. Fear is so much easier than rushing out to face your fears head on, isn’t it? I find it remarkably easy to be afraid and not try, over trying and failing. I remark that “one day” and “I wish” – when I already know, in my heart of hearts, that I already have everything I need to succeed. I continually defined my own success in my life – everything I have wanted, I have worked my ass off for. Just this morning, in fact, I was thinking about applying for my Masters – and I caught myself actually thinking- “What if I’m not good enough?” to which the little voice inside of me went “Shut up. You’re good enough, full stop.”

And still, I’m afraid. I keep giving myself excuses, extending the deadline (“Next Monday I’ll get up at 6 and work out in my building’s gym!” to which I bang the snooze button and then blame keeping the alarm clock in bed with me), and generally, being a gigantic ‘fraidy cat. I have the tools, I have the know-how, I need to stop excusing my behavior and start giving a damn. Because, really. It’s getting old (and so am I).

And this, this is something I can do. Something I can control, something that I have full power of. Which is shocking to me – I’m (mostly) unafraid of doing things that I have zero control over. But this – changing MY body, changing MY lifestyle, changing MY diet – this is all me. And with that – I offer myself to the mercy of the internet. Here I am , and this is the starting point. This is the body that I want to improve. And yes, I’m standing on the toilet. I don’t have a full length mirror in the house.

October 28. 2015

October 28. 2015

October 28, 2015

October 28, 2015

So I guess this is a healthy lifestyle blog. I better find some nerdy shirts to work out in.

The time that I actually got scared on a date

Here’s the thing about dating.

It sucks. I loathe dating. It is a huge game, and I don’t get games. I just don’t. I don’t get when people say one thing and do another – why don’t we settle into mutual like? Of the dating world, though, online dating is the worst. It’s super judgemental, it’s full of dudes looking to just get laid, and if you don’t answer the way that some of men expect you to, they get confrontational. I can’t tell the amount of times I’ve been called “whore” because I wouldn’t agree to a one night stand (Side note to these gentlemen – being a whore is the PRECISE OPPOSITE of refusing to hookup). My theory about the whole thing is that it’s easier to be an asshole when you are anonymous. It’s easy to judge people when you don’t know their names, or their stories. I’m guilty of it too – you have kids over 18? Nope. You don’t have a car, and do drugs? Sorry, but no. Your first message includes any reference to how arousing you find my photos? I’m not that kind of girl. I try not to judge – but it happens. That shield of anonymity makes it easy to judge, if that’s your game.

Anyways, I online date. For a variety of reasons (I’m busy, I’m shy, I don’t know where to meet people, blah blah blah). And I have found that I am a fairly good judge of character with this medium. It takes a lot of messages, but more often than not, I meet nice men. Not necessarily great matches for me, but they are kind, and sweet, men. So, this past week, I was messaged by a man on a dating site. It was a well composed message, thoughtful message. I briefly checked the photos and profile – cute, no red flags. So we start chatting. Lots in common, no curse words (let alone sexual references, which is a rarity). After a few days, he asks to meet me. I agree, because I’m feeling that it’s a good fit.

We agree on a time, and a place. I tell my safety person where I’m going, with who (I send his photo and his phone number), and I tell her that I’ll call as soon as I am done. Call me crazy, I’ve always had a first online date like this. I also tell my lovely work mates about this date, and they recommend that we come up with a “safety phrase” – something I can text them to ensure that it’s me, and not a serial killer who is wearing my skin and texting from my phone. So we agree on one, while I’m laughingly assuring them that I don’t need a safety phrase, and off I go.

I arrive about a half an hour early, right outside of the Moxie’s at Kingsway Mall. Since it was sunny, and I’d lost my sunglasses, I decide to go for a quick walk to see what I can find. My phone buzzes about 5 minutes into my walk.

“You’re more beautiful in person than I could imagine. See you shortly.”

I quickly look up, and scan my area. No one in my vicinity looks like the photos from the site, or the selfies that he sent – is he stalking me? My work buddy calls me to tell me to “abort”. I, stupidly, decide that he’s likely nervous, and meet him anyways. Because we all get nervous, right? And we do stupid shit when we get nervous.

I show up, and there is a gift on the table. And he immediately starts gushing about how beautiful I am, and how his mother thinks the same, and how great my hips are for birthing. Wait, what? Again, I brush it off as nerves, and we order our drinks. I order a Radler, and he orders white wine. “I got the woman’s drink, and she gets the can”, he jokes with the server. At this point, I can only notice on his half missing, rest rotten front tooth. I notice teeth – mine came with years of braces and surgeries, so I notice. It’s safe to say that he’s misrepresented himself online- his profile photos show a full head of hair, a full set of teeth. This person has neither. We start chatting, and we share war stories from our years of customer service. The first major red flag comes when he brings up his observations as a Walmart worker – mainly, how he noticed how single mothers would buy Happy Meals, leave their 8 to 12 year old children to eat, and do their shopping without the kids. He starts ranting that single mothers should be sterilized before they have any more children, and how HIS taxes pay for these useless creatures. I don’t know that it’s too my credit or not, but my bitchy face shut him up immediately. I can tell you that I took pleasure informing him that my best friend is a single mother. It made him look like he wanted to crawl under the table.

I told him to change the subject, and we started to talk about something else. I have a gross feeling at this point, but I decide to finish my drink. He then starts telling me about his past relationship – she took everything, he says, and he doesn’t have a license, a vehicle, or a couch. “But don’t worry,” he chuckles. “I’m not one of those homeless losers. Homeless people should be set on fire.”

A stunning silence falls. I finish my drink in one gulp. He stammers that I’m so beautiful, and he’d like another chance because his “mommy” won’t forgive him if he fucks it up with me. He even knows about my work, he says. It turns out that my first name alone in Google autofinishes to my last name – making a Google search simple. There are my social media accounts, thankfully mostly locked down. My LinkedIn isn’t, so he can see where I work. My volunteer hours, newscasts of me – everything is there, he tells me. And now, he is asking with panic in his eyes, when he can see me again.

At this moment, I was gripped with fear. Intense, paralyzing fear, fear like I don’t understand and have never experienced. I am genuinely afraid of this man. I’m afraid because he knows my first and last name. I’m afraid because he is clearly not mentally stable, and he clearly is into me. I’m afraid this man will hurt me if I tell him the truth – that I’d rather cut off my hands and pull out my eye teeth than ever see him again. So, I lie. I tell him that I need to check my calendar, and I flee. The cherry on top was that he kept my pace, we burst into the parking lot and all of a sudden, I hear a woman screech – “KISS HER YOU FUCKING IDIOT!” Of course, because this jackass doesn’t drive, his best friend is waiting for us in the parking lot.

My final words on this date were “If you touch me, I’ll break your goddamn nose.” Classy, I know.

I have to say – as I started writing this post, I was really amused by this whole event. I found it hilarious, in fact. I’ve had bad dates and awesome dates and dates that were OK, but I try to find a silver lining in them all. But now, I’m filled with dread. My name is so unusual that Google can fill in the blanks. Do I lie about my name in the initial message, and hope he overlooks the reason why I lied when we meet? I already have a very low tolerance level for bull shit, so now I’m on heightened security. What’s the limit to “run”? Is it jealousy? Is it anger? Is it simply the heeby jeeby feeling? What is the acceptable point of “I need to get out of here”? Needless to say, Friday put me off of dating. Indefinitely. I am so uneasy with what happened – how could I have missed such a fucked up person? How could that person have gotten past my usually good judgement?

In either case. I texted my safety word to my work friends, and my safety friend as soon as I got home. And then I drank raspberry beer with my roommate, who delivered this wise line about dating (and friendship, in general): “If you want to find some quality friends you have to get through all the dicks first”. Good advice, roomie.