Thursday, October 24, 2013

in shreds

i have decided that november's going to be a big month in the way that it's precisely not going to be a big month: i am effectively going to be a recluse, and that's fine with me.

aside from pub hangs with an old friend on november 2nd, a long-scheduled movie date to see thor 2 the following week, and the two moist gigs (omg omg omg) at the end of the month, i'm going to be staying in. i'm going to be saving money by doing so, hopefully, and learning to get my finances and budgeting back on track. i'm going to be getting up and going to work every day, then going to the gym six nights out of the week (doing two spin classes, two core classes, two weight-training classes and one bodyshred class among the general cardio workouts -- i've set myself a strict schedule for the month and i intend to stick to it), then going home to read or write or watch the hockey game. most importantly, i'm going to use this isolation time to turn inward a little more, do some soul searching, and hopefully doing a lot of writing.

november, i've found, is a good month for all of these things. it's grey, it's cold, and most people aren't really going out anyway. for me, this is probably going to be the opposite of last november, when i attempted to jam the entire month full of things to do to get my mind off of said cold grey isolation. this year, it feels like that was the entirety of september and october for me; now, i'm ready for a break. i need to recharge my batteries and get in some solo time, especially before the big month of partying and merrymaking and indulgence that will be december.

and to cap it all off, for the entire month (well, sunday november 3rd through sunday december 1st) i'm doing this thing:

the douglas laboratories metabolic rejuvenation detox/cleanse. it's going to be pretty brutal: no booze, no caffeine, no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, and no salt for 28 days, while taking packs of supplements that supposedly reset your metabolism and flush out your system. i think i can be okay with the majority of that, but i don't trust myself on zero caffeine for the month. i will probably be the angriest person in toronto. oh, well.

now, look -- i know cleanses and detoxes are dubious science at best; i know that things like your liver and intestines don't really need to be flushed out or anything, because they already do that naturally. i just want to do this to kickstart better health habits. and when it comes to this sort of thing, i really need the motivation that comes with having paid a dumb amount of money for something that's probably a placebo. i need to feel like i can't cheat because then it'll be a waste of my money. it's all a big mind trick, i know, but it works for me.

sure, i've done this sort of thing before, with varying levels of success: i attempted no-sugar november last year, only to fall off the wagon in two weeks (damn you, last year's second trip to chicago!); i successfully did sober month last january, and i'll probably do it again in 2014, because it makes me feel less guilty about going overboard during the holidays. but like i said, i need to have some sort of consequence hanging over my head in order to stick to something like this, and i really, really hate wasting money. to me, it's the worst.

anyway, adam's done this cleanse before and swears by it, so having a friend's testimonial is always good. plus, i'm really just curious to see what it does to my body, you know? i have a weird fascination with body chemistry and how it reacts to certain elements. i'm big on nutritional sciences, so this sort of thing is super cool to me. i'm also hoping this gets my dietary habits back on track, as in i'll be eating healthy foods at decent times and not just having a cookie and a glass of vodka for dinner at 10 p.m. also, hopefully this will get me back in the habit of having a steady gym class schedule instead of just flaking out on workouts like i've been doing for the last few months. combine that with the vodka for dinner and you have me being sluggish and bloated and crappy most of the time. it's time to correct that shit, my friends.

at the end of the day, i just feel like i need a break, in every way -- socially, bodily, the works. since mid-september, i've been travelling, working, socializing, spending money, boozing my face off, and not taking enough time to step back and focus on myself.

i'll still be blogging and such, and i'll definitely be present online, but please don't be offended or worried if you don't see me out and about in november. i just really need to try and embrace the isolation rather than running from it or distracting myself from it. i want to see if i can harness it creatively and make something out of it.

basically, i'd like to use this time to write. something. i've got something i need to get out of my system, so we'll see what happens.

in the meantime, be safe with your pre-halloween celebrations this weekend, and please send me candy to binge on before i cleanse all that delicious, delicious sugar out of my system for a month. thank u.

[ music | interpol, "leif erikson" ]

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

drifting in and out

oh yeah, and i might as well include this old scribble, because it doesn't matter so much -- not anymore, anyway. funny how time and distance will do that. but still, ever since then, i do think of this moment on navy pier every time i'm in the windy city. it's a little haunted for me too, now, but i suppose we carry our ghosts wherever we go.

written on a plane to chicago in december 2012:

And I think about the last time I was here.

I walked out to the very end of Navy Pier, listening to Tegan & Sara’s “Where Does The Good Go?” on a repeated loop. I sat on a bench at the edge and lit a cigarette with shaking hands, watching the gray waves crash against the docks as I breathed in, breathed out, and tried to figure out just how I’d ever thought this would make me happy. It hadn’t worked in 2006. It wouldn’t work now, and I was the bigger fool for believing it might.

I am not 23 anymore.

I’ve already said too much.

[ music | none ]

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

full moon

now that i'm back from my chicago weekend, i'll start with some introspective notes i scribbled throughout my trip for bloggage use later (aka now):

i've been asked many times before why i love chicago as much and as deeply as i do. and i get it - it must look strange for someone to adore a city that they're not from and have never lived in (and may never live in, what with how expensive working visas are). but something in chicago clicked with me the very first time i visited, taking the 12-hour redeye bus in september 2004 to see kill hannah play the metro. Maybe it was the rose-tinted light of concert road-trip nostalgia, but i felt connected to this city like i hadn't to any city since toronto. (a lot of people identify chicago as toronto's "sister city," and i absolutely agree with this assessment. it's basically the american toronto, which probably explains the connection i have with it.)

but i can't explain the feeling i get when i enter the city after a long bus ride, or a short plane ride. i get this big dumb smile on my face, and it suddenly feels like i can breathe again. it feels like coming home, although chicago has never been my home. but i've blithely described it as "the home of my soul" before, so let's stick with that. some part of me belongs here and will always identify this american metropolis as home.

by now, at my estimate, i've been to chicago nine times, staying as long as two weeks and as short as overnight. by now, i've walked so many of the downtown streets that i know exactly where things are and exactly where i'm going.

yet i still feel like a foreigner here. i still stand out just a bit by the way that i gaze at everyday things in awe - giant buildings, weird american grocery products - and the slurry way i pronounce certain vowels. i'm not from here. that much is obvious.

but i always like to pretend.

it makes me feel like i can be a different person - a better person, even - than i am in my everyday toronto life. i know that it's a trick of human nature to make one think that if you just find the right thing to fix or change, your life will be completely perfect, but that's how i feel when i'm here. i feel like maybe there's an alternate me in an alternate universe that's living it up in chicago, and that has her goddamn life together. at the very least, it always inspires me to get my own shit done once i'm back home in toronto, so maybe i can work towards that ideal life that i catch glimpses of when i'm here. blah blah.

lastly, solo travel pro tips that i had to remind myself of:

- keep your luggage with you; turn it inward so that the pockets face you and/or the bus wall, and sleep against it so people can't take stuff from it while you're asleep
- bring multiple changes of socks and underwear (wearing the same clothes for 24+ hours may feel grimy but it's not nearly so bad if you change your underthings, at least)
- tip your barista well if you're camping out at a cafe with one cup of coffee for hours (hint: starbucks won't hassle you if you're there for ages, but at least get a drink to nurse so you're not just loitering)

oh yeah, and i'm fairly sure mariano's laces their housemade chicago mix popcorn with crack.

so, there we go, and here we are. i survived yet another grand trip to the windy city, and predictably, i want to go back, like, now. i'm nowhere near miserable where i am - i still love toronto so much it makes me want to barf - but it's true what i wrote about how i feel like i can breathe in that city. it might just be the "vacation" mentality, but it's always such a nice escape for me.

still, i think this will be my last time taking the bus in. it's a 12-hour ride overnight, and as i've gotten older, it's taken me longer and longer to recover from the trek. it's just not worth being exhausted for two days and then having to leave on day three. so from here on, i think it'll be flying porter in and then bussing out -- because i don't care about feeling like garbage for a couple days once i'm home. i just don't like it killing my stamina for the vacation itself.

so after a brief period of recovery on thursday (okay, i really just ran around binny's, even though it makes me sad because i'm only able to bring back 1-3 bottles of stuff -- it's like being a kid set loose in toys r' us and being told you can only get one toy), i got to see adam's new music project live that night -- vapornet:

adam's resemblance to the also-named adam from only lovers left alive was so uncanny i wanted to tweet a photo and say something about watching tom hiddleston performing, but i was merciful.

i also got to wear this little getup:

always nice to get the garters out for show.

after late-night thai food and blessed, blessed sleep, friday was a day for rambling around the city, shopping and visiting lots of old haunts. i hit up yet another binny's (pushing my limits of how much vodka i could bring back to canada, but when do i not do that?), bought an ass-ton of delicious things at trader joe's (the dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups and chocolate-covered potato chips i got for my coworkers were definite hits), visited xoco for an aztec hot chocolate and intelligentsia for an americano, walked alongside grant park, made a face at the christmas(!) stuff in target, and so on. then there were happy reunion times with lustkiller brethren that i toured with last year, drinking, monster burritos (thank you, carbon), more drinking, more friends, and finally back to adam's place to keep drinking and eat sammy's ("hero puff?...gyro puff!") and watch hard core logo at 1 a.m. the next morning: ouch.

i dunno.

yet still, no rest for the wicked -- saturday was leafs-blackhawks game day! earlier on, adam and i went out to a north suburb of chicago to check out an e-cig place (he loves the stuff, i prefer to go cold turkey), and made it back through shitty traffic in just enough time to chill before heading off to union park for pregame dinner (and razzing from several 'hawks fans when i showed up in the blue & white -- one fan told me i had guts to be wearing a leafs jersey in a blackhawks bar, but i am nothing if not cheeky).

fake siblings, same hair.

this was my first time at the united center (aka the madhouse on madison), and holy shit, what a great place for a hockey game. real classy setup and super goddamn loud, just the way it should be. also, our seats were club level, so they were pretty goddamn fantastic:

i have a weird lumpy potato face.

another bonus was the cool season ticket holder sitting next to us with his grandkids -- when adam told him we were at the game for my birthday, he bought me booze. excellent.

i'm sure my dad would have been thrilled.

unfortunately, the leafs played like hot fucking garbage against the reigning stanley cup champs (who weren't that great either, but still far outplayed us), and so we lost. pretty badly at that. yet my mood wasn't completely dampened, since it's always a fun experience to see a game at enemy arenas -- you get a delightful sense of camaraderie with any other souls wearing your team's jersey (resulting in a lot of head nods and cheers and high-fives when you spot each other), and if you happen to be a girl wearing a little skirt and tall boots with her jersey, you, uh, get asked to pose for photos with people. cosplay memories.

sadly, there was no staying for an after-party (though i would've been extra mocked for my choice in garb by that point) -- my bus was leaving at midnight. on top of all the goodies i was smuggling home in my overstuff bags, adam graciously sent me back with a thumb drive with probably about one thousand goth, rock and punk songs. this one is my current obsession:

luv u, mish.

the trip was as exhausting and long as usual, with one unique bit of fun: there was a marathon happening at the crack of dawn in detroit, and since my bus rolled in there at 6 a.m. before transferring out to toronto an hour later, we got to see the parade of runners stopping in to the terminal to use the washroom before the race. definitely not the typical collection of scrubs and weirdos that the detroit bus terminal usually sees (and trust me, i would know).

then, 13 hours later: home. smelly, tired and stiff, but home with everything intact. hurrah!

now back to listening to this massive pile of music.

[ music | the mission uk, "tower of strength (12" bombay mix)" ]

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

tomorrow remember yesterday

and here we are again.

first off, a sappy thank-you and buzz of warm fuzzies for all the happy birthday wishes last week. it's been a long, weird journey - i started blogging publicly again when i was 21, and i opened up this blog on my 24th birthday - but it's cool that so many of you are still here with me. nothing makes one feel loved like a rush of sweet messages from acquaintances over the years.

i also treated myself to a new necklace:

you can take the goth out of the girl, but you can't- oh wait, never mind, you can't take the goth out of the girl.

birthday last week was low-key, unsurprisingly; i'd already thrown the wine & cheese party the previous weekend, and i had dinner out with friends the night beforehand, so my actual birthday itself was a pretty casual affair -- gym and errands then delicious tacos and red wine with douglas. oh, and followed by more drinking and watching the rest of the hockey game and baking cookies at midnight. all of my favourite pastimes!

also: ugh, 30.

okay, look, i get it. i do. i have a ton of friends who are already in their thirties and all of them - every single damn one of them - reassured me that it'll be the best time of my life. and logically, that makes sense -- no more of the uncertainty and hyperemotional bullshit that comes with one's twenties, right? thirties should be good, because you've got a firmer sense of self, better ideals, and a job that pays.

but here's the thing i've been trying to explain to people: i've built so much of my cachet around being young. and young, to me, is being in the twenties. for a girl who's always adored older men, being in my twenties was a prime "selling point" (and i know how ughhhhh that sounds). now that i'm in my thirties, i can't rely on that anymore. being conventionally young was part of my image, you know? and yes, i know a lot of people would still consider 30 to be young, but come on -- not really. twenties are young. teens are young (but creepy). not thirties. so yeah, it's trying to come to grips with that that's been bugging me. i can deal with parts of my identity changing -- i can't deal with the feeling like i lost part of my identity. and for some reason, although aging is completely normal, that's what this feels like right now. a loss, rather than a change or a transition.

in conclusion, fuck everything. let's move on.

thanksgiving weekend was weird. for one, my birthday had already happened (it's usually on the weekend itself sometime). for two, i only saw my father briefly on monday since he'd been in europe for the last two weeks (and i always spend at least a day with him when i'm in kingston). for three, we had thanksgiving dinner on monday rather than sunday, and since i was getting the train back to toronto that night, i spent the ride semi-drunk and suffering indigestion. good times.

but here comes the real vacation: i'm spending this thursday through late saturday night in my favourite city of chicago, illinois. i'll be boarding the ol' 6:30 p.m. bus to chicago tomorrow night, and i'll be rolling in at my usual time of quarter to 6 o'fucking clock in the morning on thursday. from there, it'll be pouring as much coffee down my throat as possible before meeting up with brother adam, then a vince clarke dj set to see that night, dvds to watch, binny's and trader joe's to ransack, favourite chicago streets to walk, and the leafs-blackhawks game to attend on saturday night. then i pack up all my shit and a gigantic backpack stuffed with delicious american snack foods, and go home.

i've done this trip so many times now that i'm cool with it; it really just does take a lot out of you to be on the goddamn bus for 12 hours. i'm likely to spend the majority of thursday as a walking zombie. anyway, my friends and family always warn me to be cautious, and my mom and dad forever worry about my safety when i make this trip (i always do it alone, after all), but like i said, i've done this trip more than half a dozen times by now, and i know how to handle myself. i know how to dress and how to walk and how to carry myself so that i don't get bothered by creepos and weirdos.

but it's a lonely trip. it is. it's 12 hours by yourself through the dead of night, and you have to hang alone both before and after as well. it's not the safety aspect i really think about - i'm of the belief that once you start being nervous, you start putting a target on your back - but it's the weird vague emptiness that comes with travelling alone when you'd sometimes rather have company. i'd always been good at travelling by myself, but once i started touring with the bands, it was the only thing i wanted to do. there's really nothing so fun as traversing the country with a pseudo-family of rock n' rollers. it's still the only thing i want.

i digress, though -- taking solo trips at this time of year is usually good for me, since i'm already in a weird nostalgic frame of mind to begin with. and in chicago - as when i'm in kingston - my brain always turns to sliding-doors type scenarios, in which i could be living a different life if i'd made a few different choices, and i wonder what my life would be like.

if i'd stayed in (or gone back to) kingston, i could be living in a much bigger apartment for much less money. i could see my family all the time instead of just 2-3 times a year. i could start a small business. i could take classes and learn new skills. i could start over, or start again, in a way.

if i'd stayed in my last job, i could have transferred to the chicago office. i could be an ex-pat living in my favourite american city. i could hang with adam a lot and learn music stuff from him. i could go to trader joe's and binny's whenever i goddamn want. i could make a new home for myself in a new country.

but then, as i related at the end of this blog post from august, i realize that what i have now - my life in toronto - is all i ever wanted. once the daydreams pass, i know that i'm exactly where i need to be right now.

wish me luck in the chicago invasion. back next week.

[ music | chameleons uk, "in shreds" ]

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

i'll keep the life that i've got

so i've been doing a lot of thinking lately about self-worth.

an uncomfortable truth about me is that for the last ten years, i have been judging myself by the opinion of others. i recognize that this is likely true for many people, but it's never easy to divorce yourself from the nagging feeling that you only matter insomuch as other people think you matter. this is the kind of thing that grinds you down, day by day, especially when you aren't getting any sort of validation from outside forces and that's what you generally need to get you through, as pathetic as it may be. but when it's up to you and you alone to reassure yourself that yes, you matter, you're good and you're okay...yeah, it's a struggle.

and for me, the driving force has been men. in my desperate and constant quest for their elusive approval, i've done some really bad things and i've made some really shitty life choices. i've driven myself to rock bottom and back in the process of, as stellastarr* put it, "trying so hard to be what you're dreaming of". i wanted to be who they wanted. i figured that the key to my happiness was to be embraced and accepted by some nebulous boy, somewhere, sometime; at some point in my life, once i got myself just right for them (not for me, never for me), i'd finally be worthy to be loved.

but here's the thing i've always sort of known, and finally begun to embrace: it's all fake. it's just made-up bullshit. for all these years, i've been borderline killing myself - with a smile on my face - in order to conform to some imaginary standards built upon delusional ideals.

and i'm at the point now where i've just stopped giving a fuck about crushing myself down in order to please others.

pinning your feelings of self-worth on how others think of you is immature, and it's a child's game. moreover, it's a trick, and it's a trap. it's something you fool yourself into believing when you're too young to know better. it's something that preys on you when you're not at the point where you can love yourself enough. but like i've said before, you can't rely on others to fix you, or save you, or make you feel worthwhile.

and it's especially okay when you realize, all of a sudden, that you do not give a single flying fuck about any of it. and that feeling may not last forever right now, but what matters is that it's taken hold deep down, and you know that eventually, once you're ready, none of that stupid bullshit will matter to you. nobody will ever make you feel fucking worthless again. because the parameters by which you measure your own self-worth are illusions and really, truly, none of it matters. this is where you step out of plato's goddamn cave. this is where it becomes real life, and none of them can fucking touch you.

today is my 30th birthday, and it's going to be a good day.

i won't ever let them make a loser of my soul

[ music | none ]

Monday, October 7, 2013

october sky

i love this month. i'm one of those fall people. (i'm also a winter person, which weirds a lot of people out, but fuck you i am a good canadian girl.) october is full of lovely colours and thanksgiving with my family and my birthday and my dad's birthday and halloween, the best of holidays. it's when the season really starts to turn, and i get all the nostalgic feels, and everything is like coming home.

despite this, i had a dark day last thursday. i don't exactly know what it was, but it was a perfect storm of seasonal depression and hormone rollercoaster bullshit and lingering sickness and all that nonsense. (ever since i was seventeen, i've had a weird dark period in early-to-mid october. i don't know what flipped the switch in 2000, but there it was.) i just felt low -- like, the deep kind of shitty sadness that makes you question yourself and your life and your choices. combine that with the fact that i was still struggling to get over a brutal cold, and i was basically bursting into tears for no single discernible reason. it was just everything, man. anybody who's had experiences with depression knows what that black hole feels like, and this time was enough to make me worry a little bit for my well-being. i definitely don't want to go back down that hole again.

then, thankfully, things got better -- starting on friday, a day spent team-bonding with coworkers over bowling:

followed by a most excellent barbeque at our art director's place:

never mind the fact that i got home relatively early and then spent a good half-hour barfing up an entire bottle of red wine -- it was still a ridiculously fun time with lots of awesome people, and it definitely made me pull my socks up and feel better about my life and situation. when you've got so many cool people around who are happy for your company and you theirs, nothing can be that bad -- not even when you're drunkenly hurling up your dinner. (amazingly, i've lived in this apartment for over a year now but this was the first time i'd christened the toilet. compared to my first vancouver apartment - where i got so drunk the second weekend i lived there that i didn't even make it the six steps to my bathroom and just barfed on the carpet instead - and i think i'm making progress)

of course, then i had to shake off the hangover (water, water, coffee, aspirin, cardio, spin class, more water, long walk in the fresh air) because i had a wine & cheese party to host saturday night.

and yes, kind of the best. eight of my closest and oldest friends came by, bringing me bottles of wine and delicious cheeses and cupcakes and lovely birthday cards, and we sat around getting hammered with the leafs game on in the background (because it was my apartment and there was no other choice) and lamenting the fact that we don't all get together like this nearly as often as we should. before the night was out, we were already planning our next social hangs, which is precisely how it should be. (i also now have plenty of wine and a giant bag of popcorn and cupcakes in the freezer for later cravings. success!)

so all in all, after a rather bleak pre-october period, i got hit upside the head with a solid reminder that i have great friends, and i have great coworker-friends, and nothing is ever so bad as i think it is. also, i got a copy of this for cheapz at sonic boom so holy shit yes:

also, the leafs are in first place in the nhl overall, so how could there be any bad in the world?


so chin up, silly girl -- there's plenty to look forward to. my boss kindly ordered me to take wednesday off for my birthday, and then i have friday off as well so i can head to kingston to see my family all weekend, and then i'm only back in toronto for two days before i'm off to chicago from the 17th to the 19th. the rest of october's looking to be a busy whirlwind of going places and doing things, so i'm barely gonna be letting the foot off the gas until november. and that's just the way it ought to be.

[ music | metric, "synthetica" ]