Officially Fall

Me at Playland, 2012

Now that autumn has arrived, and I have enjoyed a good chunk of the summer, I am more inclined to write, sit inside, and read.

This summer included some wonderful new habits and revived my love of others…it took some time. I generally go through years-long phases of being social vs. being solitary. A visit to Vancouver Island and a group of friends has brought me out of that shell, and even tempts me to move back over there.

I’ve never had a strong friend-group for a long period of time – there was my friends in school, but it was not common for us to hang out in this group outside of school as we all did not live very close together, and our parents had different levels of strictness.

There was a group of gothy types I had weekly parties with in my late teens, but my social anxiety and strange inclinations took over, I felt paranoid that I was being used for my age (to get booze) and my car, and I retreated.

At my last jobs, there were amazing gaggles of people who would hang out together, but when we left one by one, the gatherings got lesser and lesser, and my interactions seem to be one-on-one (still my favourite), and not the grand jigsaw of all us coming together.

And then there were my island friends, all of whom I met through my first time on IRC, a friend named Allen who knew so many wildly funny and eccentric, goofy, and kind people on the Island, and I very much fell into those people, loved them all, and went as often as I could.

So many of these people moved around, and many are now again in one place – some have moved on, but we all have this connected, group-feel, and it is the only one where I feel completely at ease. Groups have always intimidated me and if there is a large gathering where I only know one or two people, or no one, I completely panic. Large crowds? Don’t even go there. The Olympics in Vancouver 2 years ago…the epicenter was right outside of my work, and I had panic attacks daily.

I would spend every weekend on the Island if I was not saving up for my winter vacation, but I love that a 2-day excursion has revived me. THE FEELINGS.


Other things I’ve done this summer:

+ Read about a billion graphic novels and other books.

+ Beach running.

+ Beach gathering with many raw foods.

+ PLAYLAND + a ride that swings 70 kph at 218 feet in the air (overwhelming).

+ Swimming at the pool with my Dad.

+ Much running with my dog.

+ Fruit, so much fruit. I bought well over 100 lbs of blueberries in a couple of months, and ate them all.

+ Blackberry picking.

+ Waking much earlier than usual, and sleeping more.

+ I actually went out to a club  for the first time in years.

+ Many visits to the farm market, to visit the cows, goats, and donkeys (and buy food).

+ Pet-sitting.

+ Beach jaunts with my dog, who loves to run on the sandbars. She is a Chinese Crested and ends up looking very drowned afterward.

+ Another visit to the island to visit my friend and her son (before her new baby was born). I proceeded to eat much of her garden.

+ Fund-raising and walking for the SPCA.

+ Reminiscing and reliving many moments from teenagedom, and planning out a comic based on those years.

+ So much dog-park.

+ Zombie-walk.

+ Went to see the DJ Richie Hawtin with my boyfriend.

+ Much, much lying in the sun.

AND NOW, it is fall, and still beautiful out. The night is colder, but the days are still bright and bloom with happy. I have many ideas and jaunts planned for fall.

Always make the most of the weather, your friends, your time, your health. It’s so easy to say “You only get one life” and not really reflect on that – this time is not endless, as much as I wish it was. I want to live forever.

Mild Anxiety Strategies

Photo of me by Pamm

I used to suffer from major, crazy anxiety, panic attacks, etc. When I went on a raw food diet, my psyche calmed, and I was much better equipped to deal with shit that happened, or imagined terrors. I had way more confidence and joy.

I do still have a mild form of anxiety – I think it is mainly due to being accustomed to solitude – over the last 3 years I have gotten used to living on my own, being with someone who is a loner, and generally fading out of a social scene I had gotten burnt out on.

So now, especially in summer, when there are tons of things I want to do, I freeze. When I make plans, I sometimes chicken out at the last moment or the night before, dreaming up some mishaps that could occur, or problems I don’t want to deal with.

These could be as asinine as: “what if there is no parking and I have to PAY for it? What if it’s expensive! What if I don’t see anyone I know? What if I hate it? What if there is traffic, it’s hot out and I have no air conditioning! What if I look fat! I look bloated today!”

Yesterday I almost bailed out on something I look forward to all year, the Zombie Walk – my boyfriend and my friend bowed out, and so I thought “Oh god, I don’t want to go by myself!” My back is messed up … but it’s only walking. I certainly did not want to drive downtown and pay park, and I started to get nervous about being dressed as a zombie on transit. I didn’t want to be the only one.

Then my brain said, “When have you EVER cared about people thinking you look weird? You usually revel in it!”

And that’s when I knew I really didn’t care, and that I would go anyway. I remembered how fun it was to go out and make people stare.
Even as I left the house, I felt like it might rain – and I went back inside. I said, “NO! You are just looking for excuses not to go! Stop it!” and I locked the door and walked to the bus stop. I got waved at by a laughing Asian man, and the bus driver liked my outfit. She knew where I was going.

Then of course, as I departed the skytrain into the city, there was one other girl I spotted, bloody and beautiful, and I said she looked great. Immediately I made a new friend and then several more once we arrived.

My anxiety was for nothing  – the weather was perfect, I had a fantastic time, and my boyfriend even made an appearance to come and greet me when I walked near his building.

Photo by Thomas Jay Bruyere

So my strategy to deal with these things is this:

1. Ask yourself if you are just LOOKING for reasons to avoid something.

2. Pressure yourself to ignore those thoughts, especially if you know later you will regret not attending something or doing something that you know you’d love.

3. Realize that soon you will be an old fogie and you will have wished you made the most of your life, and that time does not include sitting around watching torrents of old TV shows.

4. Just turn off your brain and DO IT ANYWAY. This is the thing that has helped me the most. I just completely ignore all the dumb reasons NOT to do something. Even if I can’t think of reasons TO do something (other than I’d like to) I ignore the bad thoughts and run towards the destination regardless. Whatever happens will happen. And whatever does, I will DEAL WITH IN THAT MOMENT. Like you would ANYWAY, worrying or not.

Summer Days

Me in my strawberry hat. Gotta keep it fruity.

I haven’t been blogging much lately, oops! I have been trying to stay off the computer – it’s been an addiction ever since I first went online in 1995 – the first thing I looked up was Marilyn Manson. Do you remember your first internet experience?

For now I am keeping myself entertained by reading MANY many comics + graphic novels, actual novels, and forcing myself to go out.

So far this summer I’ve gone to a little beach party, danced at Celebrities while Richie Hawtin DJ’ed (my boyfriend’s a former raver and he got me to go – who knew I would enjoy?), ate 20 lbs of blueberries in 5 days (simple), done some working out to Tracy Anderson videos (oh my god, new favourite exercises), tended the first garden I’ve ever had (and ate some of it), took a few days off from work (need more, damnit), spoiled my dog (and got her some plastic surgery – j/k, she had an unsightly bump removed – but nothing sinister), raided the library (um, 56 books signed out? ridiculous), stuffed myself at raw food places, and took a journey to Vancouver Island to visit my friend, ate all her garden peas, got love bites from her Akita, and swung her little son around in huge circles until I almost fell over from the dizzies.

What else is on my list for summer?

+ Leap into Lynn Creek from the rocks
+ Inhale 20 lbs more blueberries in the next 5 days
+ Dancing, more, undulating, vibrating, writhing
+ More exercise with Miss Tracy
+ Dog walks + dog partying + dog swims in Tsawwassen
+ Drawing
+ More reading (duh)
+ Nude beach
+ Dye hair
+ Fruit gorging (oh nectarines, where are yoooou?)
+ Scrawling in notebooks
+ Hula-hooping (did a spastic, spontaneous, intense session the other day to this.
+ Lolling about
+ Make out like a fiend
+ Naked naps
+ Letter writing (old-school style)
+ Zombie walk
+ Pride parade
+ FINISH my zine.

Oh so much more. I do not want to miss out on summer, ever. It is so fleeting here. Even today it was a downpour. When there is rain in summer I expect thunder and lightning to make it worthwhile.

I often have to force myself to do things as lately I get overcome with anxiety – even simple things that i WANT to do seem scary – but I do them anyway. The anxiety makes it more exhilarating, anyway.