Friday, December 29, 2017

maybe in another life

welcome back to the frosty city!

(clearly i'm not complaining, as it has been well documented how much i love the cold, but it's always a bit of a shock when toronto gets those first few "extreme cold alert" days. adjust! adjust fast!)

okay so i'm doing this blog post a couple days in advance of new year's day, just so i can get my last kicks in at 2017 and hopefully start off 2018 right. i realized i hadn't done a year-end wrapup/goals for the new year blog post in like a billion years, so hi hello here we are. (i used to do these somewhat yearly but fell out of the habit)

and honestly? it's a good year to do one of these, especially when it comes to making better, more achievable goals for myself. it's not that i'm running out of time to have an awesome fulfilled life, necessarily, but year over year i'm becoming more aware of how much time i'm wasting, and how many opportunities are slipping away from me. stop the world, damn it, i want to get off.

so here's a list of stuff i want to start working on in 2018, in order to really get out there and have a life as opposed to something i'm just going through the motions for:

see friends more, set up more hangs, say yes to every invite if you can. i've been really thinking i ought to do one of those "year of yes" things, where you don't turn down any opportunity and just see what happens. over the last year or so - really, mostly because i've been single - i've found that i do tend to turn down a lot of my friends asking if i want to hang out. i tell myself so many excuses - i'm tired, i need to go to the gym, i don't have the money, i don't want to stay out late on a work night - but i need to cut that shit out this year. my connections with my friends suffer for it, and i need people more than ever (again, see: now that i've been single, as it really does shift the framework of how you spend your free time).

stuff i could and should be doing more of: movies, dinners, house parties, art installations, sports events, nights out at the bars (wrestling-related social plans are already a given, and you're damn right i'm going to keep up with those in the new year) - just, like, try to be fucking social again. i have been before, so it's not like i've totally lost my extrovert side. i just need to rediscover it, you know? it's far too easy to be a hermit in this city.

work more on photography. i've always enjoyed taking photos, and my parents have really stressed that i've always had an eye for it. that doesn't mean that i've ever been motivated enough to go drop thousands of dollars on expensive camera equipment, but i think this year i should put some more time and effort into it. i already have plans to get a new phone once i'm done paying off my (frankly massive) income tax debt in april, and the #1 quality i'm looking for is the best camera i can find - because honestly, i don't want to be lugging around camera equipment all the time. part of the appeal of working on my photography, for me, is being able to do it spontaneously and from anywhere, so i rely on my smartphone for that.

also, honestly, it may be dumb but being able to go out and take cool photos is a huge motivator for me to go do stuff. even if my life is otherwise very average, i can still keep a visual record of the fun stuff i've been doing in between the everyday banality.

work more on writing. this includes aiming for at least writing two new blog posts per week. you all can hold me to that, if you want. but also, i should start looking outwards towards doing more topical writing; the clear answer here is that i ought to begin writing about wrestling, finally, though i'm not entirely sure where to begin. of course, i know that the answer is that i need to just find an outlet and jump right in. we'll see where this takes me.

earmark money for travel in 2018 (and 2019). i mentioned it briefly before, but it was announced that rammstein aren't touring in 2018, with the (tentative) plan instead (maybe) being to release the new album in fall 2018 before doing the big tour in 2019. disappointing news, but at least that gives me more time to 1) get even better at german and 2) save a fuckton of money so i can attend many many dates across europe in 2019. but beyond that, i should be looking to save money so i can have more freedom to just...go places. i clearly want to start looking at wrestling trips as soon as i can, but it would be great to get out and see a little more of the world as well.

get more tattoos. cost-dependent, clearly, but i always have a need to get more work done, and i think i need to make a goal to aim for in 2018. maybe two new tattoos? three? i already have a few ideas, so now it's a matter of earmarking additional funds to go towards getting more ink. it's not the cheapest hobby, but i do love it so much.

listen to more/new music. is anyone surprised to find out that i listened to rammstein exclusively for like eight months straight in 2017? as much as i love them and depend on their tunes to comfort me and keep me grounded, i really ought to spread out some more and put my shit back on random shuffle. this probably means i also should start listening to more, uh, current stuff - i get jealous reading peoples' "best albums of XXXX year" lists, because they remind me that i'm so behind - and i need to make time for that. broadening my horizons and such.

work on german. this has been a constant for me for almost a year now - directly related to the whole "listening to rammstein for eight months" thing mentioned above; i couldn't stand not understanding what the all-german lyrics meant - and i'm still dedicated to it on a daily basis. i'm not sure what the next step is - buy more books? actually take physical classes? find a german club in toronto so i can practice my speaking? - but we'll see. sticking with this (on my own, without encouragement) has been such a source of accomplishment for me in 2017, and i want to keep it up.

stop spending money on dumb shit. this does not include gifts for people; i love buying gifts for people when i know they'll be appreciated (and i'm a very good gift-giver). but in 2017, i did waste a lot of money on stupid things for myself that either didn't work out (see: ring of honor tickets for las vegas) or that i didn't need (see: so much makeup). i need to be smarter about my spending in 2018 if i ever want to climb out of my ridiculous debt.

learn how to play bass? question mark because i've considered doing it for years, and maybe in 2018 i should just take the plunge. my friend emma plays drums, so between the two of us we could be a sweet duo. again, a cost-dependent hobby, but maybe this is finally the year that i give it a shot.

so! that's my list of...not quite resolutions, i guess, but personal goals and things i want to work on in the upcoming 2018. i think it's a good place to start; clearly i can't tackle all of them all at once, but that list is at least something to work towards in small increments throughout the year. just a number of little ways that i can start making my life count for real, and hopefully become more fulfilling to me beyond the banal everyday routines.

but hey, a lot of big things happened this year, too:

i got my nipples pierced after having wanted to do it since 2009, and i got a new tattoo (my 11th!) that i still love so much - both choices somewhat spontaneous, but i regret nothing. i saw ring of honor not just once, but twice (and even going to buffalo for the second one!). i went to rockfest all on my own, and i saw my favourite band of the year live from front row. i went back to vancouver for the first time in eight years. i had lots of nice sarahah anons inspire some writing, including this piece which i still really like. i was reflective on my birthday. i cried at logan. i had a band bring me back to who i was and their music saved my sanity all year long. i spent almost the entire year learning german and i'm currently sitting at 71% fluency. i was brave and took a chance on something, and though it didn't turn out the way i'd hoped, it turned out the way it was supposed to.

i'm thankful for everything i've learned from 2017, really, whether about myself or others. sure, i made some mistakes, but i also made so many new friends this year, and there are so many important people in my life, and i'm grateful for all of them, and you out there reading this.

the two vitals truths i need to remember for 2018:

- when someone tells you who they are, believe them.
- everyone in your life right now is there for a reason.

i hope we all learn something. learned something.

maybe next year.

[ music | florence + the machine, "only if for a night" ]

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

living after midnight

it is here! holiday party season.

me and my best girl emma at my office's holiday party on december 1st. ho ho's

...okay, i mean, it's more or less over by now, and many of us are just focusing on getting our shopping done and getting home for the holidays because holy shit are they ever coming up soon. i was so focused on my vancouver trip that i barely even thought about the fact that christmas was on the immediate horizon, which is only a bit weird because i love the festive season, but i've got a one-track mind most of the time. (also, vancouver was very very pretty all dressed up for christmas, so i definitely got some of that vibe while i was away at least)

not as many holiday parties this year didn't mean i still couldn't pick up this much-longed for romper, though:

honestly, i saw that cute little dress online, like, a month ago, but hadn't found it in stores until a couple weeks back. the price tag wasn't too horrifying, so i picked it up. i'm glad i already happen to own boob tape. (come on, of course i own boob tape.) (it's not like i have a lot of boob to tape down, but i do get a bit self-conscious wearing things that are low-cut, so yeah, time to tape that shit in.)

here's the kit paired with the face full o' slap (and a different filter):

hope you’re keeping some kind of record

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(the caption is from leonard cohen's "famous blue raincoat" - i always listen to tori amos's killer cover of it a lot at this time of year) sometimes i wear torn jeans and wrestling t-shirts, sometimes i get fancy. i am multitudes.

see: this very perfect tweet encapsulating me.

ahhhh, there it is.

still, partying aside, i've been wayyyyyyyy behind on getting my christmas stuff done and dusted. to be fair, i knew i'd be in the shit - like i said, i'd decided that i was just going to focus on my vancouver trip first and foremost, and take care of christmas stuff after i got back - but yeah, it's been a mad scramble on this year. i got pretty hosed on travel costs to kingston because i waited too long to book anything, and i had to dash around to a bunch of stores this past weekend to get all my gift shopping finished. i have a pretty large extended family and not a lot of imagination (read: i don't see my family all that much, so i don't really know what they want or need), so like, gift cards for everybody! (me included, thx)

yet tomorrow i'm cashing in on one of my more unconventional gift requests: i asked my mom if she could pay for me to get a one-time cleaning service on my apartment. yes, i have a maid coming in tomorrow. it absolutely feels a little bougie, but it's going to be a one-off thing for me, just because my place feels really grimy in the corners and stuff. my shower/bathtub is a monstrosity and i want to be able to have some good soaks when i return from kingston.

(also, i have a brief housemate joining me when i get back: i'm catsitting emma's little kitty brody for a week while she's away in nyc. more reason to at least have a base clean to start with.)

in the meantime, there was wrestling last weekend!

...yeah, it's a rare weekend when there isn't something wrestling-related going on in toronto, really. (my father, who calls me every sunday, has long since learned to ask "so what wrestling stuff is happening today?") that's one of the best parts about living in this city, for me anyway - if there isn't a ppv on tv to watch on sundays with friends, then there's an indy show happening somewhere in toronto. this month, i went out to greektown wrestling in the east end, particularly because they had the two joeys on their bill: joey janela and joey ryan, whom i both adore.

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i was also the lucky recipient of joey's blow-pop (which, yes, i sucked on throughout the match because what are you gonna do):

pro wrestling is hilarious and fun, forever.

at the same time, though, there was also a wwe ppv happening, so not only did i join my regular crew beforehand to play some wwe 2k14, but i left and came back after the wrestling show was done to finish off the ppv with everyone. it's a very convenient day in toronto when all the public transit is free. so that made for three late nights in a row - i watched roh final battle on friday night, then went to a dive bar with girlfriends on saturday - but i really wanted to cram as much facetime with friends in as possible before we all depart for our respective families and homes.

speaking of that, i'm outta here soon - today is my last day at work before holidays, then it's emma's birthday tomorrow night so i wanted to stick around for that, but i'm taking the bus to kingston on friday afternoon and i'll be there with my family until december 27th. no computer, so likely no blog posts til i'm back, but i'll still be tweeting like mad and instagramming festive photos (my mother goes all out with decorating the house), so you can still follow along with my dumb life if you choose!

ok be good, stay awesome.

p.s. i don't flog it as much anymore but my sarahah is still operational, if you ever want to drop me an anonymous line in this holiday season of madness.

[ music | rammstein, "das modell" ]

Thursday, December 14, 2017

some kind of resolution

so if you don't follow along with me on the ol' social media machine - click click - you may have missed the fact that i was just in my former home of vancouver for five days!

even though i haven't been blogging lately, it's true, it was a bit of a spontaneous decision brought about by a number of factors coming together: rammstein announced that they're not touring until 2019, which freed up a bunch of my savings for fun travel; westjet had a black friday sale so i got a cheaper return flight than i'd ever gotten; i was long overdue (eight years!) to see my old west coast friends.

plus, come on - i'm not great with air travel but i knew i needed to get over that anxiety. it had been five years since i'd set foot on an airplane, and that was long enough, thanks. (i'm looking to do some work travel next year, so it's smart to start getting used to flying again) time to buck up and face my fears.

and: fears were faced! honestly, as i always realized afterward, it's never so bad as i think it's going to be. (though yeah, the multiple glasses of red helped.) and from there, i landed in incredibly foggy vancouver, back to the place i'd once run away to.

i was staying at the cambie hostel right downtown, mostly because 1) it was dirt cheap ($168 for five nights!) and 2) i thought it'd be a riot to stay above the cheapass bar i used to get tanked at all the time, and it worked out fine for me - i only ever need a convenient place to shower and sleep, after all. plus, the cambie is right down in gastown, a very lovely neighbourhood with some fine architecture:

but when i got in to vancouver proper, i was pretty geographically lost due to plenty of new buildings (who'd have thought infrastructure could change in eight years, right?), though i still managed to get around fine after the first day - when i lived in van, i spent most of my free time wandering the city while listening to music, and my muscle memory is very good for remembering my way around cities. it was still a bit jarring to see how different everything is now post-olympics - i hadn't been to the city since 2009, after all - but at least the new skytrain stuff was super convenient.

over the course of the weekend, i went back to my old neighbourhoods - kits, north van, the cafe i managed at west hastings & burrard - and did a hell of a lot of walking, as per usual. also managed to pack in a couple of local delicacies - the coffee (my favourite in canada) and donut (i got a peanut butter & jelly donut which, as you can see, was the size of a plate) combo at 49th parallel:

and the glorious terimayo japadog, which i'd always wanted to try but couldn't when i lived in vancouver because i was a vegetarian then (dumb idea, i know):

not to mention a wonderful dinner of curry and cocktails with my west-coast sister melissa:

Curry overload

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Red lips sink ships

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plus - plus! - i was lucky enough to be in vancouver during a weekend when an eccw show was happening, which means i got to experience indy wrestling west-coast style:

it's true, i find the wrestling wherever i go.

another bit of good timing was in the city while the vancouver christmas market was going on, and old toronto pal katy (who now lives in port moody) and i headed off to see the sights:


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and take in the view from the olympic cauldron:

(that there is north vancouver, where i first lived when i moved out west in 2007. i have bleary memories of getting up at 6:30 a.m. to catch the 7 a.m. seabus to the mainland for work, eating energy bars and trying not to fall asleep along with all the other early-work zombies.)

cap that off with plenty of wine and pizza with melissa and her adorable bunny rabbits and it was a good final day in van. (and i'd finally managed to re-conquer the bus/skytrain system, which felt like a great success. i only took two cabs while i was there and my wallet was pretty, pretty grateful.) one last sleep at the hostel, one last skytrain ride to the airport, and after a 2-hour delay due to bad weather in toronto (yeah, you know that didn't settle my anxiety one bit) we were up in the air and headed home late tuesday night.

but it was all something of a mindfuck, for sure, being back in the city that i once gave up everything for and tried so hard to love. ten years ago to the day, i would have still been living in kitsilano, still working at the coffee shop, and it was hard not to see the ghosts. it was bizarre to feel that overlap being back out there ten years in the future, remembering how conflicted i was then, both exhilarated and miserable in equal measure. and it was only a few days ago that i drank coffee and smoked and looked out over the water and all i could think was, my life is in reruns but the tape's running in reverse.

but i am back in toronto now, and i want to wrap this city around me like a big smelly blanket. i'm not going to harp too much on the stuff i already wrote about, because everything's said and done and things are in a good place, but being back in toronto has always helped with getting my shit together. this place is my center. that's why it was so hard for me to stay in vancouver all those years ago - because i know, instinctively, that toronto is where i've always belonged. and, like i wrote in my birthday entry, you have to always know who you are.

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[ music | florence + the machine, "no light, no light" ]

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

i’m holding on to nothing just as fast as i can

alright so i’m going to be vague enough here that i don’t imply too much, but it’s likely easy to read between the lines. (and i’m not fielding questions or requests for specifics, sorry.) as always, though, i need to write it out, so here we go, here’s why i’ve been so absent lately:

i’ve been distracted for the last four months.

the thing about distractions is that they can be both good and bad: good because you don’t have to focus on other things, but bad because you just don’t focus on other things. and after four months, this distraction was reaching its tipping point for me. i had to do something, to figure something out, to either move forward or to close the door.

so, i did something. and in taking that chance, i knew i had to be straightforward and honest and i had to be brave, because i was taking the bull by the horns and taking my shot. and maybe, just maybe, things would turn out in the way that i’d hoped so hard for.

they didn’t. is a bit crushing, you know, to put yourself out there and not get what you want. it feels like, if you do a big thing, it should work out for you, right? it should work out the way you wanted.

but life is funny and fucked up in equal measures, and one thing that always needs to be remembered is that other people are not you. everyone has a different lens that they see the world through, and it’s a mistake if you think everyone views things the same way as you do. you can’t be solipsistic. you have to accept that everyone is the main character in their own story, and they look at the world in their own way, not yours.

so for me, i had been seeing a completely different viewpoint, and i had been convinced it was the only one, when it wasn’t. the distraction was a blind side of my own making. and i was levelled.

it was rough, i’m not going to lie. if you invest so much time and emotion into something and it just doesn’t work out, to no fault of anyone involved, it’s rough. it leaves a void. it’s a reality you were not prepared for, even if you’d had your doubts, even if you knew it wasn’t a sure thing, not really. but you wanted to believe.

yet even as i was a total mess in the aftermath, i realized with 100% clarity what i needed to do.

sure, i could cut and run. i could burn that bridge to the fucking ground and try not to look back. but...if i did that, i would lose something that was still special in its own way. just because it was different from what i thought it would be didn’t make it worth just throwing away. and i didn’t want to, at all.

i’m not saying it was easy. i was crushed. i was confused and numb and sad and i cried on and off for three days straight. i’m still carrying some of that sadness, and i will for a while, because i have to mourn the sudden loss of something i’d happily focused on for so long.

but as always, you have to have acceptance in the end, and you have to look for the silver linings and the positive takeaways, and i’m doing that. because i don’t want to make the last four months meaningless. i have to put in the work, because all this requires me to be a bigger person than i thought i would be if faced with this.

it doesn’t mean i don’t wish things were different. holy shit, with all my heart i wish things were different. but if i dwell on that and all the what-ifs and if-onlys, it’ll just be another distraction, and it’s going to prevent me from growing and learning from all this. and i at least need to take some lessons from this. i learned some things about myself, and the value of other people who care about me, and my own heart. i was brave, and i took a chance. that’s not nothing.

and life is funny. you never know how things may come back around or what may happen in the future. maybe someday you’ll laugh about this. maybe someday this will all make sense, why it worked out the way it did.

don’t burn that bridge. you just never know.

anyway, that’s all.

(i think this fever’s gonna break.)

[ music | holy ghost!, “it must be the weather” ]