The Written WordBlogging About.
Disclaimer: I do not consider myself a gamer because I am not a fan of video games (though I adore board games), and I am not into comics. I do, however, enjoy the occasional LARP (though I’m only ever a NPC because I think I’d be bored if I wasn’t switching roles so much) and almost every one of my friend is a gamer, roleplayer, and/or is into comic books. Also, my opinion does not reflect anyone else’s but my own. I am curious if other women feel the same way though.
I think we can all agree that to one degree or another we all have escapism tendencies, whether it be we crack a comic book, watch a TV show, or escape to a video game world where you can hit people on the sidewalk and garner points instead of jail time.
My personal way of escaping has been through books, mostly fantasy or light sci-fi. I could connect with the characters, especially ones where the women often play a lead, if not key, role. The lead men were often not described as handsome (I’m thinking Dirk from Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey), and they were bright and often intuitive partners for the women in the story.
This is the part where I become a bit vulnerable and admit that that is how I always imagine a good relationship. Not perfect in temperament or in physicality, but working together they can make magic that makes everything else inconsequential. I have seen it happen (rarely) in real life, so I do know it exists.
All right, now that I have bared my soul a little, let’s think about this in the context of comic book characters, specifically the female ones.
Comic books are as much fantasy as my novels are. I was attracted to these novels because the characters appeal to me, and their world and way of being is an escape from the world I inhabit. I’ll be the first to raise my hand in admitting I have had fangirl crushes on my favourite characters before. I accept the fact they have affected me in various ways.
It makes me pale to think of the world that comic book women exist in. They wear spandex and incredibly tight fitting clothing all the time, they must be constantly worried about their breasts popping out of their costumes, not to mention having to constantly think of how they can pose in the most provocate ways while kicking the bad guy’s tail.
As a young woman who will NEVER look good in one of those outfits (while not denying I have my own assets, thankyouverymuch) without cladding myself in multiple pairs of spanx and probably a corset around my waist and each thigh which would pretty much reduce my bad-guy-rear-kicking to zero, I find it dismaying that that is what the ideal woman looks like in the comic book world. I am not saying that men who read them think those are the ideal, rather the world they escape to does.
I can’t compete on a physical level with those fantasy girls without serious reconstructive surgery. I can see why men want them, but it’s so intimidating to a woman like me. The men in the world I escape to are… well.… human. Fallible. Imperfect. Loving. Gentle. Intelligent. In every shape and size. The way I see my ideal guy. I don’t read comic books because the stories –and let’s be honest, the men– in them don’t do it for me.
Clear as mud?
There are so many decisions as the years pass that you need to make, most of them exciting as you commit to shape and grow your future in certain ways. You will feel every time that you redefine your priorities, rearrange them constantly, and add or subtract from that list that you are one step closer to being who, and what, you want to be.
I am getting to the point in my life I am going to have to make some hard decisions.
Growing up, I have always been a mothering type from the time I was very young. I enjoy being a caretaker, and having children of my own has always been something I assumed would happen. While I have never been the cottage-and-a-white-picket-fence kind of girl, I imagined myself with a partner travelling with a baby in tow around the world. My kids would grow up and be introduced to as many cultures and places as my budget would allow, like we were with my parents. Moving is hard with little ones, but I think my sister and I really benefitted from both learning how to adapt on our own to new surroundings, and hearing the stories my well-travelled parents shared with us about their adventures both before and after they had us only increased our wanderlust.
I think my sister and I turned out pretty darn well, thanks to the chances our parents took and the choices they made. We’re both world travellers, well educated, and we take calculated risks with the full support of our Mom because she knows from experience that we have what it takes to succeed. And even if we don’t, it will probably lead to success later on. As an example, my sister is moving to the island next week to start a CSA with some friends. I am so proud that she is taking the chance to build on a foundation that she is so passionate about.
But I digress.
Just the other day, I had a very long conversation with a good friend of mine the other day, and it was a relief to talk to someone else having the same thoughts and fears about the future. Specifically, what two single women nearing the age of 30 who both have always wanted children are going to do about something that really, if you think about it, is out of their control. This is a complicated issue for several reasons:
- After about 33, neither one of us wants to chance the possibility of there being problems with the children. Birth defects raise sharply after a certain age, and we both feel that that is not a risk we are willing to take on. My biggest fear is to leave behind a child that, though no fault of their own, cannot take care of themselves. Our society does not take good enough care of our less fortunate for me to feel safe. This is an educated decision, and one that’s taken me years to research and ponder.
- I will not jump into a relationship and have kids just to meet the ‘deadline’. Thank goodness both my friend and I are strong and independent, so we wouldn’t consider settling for a rushed and/or mediocre relationship just for the sake of having children.
- Adoption, while a possibility, brings a whole host of issues on its own. This isn’t a topic I feel I am ready to discuss yet, but I know I’ll come back to it eventually. I also do not have the emotional capacity to foster, I know myself at least that well.
- I don’t know if I could do it alone. It’s one thing for me to have an ‘oops’ and raising the baby as a single mother, but it’s completely different to plan and scheme for that to happen. I wholeheartedly believe my friend can do this if she decides to, as she is much more financially secure than I am. That is also a factor in making sure I’d be a fit mother before taking any step.
thought that writing this all down would be a cathartic experience, and that I’d feel better after it was done. I’m afraid it didn’t have that desired effect. I do hope, however, that maybe someone else having the same fears will read this and feel a little less alone. I know I did when I found out my friend and I were in similar situations, and thinking similar thoughts.
Here’s my metaphysical hand, ladies. I know you are out there, and I understand how hard the decisions you have to face are. I’m right beside you, wanting to smack people who either placate you (“Oh, you have all the time in the world! Don’t be such an alarmist”), or who belittle the difficulty and dimension of the decisions ahead of you (“It’s not THAT big a risk, you’re blowing out of proportion.” or my favourite, “Kids are too much work and money anyway, think of it as the universe saying you shouldn’t have kids.”).
Next time someone says those things to you, imagine me standing right behind your shoulder, glaring at the offender while menacing them with a baseball bat. It won’t make them stop, but it’ll maybe make it more bearable.
Something has been seriously irritating me with movies and TV shows I have been watching recently. Something that actually has me reaching for a book during shows, or I’ll find myself pressing fast forward on the tightly-held remote without realizing I am doing it until I am 30+ seconds ahead, and cursing at myself because I probably have gone past where I should have stopped and missed something.
This is the classically stupid distraction device where usually the main character (though on occasion it could be the arm candy ingenue, or in artsy films even the antagonist can spur the scene) goes through hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years in a few heartbeats set to an annoyingly sappy sad song all set to make you “feel the pain”. Often the character exhibits signs of depression– extended stays in bed, crying, lonely walks in the rain, no sign of life in the eyes as they preform their jobs day-to-day, and avoiding socialization as much as they can when faced with the shrugging bewilderment of friends. Nothing good or bad happens during this time, it’s survival on fast-forward.
My montage can kick in ANY moment now.
This woman really says (and illustrates) the situation real people face– without montages descending like Fairy Godmothers to save the day– in her newest comic: Hyperbole and a Half
You KNOW that at any time the sun will come out and thing will be bright again.
You KNOW that soon enough you’ll get a second chance at love, find a better job, make up with your friends.
You KNOW that ‘allowing’ yourself to stay in bed and watching Being Erica* instead of working on projects is not productive and can actually come back to bite you.
Most women my age seem to be waiting for The Perfect Job, or Prince Charming. I’m actually pretty happy with my job, I see it taking me great places in the future (ref the title for plot point). I am also satisfied with staying single for a while, while I work on becoming a better choice of a partner.
I need to get to that time where the puzzle pieces fall into place, I can lift myself back up into the light (because I have no doubt that I can), and get back to being … full of muchness. The art journaling, the yoga, the meds, nothing seems to be working, despite my faith that all of it will.
Ok Universe– bring it on. All I ask is that you don’t let the song it gets played to be “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon Five. Please.
That is mostly because the things that have consumed me recently are not blog-able (more on that in a moment), and partially because I am on the computer so much at work it’s hard to convince myself to be on it longer than it takes to check email and Facebook when I do not have to be.
I want to get back to writing. I truly do. However, I have two lists standing in my way.
The first list is what I will not, or cannot blog about:
1) Relationships I believe that it is unfair to blog about my romantic relationships because everything can be interpreted by the readers in a way I can’t control, and I can’t and won’t put a partner in that position to be judged.
2) Work This is a whole powderkeg of issues just waiting to explode if I took it on. Not that it wouldn’t make for extremely engaging reading, but with my employer being a young SaaS, it’s wouldn’t be politic of me to write about our bumps and bruises as the company grows.
As you can imagine, at this point in my life both of those two topics take up the majority of my time and brainpower.
I am, however, engaged in many different hobbies and ventures outside of work and (currently non-existant) romantic relationships. My second barrier-erecting list is as follows:
1) Mixed media art I have barely dabbled in this, and after careful consideration it’s just not in the budget for me to take it on as a serious hobby. Should I marry rich or get a huge raise at work, this could be a viable topic.
2) Dieting As a late 20’s woman who has been anywhere from morbidly obese (lord I hate that term) to overweight her whole life, this is also a huge topic. My issue with it is that I am so tired of obsessing about when I eat when, and what I eat, and what I WANT to eat but can’t. Plus, I can’t imagine that I can add anything to the incredible wealth if information and opinions already existing. I am a very firm believer that there are many paths to God, and no one is right or wrong. I also believe there are many paths to a healthy lifestyle, and again, no one is right or wrong as long as it works for you.
3) Knitting and spinning It takes me upwards of 6 months to complete a project, mostly done in front of Road to Avonlea or Wind At My Back, where my only concerns beyond keeping a stitch count is when will Gus Pike will come back onto the show. Bo-ring.
4) Sewing This tempted me for a moment or two, but like knitting, while it is very creative, it does not fufill my need to talk about deeper concepts and thoughts on life. Multitasking in that way would probably ensure that I would be patching up wounds caused by running over my fingers with my machine too often for comfort, or even worse, forever be picking out mistakes I made while daydreaming.
5) Exercise/Yoga This was also a fairly strong contender, but failed for reasons similar to the topic of Dieting. Who wants to read about the paranoid thoughts an overweight girl hauling her ample rear end around into downward dog has? Are those the kind of thoughts I really want recorded, and to be remembered for?
6) Travel See #1. One day.…
So you see my dilemma at this point, I hope. My life in general is turning out to be a jack-of-all-trades track, and I am not sure I’m pleased with that.
This is clearly going to require more thought.
“What do you mean, you don’t have an online portfolio?”
Oh, come on!
To bring you up to speed on my job hunt– as of last Wednesday I had a design/event management job with a non-profit I have done work for in the past. I was thrilled, and feeling like I finally found my place.
Fast forward to Friday afternoon, when I was at a school assisting the facilitator with some workshops, and I received a call from the Director. Apparently the grant that was to fund my hours had been cancelled at the beginning of January, and so they have no money to pay me.
So while the Director is searching for alternate funding (they actually need someone in the position I was to hold, so she is scrambling), I am back to square one. This means resumes and coverletters flying out the door, and as of Monday, a brand new Blog.
I have been told by two companies that I am expected to have an online portfolio. Just to be crystal clear, I loathe web design. We are like oil and water. My current status of being less than job-ful means I can’t afford to pay someone to do it for me. Luckily, I think I found a happy medium in an inexpensive WordPress template that looks like I could possibly get it to do what I want.
Please check back on Monday for my (hopefully) all-new blog and portfolio site. For those of you who have subscribed to my blog, that may go away when I change templates. Everything may go away, in fact.
This will be an interesting weekend.
Well, hello there! I have not seen you in a while. This is because of a combination of many, many things, but I will just sum it up by saying that I have had significant endings in my life within the last two months. School, my Cafe job, the volunteer work for Be The Change, my attempts to enjoy hot yoga, and my optimism about the future.
The last one may be a bit over-dramatic, but I feel like it will give you an idea of how eroded I am feeling.
Whoever said that the recession is over is living in a dream land. Just the other day, one of my co-workers at our Cafe and I were musing over how every resume requesting full time work had at least one University degree listed on it. A few had several. What does that tell you?
That being said, I have not given up. Visits with job counselors, looking into Government-run programs for people looking to change (or find new) careers, haunting every job board known to mankind (yes, even Craigslist). I am doing it all.
The quote for this post is one of my very favorites. I clearly haven’t pounded open the right door yet. Dynamite, anyone?
I had to take a break from posting yesterday, because I had quite the rocky class. My failures and faults are just as much a part of me as my successes and strengths are, and in the end they become just another experience to add to my list.
Starting off strong, I could feel my breathing is deepening, and I’m happy about sticking Tree pose and a few other standing ones noticeably better than I was.
To set the scene– it was again hotter than ever before in the room. Our teacher didn’t once open up a back window to let air in, and I foolishly chose a place right under a ceiling heater. In the middle of the standing poses, a girl (I think she may have been new) got up to leave the classroom. The teacher publicly, and loudly, chided her, saying that she should go back to her place because she didn’t need to leave. The girl ignored her, and the teacher continued with another comment to the effect of whatever she was running from, she won’t get away even if she does go outside, and then continued on with the class.
Feeling even more pressure to not do anything to incur the teacher’s wrath, or even catch her notice, I worked very hard at the spine strengthening poses. So hard, that I started to feel dizzy and nauseated. I have felt that way before, so I knew to control my breathing, and lay down for a few minutes until it passed.
It did not pass.
In fact, not only did it not pass, but I started to gag. Thinking I could steel myself and get it to stop by sheer willpower, I clamped a hand over my mouth and grit my teeth. I was NOT going to be another bad example! After a minute or so of this, with my breathing becoming more out of control with every clench of my stomach, my friend Kara kneeled beside me and said something. I didn’t register what she said, but I half bolted, half stumbled to the door and out into the washrooms before becoming physically ill. I didn’t have anything in my stomach because I strictly adhere to not eat anything two hours before class, but that didn’t seem to matter.
Needless to say, there were tears as I sat on the bathroom floor and considered my failure. I really, really wanted to be able to say that I had never once had to leave a class by the end of my 30 days, but clearly that wasn’t going to be an option. Trying to break that rather depressing thought pattern, I focused on slowing my breathing and becoming more calm. I was better once my classmates entered the change room, and Kara was kind, and tried to cheer me up with some stories of her own misadventures. That relaxed me a bit further.
What really helped was I had a word with our rather tough teacher. She said that I shouldn’t be ashamed, because I kept battling until it was clear that I had to leave the room. She gave me a hug and said it was only a failure if I didn’t return the next day to try again.
So, with Ryan and Kara, I am back to it tonight. This time though, I am not going to be under the damned heater!
Wow. It was bad.
There were way more people in the room tonight, and I feel like it was the hottest I have been yet. I did, however do better than my first time– I stuck all sets of the tree pose, most of the bow pose, and only sat out the second parts of fixed and camel.
My body loathes those backward bending poses, I had tears running down my face and became very dizzy (not from pain, though there was a bit of that) after the first set of fixed pose, and camel made my heart race enough so that I ungracefully collapsed back into the resting position. I am happy that, through my limited experience, I now know the best way to get everything under control is to only breathe through my nose.
I suppose according to those that say if you push yourself to pain and dizziness that you are doing it right, then I am doing it VERY right. So right, in fact, I almost had to call my friend to help me get my tank top off in the shower. I stood there for a good few minutes half in and half out, every wriggle making me feel dizzy and sending sparks of complaints from my sore muscles.
Tomorrow, 4pm yoga here I come.
I not only dragged myself there tonight, but I also did every.single.posture. I didn’t sit out even one! I also really focused on myself, and tried to push thoughts of how I looked in the contortions, and my new mantra became “I am going to stick this one.”
Don’t get me wrong, my attempts at camel pose is enough to make a cat laugh, and my fixed pose is more like a kneel with a tiiiny bend, but still. I even did all of the evil quick mind-spinning sit ups during the mat portion.
There is an awareness that this kind of yoga has good and bad days, there will be times when I can do it all and more, and times when I’ll struggle and lay there gasping like a blowfish out of water.
Tonight, I was successful.
Good thing insanity runs in my family, or I’d probably never go to another Bikram’s yoga practice again.
I felt very prepared– clothing that I didn’t feel really bad about wearing (despite the tight fit), my own yoga mat and towel so that I didn’t have to worry who sweated on it before, and if they cleaned it properly, and a water bottle that I had already drunk one and a half liters from that morning. I was ready to go!
Luckily I was ‘adopted’ by a couple of very nice women about my age, and they answered my questions and helped me avoid the taboos of the yoga room. I had to quickly change my position after being told that when laying down in savasana, you always have your feet pointed to the back wall away from the windows, and when doing a savasana on your tummy, always have your head facing the right so you don’t have to stare at the person next to you. Also, no talking other than the instructor’s dialogue in the yoga room. At that point I felt like someone should have given me the list of rules before I came in, but at least the ladies were happy to help and correct me.
The first half of Bikram’s yoga is done standing, working on balance and posture. The main thing I will take away from this is that it is INCREDIBLY difficult to keep a grip on your feet to twist your body into the poses when both your hands and feet are wet. I was digging my nails in at one point just to be a little more secure. I felt pretty good at the end of this set, though the heat had steadily ramped up and was more uncomfortable than when I started.
The second set was floor postures, meant to increase flexibility. This was not a good set for me.
There were quite a few movements in this, where sitting up fast and moving into the poses was required, and my body was not pleased. A headache started to form at the very top of my head, and I was definitely having more trouble breathing in the incredibly hot, humid room. Still, I was determined to get through.
By the camel pose I had to concede defeat. I was shaking pretty badly every time I went to go into a pose, my “quick sit ups” were more like a roll over into position, and I was feeling dizzy and a little nauseated. It didn’t help that I really struggle with backward bends like the fixed firm pose, where you are on your knees and lay back until your back is on the mat. Trying to bend my head backward in camel pose just about did me in, so I ended up laying in savasana until the final breathing exercise. I was very surprised to find that a few times towards the end I had a few tears running down my face. Being the watery person that I am, I am no stranger to tears, but I didn’t feel like crying. My body just decided to do it. It was an odd feeling.
It took a few minutes for me to be able to stand up at the end of class, and one heck of an effort. I am pretty sure I looked drunk, hobbling out of the room, and collapsed gratefully (but not gracefully) on the bench in the change room, ignoring the annoyed looks of the next class’ participants as they hurried to get ready for the class which would be starting shortly.
As my mind slowly unfogged, I realized I left my water bottle in the yoga room. Unaware at the time that this was a precursor of what was to come, I steeled myself to unsteadily walk back in, and I retrieved it. only to have to collapse back on the bench for a breather. Luckily, all this pain was overshadowed by the great chat I had with the two ladies who befriended me at the beginning while we changed. They said I did a great job, and it was a success if only for the fact I didn’t ever leave the room. That made me feel a little less pathetic for not being able to do the whole class. A little.
Walking out of the building, I felt like my mind was sloshing around in my head, and all I wanted was to sleep. I picked up a tiny tub of goat yogurt and a banana to keep me going, and somewhere between there and the bus I lost my wallet. I combed over the area, talking to all the store owners and looking in the garbage cans and behind news stands, and didn’t find it.
I was useless for the rest of the day. Between the exhaustion and discomfort I was feeling from the workout, and the disappointment and stress of losing my wallet and every piece of ID that I owned, it was too much.
Because I know the question is probably running around your mind; yes, I will be going back to hot yoga tonight. I said I would give myself at least a week to get used to it, and I will. I am worried because I am still sore from yesterdays practice, but I’ll give it my best.