Saturday, September 29, 2012

directions

one more blog post for the month, because this tweet suddenly reminded me:


(i was referring to the infamous ace's top card show on september 29th, 2007, when bionic and c'mon played probably one of my favourite shows ever, and definitely my favourite show i've ever seen in kingston. ace's is long gone now, but i still grin every time i see that poor street corner. one of the loudest nights i've ever experienced.)

it's officially been five years since my exodus, four years since my return, and everything that happened in between. this is, indeed, the time of year that i remember the most vividly for change, and that was one of the biggest ones.

i remember being on the airport bus from kingston to toronto, having left my family behind (including my teary-eyed mother). i was staring out the bus windows with a mix of apprehension and dread -- for the airplane ride, for sure, but also for the massive life change i was making. i didn't know if i was truly ready, but i'd always operated on the "just throw yourself in with both feet and see what happens" principle, and so. i'd never even been to vancouver, but it was going to be my new home - and my new beginning - for an undecided period of time.

i remember slogging two heavy bags through pearson airport - holding all of what i'd paired down from my belongings - and trying to fight off the sinus infection i was suffering. i was thinking about montreal. i was thinking about all i was leaving behind in toronto. but i'd been spending the last month looking over vancouver websites and getting more and more excited, and i had my best friend waiting for me there, and i was keeping faith that i'd be able to take care of myself in this unfamiliar western city.

so i did feel lucky. a number of my friends and coworkers had expressed admiration and envy for what i was doing - tossing everything aside and starting a new life somewhere else - because they had things holding them back. i didn't. i'd quit my job with the band management company, quit my job with the supermarket, sold off and donated all my things, and had no serious relationship, mortgage, children or pets. i was twenty-three and free to go.

and i was just so burnt out by my lifestyle, it's true. the bovine wasn't fun any more. the ghosts of memories were haunting me at every turn in toronto. i couldn't hold on to the girl i'd used to be, so instead i decided to let her go for good and try to make something new of myself somewhere else. no more childish part-time jobs, no more school, no more dumb infatuations, no more reputation preceding me.

at the end of the day, though, none of it worked. it only served to make me realize that this is my home, that this is who i am, and that i have to try and live with the ghosts rather than run from them. i look at some of the things i wrote during that time, and i think about the things i didn't write because i couldn't put them into words -- the loneliness, the feeling of being unmoored, the sense that i didn't belong, the knowledge that i was trying to be something i'm not. twenty-three - although i turned twenty-four right after i got there - was too old to restart my nature. i kept thinking about all the things i'd once had, and the things i'd given up. and once i came back to toronto, i realized that it wasn't worth it. (i will point to this blog post as evidence of my mindset at the time. i was slowly growing to realize that there was a fine line between suffering and masochism, and i didn't know how to toe it.)

to me, toronto is like a giant canvas of memories, and i keep plastering over the old ones with new. sometimes i wonder when it's going to get to the point where i have to tear it all down and start again.

[ music | none ]

Friday, September 28, 2012

in the mood

because i have been beating myself up a bit too much lately over the things i don't have or the things i've lost, i want to do yet another list: things i am grateful for in my life right now.

- my friends dragging me out of my seasonal ennui to go have fun. i get mopey and morose at this time of year. it's a transitional change-of-season thing in which my brain would rather focus on the negatives than the positives, which sucks. (my mother also thinks i ought to try therapy. um.)  so right now i'm thankful that i have a couple solid groups of friends who motivate me to get off the couch and do things like crossfit and karaoke nights. it sounds cheesy, but i've found that the moments when i'm genuinely laughing are the moments that i feel fine again. it's an endorphin, or something. so i'm doing that, plus i went to crush party last weekend (sort of wasted on me since my hapless heart's got a big ol' reserved sign on it right now, but eh), and i'm running amok with friends for nuit blanche tomorrow night, and i'm volunteering at the toronto underground market's daytime edition on sunday. so, things.

- i have a nice little home. no really, it still sort of astounds me that i ended up with such a sweet apartment on my first try(!). although i continue to be bummed that i'm not allowed to mount any framed things on the wall, i've put up a couple of posters with tape, because to hell with plain white walls. i'm also buying one of these lovely beasts for my balcony tomorrow, after admiring it at a nearby flower shop for weeks:



bougainvillea! so pretty.

anyway, this is all in the pursuit of trying to be more comfortable and happy with my space, and being okay with spending time there by myself. to that end, i've really been taking this article to heart, especially numbers one through three. for someone like me who actually enjoyed cohabitation, it gets tough sometimes to not have anyone sharing your space with you (the evenings and nights really are the hardest), but i'm doing what i can to fill it myself. quoth mr. wilde:



- the fact that i actually am pretty body-positive at the moment. this is something of a big thing for me, and might change by the time i eat my body weight in turkey at thanksgiving in two weeks, but i'm fairly okay with the way i look without clothes on right now. dunno if i can attribute it to the crossfit i've been doing (since may!) or the fact that i've now got two 40-minute walks built into my day (to get to and from work), but i kinda like the way i currently look. i'm not a twig (and i was dropping a lot back in the aftermath of the breakup), but i'm still pretty lean and more athletic-looking now, i guess. i feel like what i've got right now is exactly on the line -- not overweight, but not too skinny either. and that's healthy enough for me. (for those of you who know the troubles i've gone through with this in the past, you'll know that this is pretty huge.)

- if i allow myself a modicum of vanity, i've got a pretty good package going on. i'm decently clever and have a good sense of humour. i'm compassionate and generous and empathetic to many. i'm literate. i'm financially independent. i can both cook and bake. i keep things clean. i love hockey. i can hang with dudebros and ladyfriends. i'm not a hardass when it comes to vices. i'm down with a variety of sexual things. i think i look alright naked. i think i've got a pretty decent-looking face. i have good stories to tell. i know how to have fun.

these are all things that, both individually and combined, i know will serve me well. i'm proud of who i am. i've got it going on, bitches.

- music and long walks. still the main two things that save my sanity. i actually walked for four hours straight last sunday and it just felt fucking great. even if my mp3 player's shuffle function can be an asshole in its choices sometimes.

- this quote:



it sums up pretty much everything for me right now, and everything i need to remember going forward. it's gonna hurt because it matters. it's good to have that affirmed. everything i do going forward has got to matter, even when it hurts.

to that point -- debating a major life decision that i may have to make soon. 2012 seems to be the year for that, for me. (and this one would be long overdue, mostly because i can be a coward, and because the things my heart wants are never what i truly deserve.)

well, we'll see.

[ music | none ]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

keep it low

things i am happy for at this moment: a list.

- falllllllll. the leaves are just starting to turn - which means the view from my apartment of all the parks and green spaces is going to be amazing - and it's beginning to get cooler out, which means it's the best time of year. i think i blog about how much i love fall every goddamn year, but the sentiment remains the same. it's been my favourite season since i was a kid, mostly because my birthday's in october, but now more for the whole nostalgic feeling of it. fall has always been my life's transitional period, and i'm generally okay with the memories it evokes. the majority are positive ones.

- fall fashion. seriously, all of the good clothing comes with autumn: sweaters, hats, pretty coats, tights, boots, skirts, scarves. i'm no fashionista or whatever but i really love getting into stylish stuff at this time of year, mostly because it appeals to the things i love (gloves, boots, coats, and so on). at the end of the day, i just assume that it all ties into this:


prime example:



...though these glasses are certainly not a part of it (i actually just found them when i was organizing my work desk the other day):



it's funny because i don't even need them - my vision's 10/40 or something ridiculous like that (even funnier considering that every member of my immediate family needs glasses) - but we got a pair of free glasses as part of the health plan at my last job, so i figured hey, why not. go for the hot librarian look.

- getting a clean bill of health from the doc. not that i was expecting any funny results, but it's always a nice thing to see everything come back negative. almost makes the multiple vials of blood taken worthwhile (i hate needles). and i'm fucking framing the results, thanks.

- speaking of needles -- new tattoo coming on october 6th. i just made the appointment. as i pointed out on facebook, that'll be almost ten years to the day since i got my first tattoo, which i find very appropriate. this is what i'm getting, on the inside of my upper right arm:

some girls wander by mistake
into the mess that scalpels make

it's both a quote from a leonard cohen poem (probably my favourite, along with this one) and the title of a sisters of mercy compilation album. so. absolutely. perfect. (and yes, it has a deeper personal meaning for me after this summer, so like the rest of my tattoos, it's meant to stand as a reminder under my skin forever)

- chocosol. if you're into real chocolate, get this stuff into your face right now. (i strongly recommend "darkness" or "5 chili bullet" but i like crazily intense chocolate)

- coffee. i think i am more coffee than human at this point.

- getting back into kitchen habits. as i've noted in the last few blog entries, i'm really returning to my cooking/baking roots -- both to fill the time and to keep my skills polished. i'm not really baking sadness scones (as julie klausner put it in her excellent book), but rather sticking to mains so i can have dinners in the freezer for a later date. though coworkers do appreciate the baked goods, when i go that route.

- this view from my balcony at sundown:



whoa.

- this goddamn band holy shit:



i went to hamilton last weekend to see the reunited change of heart because why not. i ended up being insanely glad i did. it's been ages since i turned to a friend during a concert and literally screamed with delight. next toronto one-off show is on october 5th at the horseshoe and um, you should probably be there. i'm going to be smashed off my ass, basically.

- my life being so fucking weird right now. good weird, bad weird, and everything in between. it's all been a decent reminder that this is exactly what i wanted. (so although i enjoy the good weird - and it is hilariously good - i have to keep reminding myself that when the bad weird happens, well, that's just how it balances out.)

peace out.

[ music | the dandy warhols, "boys better" ]

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

district sleeps alone

more of the things i have been doing to keep myself busy:

cooking/baking/kitchen projects: yes, this again. when it comes to things i like to do to fill the solo time, stuff in the kitchen generally comes in first and foremost. so far, i've made a delicious batch of vanilla bourbon peach jam (using fantastic organic local peaches i got at the farmer's market), i have a jar of cherry heering steeping in the cupboard, i've baked more than a few batches of cookies (plus these peanut butter cup bars for a bbq party last weekend), and i've got a tupperware of white chicken chili in my freezer for a time when i'm too lazy/tired to cook. i have more plans for more things to pack away in my freezer, too - chicken stock, lamb ragu, pulled pork - so it's just a matter of collecting all the necessary ingredients. whew.

writing: there are many, many scribbles that i will never publish in any sort of public capacity, but i just needed to get them out of my system. writing, to me, is catharsis. it's like breathing. it has to be done. i mean, i can go back to shit i wrote years ago and get perspective on where i am in my life. i always want to have that record of where i am at certain points in time to look back on. i'm a writer to the core so, y'know, figure i might as well use what i've got to get me through this surreal little life.

reading: i am a voracious reader. i may have mentioned this once or twice. so my only struggle now is finding things to read that will get me completely, utterly engrossed. there's very little i love more than having a book that keeps me up all night simply because i can't put it down -- the kind of book that makes me ignore the outside world and count down the hours until i can pick it up again. unfortunately, though, i have a hard time taking recommendations from friends, mostly because i can't exactly pin my tastes down. i've got more than a few ebooks that i've abandoned partway through because i just wasn't into them. so basically, these days i'm endlessly re-reading a lot of the same books i've read multiple times before, even though shit i want some new material. sigh.

current read, by the way, is a second run-through of alice sebold's lucky. it's a difficult read, very dark and depressing in places, but it's absolutely important.

long walks with music: ...of course, this one in the evening hours is temporarily on hold given that there's a serial rapist lurking in my neighbourhood, but that doesn't stop me from spending the rest of my time wandering toronto with earbuds firmly in place. this has always been a favourite pastime of mine, but these days it's been an even better reminder that no matter what happens in my life, the music will remain the same. it's always going to be there for me to lose myself in, and that is the best thing.

going back to the early point, there -- yes, there have been a number of sexual assaults happening in toronto lately. more in the news than usual, it seems. and though i take them as a good reminder to be cautious (especially when they're happening so close to my area), i refuse to walk around afraid in my own city. because i try to keep perspective: this stuff could happen any time, any place. i have spent so, so many late nights walking alone in this city, and i've rarely been concerned. i've had things yelled at me, and i've been followed a few times, but i've never - knock on wood - been touched. at all. so sure, some are going to call me foolhardy or just lucky, and maybe i'm a bit of both, but i won't be intimidated. toronto is my home, and as soon as i start being scared, then this stops being where i feel like i belong. end rant.

online shopping for pretty things from modcloth: previous order: this dress, this hoodie, this necklace, and this jewelry stand. current order on its way: this dress, this belt, and this cardigan (and i don't even particularly like cardigans, but i really like the look of that one). for the sake of my poor credit card, i need to stop.

hosting a party!: okay so this one hasn't happened yet, but my friends coerced me into holding a small housewarming get-together this saturday night. it didn't take much convincing, though; i kind of love throwing parties and getting to play hostess. i've already got my shopping list together of goodies to buy and things to prepare, and it's looking like it'll be a fun night with about a dozen pals from my longest-running social circle. (i'm somewhat doubtful i could fit more than that many people into my junior one-bedroom apartment.) also, there will be plenty of booze, which is all you need, really.

august 2012 was a rollercoaster of a month. roll on, september 2012, and please bring many more of the good times with you!

[ music | radiohead, "karma police" ]