Pen to Paper

Yeah, I’m tired.

Tired of wondering if it’s too personal for the blog, tired of wondering if the things you say don’t matter do, tired of waking up early and crushing a Diet Coke on the Henday to fill my day with uninterrupted interruptions, tired of trying to do new things and just not succeeding. Tired of not writing, of not going to yoga, of pissing off my boyfriend.

They say put pen to paper, because that’s where it all comes out. But I’ve been putting the pen to paper, filling page after page after page. I wonder, why am I doing any of this? Is this helping? Putting words “out there” for no one to read? Putting my greatest fears out there? Telling someone? Asking the question “do you feel like this too?”

I’ve spent a long year looking at myself through someone else’s eyes, trying to be everything that I can as some sort of insurance that someone will stick around. I don’t know what compels me to buy the clothes I do, to pick up my bike, to go for a run, to wear longer skirts and to take shitty jobs where my boss makes a passive-aggressive jab every other day. I don’t like any of it. My pants don’t fit. I hate running. I don’t even like making the three hour pilgrimage to Moksha. And when I shop at lululemon I half hate myself for buying into something so pretentious and marketed.

Great, there’s more pen to paper, does that make me feel any better? No.

I drove around in your lime green van and sat next to you at Folk Fest, holding your hand and looking at your dirty feet, wishing that you would put on shoes. I bought you a $500 ticket to a day at the races. I tried not to wonder when you sang me Chromeo and Justin Timberlake. And you, you I went to Cuba with, and I pretended I loved you. I have a long list of boys, and a long list of goodbyes, and I guess whether I run or yoga or mountain bike or look like Beyonce doesn’t have anything to do with it. So what is the secret then, we all end up divorced or hating each other in the end anyway, don’t we?

Aren’t you supposed to get wiser in your 30’s? I think the wisest thing I could do is to get addicted to a hard-core drug, be an addict for a while, get clean, and then be able to look back and think “Well, I really accomplished something there, didn’t I?”  I’m not living life like you Mia, and I don’t think that’ll ever be me, sleeping on the kitchen table in the middle of the African desert, leopard tracks all around you, taking helicopter flying lessons, really becoming a Loiselle, running a tri, baking muffins, toning the tooshie, fact is, I don’t know what the heck I am going to amount to. Can being indifferent and apathetic be my thing?

Pen to paper. Nope. This just makes me seem like a lunatic. I should be sleeping, I have a big day of packing for Osheaga. But I already feel guilty about all the cigarettes I am going to smoke, the beer I’ll chug and the tan I’ll get. Perhaps they meant that in your 30’s you get pessimistic, not wise. Probably.

Whatever. I’m tired. I don’t know who to be anymore, I don’t know the formula, and I’m tired of trying. I’d like to go to sleep and wake up a Cheerleader who is really good at emailing and calling her friends, can play at least one sport really well and who doesn’t eat poutine. It could happen.

You know what the kicker is? I can’t even run out of paper on here, so I guess that means that I just have to keep writing.

Until next time…

Adios Amigas

Osheaga Bound!

Is it wrong to already be buying outfits for music festival season?

Intergalactic Rodeo http://interstellarrodeo.com/

Calgary Folk Fest http://www.calgaryfolkfest.com/

Edmonton folk fest http://www.edmontonfolkfest.org/

Open Sky http://www.openskymusicfestival.com/

Wild Mountain http://www.wildmountainmusicfest.ca/

Blues Fest http://bluesinternationalltd.com/

Osheaga http://groupes.osheaga.com/

What are the chances I will get to 5 of these? Pretty good! I am VERY excited to be back in Edmonton for the summer and to participate in the Edmonton Summer Festival Season. Yes, I am capitalizing those words because they are important!

I imagine that Osheaga will top them all, as it will include hijinks, shade, lots of water, sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats, hooka, and as always, plenty of judging, staring and sarcasm. We will rely on DBern to translate all, as we did in Spain, and will rely on JA to get us into the after-parties, as long as they don’t start too late. My role? To provide comedic relief, to save our seats, to bring blush, lip gloss and extra hairbands and to drop as much music into your box as I can before we go. Also, I call floor!

I’m excited to walk Blvd St.Laurent whilst singing “Short Native Grasses” by the C L Band, to crack cat jokes and to dance my one-legged circle dance, this time sans Andreas.

One of my top picks is the Blues Fest, not because I totally dig the blues, but because you can hear it from my balcony and it’s always a good time. Imagine your parents; drunk, disorderly and dancing maniacally to “Cooking….Cooking with GREASE (Grease!)” I love waking up in a festival city to the festival noises and detritus; hot dog wrappers, gig posters, guitars strings on the wind…

Edmonton Folk Fest will be interesting, I will be splitting time between two groups, running into absolutely every person that I have ever known in Edmonton, and trying my best not to fall asleep on the hill. I’ll have to buy a pack of superslims but this time, keep them far away from DBSP (really? I get the famous PCB {PotatoeChip Ban} of 2010 but superslims? They are so slim! So super!)

I’ve never attended Calgary Folk Fest, Wild Mountain or the Open Air festival…but we already have tickets to the Open Air, so hopefully it’s a new tradition in the making.

I am so excited!

 

Fading like a Flower (c’mon join the Joyride?)

There is a tiny, delicate bottle of jasmine oil that sits on my desk. The cap is antiqued gold and the vial of heavy, cut glass is unmarked and unlabelled.  When I try to unscrew the cap, the gold part flies off and the cheap, plastic wand is exposed, acting as a stopper.  Each day, when the sun has been hanging in the sky for a few hours, I carefully remove the gold cap, gently pull out the plastic wand and smear some of the purest jasmine oil ever onto my wrists.  I sit there and let the scent fill my office and I close my eyes and ears and just….smell.

They say sense memory is a big one.  It’s not so much a memory of being in Stone Town, Zanzibar but of spending my last few days with the Gappers in Tanzania, on our island paradise where Corina and Gary were wed, where Peanut and Carlee and I gathered flowers for Corina’s wedding bouquet and where we stood waist deep in the turquoise waters with Amber and her little brother and compared Polarized sunglasses. I can still feel the sting of the water bugs on my brown skin and taste the salt on my lips. I can feel the anticipation that comes with the unknown, feeling giddy at the idea of catching a flight in 14 hours to Ethiopia and onto Paris, to see about a guy.

I remember dancing all night at the dance hall and stepping out of the bar onto cool sand, drinking cheap beer and smoking cheaper cigarettes, I remember giant tortoises and snorkeling with deadly jellyfish, our captain laughing at us and our westernized fear.

I remember.

I want this bottle of jasmine oil to last an eternity. I want it to call me out, to bring me back, and to push me forward. I want it here on my desk in this office as proof that I was there once, that each morning meant brushing the dirt of Africa off of my tent, that each night meant sleeping hard in my clothes on the hard-packed sand, that my dwindling bank account was a sign of good things happening. I want to remember that for at least small snippets of my life I was the person I always wanted to be, adventurous, out there, grimy, tired, happy.

I’m still struggling here at home, at trying to bring Egypt and Greece and Africa back home to me, instead of so far away, so far away that I feel that I’ll never see them again. I just don’t know how to make Edmonton work. Am I remembering wrong? Being “away” at least gave me a sense of purpose and a sense of identity, and no one asked me “What do you do for work?”

So is that all that remains; a lingering scent on my wrists, fading much, much, much too quickly?

Resolutions?

A while back I wrote my very first “blog” posting after spending a weekend away with my girlfriends in Whistler. We went around the hot tub aka “hot girl soup”, listing 5 goals we could accomplish in 5 years, before our 2015 reunion in Hawaii.

Mine were, in no particular order:

  • See the Pyramids-CHECK!
  • Ride a horse-if it hadn’t been for an unfortunate calf-spearing run-in with a chain link fence on my 31st birthday this item would have a big ol’ check mark beside it!
  • Snowboard-CHECK! As of this weekend, I can s-h-r-e-d! Ok, more like grate, but still…
  • Become a yoga instructor-Not yet…I still have 3 years
  • Write more-at my 48th post for 2011!

I wouldn’t have noticed that this post is my 48th except WordPress told me so, and it gave me a nice, shiny feeling in my heart. I kind of feel like a shiny, new penny, all new and glowy and somewhat accomplished. I don’t think I have felt accomplished in life before.

This whole goal-setting thing has worked so well for me that I think I will try it again for 2012. Who knew? Goals this year?

  • Ride a horse AKA “Stay Away From Chain Link Fences When Inebriated”
  • Take swimming lessons and become a proficient swimmer!
  • Write more-a post every other day…lofty? Realistic?

I’ve discovered that you should only set mediocreish goals, ones that you can actually achieve, easily. I know I’m feeling accomplished here but what I love most about myself, and what my boyf loves most about me, is that I am actually not that hungry for success, at least not the typical North American idea of success. Five Year Plan? Sure, I have one; see a few more ports, get hitched, buy a piece of sports equipment because I need it (swimmer’s suit? Bike shorts? Snowboarding helmet?) and basically, spend as much time as I can away from work and as much time as I can with my friends and fam.

 Apparently, horse-back riding will be something that continues to elude me.  But, for the first time in a long time, I can say to myself “Wow, I did something.” For a slacker like me, that IS something!

Participaction!

So what does it look like when your feet are tied together, wrapped up real good and tight, attached to a 100 ft long elastic bungee cord, and you’re trying to shuffle your way to the edge of the platform? My heart is pounding just remembering it. It was in New Zealand at an AJ Hackett Bungee site, I had met a new friend on the party bus, we pulled into the site, they sat us down, put on their promo video, and she looked at me and said “Want to go?”…..and I heard myself saying “Ok!” before I had the chance to think about it. 15 minutes later and I was up on that platform looking down, missing my count the first time, and screaming my head off the after the second go round.

I am about to walk into someone’s office and do the same thing. Pull the plug. Cut the cord. Climb out of the plane and Superman for 4 seconds before I “Let Go” and freefall.   I’m not sure that I won’t regret this decision but I do know that I haven’t felt this light since I got home. Today we woke up to Mumford and Sons singing “Stars, hide your fire, these here are my desires, and I won’t give them up to you this time around!” and I lay there awhile and thought about my moments of truth. When I knew I was doing right and doing good and LIVING my life the way I was supposed to be living it:

On Kandi Beach in Malawi, a week or 2 away from Paris with Colin, sitting on the bench with Peanut and Carlee, drinking beers, watching the staff cut down the trees that marred the view to the beach, crying our eyes out about lost loves and changes and life, and linking arms and expressing our gratitude for each other through hugs, “I love you guys!” and picture-taking…

In Egypt on top of our land cruiser in the White Desert, sitting there just taking it all in. I was so proud of myself for getting to Egypt, for getting myself to THAT PLACE in my life where I was the captain, and I planned the route, and I took control. I actually chased down my dream and said “I’m doing it” and that brought me to a place in our world that few people get to see. I felt privileged, content, a little bit scared but my heart was full. I had managed to achieve one of my loftiest goals, which was to see the Pyramids, and anything beyond that, like the White Desert, was gravy. But really delicious gravy.

Last weekend, when my beau was wearing a toque and short sleeves and taking me to Strathmore Liquor Store for Christmas beer, he was looking gooooood, and his smile was so bright, his eye crinkles were in full effect because I had him laughing all night and I got that feeling in my stomach that he was actually meant to be with me, and I was meant to be with him. I don’t think anyone has ever loved him more than I do, so those other ladies who came before me can take a back seat.

When I had to ask the 18 year old lifeguard at Kinsmen which lane I could use for “lane swimming” and “aquayogging” and she looked at my 31 year old body in my 5 year old fashion bikini clutching a beach towel self-consciously around my middle and said “if you aren’t a strong swimmer you can swim anywhere, it doesn’t really matter…” and I thought…”that wasn’t so bad” until I got in the damn pool and there was a lady twice my age lapping my ass! At least I got out there, at least I tried, at least I jumped in the deep end, at least I got my hair wet.

Watching the sun set on Café Del Mar with JA and D-bern flanking me, in our “white” booze cruise outfits with…Marcel (?) macking on D-bern and the owner of the boat (….Giles?) passing around his good stuff. I nearly got a tear I was so happy, jumping off that catamaran into the Med, hours away from the constant pulsing that is Ibiza.  That’s a moment that you cherish, because you know that you, 2 gal pals and Spain only happens once in a lifetime.

What am I getting at? That I need to keep pushing myself to make these moments.  That I need to KEEP participating in life, keep challenging myself and moving forward. And these moments aren’t going to happen without my doing. They are not going to happen at this desk, at this job. I wrote the other day “why can’t my life just be travelling through Africa?”…and lamented over the state of things. Except it can. It can be more than this. It can be something that I have created for myself, or at least it can be something new, with possibility. Will I regret turning down this job? Maybe. But that isn’t where I want my life to go, not there, not that path. And saying “no” is putting a big, big smile on my face…surely that is a good sign?

Now, who wants to hire me????

Participaction! Let’s go!

Don’t Forget Who You Are

We’re all lyin’ awake at night
We’re all givin’ the same advice
We’re all sayin’ it don’t feel right
We’re all rollin’ the same ol’ dice
You’re always worried about money
You got the sting but no honey
They’re always puttin’ their hooks in me
They’re always cookin’ the books on me now

Just don’t forget where you came from
Don’t forget who you are
They’re all beatin’ the same drum
You’ve been playin’ guitar

You hear the angel callin’
From the streets of heaven
You go to work in the morning
Get home by eleven
You’re just a drop in the ocean
So don’t rock the boat cause heads will roll…

You’re a drop in the ocean, baby
Don’t drift away
Just a body in motion, baby
You’re food for days
You’re just a drop in the ocean
So don’t rock the boat cause heads will roll…

(Streets of Heaven-Sam Bob)

Now, I haven’t heard this song in a little while, since I was driving to Calgary to see Barkin and Sam Bob on a Tuesday in October. It seems that I DID forget who I was, and I let those “SHOULDS” in again. You “should” get a real job, you “should” get a high paying job, you “should” get your own place, you “should” lose some weight. Well again, I’ve had too much of the “shoulds”.

Yep. I am going to live in sin with my 8 extra pounds and with my temp job and my dirty car and I am going to love it. Because there is something just around the corner, there always is. Because I’m not happy trying to lose weight and gain a career, because I wake up thinking “Oh. Is this it?”

It isn’t it.

I can do better than what I am doing now. But my definition of “better” is much different from yours. And that’s ok.

Because once you have taken the risk, once you have been brave, there is still bravery to be shown, courage to be drawn up, there is always more. I said in my last post that quitting my job and travelling solo didn’t change me, but I guess it did, because this time it’s not going to take me 5 years to start doing what I want. This time, I won’t wait. I can’t. There is a life out there that I want to live, and I just have to find it, identify it.

Bring on 2012. 2011 has been the best year of my life so far. The things I have done, the love I have shown, the love I have been shown, the places I have seen and the people I took with me…

The next season won’t see me swimming everyday in the Mediterranean, but there has to be something akin to that feeling back “home.” I’ll just have to find it. Reign it in. Harness it. Unleash it in Edmonton? Hah.

They’re all beating the same drum, you’ve been playing guitar.

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Writers’ block? Adjustment period? Ch ch ch changes? Whatever it is, I hope it passes soon.

So, I’m back. But I’m not back, I’m not here, I don’t know where I am. Been back home for 9 weeks, that sounds like a lifetime, and where am I? What am I doing? Did travelling the world for 7 months change me? Change my life? No, it didn’t. In fact, many days I wake up to my alarm and then his alarm and it feels like I never left. Do I look different? No. I just have more grey hairs. Do I feel different? Yes. I feel now, even more so than I did before the trip, that this just isn’t enough for me.

So what happens when the dust settles and you clean your swampy Chucks and you put away the clothes you wore for 7 months, the clothes you sweated in, puked in, slept in and on? I guess this it. Reality. My life isn’t an African Safari. But how I do imbibe my life with that feeling? What do I do now to make sure I wake up every day certain that I am where I want to be? Where I should be.

A career. Surely that is the next big thing on my horizon. Hmmm, seems like I am 23 again, a fresh university graduate with no real job prospects and a resume that you’d easily pass over.

A relationship. Surely that is the next big thing on my horizon. And oh how I love him, but I cannot live on love alone. Or is it bread? Love.  I think I know better than others that love is oh so wonderful, but in order to be happy, I have to be living a life that feel proud of, where I feel like an accomplished and passionate woman.

A plan. Surely that should be the next big thing on my horizon. A plan to get in shape, plan more trips, get married, have babies, travel the world, get my Masters’…hmmm, that all sounds good, but what will bring me “me” again?

Perhaps I left a part of me out there? Maybe she’s roaming around Italy right now, stuck in a traffic jam in Roma or left isolated on a Greek island because of the riots in Athens? Perhaps she’s dancing the night away in a dancehall in Stone Town, dripping sweat and happiness?

Maybe she is walking down Jasper Ave, stopping to meet a friend for a late night pint, stopping at the 24 hour Shoppers Drug Mart to buy a new bottle of nail polish? Going home alone to a tiny little condo with hallways the temperature of a volcano and absolutely nothing in the fridge but a few olives and a half-drunk bottle of her parent’s wine?

I know that she’s not in the new office, doing the same job she did 5 years ago but this time with no end in sight. I know that she isn’t there for the hundreds of phone calls she takes each week from people who talk down to her. I know a couple of other places where she definitely isn’t. But that still leaves me with so many places to search!

So what now? Making a move? Another year abroad? A new acronym after her name? A name change? A sea change? I guess…time will tell? Harumph.

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