Last week, I was at my new accountant’s office to do my taxes for the first time in two years (oops). Before meeting with him, I had to answer some basic questions with the admin. assistant so that she could get my paperwork started.
Social Insurance Number.
“Single (and loving it).”
SIDENOTE: For the record, I didn’t say that last bit. I would have somehow implied it with a wink or some weird facial expression, as is my tendency, but she wasn’t paying any attention to me.
“And do you have kids?”
Which translated into:
She didn’t bat an eye. She just typed in whatever and moved on.
It’s funny, I have a lot of friends around my age who seem to be constantly tortured by friends and family about whether they’re married yet, when they’re going to have children, etc. I’ve never gotten much of that – aside from my crazy maternal grandmother, who used to check with me like, weekly if I had a boyfriend yet or not. I’m not even going to go there, but I think she thinks I’m like, broken or gay or something by this point.
Anyway, in the last month or so, I’ve been asked twice if I have kids. And my immediate response is shock. Like, me? Why would I have kids? Of course I don’t have kids!* I don’t even do my taxes on time! I can’t seem to find a day in the week to dye my hair or shave my legs most of the time. Why would I have kids?!
I don’t know if it was the onset of puberty or what, but when I was between the ages of 12 and 13, my body freaked out. I’m sure it must have had something to do with hormonal changes and my body trying to balance itself out or something. Whatever it was, I became allergic to everything.
I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, sure, everything. She was allergic to everything.”
Well, let me tell you something. With the exception of rice, and a few types of veggies, I did become allergic to almost everything.
Most grains made me ill. Most fruits. All dairy. Tofu. Everything.
“Ill” meant that I had horrible stomach aches, and felt so nauseous that I couldn’t even sleep at night. And the reaction was always instant. It was like the second the food hit my stomach, my stomach rejected it. Violently. I spent so many nights awake in bed, crying and trying not to vomit, wondering if I would ever feel normal again.
I don’t even remember a large chunk of that period of time, I think because I was in such a nauseated, hopeless daze. One of my teachers in grade seven contacted my mom to say she was worried about me because I was always so pallid with huge bags under my eyes.
I was totally miserable. I have no idea how I even got through it.
There was one day I was so, so desperate to eat something that my mom and I actually bought a pack of two chicken breasts. Now, if you know me at all, you know this is something I would never do. But I was literally starving. My body was so depleted, I felt like I had no other option but to try to get protein from somewhere, anywhere.
My mom cooked one and put it on a plate in front of me.
I looked at it, cut a piece off, then looked at it again.
Then I started sobbing.
Couldn’t do it. No way in hell.
We threw them away and I probably ended up eating a bowl of plain rice instead.
Eventually, we found an amazing naturopath who specializes in allergies and intolerances. His treatments, combined with time, balanced my body out. I still have a few allergies, but they’re all to things I don’t eat (i.e., dairy). Except for wheat, but I’m hoping to eventually treat that allergy away, too.
So, that was the chunk of my life during which I learned that allergies are the fucking worst. And it’s also the chunk of my life I look back on when I need to re-learn that a gluten intolerance isn’t so bad.
P.S. When you Google image search “naturopath,” some hilarious shit comes up. My favourite, which seems to be the go-to visual representation?
This is one of those super obvious things that I’ve actively (see: stupidly) chosen to ignore. I know that a lot of women have done the same. But after watching this, I got to thinking: it’s just like ignoring that smoking causes cancer, which I would never do. So why would I ignore this?
I feel devastated for this girl. She’s 21. And while I’ve never been one to keep my phone in my bra for hours on end, I’ve definitely done it. Hell, I did it briefly yesterday morning when I took my dogs outside to pee and didn’t have a pocket to put my phone in.
I will never do it again.
P.S. Can you hear that? It’s my hypochondria LOSING ITS SHIT.
Back in January, I told you about my wonderful first grade teacher who looked like Lucille Ball, and the day she held my sweater for me during gym class and left it smelling like her beautiful perfume.
Well, that was a fateful day in and of itself.
The reason I gave Mrs. Sturwold my sweater to hold is that we were running around a lot that day, playing a shark attack game. Basically, the far ends of the gym had safe zones, but the rest of it was like a giant game of tag. There were a couple of sharks tagging people, and when you got tagged, you had to fall to the ground and wait to be saved. Then your friends had to sneak out of the safe zones, run to you, and drag you to safety without also being tagged. If they got tagged, they were shark bait, too.
I got tagged about six feet from the safe zone.
So I lay there, giggling and hoping to be saved.
My crush, Patrick, stood in the safe zone, eyeing me up, planning my rescue.
Patrick had these giant blue eyes that made him absolutely adorable to me. Also, he was one of the only boys in my class who wasn’t a total dick to girls just because they were girls, and he had a really cool dog (a giant German shepherd) and an Australian nanny, so he was totally cool. And yes, I knew those things, because I played at his house sometimes, NBD.
My knight in shining armour!
(Or like, hero in a wetsuit or whatever.)
When the timing was right, Patrick ran toward me, squealing with the anticipation of being a total shark attack hero and the fear of being caught. When he reached me, he grabbed my hand and started pulling me to safety.
Just one issue.
He grabbed the sleeve of my shirt, too, and when my grip gave out, my sleeve did not.
Look, guys, what I’m trying to say is that by the time I reached the safe zone, try as I might to fight it and cover myself, my shirt was almost completely off. I had been exposed. And yeah, it was grade one, so it’s not like I had breasts – or even breast seedlings – but to the boys, it didn’t matter. They had seen my “boobies.”
MY CRUSH HAD SEEN MY BOOBIES.
They all laughed at me from the safe zone. I scrambled to my feet and tried to play it off like nothing had happened. I laughed along with them, then turned away, my cheeks most definitely flushed, and pretended to plan a rescue of my own. Of course, on the inside, I was completely devastated, and from that point on, I counted the minutes until gym class would be over so that I could wrap myself back up in my sweater and never make eye contact with Patrick – or any of the boys in my class – again.
That was the day I learned that yeah, I’m definitely not an exhibitionist.
It was the spring after…my second year of university? It may have been my first year. It makes me feel old that I don’t remember. But it’s not that important.
It was spring session, and I was trying to get as many credits out of the way as possible. See, I worked somewhere between almost full-time and more than full-time hours during my BA, so I took spring and summer classes every year so that I could take fewer than five courses a semester during the regular academic year.
I was taking Drama 149. It was intro to acting or something. That wasn’t the official class name, but it was the first drama course I was allowed to take that was on-your-feet drama, not theatre history or studying play texts.
It was also a class that satisfied the required fine arts credits of like, every degree ever. So in terms of participants, it was a mixed bag.
I forget everyone’s names except the guy who was my partner for our final scene assignment. His name is Mike. The only other people you really need to know about are Jason, who is about to become “That Guy” in this story, and Aaron, who became “That Guy” in our class, because he’s blind.
Aaron was a normal dude in a drama class who didn’t really want to be in a drama class. He was a totally shy nerd, but he was a nice enough guy. To be entirely honest, I think that our instructor – who, by the way, was batshit insane – drew way too much attention to the fact that Aaron was blind. Like, yeah, cool that he still wanted to try a drama class, but also, he had to for his degree. There was one day where we each took turns trying to navigate the room with our eyes closed. That was interesting. After that, it was like, “Okay, we get it – Aaron’s blind. He’s over it. So are we.”
But I digress.
Jason took an immediate liking to Aaron. Jason was a weird dude. He was also a shy nerd, but his quietness, rather than being peaceful like Aaron’s, was creepy. The two of them seemed to become friends. They would arrive to class together, and would often work together on exercises and assignments.
Great. Whatever. I worked with Mike a lot. Because (A) he was one of the only “normal” (see: not hating on the class, but not way too into it) people in the class, and (B) he was hot.
And so the drama class happened.
It was, unfortunately, the most stereotypically awful drama class ever.
We sat back to back and hummed to feel each other’s vibrations. We lay on the floor flat on our backs and “meditated” until we cried from thinking about horrible life experiences, and when our final scenes came along, our instructor systematically took every comedic scene and turned it into a rape scene. I’m being entirely serious. I think something was very wrong with our instructor.
But I digress again.
Before our final scene assignments, something more traumatizing than our instructor would happen to our class.
It started out like a normal day. We were all sitting on the floor in a circle, taking turns telling the class how we were feeling that day, and what we had for breakfast. (OH MY GOD THE CLICHES ARE MAKING MY BRAIN HURT.) I’m 100% certain I made something up. Because it’s nobody’s business what I had for breakfast. Or how I’m feeling.
When it got to Jason, something wasn’t right. He looked pallid. His eyes were dark. He looked kind of like a heroin addict, with sunken-in cheeks and a weird sheen of cold sweat on his face. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he went off on a tangent that started with him saying something about having sex for breakfast and went on for like, seven minutes too long.
It was totally fucked up, and our weirdo instructor ate it up.
“Fantastic.” He said, clasping his hands together and holding them under his chin like his world had just been shaken. And then, like nothing weird had happened, we moved on to the next person in the circle.
Cue my eye roll.
And then another one.
We split off into our pairs to work on our scenes. Mike and I were mid-conversation when we heard somebody screaming. I turned to see what was going on and froze: Jason was attacking Aaron. Just absolutely pummeling him. Aaron – who had obviously not seen the attack coming – was knocked to the ground yelling, “NO! NO! STOP! PLEASE STOP!” while Jason screamed, punching him over and over again.
Mike – who was also the only other guy in the class – took off toward them to break up the fight.
After what was probably five seconds but felt like five minutes, Mike managed to peel them apart, but instead of chilling the fuck out, Jason left Aaron and – face red with rage, still growling like a crazy animal – started stomping toward me. I panicked and turned toward the wall, trying to think of ways I could defend myself. Luckily I didn’t have to, because Mike managed to wrestle Jason to the ground and, with the help of our instructor, carry him out of the room.
The guys were gone for quite a while. A number of people attended to Aaron to make sure he was okay (he was, thank goodness). I cried, but nobody cared. I’m not holding it against them. I was just scared; I hadn’t actually been hurt. When Mike and our instructor eventually returned, class was cancelled for the rest of the day.
Jason was expelled from the university. He issued a letter of apology. We were all too freaked out to care. We heard rumours that his wife had just gone through a miscarriage, and that may have been what set him off. It didn’t make anything okay.
SIDENOTE: Neither did the tacky “cleansing” ceremony our instructor made us perform before we reentered the classroom after the incident. It involved haiku. (Holy shit, it involved the haiku.) And was directly proceeded by him turning all of our funny scenes into CRY-CRY-SOB-SOB rape and pillage disasters.
About a month ago, I wrote about Scott, the fourth grade desk flipper. This is sort of like version 2.0 of that: you never know what the last straw is going to be. It’s also kind of amazing to think about how much trust we have to have in absolute strangers every single day. We go to school with them, drive next to them, run errands beside them, let them serve us food, or operate on our bodies, pretty much always trusting that we’re safe. And luckily, 98% of the time, we are. Because luckily, 98% of people are genuinely good. *
Whoa. Deep, right?
I’m trying to end this blog post in a way that doesn’t make me roll my eyes at myself. I’m struggling. So give me a break, okay? I’m not trying to blow your mind or anything, but it is true.
*I totally made up that number, but you get my point.
Okay, a lot of the time, I’m a girly girl, but I guess I just hate a lot of girly girl stereotypes.
But one thing I’ve always loved is fashion. I love clothes. I love shoes. I love bags. I am a total stereotype in that regard.
When I was a teenager, I went through a phase where I was convinced I would be a fashion designer. I made a lot of clothes for myself. Then my soul got a little crushed by the fashion world. (I feel like I don’t even have to go there for you to get what I mean, but also, I’m gonna touch on this next week, so I’ll save it for then.)
So anyway, one of the things I was most excited about when I started to lose weight was the shopping potential. I have literally never (see: never ever) shopped is “straight sized” stores. I basically went from kids’ clothes to plus-sized clothes. Not that there’s anything wrong with plus-sized clothes, but the options are…well, non-existent. Yes, the world of online shopping for fashion-conscious plus-sized ladies has expanded significantly in the last five or so years, but if you want to shop in stores in my hometown, you have like, two options. Boring.
When I started to fit into straight sizes, I had a bit of a meltdown. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to wear. I wasn’t sure what was “me” or not. It was definitely an identity crisis, and it’s still something I struggle with a bit. Maybe I always will.
But today I realized something. (Well, I confirmed it, anyway.)
It’s not just me. It’s also the clothes.
I spent like, three hours walking through a mall today and wandering into every store to look around. Guys, I know this is a generalization, but clothes kind of suck.
Here’s the thing: when you’re walking through a mall:
(A) It’s basically like you’re walking into the same store over and over again, because everything looks exactly the same. (Like, right now, it’s all see-through flowy blouses, short shorts, and weird over-sized t-shirts.)
(B) The clothes are either over-priced, or super cheap, but either way, they are TERRIBLY made. I get that I am biased because my grandmother was a seamstress/tailor/clothing designer, so I grew up learning about how to make clothes and what makes clothing well-made, but come on. If it’s got a hole in it or it’s falling apart before you take it home, it shouldn’t cost $50. It shouldn’t even cost $30. That’s ridiculous.
Now, before you jump down my throat and tell me to go to XYZ store, or get my clothes made by a tailor so that they fit me perfectly, let’s all take a minute and acknowledge that that is so much easier said than done. I mean first of all, it’s expensive, and I have no disposable income whatsoever. And at this point, I can’t justify spending big money on clothes that will “last forever because they’re well made,” because in two months, they won’t be the right size for me anymore.*
Yes, this is me whining (hi, it’s my blog), but also, I’m just saying I feel for all of the other ladies out there who don’t want to wear one style of clothing.
The world of straight sizes: not all it’s cracked up to be.
P.S. If you have suggestions of stores that have decently made clothing at affordable prices, hit me up. Please keep in mind that “in da club” styles don’t suit me, because I am not cool. Thx.
*Yes, I also get that in the context of my life right now, this is a good problem to have. That doesn’t make it less frustrating.
After I moved into my nice flat, I developed a bit of a weekend routine. Every weekend, I tried to give myself at least a few hours of “Me Time.”
SIDENOTE: I hate the phrase, “Me Time.” It makes me picture a stereotypical sorority blonde eating bon-bons and getting a pedicure or something. And she would totally be the dick talking way too loud on her mobile while getting the pedicure, too. You know she would.
Then again, my “Me Time” was kind of stereotypical.
I would walk the half-block to one of many shops by my flat, where I would buy the following:
A Fry’s Chocolate Cream bar:
(Vegan, oddly enough.)
And the latest issue of HEAT Magazine:
And then I would go home, sit, and work my way through both, savouring every moment.
Usually, it was raining. Sometimes I’d sit right by an open window so that I could hear and smell the rain while I flipped through page after page of horrible celebrity gossip, most of which was about celebrities I had never heard of. (Though I got way too familiar with Jordan/Katie Price in my 18 months in Glasgow, so if you have any questions about her, I’m your Canadian Katie Price ambassador.)
In addition to the rainy day, while I was running errands, I actually discovered a store that sells Fry’s Chocolate Cream bars here in town. Where Canada is lacking, though, is in the shitty magazine department. No one’s got anything on HEAT.
Those quiet moments I had in Glasgow are something I remember frequently. Thinking about that “Me Time” today made me smile and filled my heart with warm gooey nostalgia. So I guess today I learned (see: re-learned) that it really is the little things – the small moments – that stick with you and make a place the place it is to you. The place no one else can have.
The exact words I said to myself as I attempted to get out of bed this morning. (Which, for the record, I was eventually successful at.)
It’s something I’ve said to myself a number of times over the last couple months (and throughout my life, obviously; if I weren’t saying it to myself occasionally, I’d be doing something wrong) since my stupid leg injury became a major issue.
My physiotherapist was like, “Honestly, you’re gonna just have to try things, and then continue the things that don’t hurt. If you wake up feeling worse, don’t do it again.”