Tuesday, August 18, 2015

No complaining for 30 days. And you thought the pepper and lemon juice cleanse was tough...

The boyfriend and I were out recently with a dear friend of ours who mentioned he had recently been on a cleanse. "Pepper and lemon juice?" says the boyfriend. "Not quite" says our friend, "No complaining for 30 days". "Whoa", I say, and the idea stuck with me, either because I was completely traumatized by it or I thought it was brilliant and I should probably try it.

Except that I'm a misanthrope, through and through. If I stopped complaining, I would basically stop speaking. I mean, what would I talk about? Our friend raved about this cleanse, claiming it transformed his thinking and writing (he's an actor and playwright). I wondered if my playwriting would improve if I attempted this cleanse. It's a daunting prospect. Complaining is my main mode of communication. If I can't ridicule, mock, cut down, berate or criticize, what do I have to live for?

But I can't shake the idea. It's a challenge and it's enticing. Would I be a completely different person if I never complained or would I just go stark raving mad, shouting "Serenity now!" while walking the streets in my underwear. It's only 30 days. I can stop after that if I don't like it, right? I suppose my biggest fear is that I'll become a happy person.

A trusted mentor told me recently that I falsely assume misery will make me a good artist, that happiness and creativity are not mutually exclusive, and that being happy (contentment and inner peace also apply here) actually generates creativity which would, in turn, make me a better artist. I had to ponder that for a while; I wasn't completely convinced.

Generally speaking, happy people annoy me. Maybe I'm envious. Maybe I want to be happy and don't know how. Maybe I like being in a constant state of mild misery. So I guess I'll try this cleanse which I assume also includes retraining the voice in my head that's constantly nattering away, feeding off its own negativity. Will that voice go silent, and if there's silence, will there be more space, and if there's more space, will there be more room for brilliant ideas? I shouldn't kid myself - I'll be going cold turkey in mental rehab. No complaining for 30 days. Maybe I'll start tomorrow...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Yoga rage, Birkenstock rejection and ibuprofen

You know when you attend a yoga master class with a world-renowned teacher and you're really looking forward to it and then you're jam packed in a classroom with too many people and you've got someone's smelly feet in your face for most of the class which is highly irritating and taps into an endless supply of rage that then seeps out of every pore until you're just a big, badass ball of seething anger? Namaste.

Then, on our lunch break, I realize I can't go and gorge myself on gourmet donuts from my favorite shop next door to the yoga studio because I don't want to be puking all over my mat during the afternoon session. So I had to make a healthier choice. I balanced that out with alcohol by evening's end. Detox / retox, yin / yang... it's all about balance.

I'm a Birkenstock reject. I've tried to wear them and like them but they reject me. They tear at my flesh, sand and rocks somehow edge their way in constantly, and my feet just can't get comfortable in them. This surprises me since they're a product of German engineering which typically, one would assume is of superior quality. I see them everywhere. People seem to love them. Maybe it's me... I'm of too inferior quality for my sandals. Time for a trip to Dollarama for some flip flops.

Ibuprofen has become my new best friend. I've been getting frequent headaches, probably from an inoperable brain tumour, or inordinate amounts of rain we've been getting (those low pressure systems really f*ck with my head) or hangovers. I haven't forgotten who I am, used swear words at completely inappropriate times or spontaneously lost bladder control, so I can probably rule out a brain tumour. Although, my love of corn dogs and Cheetos remains unexplained.

I've always had a love of TV show intro songs but HBO's new season of True Detective takes the cake. As soon as I heard Leonard Cohen's haunting Nevermind, I was hooked. I had to watch the show because the intro was so creepy, it drew me in. Lera Lynn's My Least Favorite Life, performed in the very first episode, was also utterly mesmerizing. Thank you Shazam for basically revolutionizing how I find really cool music. Of course, marketers have figured this out too. They know people are gonna Shazam that shit. It's music video as television program. Brilliant.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Happiness Disease

I've noticed of late that there is a clear preference for "happy" people, keeners, positive thinkers, extroverts; as if everything can be glossed over with a smile, a friendly nod and an optimistic thought. That would require an acknowledgement that everything is indeed ok, which frankly, is rarely the case.

"Happy" is not my default setting. I usually wake up with some degree of melancholy and general unease. Happiness feels like work, and I'm not about that. Maybe I'm just lazy, or unmotivated. Are those synonyms?

I'm most certainly an introvert. There seems to be a general misunderstanding of introverts since extroverts are valued so much more. Introverts make people uncomfortable. I'm guessing it's because others can't understand why we would more often choose to be alone than with other people.

It seems pretty obvious to me. Other people are usually really f*cking annoying, especially those sickly sweet, jazzed up extroverts who are basically asking for a punch in the face. It's not that I aspire to be a recluse. I'm just very particular about who I spend my time with, and much more so as I age, and realize that life is short so why would I spend it with people I hate or find generally irritating?

The one beautiful thing about aging is that you start to care less and less what other people think. If everyone is basically obsessed with what everyone else thinks of them, no one is paying attention to you, so why should you care what others think because they're not thinking about you at all. They're only thinking about what you think of them.

I tried to get on the "positive thinking" bandwagon a few times. It's much easier to be bitter and cantankerous, and frankly, much more interesting and entertaining. Being steeped in anger and resentment feels natural to me, and fuels my drinking habit, which I treasure dearly. Also, being a happy writer just sounds like an oxymoron. What would I write about if I were happy? How to be happy? Puke. Besides, that market is completely saturated... with extroverts.

I recently had a profound revelation. I thought my life would miraculously change once I was a playwright with a production under my belt. Well, I'm now a produced playwright, and guess what, jack shit has changed. It's been a very humbling time.

I thought all this "positive thinking" would ensure an unprecedented success for my show. Well, it was a success, but not unprecedented, not entirely unique, and everything is basically as it was before, i.e. me wondering why I even write at all when it feels like I'm losing an uphill battle, then deciding I may as well start drinking before I get swallowed whole by my existential angst. Maybe I'm not visualizing enough or I'm doing it wrong. I was supposed to be an international sensation by now. Perhaps my 104 Twitter followers think I am, and I suppose, for now, that will have to do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

German Darth Vader Advent Calendars on Smartphones

Know what I hate? People staring at their mobile phones while walking in public and not bothering to look up so as not to run into you. They still manage to swerve and avoid you because they somehow have an "object in personal space" perception but the fact that "other people" don't even merit a quick glance really irks me.

I mean, yes, I have a smartphone, and yes, it is the second most important relationship in my life (the first being my relationship with the boyfriend, obviously). Ok, I may have added that comment in brackets merely to avoid appearing politically incorrect, or sociopathic. I mean, my relationship with my iPhone couldn't possibly be THE most important relationship in my life, right? Right?

I'm also pissed off at all those critics who poo-pooed the third season of Homeland which the boyfriend and I are now finally getting around to watching. It's very good. What is everyone's problem? Unless it was reverse psychology. Tell everyone it's shitty and when they watch it, what a pleasant surprise it will be that it doesn't suck. Oh big brother... I'm onto you.  

So I had another tooth that was feeling a bit sensitive. They're so easily insulted. I keep telling them to grow a thicker skin. I'll spare you the rest of this story because it's kind of lame. Here's the condensed version: Stressed. Dentist. Fine. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If you're wondering why I said "another" tooth, read this. I really need to grow out of this oral fixation phase or start smoking again.

I was on a gluten-free diet for a while until I developed an obsession with cheese. I've always loved cheese, but the absence of wheat products turned cheese into crack-cocaine. It wasn't pretty. I was obviously compensating for the lack of croissants in my life. So I gave that up and simply opted for a balanced diet: a little bit of everything and a lot of wine.

I'm kind of bummed out because I can't find my deluxe Lindt Advent Calendar at Costco. Have they already run out? Did they not receive their shipment yet? Will they simply not stock them this year? What up Costco? Where's my f*cking Advent Calendar?

"Luke, ich bin dein Vater". That's German. I can't attest to its grammatical correctness since I just started learning the language five weeks ago but anyone familiar with Star Wars will figure it out.

 My cat has a new boyfriend:

I'm not sure how I feel about her dating. If she asks for a sleepover, I think I'll say no. We haven't really had "the talk" yet and that boy looks shifty.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Being 40 - A Manifesto

So... I'm 40 years old today. I was feeling quite ambivalent about this for some time but now that it's actually happening, I can't help but feel... elated, mostly because I'm steadily beginning to care less about what other people think. My new motto is: I'm 40, I can do that, or, I'm 40, I don't give a shit, or, I'm 40, I don't have to shower.

In honour of this rite of passage, I figured I should probably come up with a manifesto for this new chapter in my life, so here goes...

Being 40 - a manifesto

I will not automatically conclude that every minor physical ailment is cancer (or some other life-threatening illness) which means that, under no circumstance am I to look up symptoms on the Internet. Ever.

I will continue to shop at places like Aritzia, American Eagle, Hollister, etc... you know, places where "40" doesn't exist, because dammit, I like their stuff, despite the fact that a salesperson at Aritzia once asked me if I was shopping for my daughter (*cue Psycho shower scene music here as this accurately expresses my rage at the very thought of this).

At any given time, I will eat as many cupcakes as I want.

I will never wear high-waisted shorts that expose my ass cheeks. This has nothing to do with my age. It's a matter of taste... and class, as in, I don't hail from a trailer park.

As much as possible, I will be honest and do away with pretense, unless it's in my best interest to lie.

I will try to read grown-up books, unless The Bachelor is on, then all bets are off.

I will continue to wear my Lululemon gear while doing yoga because my Lulu leggings are so old, you can't see my ass crack through them.

I will continue to use abbreviated words like LOL, OMG, Whatevs, TTYL, etc... because I'm lazy and have become accustomed to not speaking in full sentences.

I will no longer base my self-worth on the number of "likes" I receive or followers I have on various social media platforms. I will develop a drinking problem instead to deal with pesky feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt. 

I will always choose sleep over personal hygiene. This will never change.

"Morning" me will always be skinnier than "evening" me. It's a fact I've come to accept.

Corn dogs and mayo = breakfast of champions. Ok, maybe I do hail from a trailer park.

Hello Kitty is also turning 40 in 2014. I don't know why that matters, but it does.

Betcha didn't know there was a Playboy Hello Kitty... 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Girl crushes and rose ceremonies

I won't be discussing Robin Williams' recent death, in case you're wondering. I'm much too self-absorbed for that. I got my own shit to deal with. Although, now that I think about it, it's f*cking sad. I've grappled with depression in the past, and it's no laughing matter, however diligently one may try to mask it with humour.

We can all sit here at our computers, scratching our heads, blogging about it, trying to come up with theories to explain why such a talented man would end his life but we will never fully know why, and frankly, it's none of our business. Our business is to grieve his loss, remember his incredible life and legacy, and allow him the dignity of privacy, even posthumously.

The boyfriend and I recently saw the movie The Other Woman. Based on the preview, it looked like your typical romcom, some good 'ol brain candy. In other words, we had low expectations. However, I gained a whole new respect for actress Leslie Mann. Girlfriend carried this film and delivered a jaw-droppingly funny performance. I already liked her as an actress but now she may be added to my girl crush list along with Tina Fey.

On my professional crush list, I've recently added screenwriter and TV producer Tom Kapinos (probably best known as the creator of Californication). The writing on that series was so sublimely dirty and delicious, I decided that collaborating on a project with Mr. Kapinos would be the epitome of awesomeness.  

To counterbalance my high expectations of working with writing greatness, the boyfriend and I have been watching Bachelor in Paradise, another new creation of the Bachelor franchise. Basically, a group of hot singles are placed in a Mexican resort to cavort and get laid find true love. There's a rose ceremony every week where contestants who aren't paired up usually get kicked off (one week the girls do the booting, the next week it's the boys), and to keep things spicy, new contestants arrive every week to rock the boat and break up fragile new couples.

What's so entertaining about this show is the difference between men and women and their expectations. Within 48 hours of meeting someone, some female contestants are convinced they've met their future husbands. The men, on the other hand, are all like "Hey, we can hang out but let's play the field, you know, to make sure our connection is real".
The best part of this show, as always, are host Chris Harrison's brief appearances. He's all business but you know, on some level, he's in on it. He's ok with being a parody of himself, and I love him for it.

I've been trying to stave off my intense cravings to buy things, most notably clothes. I can barely close my closet as it is but I have this insatiable need to acquire more. I'm aware that it's simply an attempt to fill an abyss of emptiness within and that's what I should really address, but whatevs. I'll get to that eventually. Until then, what's on sale?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

European inspired root canals

So the boyfriend and I went to Europe for three weeks. We booked our flights and a couple of nights at a hotel in Frankfurt, where we were landing, and that's it. The remaining 19 nights were not booked, nor destinations planned. We were just gonna wing it. We had an idea of the general geographic area we wanted to stick to (Central Europe) but no more thought was really put into it than that.

Strangely, leading up to the trip, we didn't think about it much. I guess we were busy with our daily lives and since we had decided on relatively little planning, it really wasn't front of mind. It only started sinking in about a week before we were leaving when I drew up my "pre-trip" to-do list. Then it was like, holy shit, we're going overseas for three weeks. WTF.

Now, you might be thinking, big deal. Everyone goes to Europe. A lot of people don't really plan their trip. So what? And I would say, yes, that's true. I would also say there is truth to the old adage that people go to Europe to "find themselves", because I found myself. At 39. Racked with anxiety and wonderment.

That first night in Frankfurt, I couldn't sleep because our idea was finally hitting me. We're on this continent for three weeks and I have no idea where we're going or what we'll be doing. A complete blank slate. Sheer panic started to set in, and I was hit with a sharp pang of homesickness.

You see, I plan for a living. I'm always thinking of the future, booking things in advance, organizing, and I have a very stable lifestyle, i.e. my ass is on the couch most nights watching TV, after a day of work. I also have a touch of the OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and the specter of the unknown for three weeks hit me like an abusive husband on a bender.

I guess you're supposed to work this shit out in your late teens / early twenties when most people go backpacking across Europe. I've always been a late bloomer. We ended up going to Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna and Budapest, and at 39, I discovered that major urban centres, although stimulating, stress me out a bit, especially when I don't speak the language and we're trying to use public transportation to get around cities we're unfamiliar with. As the boyfriend put it, I earned my orienteering badge on this trip.

I realized I'm a nester, and just as I was getting comfortable feathering my nest in one city, we would up and leave for the next. I guess I've always known this about myself but nowhere was it more evident than on this trip. Wow, I'm really not a gypsy. Ok. Except that "nester" doesn't sound as cool as "gypsy". "Nester" sounds like generic suburban housewife, which I am most definitely not. I think.

Then, on day 4 of 21, I developed a very mild toothache which I consequently, at varying degrees, on different days, obsessed about. I mean, it didn't hurt or anything but I knew something was amiss. Again, with the unknown. What's causing this? Should I see a dentist right away? Can it wait? It can wait. I mean, I'm in a foreign country, and it's not an emergency. But can it wait another two and half weeks? I've had a root canal before. What if this is indicative of another one? What if my tooth is rotting from the inside right now? Or maybe it's just my gum that's inflamed. I DON'T KNOW. The idea of not getting any answers for at least a couple weeks was somewhat traumatic. I don't cope well with uncertainty, and yet it's the basic condition of human life. Go figure.

It was a deeply profound experience in that I remained on my edges for 21 days, without the comfort of the familiar, constantly exposed to new cities, languages and cultures, and ultimately reminded that we all resemble each other so much more than we differ from each other. All our unplanned logistics fell into place beautifully and helpful, friendly people always seemed to show up when we needed them. I guess I realized it's ok to not know, and the world "out there" is nothing to be afraid of. Unless you're traveling to Somalia. Then, you should probably be afraid.

I did have to get a second root canal when we returned home. Both of my canine teeth are now dead. It's a matching set. I wonder if that makes me kind of a vampire.


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