On Random Life Altering Events as Related to Dating

Growing up, there was no TV in our house. The New Kids On The Block music videos sounded pretty cool especially the Hanging Tough video that included lots of hanging tough arm waving but instead of learning all the dance moves, I was busy building forts in the tree tops and…reading books.

I didn’t realize how shameful and awkward this “no-TV” situation was until the first Gulf war when a grade-four friend was concerned at the lack of a TV in my family’s living room; she cornered me on the playground to debate the devastating effects of my parent’s decision.

“What if the Iraqi’s invade Canada! How would your family and I get to safe hiding in time?”.

And my logical response:

a) we lived in butt-f***-nowhere and I was pretty sure the Iraqi’s didn’t care about bombing our particular remote Canadian city.

b) provided the Iraqi’s were interested in our city, I was pretty certain they wouldn’t promote their intentions through the daily news channel therefore negating the positive effects of owning a TV in the face of possible war.

c) at the end of our street, 20 feet in the air stood the remnants of a WWII air-raid siren that miraculously still worked.

d) the American’s initiated the war, not us peace-keeping Canadians who had nary a bullet in our shiny rifles, what threat were we really?!

Grade-four was equally life-altering not only because of The New Kids On The Block, the start of the first Gulf war and the poignant realization of how dangerously odd it seemed that there was no TV in our house. It was also in grade 4 that as a class we watched The Wizard Of Oz. We didn’t watch it in the comfort of our desks, instead the class gathered in the library/music room at the south end of the school. We sat on the carpeted floor staring up at a 20 inch TV sitting on a metal cart with wheels; the VCR making clicking noises and the screen flickering the entire time.

The class didn’t watch the movie in one whole sitting, it was broken down into segments.

It was during the first segment when we got to the part where the wicked witch enters the long room where she kept her multiple human heads, I’d had enough. I stood up, all my peers sitting quietly, intently watching, anticipating what was to come next. I tip-toed around my classmates sprawled on the floor and left the room.

My concerned teacher followed as any concerned teacher would do and I politely asked if I could be excused from watching the film, suggesting as an alternative that I sit in our classroom and read a book.

Yep that’s right, I wanted to read a book.

My decision to read a book in lieu of watching The Wizard Of Oz with the rest of my classmates brings us to the other fourth-grade life altering realization that didn’t include how ashamed I should feel about the lack of a TV at home.

See there was a boy who decided that he didn’t want to watch the movie either and to this day I can’t decide if he REALLY didn’t want to watch the movie or if he wanted to just sit in the same empty room as me. From grade-four until we graduated High School he was always there like a shadow when I turned around, just there, waiting for me to be nice to him for once? I promise if I bump into him I’ll apologize for a least not being nice.

My dating anxiety grew from those quiet, self-imposed, grade-four reading sessions in a mostly empty classroom. I was a worried little kid realizing for the first time that I couldn’t control which boys decided to like me and there was a possibility I might like some boys more than they liked me. Worse of all, I realized that with enough persistence it was possible that I might be able to be convinced to like someone back as much as they liked me.

Frankly, I was suppose to be the one in control, picking which boys were allowed to like me! But understanding that this was not to be the case and needing to protect my interests, by the time I graduated from High School and dragged myself to College I’d narrowed down the rules on boys and dating to one solid rule.

To sum it up, I unwittingly choose an anthem with dumb lyrics as a guide, you know the one:

Be, be aggressive
B-e, be aggressive
You never know
Just who you’re up against, so
B-e, b-e aggressive
B-e, b-e aggressive

I admit it has evolved over time, however the “be, be aggressive” lyrics did come in handy the time when my idea of short-lived longevity wasn’t exactly shared and interpreted the same way by my date and well, I got a taste of that thing called “the witness protection program” only it wasn’t the law that helped in assigning me a new identity, it was my close friends. 🙂

To dating, staying safe and…in control…whatever that means LOL!!

Life is like a box of…letters

When I left for college my family was really good at sending me letters in the mail. Yes I was old enough, or young enough, or whatever enough that email was a normal method of communication, however there is just something about getting physical mail.

I found my box of saved up mail in my junk drawer.

As a side note, junk drawers, no matter how organized one might be, are super important. It’s in these drawers that treasures are found 🙂 Like old comics cut out of the newspaper or that thing we made when we were in grade 3 that was “Oh soooo cute.”

In my box there were a few typed letters from a friend of the family who was living with my parents. He was…I dunno, 90? It is safe to say he wasn’t young and he had lots of advice for me while I was away in my first year at college. I laughed out loud when I read this Christmas Card from him:

MAY YOUR LIFE BE LONG AND PLESENT
MAY YOU HAVE TEN KIDS AND LOADS OF FRENDS

MERRY XMS, TO YOU.

Ummm, 10 kids – honestly!? I am WAYYYYY BEHIND 🙂

Anyhow in my box of letters there are some really funny notes and a few diaries I started but never finished (I likely got tired of the cover and found a new book to write in).

Perhaps this post is against my better judgement, but I cannot resist.

In my diaries from when I was 20, I didn’t realize this, but I was looking to find “Love”. And this makes me laugh. I will be the first to admit that this term was lost on me in my 20’s. It was a nice catch-all word that was the answer to everything. A little Love.

The problem, as a 20-something snot faced know-it-all, love was staring me in the face all along and I ignored it. I walked around it, I hid from it and yet would write in my diary at night, “I am looking for Love!”

You see the humour in this?! I do 🙂 and frankly it makes me laugh.

For whatever reason I decided that finding love was finding a magical man that I could put on MY mantle (forget about being his prize, I didn’t want to be a prize I wanted to win a prize!)

I can hardly stop myself from laughing and I can understand if this is making no sense but I will do my best to give some clairty (although that just may not be possible.)

When I talk about me walking around love and avoiding it, Love was my family and my close friends. The ones who cared about me and were there to laugh with me, poke fun at me and get away with it.

In my box of letters I see the love they had for me (how did they put up with me!).

So ladies who are in your 20’s who know it all, there are no magical men riding around on dark stallion’s or whatever colour of horse you prefer. There is family and best friends who have your back, who’d take a bullet for you, who’d do anything to keep you safe – that is Love.

I don’t believe love can be found just sitting there in the shade waiting to be happened upon.

I do believe it can be nutured and it can grow into something amazing and that it is worth the effort of friendship.

I am not sure when in my 20’s I stopped with my ridiculous “looking” and just started living – focusing on nurturing my attachments with family and friends and collecting new friends along the way, but it happened and perhaps that is just part of growing up.

It’s like the saying “Do a job you love and the money will come.” I say “Build strong friendships and love will come.”

To not finding Love. 😀 but rather great friendships!

A poem my sister sent me and yes I found it in the box of letters.

Friendship
To laugh and joke a bit, and grasp a friendly hand;
To love a bit and scold a bit, and hope they’ll understand.
To tell one’s secrets hopes and fears, and share a friendly smile;
To have a friend and be a friend is what makes life worthwhile!

My Fulfilling Life…part 1

My Fulfilling Life…part 1

My fulfilling life. There I’ve said it three times all in a row without interruption. I decided this would be the next logical post since it seems that this topic has been in my last few posts in some shape or form.

After reminiscing about the Hilda street adventures, I decided it was fitting to go back and just see how fulfilling this life of mine has been, using the places I’ve spend more then 10 consecutive nights sleeping as a guide (I may not get through all of it in one post, hence the part 1 haha)

So let’s start with college. I moved a total of 7 times in 3 years, not counting the summers I spent at home. That means on average during each school year I moved a total of 2.3 times a year. Let’s just summarize, I moved 6 times the first year, once the second and none the third. It’s safe to say I was having a little trouble finding a suitable place to call home away from home.

The place I stayed for a year and a half was a nice basement apartment with a single mom and her son on the first floor. Every so often I would be serenaded with boyfriend noises from yelling and screaming to what I can only imagine was maniacal love-making – I am not sure how much love was in the making, but anyhow.

I didn’t live in this basement alone, no I had lots of friends. They were small, black and they would frequently frighten me. Raise your hands if you have ever lived amongst an infestation of carpenter ants?! They are the freakiest and worse then cockroaches, believe me. At least cockroaches hide during the light and only appear in the dark, skittering away at the first sight of a human. Carpenter ants wanted to be friends, they would hang out day and night, darting across the floor and tickling my feet, legs, arms and face at all hours and sometimes even attempting to crawl into my nose – ewww right!?!

Peripheral vision is a handicap when living with these insects (they are insects aren’t they). It would be better to be completely blind and lacking in any sensory processes. I’d be sitting, minding my own business working on school work when out of the corner of my eye I’d see something dash across the room. In my minds eye this something was never merely a carpenter ant, it was a giant black, tail-less rat. I’d have major palpitations and when I’d look the creature in the eye, of course it was only a minuscule ant.

I would get so frustrated.

My frustration manifested itself in deep rage!

I’d grab the latest ant fighting product that I’d found at Walmart and dart after the little critter, dousing it in the inexplicable, foul smelling gunk. But these ants were immune. They’d turn their little heads, stick out their tongues and scurry off only to re-appear later good as new. It was infuriating.

Near then end of my year and a half stay, I was ready to be committed. I could hardly sleep or spend anytime indoors at the apartment. To release the stress, my safe haven became the 1 foot by 1 foot shower. I’d huddle in, close the door, turn on the water as hot as I could stand, crouch to the bottom, let the water roll off my back while crying a river of frustrated hot tears.

I was happy to say adieu to my digs after graduating. I try not to reminisce of those ‘good ‘ole days’ for slight fear that these physical little tormentors may somehow make it into my nightly dreams where there are no hot soothing showers!