I got my first LiveJournal or maybe Xanga back in 2003 and started writing before it was cool to use your real name on the internet.
We called ourselves dumb stuff like moon_meditation, rainbow__heartache_, planetaryattack_, and Sonic_Cry and, thinking back
we were all really into underscores for some reason.
Nowadays it's cool and almost expected that you use your real name online but back in the day we called our blogs dumb things like
The Lost Planet
Marduk The Invincible's Blog
The Lolita Chronicles
and literally just:
We used avatars to set the tone for the way we were feeling with each post. People used Disney images and anime characters and illustrations and animated gifs instead of profile pictures and would cycle through different ones depending on how they felt that day.
At the top of each post we could list a bunch of info, like:
and you'd fill it in like so:
Title: Without You I'm Nothing
I am...: Home sweet home
I hear...: Placebo - Every You Every Me
I'm feeling...: Reflective
I miss those days when blogging was simpler and you could say whatever you wanted.
Back when the internet was young and we poured our hearts here and talked about troubles and heartbreak and didn't give a damn if
things lined up or looked good
or if yr punctuation and grammar wasperfect
because you were writing as fast as you could think, unhindered and unencumbered, and as you poured the words out of your fingertips and onto that digital page you would feel this deep sense of relief and
after hitting 'Publish'.
I miss those wild west days.
But being a blogging dinosaur isn't so bad. I've spent nearly two decades working through my bullshit and honing my craft and watching as the way people communicated online has changed
and my blog has changed me just as much as any social media network
but goddamn if I don't still miss using gifs as avatars.
It says: "the purpose of this cycle is to alter any assumptions that life will always proceed logically."
Which is spooky-true in the way that only something written to sound intentionally vague enough to sound applicable in 99.9% of cases can be.
Mercury is in retrograde, or so says my horoscope, and I should hold off from buying, doing, or planning significant things like
buying a new house
planning a wedding
launching a business
and other big-ticket life events until a planet has stopped looking like it's moving "backwards" across the night sky.
I don't believe in horoscopes, but I like reading them because they give me ideas to chew on.
Are things feeling a bit tense right now?
Should I be taking more time for self-reflection?
Is there something I should be addressing, or resolving?
What could I be doing better?
Truth is, I read these dumb horoscopes because it gives me a sense of control.
I don't believe in God or the prophets or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but I believe in a person's ability to use tech to feel empowered and better manage their life.
Like the apps I use to track my anxiety, my steps, my period and my screen time, reading something that makes me reflective helps me not feel so helpless when plans change, or when things don't work out the way I'd hoped.But that being said
I'm so ready for Mercury Retrograde to be over already.
The wedding was was funny and unique and weird and wonderful, just like them.
I was happy to be there even though my purse broke and my romper's zipper broke and my hair didn't hold all the nice curls Katrina did for me
oh and I left my dumb, broken purse (with my phone in it) at the venue.
But it was one of those blurry evenings spent staying up way too late drinking and celebrating with people you love that makes the next day's hangover
so worth it.
It moves me to see other people who love each other and compliment each other so well
and who appreciate and promote each other's weirdness
and I feel so lucky to not just be their friend, but to have been invited to share in their special day with them.
Congrats again, Adam and Brittany
thank you for throwing a baller party, and for being in our lives
and for hanging onto my dumb, broken purse when I left it at the venue.
You guys are the real MVPs.
It's raining and we've been inside for most of the day except the part where we wandered around the garden to check on our tiny tomatoes and baby peppers and little sprouts.
The cats are snoring.
I took a long nap this afternoon.
After being sick earlier this week and busy every night/day for weeks
it's been nice to take it slow and have nowhere to be.
We made breakfast. We made tacos.
John made of cups of boozy coffee with vanilla.
We did a crossword puzzle together and I played some Zelda.
It's damp and grey and smells like it, and the rain mixing with the incense I'm burning that I bought at the hippie shop up the street
along with a vegan recipe book (naturally)
is soothing and making me drowsy.
I know our bedroom is going to be dark and cool and smell like earth when we curl up together.
I hope we set aside some time to read our bedtime book together. John reads to be me sometimes before we go to sleep, and we're halfway through Life of Pi right now.
I've read it before - it's one of my favourite books - but it's a slow read aloud and we've been so busy that we've been falling right to sleep most nights.
But tonight feels perfect for it.
Toulouse is curled up on the couch
nestled in-between the cushions, shaped like a heart.
He's snoring, and his toes and tail are twitching
his ears moving in his sleep.
I'm on the other couch, stretched out
enjoying the beam of sun on my feet
watching his tummy rise and fall
fast and slow
listening to the sounds of the afternoon
cars and bikes and kids playing outside
coming through a window that's blissfully
to the warm sunshine and refreshing breeze of spring.
I feel like my cat feels
safe and warm
and though it's tempting to lie here
basking in this quiet moment
enjoying the feeling of calm
Toulouse just stretched out again
begging for me to pester him and wake him up
and give him a little payback for this morning.
Image of these badass ladies + the Wolseley Elm via the U of M
It's busy in Wolseley
kids are getting picked up from daycare and preschool
or walking home from
Balmoral Hall and Laura Secord
it smells like bread on Sherbrook and Wesminster
where people are waiting for the bus with their groceries
or tying their dogs up next to corner stores
next to houses with dragons on their lawns
next to houses with rainbow fences
along streets lined with
porches and sunrooms and front steps
covered in the shade
of old Dutch elms that haven't succumbed to disease
standing guard over busy streets
filled with Moms and Dads in SUVs
heading home to dinner or soccer practice or dance class
or cyclists on their bikes
in their helmets and backpacks and reflective gear
and I'm in the street on my bike
at a four-way intersection managed by a blinking red light
waving at each other and smiling
and I'm waiting my turn
breathing in deep
trying to remember
the smell of fresh produce from the co-op
mixing with incense from Prairie Sky Books
and how the haze of the early evening light
that filters through the budding leaves
turns everything to gold.
Our story started before we met.
It started in the gyms and basements and concert halls where John played in his high school band, Sewing With Nancie.
It started when I took a job working at a McDonalds so my mom wouldn't throw me out of the house every day with nowhere to go.
It started when John moved here at 18 after meeting a cute girl on a school band trip.
It started when I met Peter, my shift supervisor, who spoke with a lisp like Homestarrunner
(which I thought - and still do think - is super charming)
who offered to give me a lift home and put a Sewing With Nancie CD in the car stereo.
"I love this band" he told me "my friends and I used to carpool around from Windsor, to Brantford, to London, and all over to see these guys play."
It started when I was in Peter's car on the Perimeter Highway listening to lo-fi punk songs like Dave Stieb and grimy covers of Time After Time.
Then our story didn't pick up again for several years.
When we did finally meet it was several years later, at a baby shower for a mutual friend. What I remember most about that day was
the brown sweater vest John was wearing
how good the snacks were
how huge John's mouth is when he smiles
and how much he made me laugh.
It was probably obvious to everyone around us how well we got along, how similar our interests were, and how well-suited to each other we were, which was complicated by the fact that we were both seeing other people
(if only love were an easy, straightforward thing)
but when a writer meets another writer who has a collection of books that rivals their own
well, what can you do
the heart wants what it wants.
Our story is told in an email filled with hopes, dreams, and an Oscar Wilde quote.
It's told in the lyrics of my favourite Royal Canoe song, which I listened to on a rainy, heartbroken walk home to close one chapter of my life and begin another filled with months of stress, anguish, and strain.
Our story through that time is told through the poems I wrote and burned, or tucked into John's pockets, or tore up to get caught by the wind over the Osborne Bridge where I'd trudged home in the rain, knowing what I needed to do the day that everything changed.
It continues to be told through the sayings and pictures and lore of our relationship, recorded in a series of notebooks and cards and scraps of paper with words or drawings on them.
Bears. A She. A He. The Twin Moons of the planet Bayor. The Üdavs!
It's told through the matching ink on our ribs, shaped like the Great Bear constellation. A permanent record of an incredible adventure that's just ours to share and hold and keep forever.
Our story is told through the video of our engagement
(which I just re-watched, and cried all the way through)
where John surprised me on my 30th birthday in front of all our friends, and where I (ever the classy dame) blurted out "oh for fuck's sake" as soon as he dropped down on one knee
and in the email where he wrote his proposal, mirroring that life-changing email that he sent
five years ago today.
I couldn't have imagined, then, that we would be where we are now.
Our story isn't an easy one: it's one filled with doubt and anxiety and discovery and lots of change. It's been a roller coaster of businesses and projects and family and self-discovery.
But the best stories aren't the boring stories, anyway.
The best stories are the ones about overcoming obstacles, and challenges, and growth. The best stories are about taking risks and doing the scary things and
following your heart
even when that means changing your whole life to do it.
(The heart wants what it wants, after all.)
It's only in looking back that we can see how the little things
a band trip
a temporary job
a CD in someone's stereo
a baby shower
string together like words on a page.
When I collect all these stories, scoop them up in my arms and bind them together into a weighty tome of jokes, hopes, dreams, fears, and friendship and hold them close to my chest, pressed against my heart
it reminds me that the stories we tell are all we really have of the people we love.
I clutch at these stories because I know my time with this incredible, strange specimen of a man is fleeting, and has already slipped through my fingers in a blur of weekdays and Saturday mornings and festivals and trips
faster than I could have expected.
Years of our lives, though spent together, are gone, and all I can do is keep these memories safe and protected.
To not take them for granted, or allow details to get lost in the fuzzy haze of history.
To record Our Story as diligently and truthfully as I can.
To honour the story of Bears. Of John Luxford and Alyson Shane.
The most important story I know.
These are the words on the little box of chocolates sitting in front of me.
I bought the box of chocolates at Shoppers before realizing 1) it was Mother's Day chocolate and 2) it said
I felt awkward buying it. I was probably acting frazzled at the checkout, but I couldn't stop feeling like a fraud because I don't celebrate Mother's Day and I don't love my Mom, and I felt like the very nice cashier knew I was going to come home and put the box on my desk and
stare at it
thinking about those words.
It's been a long time since I've said, or thought, or felt those things, which is okay. It's a weight off my shoulders, but being able to rationalize it and feel good about it doesn't make it less weird.
Especially when there's a day once a year dedicated to how amazing and caring and great Moms are.
Mother's Day is hard because it highlights all the things my mom isn't, and that our relationship will never be. We're not bffs, and I don't confide in her, or spend time with her, or buy her cute little pink boxes of chocolate that say
Quite the opposite.
Standing there holding that small, unassuming box of chocolates brought back uncomfortable memories. Scenes from childhood that I'd rather forget. Betrayals and let-downs. Things that can't be taken back.
Words and actions that gaslit my reality the point where I doubted my own perceptions of what was going on around me. That made me feel stupid, and worthless, and small. That told me I was a bad person who didn't deserve to be happy, or loved, or successful.
I felt awkward holding something that expressed a sentiment I didn't feel about someone who made me feel horrible on purpose for so long.
It made my cheeks burn and my heart pound.
It burned a hole in my backpack while I shopped for fruit at DeLuca's and I after I got home I unpacked my groceries and sat and stared at it for a long while.
Then I thought about how far I've come in spite of her
and I ate the damn chocolates.
They were delicious.
Last Tuesday Colin and I were having a beer at The Yellow Dog and we were talking about the recent uproar in the city over the new $5 charge to attend the hockey playoff street party.
100% of the proceeds from ticket sales are going to fund the United Way's homeless, mental illness, and addictions programs in the city
which, I dunno, seems like a pretty OK thing to do with the money if you ask me
especially considering that one of the major complaints suburbanites have about downtown is that it's filled with drunk homeless people messed up on drugs
People were posting about this new $5 charge all over the place, and we were talking about how most of them are forgetting that a downtown street party closes several major roads, impacts nearby businesses and services, and requires additional policing, among other things, and paying $5 to support our homeless population isn't really a big ask if you think about it.
It wasn't very crowded in the bar and as we were talking a dude kept looking over at us, and at first I thought he was agreeing with what we were saying because he just sat there and smiled and nodded along, but as we were getting up to pay he turned to me and said:
"Hey, I heard you guys talking about the Whiteout Party tickets. I think that's bullshit, man, that shit should be free!"
So I explained my points about the homeless and street closures and extra policing, and he got this funny look on his face which made me hope that he was going to give me a thoughtful response.
But then he said
"Fuck that, we don't need extra police. Do you know how many tickets you could pay for with a cop's salary?! What do they make, $100,000 a year? JUST FIRE A COP!"
Now generally I try to be considerate of other people's opinions, but that has to be one of the most profoundly stupid things I've ever heard
and I just stood there for a second with a blank look on my face. Then I said "OK cool, enjoy the game" and left, because what do you even say to that?
He clearly has no respect for people who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, and there's no point in trying to reason with someone who has such a loose grasp on how the world works.
Besides, that guy wasn't there to have a real discussion. He was there to wear his Jets jersey, go drink more beer with his buddies at the street party, and enjoy the benefits of a downtown that he clearly has no interest in supporting.
He just comes downtown to party, man.
Which makes him a lot like all the other people who voted 2-1 against allowing pedestrians to cross a street in our downtown
who are suddenly now OK with people getting wasted and stumbling around downtown near high-traffic intersections while disrupting the normal flow of traffic
as long as they're the ones doing it
and as long as they aren't forced to donate five bucks to help the homeless.
But hey, who knows.
Maybe that dude's onto something.
I bet we could fill a lot of potholes with those cop salaries.
I wasn't at my best over the weekend.
I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and from the minute I got up everything felt overwhelming, negative, and frustrating. I snapped at John and I snapped at my friends and I posted some dumb shit to Twitter that I later deleted because I looked at what I'd said and realized that even though it felt good to call out some shitty behaviour I'd been made aware of in the moment, imitating that toxic behaviour didn't actually make me feel any better or help the situation at all.
We were planning to go to Electric Six on Sunday night and I spent most of the day in an anxious panic worrying that I wouldn't be able to handle being in a crowded public space trying to focus on a band I like and would spend the whole time
standing with that tingling, tight feeling in my face and stomach and throat
kind of like the numbness that hits you just before you throw up or when you get some really bad news
and I kept saying "I can't, I can't, I can't" because I believed it.
Luckily John is an understanding and patient person and he said "babe if you need to stay home that's okay, but I want you to know I was really looking forward to seeing the show together"
which was hard for me to accept because of the baggage I have from years of having my feelings and needs invalidated and thrown in my face
but I wanted to try
so I said "let's go to dinner instead of hanging around the house" and we went to Elephant & Castle and I had a really good burger with bacon and BBQ sauce and we laughed and talked about our super-secret project over pints of Guinness.
We talked to some ladies in town from Calgary sat down next to us and started chatting with us which seems to happen every time John and I go somewhere
and I deleted all the dumb shit I said online and reflected on it publicly
(because it's good to 'fess up to when you're being a tit, I think, which I was)
and maybe it was the beer or maybe the music but when I started dancing in the crowd at Electric Six the numb feeling that was sitting in my gut and throat and face started to melt away, and it was nice to have a break from that feeling for a little while.