funny / not funny

Hello, friend…

I’m about to dash off to work but I need to get something off my chest before I head off into the world today. Yesterday, on the ol’ Facebook, I spotted a cartoon someone shared making light of how many people seem to be coming out with their stories of sexual assault. There are a lot of people. I get it.

I just started at my computer, looking at this cartoon.

And my thought was simply “oh. boy.”

Here’s the thing. There’s power in numbers, right? If you see a lot of people speaking up, this beautiful domino effect occurs, you can tell you story at long last. Because the truth is, when you experience something utterly horrible like rape or sexual harassment you tend to feel like the person who did that to you will be believed before you will. Because most of the time, a lot of the time, that is the case. So you keep quiet.

And this thing bubbles inside of you for YEARS.

This will likely make ZERO sense if you’ve not had this happen to you.

Those of us who have not spoken up yet, or are doing so after 30+ years aren’t “jumping on the bandwagon”, this isn’t a sports team for fuck’s sake. It’s happening because we feel safe to speak out, well those who can and are able. Some are not. Some may never be. I had something happen to me when I was a teenager- I still cannot speak of it and I’m almost 40 for christ sake.  (That sentence is the MOST I have ever said aloud about it. Really.) I’ve experienced sexual harassment at work, taunted “because I wasn’t in on the joke” and called a bitch because I wasn’t being “one of the boys”.

Sure, I will acknowledge that some people lie and pretend they are in this shitty, shitty club for a moment of fame. I have no idea why, but people can be dumb. They make those who have actually experienced stuff really really scared to come out. You turtle back inside of your shell.

I love turtles, but. Anyway.

Person who made that cartoon and those who shared it, please don’t be surprised SO many stories are coming to light. Be supportive that folks have the courage to speak up.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go to work and then prepare a roast chicken dinner party and then transcribe for a documentary. Because I got shit to do.

 

xo.

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confidence

Hello, friend…

What a day it’s been. You see, along with writing & stand-up & filmmaking… I also work in bakery. And today, man, you’d think at the first signs of winter here in Toronto folks were thinking they had to stock up for the next few months… we were slammed. Which is great! For any business, especially a small one, you want that much foot traffic. And for the most part, everyone was super to deal with today which is awesome. (Though I could really deal with less of watching couples making out in front of me. It’s like, cool… you’re in love… you are so stoked we have cinnamon buns that you feel the need to make a baby in front of me…. but please, just order something and then rip each other’s clothes off. Pleaseandthankyou.)

At the end of the night, as I closed up, I went to the washroom and I smiled at myself in the mirror. Sure, I felt as tired as hell, but I looked good! I’ve not worn much, if any, make-up for a month or so now… not for any empowerment reasons… I actually haven’t had the money to replenish stuff… ANYWAY. I just caught a smile in my eyes or something, mostly because my teenage self would NEVER have permitted herself to leave the house without LAYERS of make-up on. I had cystic acne as a teenager… my skin wasn’t soft, it was speed bump city.

And I wanted to hiiiiiiiide. And now… well, you better like me for me or you can leave. 🙂

It makes me laugh a little, just at how my teen years were spent in a fight between figuring out who I was and how to get as far away from her as possible. I wanted to be older, I wanted to live in Florida, I wanted to be SOMEBODY, anybody other than who I was. And that was LONG before I’d know what social media was. (And for that reason alone I want to hug every teen in the world right now, I do not know how you find peace amongst all that noise. I’d be a MESS if I was 16 nowadays.) Granted, I still judge myself more than I should… whenever those life markers pop up in my head and I compare myself to others. Who are married, have stable incomes, have families… I question at times why that isn’t me. And then I yell at myself “Because that’s not supposed to be you right now! Jeebsus!”

(Insert Cher slapping Nic Cage in Moonstruck here. Snap Out of It!!)

Being 39 these days, actually, being 39 and single these days isn’t easier either. Online dating is my Achilles heel. But last night, watching the good egg that is Nick Offerman at Shea’s in Buffalo, he said that when he met the woman who’d become his wife he was doing some work on a theatre they’d soon be performing in. He was in his element and whatever light that came from him, must have caught her eye. He championed NOT trying to find love online, but in doing what you love … that way you’ll really connect with someone.

The man’s got a point.

When I’m in my element… I can feel it, that glow.

Confidence is a good thing, ain’t it?

Hmm… maybe a Tinder break is needed. I just did “Sober October”, maybe I can make… um… “No-Online Dating- Vember” a thing. (I will work on that title.)

 

xo.

a dash of perspective

Hello, friend…

The other day I went to my optometrist. I go every year, which might sound unusual to some, but a while back (during an emergency appointment- for something I can’t recall completely) it was discovered that on my right eyeball sits a mole. Like a mole you’d have your doctor check on your skin. You can get something similar  on your eyeball. So every year, as I head in to see my lovely optometrist with my stomach in absolute knots, I tell myself “if it’s Cancer, we’ll be okay”.

And (knock on wood), I’m absolutely fine. It’s not changed shape. It’s just sitting there, just as it looked last year. Phew.  Though I asked her this year, if it ever becomes the Big C, would I lose my vision? I’m told not completely. But it’s nothing to concern myself with. I’m okay. Vision is still perfect. My stomach unwinds as I leave.

I’m lucky, I’m so very lucky. Cancer has run its way through my family like a pinball in a pinball game. My dad is a two-time Cancer survivor. Today he celebrated his 83rd birthday.

But I can see. I don’t take that for granted.

Nor do I take for granted the fact that I can type and hold a coffee cup or keep my head straight. You see, I have something called Essential Tremor. Which is the DUMBEST name EVER… but it mimics symptoms of Parkinson’s. Except that you notice my tremor when I am doing… holding a wine glass (I always hold it with two hands), holding a box… It affects my arms as it has for over 20 years now. But it may decide to travel upwards and grab hold of my neck and my vocal chords and my head.

But it has not decided to do that, for which I am so grateful. I still decide what my body can and should do, and I deal with jerks who say “Oh do I make you nervous?” when they hand me a drink and I can’t hold it steady. I share this tremor with the late, great Katherine Hepburn… so perhaps one day I too will have an Academy Award and a New England accent and a longtime love who is… um… still married to someone else. ANYWAY.

I can (for the most part) control my body. I don’t take that for granted.

SO TELL ME THEN… when I can take joy in the smallest things… how a guy breaking a date with me because my answer to his question of “Do you own a garter belt?” was “No” upset me as much as it did.  WHO MAKES THAT THEIR DEAL BREAKER?!?! And why does this bother me that this was his deal breaker??? 

I can’t seem to control my heart and my hopes. There they float… when a guy makes my heart beat fast…

I kind of hate that but… I can see he was NOT someone to pursue. And as long as I’m still in control of my movements, I will punch him in the face if we ever do run into each other.

xo.

in view

Hello, friend…

Life has taken some really cool people from this earth recently… Tom Petty… and our national treasure, Gord Downie. Men I never met, but absolutely respected and adored. Solid musicians. Life never takes the arseholes, it seems… takes the good ones away more often than I’d like it to. I don’t know why that is, and I doubt I ever will. Though I do believe people leave when they’re meant to, they’ve taught and shared all they could and off they must go.

To infinity and beyond.

I was hoping to see a friend tonight, but ended up staying at home and catching a documentary called Long Time Running about the last year that Gord Downie’s band The Tragically Hip toured together. Gord had been diagnosed with brain cancer. This is how he chose to live his remaining days, sharing his heart with his fellow Canadians. I had learned he was not well when my own documentary, No Responders Left Behind, had started filming in May 2016. A friend I made on that journey, Ray, was to be diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after Gord. Both lived their remaining days with grace, not letting everyone in on how much pain they were in. The pain was there, yes. But the love emitting from us just gave them… something back.

I can only imagine when you get news as they did that, if you’re strong enough, you must sit back and go “okay- let’s enjoy every thing, every day, every one person who comes my way”. There’s a, I don’t know if peace is the right word, but I guess there’s a letting go that all the meditation I do still hasn’t given me. That ahhhhhhh…. you let go of the crap, and embrace the good.

But knowing what Ray experienced, and his family experienced, gave me the smallest glimpse into what Gord and his family must have gone through. Or my friend Ana-Alecia’s battle with cancer and how that affected those of us who loved her… man, I admired her strength. Man, I wish I could have made her cancer go away.

What I loved about the documentary I watched tonight is that it brought back memories with the songs I heard, and for those 90 minutes Gord was back. He was in my living room. He was here. Just like when I watch footage from my film, there Ray is. Talking. Present. There with me as I take notes and listen. I spent a good portion of my teen years thinking I’d become a music video director, the videos I saw by The Tragically Hip influenced me greatly… but then my life took me in a different direction and I forgot for a little while that I loved to tell stories and create. But I’m back where I am supposed to have been all along… telling stories… telling Ray’s story…

As much as I believe that people go when they’ve taught all they can teach, I don’t believe that people ever leave us. They’re there, on film, in photos, in song… ready for when we need them.

I’ll leave you with In View, one of many Hip songs I really dig. And it’s a video set in NYC. My worlds collide. 😉

 

xo.

me, myself & I

Hello, friend…

Just a quick thought for the night. Earlier this evening, I went for a wardrobe makeover at a favourite Toronto shop (Fresh Collective). I took home a couple of things that I felt gorgeous in, and as people do these days, I shared a picture on the ol’ Instagram.

And I looked at it…

20170926_185828

Not to toot my own horn too much, but dude… I’m going to be 40 in April.

40.

It’s kind of weird!! Ha! But I looked at this picture and just smiled. I’m not wearing any foundation, just some colour in my brows (as I started losing my hair there of all places) and that hair colour on my head isn’t from a bottle- it’s all mine. (I dyed my hair for 20+ years. I love how going to my natural colour as I approach my 4th decade was considered a “bold” move. So what if there is some grey?! I earned that grey!!*)

But that’s me I stared at, and I like me! I don’t like me every day, but the good days outweigh the bad.

I am quite thrilled to have bid adieu to my 20s, to be honest. I have (mostly) adored my 30s. I’m a bit scared about 40, but more so- I love this river of calm that comes with it… being comfortable in my own skin. A quote on my fridge sums this post up best:

“But now I know the things I know,
And do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you!”

xo.

 

(* Honestly? I hardly have any grey hair. I have a couple strands. I love them dearly.)

uber and the single girl

Hello, friend…

On a good day it’s hard enough being a single gal in Toronto. Either I get crap on online dating sites or get questioned by friends I haven’t seen in a while why I haven’t met anyone yet. It’s not for a lack of trying, maybe sometimes I try too hard, but nonetheless I’m single and YOU can figure out how to deal with it. I’d absolutely LOVE to be in love and find a great guy to put down roots with, but for now, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards. And deep down, I really hate this, but… it’s okay. It is what it is.

But what I had to deal with going to work today (Friday, as I start writing this) just was NOT cool. It was my first really REALLY bad experience with Uber.

Got picked up at the assigned meeting place, and quickly found my driver to be chatty and kind of quirky. And then he asked me if I was married. Now, this isn’t the worst question in the world but it can be a dicey one if asked by your taxi driver. I proceed to tell him that I’m not, I’m single and he proceeded to tell me that I must be so lonely and sad because there was no man to love me. Because my life can’t possibly mean anything if there was no one in it.

are you screaming at your laptop yet?

I tried to keep my calm as my blood pressure was boiling over, and told him that I’m trying but I have really bad luck when it comes to finding love. And he starts going on about how “that’s not right” and MY PERSONAL FAVE…. “you must be doing something wrong, you need to do something different because you’re doing something wrong”. As much as I wanted to scream at him to fuck the fuck off, I calmly asked him to stop talking about this as he was upsetting me. And then told him that I have a really awesome life, and I’d love someone to join in on the fun but for now all was okay. To which he replied “yeah, right”.

I was then informed of how much he missed his wife when she went away for two days and how easily he got her pregnant. I got out earlier than my scheduled stop as I was about to cry and/or punch this man in the face.

As I said, on a good day it’s hard enough being single in this city.

Uber heard from me today, you can trust me on that.

I’d like to think that if I need someone to drive me from Point A to Point B, I’m not going to get too much if ANY flack for my (lack of a) love life.

I’m off to bed now. Tomorrow morning I’m taking myself to breakfast, thankyouverymuch.

xo.

 

**UPDATE: Uber Customer Service has been incredibly kind and refunded the trip/lecture. I will give them credit for agreeing that I should never have experienced what I did today.

the listener

Hello, friend…

The rain in Toronto has stopped for the night (or so it seems) and I’ve got my tea and am in my favourite chair. A busy day has ended rather peacefully. My life seems to be settling down, though – blissfully- because with moving and transcripts and writing and documentary life and bakery I have been feeling as though I’ve not had time to breathe. Calmness has been a really cool idea, just not practical. But! As I say, I’m finding my balance again.

I had a moment at the bakery today though, which knocked me a bit. It was a private moment, nothing that happened with a customer, which in a way made it harder to deal with because no one around me would have understood. I’ve talked before about how I have this odd connection to the song “I Want You” by Savage Garden – it’s a song that would play whenever I was about to see my love James. When James passed, it’s now become a song I hear whenever I think about him or feel he’s around.

I feel pretty in-tune with myself, I listen closely and observe… I feel energies in rooms and around objects. I don’t think it’s all that unusual, really – but perhaps my willingness to talk about it is. So when I hear “our song” (I find it utterly ridiculous it’s a song by Savage Garden, but who am I to judge?!), I know that it’s James letting me know that yep, he’s there. He can’t speak to me directly, so I have to listen closely. I can still hear his voice, I remember his hands and how they felt holding mine… how he’d look at me. I get these reminders in this dumb pop song that I love SO much.

Didn’t hear that song today, but I did have a moment of knowing that James was there. And this is only something you can relate to if you’ve lost someone particularly close to you. This feeling that that person is there. You’re not sure where, but they’re there. I can equate it to a magnetic pull; I was there in the back, washing dishes and thought “James is here”. I felt it so strongly in my gut. So as I do, I just opened up and listened. Watched for a sign. Something.

And then “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey came on.

Here’s the thing about that song. And James. And I.

Grief is the funniest damned thing. It comes in waves. Crashing over you when you least expect it… ANYWAY…

When James was in the hospital, and things weren’t looking good at all, I summoned a couple friends to lip-sync and film themselves doing so to that song “Don’t Stop Believing”. I did it myself. And the plan was to edit them together and get it to James. But I had trouble contacting the lady who was taking care of him, and at this point James wasn’t able to speak and had limited social media time. And then we got word James had passed… he never saw the video. I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive myself for not getting it to him in time.

So I’m there in the bakery, knowing I feel his presence, and I hear this Journey song start and I froze.

But what did Jung call it? Synchronicity. A meaningful coincidence.

James promised me years earlier to always protect me. Always be there to guide me, and that I’m present enough to feel our connection despite his being gone… I’m so grateful to that but I also kind of hate that I’m connecting to someone who is no longer here. My friend Natasha mentioned twin flames tonight and it resonated with me… perhaps he really was my other half. And we talked tonight about how we connect so little with each other nowadays, really connect… we’re in our bubble and filter out what we don’t want to hear or see. It’s all customized.

Random conversations or random moments are rare. Being present is hard when it truly shouldn’t be!! I read once of how the singer Glen Hansard likes leaving his headphones off when roaming city streets so he can listen to those sounds.

I met James before email was a thing. When I got myself online I went by IrishLager as an inside joke to the night we went for Guinness and that lovely beverage hit me a bit too hard that night. I love that we met as we did, in the green room at Second City and got to know each other by phone calls and walks to the subway.

I’m still listening to him and learning.

I still see him at the College subway station.

He’s still adding music to my life.

xo.