After a pretty bad morning of getting out of bed at the absolute last minute, skipping breakfast, hiking up the hill in the rain, only to get to therapy and find out it had been cancelled, I found $10 on the sidewalk. Sometimes the world is looking out for you.
With some time to kill before work, I stopped at the dollar store and spent five dollars on a few things to make me happy. I bought a package of those eraser caps that go on the ends of pencils. I’m writing with pencils these days because I have dozens of them and because pens are so much more expensive (at least the ones I like). I bought a rubber ball (“Hi-Bounce Pinky”), the kind you throw against the wall and catch when it comes back at you. I bought two cans of Play-Doh (pink and blue).
All of my students have fidget spinners now. (I’ve been looking, but they’re not in the dollar store yet.) Today in class, a grade 2 boy explained how he doesn’t bottle flip anymore because it’s too 2016. Fidget spinners are 2017.
Play-Doh is the 1950s, but I loved it in the 1980s, and it’s still on sale today. It’s not a trend, and it’s not a memory. It’s right here in my hand. And it makes me so happy to feel it squeeze through my fingers.
I have been trying so hard, for 6 months now, to not look at Twitter. It hasn’t been working. Even from this side of the border, the US govt has my brain so fucked up. I can’t sleep. I’m eating crap. It’s really hard to convince myself the future will be better. This isn’t all the US election’s fault. Brexit stole an entire continent from me before I even had a chance to use my British passport. And my chance to find a job and save for a house was gone before I graduated university. The thing I struggle most with in therapy is “should” statements. “I should be settled by 35.” “I should have met someone by now.” “I should know what the fuck I’m doing with my life before it’s over.” I can’t stop these thoughts. I know they don’t help. Even typing this now is making me cry. Life should be better. And I don’t know what to do to make it so.
On Saturday, I woke up with that kind of sore throat that I sometimes get in the morning. It could be a cold, or it could just be the temperature and the air in my room. I went hiking anyway. I still have a Starbucks reward by some barista mistake from last week, so I was going to use it to try the unicorn frappucino. But as I headed home in the drizzling rain, I knew I was getting sick. I came home on Saturday, and I went straight to bed.
On Sunday, I woke up with that kind of all over ache that could’ve been from walking 15 km the day before, but which I knew for sure was the flu. I stayed in bed. I watched the entire Victorian Farm Christmas Special (again). I didn’t write. I barely slept. All I could hope for was that it wasn’t as bad as the flu that laid me out for two weeks in January last year. When you work with children, you spend a lot of time teaching them how to cough into their elbow.
On Monday, this morning, I woke up, and it wasn’t as bad. But I was still sick. It’s the kind of sick that’s mostly a runny nose and a sneeze stuck in your nose. I spent the morning in bed, drank lots of tea, had a hot and steamy shower. By the time I had to walk up the hill to work, it was warm and sunny outside. I survived (with a wad of kleenex hidden under my desk).
On Tuesday, I hope I wake up well.
This weekend, I’m doing first aid. It’s the final requirement for my yoga teacher training, and then I can start teaching classes. I used to be certified when I was in Girl Guides, but it’s been so long, I have to do the full course again. So much has changed since the 90s. They don’t recommend the “doughnut” bandage for impaled objects anymore. But calling 911 isn’t nearly the problem it used to be. AED machines are smaller than my laptop, and they raise the chances of surviving cardiac arrest by 70%.
I started writing this post with the intention of telling the story of my lunch break I was sitting on a bench, shaking my Starbucks salad, when I heard an oddly quiet voice say, “shake, shake, shake.” I almost didn’t think it was real until I looked up to see a 30something guy in the passenger seat of a car waiting to turn. He put his fingers up in a peace sign. I tried to scowl, but I was mostly confused.
These are the kinds of stories women tell, and men say, “So, what? He wasn’t being rude. It’s not like he called you a bitch.”
He interrupted my lunch. He inserted himself into my life. He is a strange man who demanded my attention and then disappeared. Imagine every time you try to take a bite of kale and brown rice, a man taps on your shoulder and says, “Hey. Pay attention to me.” That’s what it’s like to be a woman.
But then I ate my salad, and it was delicious. The sky was blue, the clouds were fluffy, the sun was warm. I know a little more about how to save a life. The world is still amazing, so hold on.
Emily Carr was 36 before she and her sister, Alice, made the first trip to Alaska and into the woods. I still have time. That she did her best, and most prolific, work after 56 makes me feel like I have all the time in the world.
I’ve been numb since Brexit. But this made me cry for real. I’m safe too. Talk to me. I’ll send you happy mail.
The hashtag on Twitter is insufferably smug & completely unnecessary. This attitude is exactly how America found itself here.
There’s a fly in my apartment. I’m like Tippi Hedren in here.
On Tuesday, I fell down the stairs and sprained my ankle, the same ankle I wrecked so many years ago now (playing running games in party shoes on a concrete playground) that sometimes, I can sprain it walking on flat ground. This time, I really did myself in. I’m stuck on the couch with an ice pack, and I’m hobbling around on crutches. Still, I can move my fingers. Why can’t I write?
I was supposed to spend Tuesday finishing up a story and sending it off. I was supposed to spend Wednesday celebrating the new book. Instead, I’ve spent the week laying on a couch, my foot on ice and up. Everything hurts, and nothing is comfortable. I was on painkillers the first day. I was trying to figure out how feed and clothe myself while hopping on one leg the next day.
It’s the kind of thing that fucks up your whole life. It throws all your carefully prepared plans on the floor and stomps all over them. So, I didn’t finish that story for that deadline. I’ll finish it and find somewhere else to send it. Once I figure out how to finish it.
I don’t have writing rituals. Some things I write in Scrivener, in nvALT, in Google Docs, in my notebook, on my phone. I know myself too well to let myself buy into rituals, so I work hard to stay away from absolutes. I really can write anywhere, at any time, whether I have an internet connection or not. I wasn’t counting on a sprained ankle to come along and screw up my week. But that’s what life does; it screws up your week.
Mostly, I just wish I could find a comfortable position. I think that’s life, too.