Sunday, April 26, 2015

5 things my inside voice says out loud when you aren’t listening


Please note: This is not a true story. Sure parts of it may ring true to me or to you or to the people we read about in magazines while we wait in line at the grocery store…or maybe I just dreamed all this shit up….the point is, the thoughts described below in no way, shape or form are meant to represent present reality and if they do it is entirely coincidental. So if you don’t mind, let’s not call this a true story but instead let’s just call it creative expressionism.

And if you do find yourself leaning towards truth when you read this post, then I empathize with you because that reality is an extremely painful place to be. 

5 things my inside voice says out loud when you aren’t listening

1.
My perfectionism can be exhausting.
And I look at my life and just wish it was over.
And no, I don’t want to kill myself.
I’m just saying if today turned out to be my day to die, I would be extremely grateful for that.

And yes, on those days I may fantasize a lot, in very graphic detail, about walking into traffic.

2.
Sometimes I feel, that no matter how hard I try, I will always be this flawed person unworthy of love.

From an intellectual point of view I know this is utter bullshit.
But from an emotional point of view, as in, I feel this to be true on a cellular level; I’m not quite as disbelieving.

It is hard to separate thoughts from feelings and emotions from thoughts.
Sometimes it is so hard to separate, I cannot differentiate between thoughts, feelings or emotions.

My feelings are so strong, my emotions explode out of me and the thoughts attached, form bonds so tight in my brain they become truth.

3.
It feels like someone took an ice cream scoop to my chest and scraped my heart out.
The emptiness pummels my gut so hard, I can’t breathe.
And spikes of shooting pain flow from my core and vomit out of me.  

I’m a disease with no cure.
A plague upon my humanity.

4.
Some days it doesn’t matter what happened, I have failed.
It comes from living a life where I never felt I could do the right thing and as a consequence I felt constantly punished for it.

People ask me if I believe in hell.
And I say yes.
I know there is a hell because I live there.

5.
It doesn’t matter if you hate me, love me, are indifferent towards me or don’t even know who I am, I will interpret all your interactions with me as a failure on my part.

You will never be able to fulfil the ideal I have of you in my head.
That ideal of how things should be between us.
That is because the ideal is not tangible it is an emotional state.
An emotional state that warms, decimating my foundational truth that everything I do is wrong.

Somehow my interactions with you should make me feel better.
But I never feel better.
You will never be good enough for me.
Because I am never good enough for me.

***

Now that I got that out of me, I’m going to go eat some cookies and watch Daredevil on Netflix.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Have you ever confused a dream with life?

This is the question that jumps out at me from the spine of my April 2015 Nylon magazine. That exact magazine that is currently residing on my coffee table atop of a Vogue and Elle Canada magazine (see Figure 1). I don't bother to look at the spines of the other two magazines because they don't ask me questions that inspire blog posts.

Figure 1: Fashion mags that live in my home.
Now, more interestingly than the Nylon question, which just happens to be the title of this blog post, is the question: "when the fuck did Andrea start reading fashion magazines?"

First off you don't read fashion magazines you look at the pretty pictures...ok I'm kind of joking but not really.

I kind of consider fashion magazines to women what pornography is to men. Except I'm pretty sure women do more reading than men because of our whole verbal, communication and emotional cognitive dimensions being far superior to men's. And when I say superior I mean far more developed, kind of like higher on the evolutionary scale. Don't feel bad men, as you are far more superior in the "act first think later" cognitive dimension.

And just to be clear I am not talking down to you men. I'm kind of envious of that part of your brain. See when I act first and think later they put me on medication because I'm defined as being impulsive, erratic, perhaps some would say, a little aggressive. But no if I was a man I could make the call to drop two nuclear bombs on a country and somehow that type of behaviour does not require psychiatric attention. So when I say I'm a feminist I'm fighting for that type of equality. I want to be able to drop bombs on a country too!! No fair!

Which brings me to the dream I had, you know the one I confused with life (read: the dream I really wished was my life). Yes, in my dream I was the leader (read: dictator) of a lovely nation in a tropical climate. I think if I was a dictator I would like to rule a country where it is warm the majority of the time, so I can go running all year round. And of course I would go running with my entourage of super fit and sexy ex-mousad agents, after all if you are going to have someone take a bullet for you they may as well as be super hot. Why?! Because it is always more interesting when hot people die.

Anyways, back to my dream. Not much happened in the dream that would have necessarily made me think it was a dream. And no, me being a dictator in a dream does not make me automatically realize I'm dreaming, it is actually quite a natural fit, on account of me being all anal and controlling.

I think the whole dream was about me strategizing with others about some take down of a militant group, a neighbouring country perhaps...but really who we were trying to take down is kind of irrelevant, the important part was that there seemed to be a lot of paper work involved in coming up with this strategy, which of course made the dream feel like I was working. And when I feel like I'm working I feel like I'm awake in my life not asleep in my bed dreaming.

Another part of the dream was about my boyfriend, and true that should have made me realize it was a dream if I had that dream last night, which I didn't, so yes, at the time I had this dream I did have a boyfriend. I remember I found my boyfriend really annoying in the dream because he wanted all this attention from me and I remember thinking "WTF dude?! I'm the dictator of this super awesome nation about to go to war I don't have time for your drama!!" Naturally my boyfriend started cheating on me, which makes sense because I was so not paying attention to him and his needs. And then when he confessed to cheating on me, I replied "good, will you leave me alone now?"
Aspiring dictator and her two cronies.

Anyways, I'm sure you can now see how I would confuse this dream with life.

Confused?! Don't be, it is really simple actually. Here is a numbered list to help ease your confusion.

1. I would rather spend my time and energy in the public sphere than the private sphere (i.e., I would rather work than have a relationship with a man child), and
2. My preference is to control everything and everyone around me.

And no this revelation should not scare you, unless of course you find self-aware people scary, I'm talking preference not how I live my life, I'm just saying if I could be a dictator I would.

"I'm talking to you bitches!"


Sunday, April 12, 2015

How I spent my Easter vacation

Day 1 – April 3rd, Good Friday

I got to sleep in. Yup, I didn’t have to get up early (read: 5 am) and run, which was a good thing because the night before I spent hanging out at the surgical ward with my Dad who had just been admitted to the hospital.

Yup. Didn’t know what was going on with my Dad other than the fact that he may bleed to death as a result of this necessary surgery. I don’t know about you but if I was going to get to pick the one fact about my Dad I could know at that moment, his impending death would not be the factoid I would choose. #justsaying

The details that I knew at the time where very little and not very reliable so it was more like me trying to patch together a story out of half truths. Kind of like how you must feel reading my blog!

So something about a rapidly growing possibly cancerous growth on the side of my Dad’s neck and something about a biopsy and something about needing chemo because if this “tumor” keeps growing untreated over the next two weeks, well, my Dad won’t see the end of those 2 weeks.

Sounds all alarming and shit; however, it’s cancer, so actually it just sounds like the typical trajectory of a patient who has been diagnosed with cancer. At least that’s how I see it, which btw is kind of off putting for all those around me who don’t view the world like me. Oh, and telling those other people who think differently than me (i.e., everyone else) that we are all going to die, and that all of us are going to get cancer eventually if we insist on staying alive long enough, usually does not make them feel better. #justsaying

The good news was my visit with my Dad was awesome. My Dad was thoroughly entertained with stories of my non-dating dating life and of course he loved when I did some readings from my blog. Even the nurses got involved but it was mostly to ask me if I could read my blog quietly because there were too many F-bombs coming from the room. Apparently there is some correlation between recovery time from surgery and exposure to profanity.  Although, I’m dubious because when I asked to see the evidence to support that statement it was met with the closing of the room door. 

Well at least I could finally drop my F-bombs in peace.

So back to Good Friday!  While my Dad was having surgery I hung out with my Mom. We also had a lovely time together. Made me think how cool it would be to hang out more when not faced with the imminent death of a family member. #ToDoList

The cool thing about end of life is I get to espouse my views on death and dying, which are pretty awesome if I do say so myself (#futureblogpost), and no one looks at me like I have a third arm growing out of the left frontal lobe of my brain. Nope. It is perfectly reasonable to talk about death when people are dying or close to dying. And to be clear when I say people are dying I do not mean in the Sylvia Plath way (we are all dying from the second we are born) I mean in the let’s finalize the will and pick out the tombstone kind of dying.

So yes, I learned a valuable social skill on that Good Friday: it is ok to talk about death when people are dying. I also learned that people still don’t find it funny when you refer to Jesus as a zombie because of the whole resurrection thing. Also the level of hilarity of Zombie Jesus does not increase in probability based on the fact that someone in your immediate family may die of cancer. Although, you may be excused for your talk of the Zombie Jesus because of some kind of perceived shock people think you may be in from hearing the news that your Dad may die.  #LifeLessons #SocialSkills

So my Dad survived the surgery and was going to start his first of 6 cycles of Chemo. Yay!

I can’t remember what else happened that day but I probably went home and had a nap and then continued my marathon of Bloodline.

Day 2 – slept, ate and watched Bloodline.

Day 3 – ran, slept, ate and watched Bloodline.

Day 4 – Easter Monday (aka Zombie Jesus day) – met with my designer regarding my pattern making for my own line of running clothes. Yeah, I’ve fallen behind a bit so we met to see if we could get me moving again. I’ve been so tired lately, likely because of my ultra marathon training and lack of appropriate levels of sleep due to that whole Dad-Cancer-Possibly-Dying thing. I feel behind on so much right now. And yeah sure, where I think I should be is some arbitrary place that I have decided on based on my perfectionist view of the world, so I’m not taking it as bad as I normally would have. Although, that could just be depression…

Photo taken w/o permission from Johnfdtaff
Saw my coach, talked about training and I bought some new shoes. Apparently when one runs a stupid amount of mileage they need to replace their running shoes more. Fuck! I need a sponsor!! These shoes are like $170 a pop. And I’m replacing them every 3 months!

Probably spent the rest of the day dreaming up inventive ways to get sponsorship from Adidas/Nike for not being an elite athlete but for being me. I’m sure there is a way I can get sponsorship for being a cute & adorable writer with a hilariously awesome blog who manages to stay super amazing and stylish despite suffering from a Major Depressive Disorder, right!? Oh! And we can also add to the "I’m a cute & adorable, hilariously-awesome-stylish-depressed blogger" list: Dad may “possibly” die of cancer

I feel there is a sponsorship in that story somewhere…

Day 5-7 - ran all three days, went to the gym to lift weights on Day 5 but didn’t make it to the gym for Day 7 because I was at the hospital with my lovely awesome Mom and sister to take my Dad through the steps required for him to start chemo the next day.

BTW there were A LOT of steps. Like a whole day worth of steps!

So yeah, fun Andrea fact: I’m a very dramatic (sometimes referred to as explosive) person at times and one of those times is when I process uncomfortable emotions (say emotions that may be brought up if one’s Dad has cancer and is about to start chemo the next day).

Additional fun Andrea fact: I like to process my emotions alone. I do not like other people to see me fall apart.

Best place for Andrea to process her uncomfortable emotions while hanging out at the hospital with a shitload of other people: The Hospital Chapel

I got to tell you, if you ever want to be alone at a hospital go to the chapel. NO ONE is there. I mean, if someone is there, they are likely to be so distraught they won’t care if you break down and cry and snot all over yourself; there will be no judgement. Which is actually kind of ironic for me, as I have always felt judged in religious settings.

And my logic was solid. There was no one at the Chapel. I went in and sat in the 2nd pew on the right hand side. I wasn’t sure why I chose to sit there at first and then I started crying and you know what? If you sit behind another pew you can rest your arms and head on its back, which makes for a good position for your body to let all your emotions out.  #LifeLesson

Anyways, I don’t know how long I hung out there but it was long enough for me to snot right through both sleeves of my shirt (5 minutes?!). Then I went home, ate food, talked to no one and watched Bloodline.  I may also have binge eaten 5 pounds of Belgium chocolate. #Truth

Day 8 – while my Dad went for his first round of chemo, which took over 7 hours to fully administer 4-5 drugs, I worked on my taxes.  I think my Dad enjoyed his experience more (see figure 1), as you will note the smile on his face, whereas no one smiles when they do their taxes. NO ONE. The chemo went really well for my dad. He tolerated all the drugs as well as one can for being injected with a shitload of drugs. And he has little to no side effects from the treatment. In fact, we hung out on Day 10 together and compared his side effects of chemo to my side effects of training for an ultra marathon and they are pretty comparable actually. We are both super tired, occasional nausea (his from drugs mine from dehydration), prone to falling asleep while someone is talking to you and you aren’t moving (actually that is me all the time as I often get bored when I’m not the one doing the talking).

Figure 1: Happy not to be doing taxes!
And sure my Dad will start to lose his hair in 3 weeks and maybe some think that is a bad thing but I think it is awesome! I suggested he shave his head and get a motorcycle so he can look all badass. My Dad concurred that him becoming a badass biker did seem like a reasonable course of action for him to take following the completion of his chemo treatments (Chemo brain side effect?!).

So there you have it. My 10 days off probably could have been a bit more productive and relaxing; however, I did learn some valuable life lessons, as well I learned that I would probably make a horrible guidance counselor as we can pretty much sum up the advice* I would give as:

We are all going to die and we will probably die of cancer so we might as well shave our heads and join a biker gang.

* Please note that this “advice” is placed here for comedic and entertainment purposes only and in no way or shape represents any true or actual advice that I would give or even refer to as  advice to be given to an alive human being.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter at Emma's


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“Super poo.” That is the name on the bottle I’m holding.

Kaper: Best I’ve ever used.

A: You wash your hair with this?

K: Oh yeah it makes my hair silky smooth, feel it. (holds out his ponytail for me to touch)

A: No thanks, I’m good. (I back away from Kaper ensuring there is a good 3 feet between us)

Now I know what you are wondering: what is Super Poo? And who in their right mind would name their child Kaper?

Figure 1: Super Poo
First off, “Super Poo” is the name of 2 in 1 shampoo conditioner product for horses (see Figure 1). As for the story of Kaper, I’m going to have to start back at the beginning.

So let me set the stage for you: a cute and adorable gal who never likes to leave her house ends up at an Easter dinner with a family she had never met before. Naturally, this dinner turns into a catastrophe of non-epic proportions but a catastrophe none the less. And if we had to blame anyone for this catastrophe I think we would all agree that it was Emma’s fault. 

Who is Emma? Well she is one of my run peeps who happened to invite me to Easter dinner at her house and I did not have the good sense to decline but instead followed my gut, which apparently wanted to eat stupid amounts of meat products, and agreed to this indecent proposal.

Ok. Not indecent proposal like I was offered a million dollars to sleep with some previously hot but now wrinkly old rich dude. I mean indecent proposal because apparently agreeing to meet ones family on Easter means you want to sleep with said woman who invited you to dinner and how the fuck was I supposed to know that Emma was a lesbian and was interested in me?!

Ok, sure, she had brought up all the women she dated on our long runs together and she mistook my silence as active listening when really I was just reciting a Shakespearean soliloquy on repeat in my head in order to drown out her boring relationship stories.

“Oh that this too too solid flesh
would thaw and resolve itself into a dew…”

And no it is not ironic that the one soliloquy I have memorized of Shakespeare’s just happens to the lesser known Hamlet soliloquy (Act 1 Scene 2) where he kind of fixates on the idea of killing himself. Nope, not ironic at all, I would say more fitting actually. I mean have you ever listened to a lesbian complain about their relationship issues?! No, me neither.

What can I say, I just don’t like listening to people complain about relationships, I mean for fuck's sake you’re in a relationship, it’s going to suck ass, why do I need to hear about it if I’m not the one in a relationship!?

So, yes, Emma did bring up her past relationships with girls but in my defence they all had those names that could be either gender, like Robyn, Tate, and Kim. And because I believe that everyone is just some sort of inferior rendition of myself (read: because I can’t be bothered to listen to others who are not talking about me) I just assumed Emma was a vanilla hetero like me.

And to no one's shock but my own, I was wrong.

So I show up to dinner with a bottle of wine for Emma’s parents (who are this cute old French couple who don't speak a word of English and are in the first stages of dementia). And yeah, maybe wine would be something a regular normal person would bring if they were meeting their boyfriend’s parents for the first time or whatever. But let’s remember, I’m not regular or even remotely considered a “normal” person. See I bring wine to any event where people have graciously invited me into their home not realizing that by the end of the night I will have accomplished in making said night into the worst Thanksgiving dinner EVER! (I’m so sorry I did not know that giving thanks to the genocide of the aboriginals so I could eat turkey every year is considered poor form.)

Anyways, we sit down for dinner and based on previous experiences, I decide not to make witty banter about genocide and human rights abuses and things seem to go well…until they don’t.

E: Thank you so much for coming over for dinner, my parents really like you. (places her hand on my thigh)

A: Well your parents are senile so I’m pretty sure they would like anyone, so I’m not really sure that is a compliment. (stare at her hand willing it to stop touching me)

E: (laughs and leans in closer to me)

A: I’m sorry that was completely inappropriate and speaking of inappropriate (pick up Emma’s hand and put it on her lap).

Yeah it was a bit passive aggressive but I was trying to save face for Emma who was getting shot down at the dinner table in front of her whole entire family, which included extended family, like Emma’s bastard illegitimate 3rd cousin’s nephew where rumour has it is set to inherit the family fortune and he is only 11 years old. Something about an affair with a trans lumbersexual who was catering last year’s Easter dinner and who also happened to be this 3rd cousins’ brother…I’m not sure if that rumour is about Emma’s family or some story ark of Game of Thrones…apologies my French is a bit rusty.

Anyways, apparently saving face was not something Emma was too concerned about...

E: What? I thought you were into me? (kind of yells this part)

A: Nope, pretty sure I’m not. (says quietly, still thinking I can keep this interaction discrete)

E: But we’ve gone on several dates and you came over for dinner?

A: I’m sorry was I in attendance at these dates? (kind of feeling annoyed that Emma decided to be crazy before I got to eat meat products)

E: Yes! We were on one last weekend!!

A: Are you counting our long run together a date?! (wondering if Emma ever mentioned being diagnosed with some sort of mental health disease on these long runs of ours)

E: Well yeah! We went for coffee after.

A: Yes but that doesn’t make it a date.

E: It’s a date, it’s two things, a run followed by coffee.

A: That’s ridiculous! I do that all the time, are you telling me I’m going on a date every time I go for a run followed by coffee?! IF that’s the case I’m dating half of the runners in Victoria!

E: Well I was asking you on a date, so it’s a date.

A: I’m pretty sure both parties need to know they are on a date for it to be a date. (realizing Emma is fucking crazy)

E: Are you interested in someone else, I don’t know why you wouldn’t like me.

A: Are  you fucking kidding me?! You're crazy and I’m not gay! (at this point I’m kind of freaking out)

E: What?! But you don’t have a boyfriend?!

A: Are you for real?! This is quite possibly the stupidest conversation I have ever had. Excuse me.

And at this point I leave the table and do the only thing I can think of doing, which is lock myself in the bathroom. Yes in times of panic, I revert back to my 6 year old self.

And that’s when I meet Kaper. He was sitting in the empty bathtub, fully clothed, playing angry birds on his iPhone when I walked in.

K: Hey (doesn’t look up from his game)

A: Ok, I don’t know who Emma is to you but that girl is fucking crazy!

K: (pauses his game and looks up at me) She is my sister and yes she is an embarrassment to us all.

So Kaper and I bond over the fucked-up-ness that is Emma. I learn that he is named after capers, the food his mother ate non-stop when she was pregnant with him, and not named after a harebrained escapade as I had guessed. And of course he shows me his Super Poo.

After about 30 minutes of me hiding out in the bathroom bonding with Kaper, he hatches a plan to help me escape without having to leave the bathroom and interact with Emma again. Basically he helped me climb out the bathroom window and passed me my stuff. Emma lived in a bungalow so the escape plan wasn’t really that exciting or difficult actually.

So even though Easter dinner with Emma was a shit show possibly because I’m too self-involved and/or too socially inept to realize that my attendance at an Easter dinner is basically the equivalent of telling a lesbian you want to settle down and get married to them, things didn’t turn out all that bad…

Fuck this silver lining shit, Easter sucked. I basically hung out in a bathroom with a guy named Kaper who washes his hair with horse shampoo. I’m pretty sure the moral of this story is don’t ever do things based solely on your desire to consume stupid amounts of meat products.