Last night was Meatless Monday, and so The Cheerleader I’m Married To and I decided that instead of doing our regular walk-and-talk thing that we usually do for Meatless Monday, we’d try something a little different. He had emailed me earlier in the day to say that he was feeling angry about something, but wasn’t sure how he could bring it up with me without making me mad. ‘Fair enough’, I thought, so how do we get around this? Well, really, there’s only one way: Bitch Hat.

We created a game called Bitch Hat last night. It’s a fairly simple concept, and one that I think we’ll be employing every so often. First things first, we laid some ground rules: We made it a safe space where either one of us could say anything we liked without fear of reprisal from the other person; there was to be no defending or debating, this was solely about bitching and venting; nothing was off limits; and we’d do a check-in at the end to make sure that we were both doing ok, and got the chance to talk things out, if need be. Then, we got a hat.

In it we put in slips of paper with random topics on them like: The House, Chores, Family, Money, and then threw in a couple ‘Wild Cards’, as a catch-all for anything we may have missed with our chosen slips. Then we ordered a pizza, and split a beer (we both believed that being intoxicated would be a bad idea, but one simply can’t have pizza without beer). Then we sat down on the couch, and I pulled out the first slip of paper, and started bitching about the topic it presented me with. When I was done, it was The Cheerleader I’m Married To‘s turn. And so on, and so on, until all the slips of paper were gone.

The ‘game’ lasted for about 4 hours, and during that time I never once felt angry, no matter what was said. I was shocked at a couple of things, yes, and The Cheerleader I’m Married To was as well, but we weren’t angry. We had created an atmosphere where we could hear what the other person said, respect their opinion, and move on. It was SO cool! I didn’t know how it would go, and to be honest I was certain that I’d take offense at things and get all snitty and mad. But that didn’t happen.

The Cheerleader I’m Married To and I both come from what is termed “broken homes”, where both our parents are divorced. It wasn’t until I met The Cheerleader I’m Married To that I realized just how sad that title is. “Broken home”. I’d actually say it’s more appropriate to call them “Strengthened Homes”. We both watched our parents deal with divorce, and we learned a lot from that. We watched as our mothers took on a double role of strength, dignity, and love. And we learned even more from that. We learned that things will get better, and that we have the power to affect our fates, and that no matter what, we can face anything head on, and win or lose, we’ll make it through. And we learned, most importantly, how to communicate. How to talk to friend or foe, how to ask for what you want, how to demand the things you need.

I believe that The Cheerleader I’m Married To and I communicate pretty well, but we both know that we can always communicate better (who can’t, right?). And I think that Bitch Hat is a really cool way to just… communicate differently. It’s not something that we’ll be using on a regular basis, but I think it’s nice to have Bitch Hat in our proverbial back pockets, to pull out when we need an overhaul.

So, I feel pretty darn good today. I feel heard, and I feel that I understand a bit more of what concerns The Cheerleader I’m Married To. Plus, I also got to spend 4 hours staring at my devilishly handsome husband last night, so that helps.

Happy Tuesday, all!

xo

 

Yesterday I read a blog about a Tumblr account dedicated to “Fat Acceptance”. This Tumblr account is essentially photos of overweight and/or morbidly obese people holding up signs explaining a little bit about who they are and why people shouldn’t discriminate against them due to their weight. They say that “obesity is equivalent to homosexuality, race and gender, and should just be accepted as such”. As you can well imagine, this created a rather firey shitstorm of comments from the “You go, girl!” type, right down to the, “Euthanize fat people!” kind. It was a fascinating study in anonymous humanity.

Some commenters pointed out that people aren’t “born fat”, they make the choice to BE fat which is very unlike homosexuality, race, and sex. They were then countered by commenters saying that, in fact, some people ARE “born fat”, in that they have (for example) a genetic condition that predisposes them to obesity. And then both of those posters were challenged by the simple argument, “what are you going to do, ask an obese person if they have a disease or if they chose to be fat, and then discriminate based on the answer? Why can’t we just be nice to everyone?”. Good point.

It would be lovely if we could just have everyone “be nice” to everyone else,  but that’s never, ever going to happen. I believe in love, I believe in The Golden Rule, I believe in Random Acts of Kindness, I believe in kindness. I also believe in the fact that there are some serious assholes out there who want nothing more than to ruin someone’s day. And in my opinion, one the worst offenders is the fashion industry.

So, to the blog, I braved the waters and decided to enter the fray with the comment, “I think what we need isn’t ‘fat acceptance’, but a more realistic understanding of what a ‘normal’ body should look like. Drop the Photoshopping in magazines, and I’ll bet that the rate of obesity will decline“, as that’s what I truly do believe. I think that some people just sort of ‘give up’, because they know that they’ll never, ever be able to look like what they’re now “expected” to look like. No one ever will. It’s impossible, because what we are “expected” to look like is something that’s lab-created, not naturally occuring. An apple will never, ever taste like a Snickers bar.

Magazines should come with warning labels like the ones that cigarette packages have. “This image has been photoshopped. The model you see here is actually 5′ 9″, 148lbs, a brunette with green eyes, and has two small beauty marks below her right eye. We have made her into a 105lb, D-Cup blonde with blue eyes, no body hair, and absolutely no uniqueness to her whatsoever. Please enjoy responsibly”.

People are literally killing themselves trying to look like an ideal that doesn’t exist. Women and girls are starving themselves to death. Men and boys are pumping steroids and destroying their bodies. And they’re doing it to look like what an industry who makes money off of their misery is telling them what they should like.

The worst part of all this is the fact that we all KNOW that this is the case. We get it. We’ve seen the Dove commercials, we know how Photoshop works, we know exactly what “healthy” looks like, and takes to achieve. But we’re still dying. We’re still fighting, we’re still cutting, we’re still trying to change who we are to become something that we’ll never be happy with, anyway.

And there’s the rub. Perfection will never be achieved. Ever. No matter what you look like, no matter what you strive for, you will always think that you need to be thinner, more muscular, less hairy, more pouty-lipped, less wrinkled, better clothed. Change your eye colour, erase your face, inject this, implant that, suction this, widen that. Bleach your anus, wax your balls, tighten your vagina. Buy a better car, use a better BBQ, drink a better beer. Nothing will ever be good enough. Ever.

I understand the concept behind “fat acceptance”, but it’s just something else that’s been added to the ever-growing list of Things That Society Needs to Accept. I’d love to stop the evolution of “ideal”, but the only way that will happen is if we stop evolving the concept of “kindness”.

Just… be good to one another. Regardless of race, sex, gender, wealth, spirituality, hair colour, intelligence, mental health, weight, or anything else that you believe makes someone a lesser human being than you. Strive for kind, not clique.

Oh, to live in a world where we’re not judged by the sandwiches we eat, or the name on the inside of our shoes, or the ‘generation’ of our Smart Phones. To live in a world where we laugh at the absurdity of discriminating against someone who doesn’t use Oneida silverware, or Titleist golf balls, or genuine Tupperware. My god, wouldn’t that be amazing?

Happy Thursday, everyone – go buy ice cream for a friend today.

xo

I’ve been wondering if I should write the following entry. I mean, I haven’t even started writing it yet, but I’m pretty sure I know where it will be going. I’ve been going back and forth with it, trying to decide if I should write about what I’m going to write about, because really, does the world NEED another “I have Depression” blog entry? Meh. But the thing is, it’s there. It has to get out… it’s how I do things, man. I’ll try to make it entertaining at least. Here goes nothin’…

It’s coming up on three months now. Three months out of my life where I’ve been goddamn sad. SAD. I have an awesome life. I love my life! I have a great job, my husband kicks ass, I’m healthy, my dog is adorable, the weather has been perfect, my mother is happy, I’m an aunt as opposed to a parent, and I have some seriously great friends.

But it doesn’t matter. None of it.

My brain just keeps saying things like, “you don’t deserve any of this, you’re not worth the happiness you should be feeling, it would be so much better if you just weren’t here, you fat cow”. Three months. Non-stop, relentless, exhausting bullying. It’s like I have a whole chapter of the Gamma Gamma Phi sorority in my head. Stupid bitches.

And in all honesty, I’m just really, really tired. Having to get out of bed each day is one thing, but to have to keep up a happy facade is something completely different. Smile! Laugh! Wear pants! This sucks nuts. It would just be so much easier if I could rock a Brian Wilson. It would be easier, but not better.

Remember that scene in Breaking Bad where Skylar goes apeshit on Marie and tells her to shut up over and over again? I want a Skylar in my head. Shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP! Now, before you start worrying, no, I do NOT “hear voices” in my head. It’s not that type of voice. It’s more like a ticker tape of hate just sort of wrapping around my brain. And that ticker tape has been around since I was about six years old. That’s as far back as I can remember it being there, anyway.

The ticker tape has met its fair share of counselors and psychologists, meds, and self-help books, and it has certainly shrunk in power. It’s less ‘Despot’, and more ‘Prime Minister’. We’ve made a deal, this ticker tape and I: I ignore it when it says that I’m not good enough to be on the planet and I should do something about that, and in return, it gets to stick around and act up every so often instead of every single day. It’s not the greatest deal, but it’s not a terrible one, either. I’m ok with it, because it means that every time that ticker tape gets pissy, I get to learn how to deal with it in a different way. I get stronger. I learn more. I feel success when it goes away.

But three months?! Holy hellballs, is this getting old. All I can do is keep on my feet and let this thing run its course. I know it will, it always does – I have no fear that it will stay like this forever.

In the meantime, I need to be cognizant of what The Cheerleader I’m Married To is experiencing while we’re dealing with this (that man is a goddamn saint, people), try my best to ignore the siren song of ice cream, and keep logging into Tuna Melts My Heart.

This too shall pass, this too shall pass.

(Hopefully) Happy Thursday all…

xo

Yesterday I suggested to The Cheerleader I’m Married To that we build a living room blanket fort and eat macaroni and cheese with weiners in it, while we watch TV. Instead of scoffing, or looking at me with a raised eyebrow, he jumped up and said, “I’ll get the air mattress!” and ran off toward the attic. I took this as a sign that I had definitely married the right person.

On my commute this morning, I was thinking about how yesterday a friend of mine asked me, “so, how’s married life?” before remembering that I had actually been married once before. But the two marriages are so completely different, and my two lives are so completely different, that I barely even recognize who I was when I was a wife the first time. So, how do I know for sure that I got it right this time? Well…

I laugh every day. Every single day I totally, completely, full-out belly laugh at least once due to something he’s either said or done. He’s as much of a dork as I am, and our senses of humour coexist so well. We completely enable each other’s idiocy, and it makes for a very happy home life.

When I say things like,  “Oh god, I’m so fat. I look like a horse!” The Cheerleader I’m Married To will respond with things like, “Yeah, you’re certainly not as skinny as you were”, or, “your body is definitely different then it was a couple years ago, yes”. He figured out long ago that panicking and hurtling compliments at me in response is just not the way to go with me. He’s honest with me, and as a result he motivates me to change.

The Cheerleader I’m Married To knows when I need him to step in and support me, or when I rather he flee to the Man Cave and play XBox until the dust settles. Sure he’ll poke his head out every once in a while to check that I’m still breathing, but he’s not going to walk into the middle of the fire and try to put it out with kindness. He lets me work through things, and he makes sure that the house is well-stocked with chocolate and bubble bath. And Prosecco. Lots of Prosecco.

When I went through my divorce, it was hell. Obviously The Cheerleader I’m Married To wasn’t around then, so I needed another friend to help me get through the nights. So, I bought myself a stuffed bunny rabbit and I slept with it every night. In fact, and I’ll admit this to you all now, I still sleep with that stuffed bunny rabbit. The Cheerleader I’m Married To doesn’t mind at all, and when I come home from work each day, he has usually made the bed, and put Bunny into some funny position to make me smile.

You wanna’ know when I fell in love with The Cheerleader I’m Married To? It was probably a week or two after we started dating, and I came home from some crappy event (probably a pap smear, or something equally distressing like a funeral) and he had run a bath for me, and said, “I’m going to take the dogs for a walk to go buy a bottle of Prosecco. Just relax, and I’ll be back in a bit, ok? Oh yeah, this month’s copy of Vanity Fair is on the edge of the tub for you”  (*swoon*)

The first time we had a disagreement about something (whatever it was), The Cheerleader I’m Married To said, “Listen, I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this right now, so I’m not going to say anything. I’m going to give myself some time to think, and when I’m ready to talk about it, I’ll find you”. I calmly replied, “ok, that sounds good”, but inside I was yelling, “are you freaking kidding me!? What guy does that!? This is AWESOME!” That’s when I knew I’d be with him for the rest of my life.

We have this journal that sits on our coffee table at home, and each night we write in it one reason why we love each other that day. It’s never, ever hard to think of a reason why I think he’s super rad. Maybe he left me a dorky little love note. Maybe he made coffee and pre-set the timer for the morning for me. Maybe he changed the oil in the car, or humanely dispatched a spider, or started a load of laundry, or bathed the dog, or mowed the lawn. Maybe he got emotional when he learned that he shares a name with his new nephew, or maybe he just walked into the living room in his underwear and socks, and did the stupidest dance I have ever seen, just because he loves to hear me snort when I laugh. Maybe he bought us concert tickets, or made a reservation at a new restaurant, or built a gate for the back deck, or violently killed a mosquito and screamed “TAKE THAT, MOTHERFUCKER!”. Whatever it was, he’ll do something equally awesome tomorrow, too. And the day after and the day after, and the day after…

So, how do I know that I married the right guy this time? Because I’ve never had to ask myself that before.

Happy Monday, all.

xo

 

It’s 7:52am, and my day has already been pretty great.

My alarm went off this morning just as a nasty nightmare was about to start, and when my weird little dog jumped up on the bed to say good morning (as she always does), she didn’t jam her pointy dog elbows into either one of my boobs. Forget waterboarding – if you want to truly torture someone, subject them to a 40-second, early morning dog elbowing.

So, I make myself my daily mocha to-go, and wandered out into the morning to take my weird little dog to grandma’s house. We walked along the road, getting high on the smell of sun-fattened, purple-bursting wild blackberries, and so we stopped to pick a few to eat along the way. I’m teaching the dog how to pull the berries off the stems, but she’s afraid of the pokey points that nip her nose as she’s going in. So I just pick some for her, because I’m a good mom like that.

We get to grandma’s house where she tells me that she has decided to start doing “little old lady exercises” at the local seniors’ centre (she’s 68 years young), and then she fed my weird little dog a cat treat.

I walked home via the bakery route, and sniffed myself happier, and decided that I should pick some more blackberries to feed to the Little Blonde Bunny that I see every morning. LBB now takes the berries right out of my hand, and I’m hoping he’ll let me pet his big bunny ears soon.

I head home, and after my shower I got dressed, and realized that I finally need to start wearing a belt again, as my pants that used to squeeze the self esteem out of me, are now having a difficult time staying put on my whittled waist. I ate some oatmeal, I kissed The Cheerleader I’m Married To goodbye, and headed out.

I decided that today was an 80’s-music-on-the-commute kind of day, and while driving over the Knight St bridge listening to Werewolves of London, I looked over and saw a guy in a Ford F150, eating a Starbucks muffin and singing along with me. I turned to him and mouthed, “…You’d better stay away from him, he’ll rip your lungs out Jim!”, to which he mouthed back, “…Hah – I’d like to meet his tailor!” before driving off with a huge smile on his face.

And finally, I get to work. Where I learn that there is leftover pizza in the fridge from an event last night.

Are you serious?! Can this day get any better?!

I’ll hold out hope for leftover cake…

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

xo

Go to the stall farthest from the sinks. Check to see that toilet has been flushed. If it has not, find another stall. If toilet is clear, proceed.

Is there pee and/or toilet paper on the seat and/or floor? If yes, find another stall. If it’s all clear, proceed.

Is there toilet paper? If no, find another stall. If yes, proceed.

Upon further inspection, is there enough toilet paper? If not, find another stall, if yes, proceed.

Is there a coat/purse hook on the door, or has it been broken off meaning that you may need to put your coat/purse either on your lap, or the dirty floor? If coat/purse hook missing, consider finding another stall, depending on the urgency of the internal situation. If purse hook intact, proceed.

Is the coat/purse hook too high, meaning that someone may be able to reach their arm over and simply steal your coat/purse while you are in a rather vulnerable position? If hook too high, look for coat/purse-placement options. Is the toilet roll dispenser wide enough? Is there a toilet tank? Is the toilet tank clean? If the coat/purse hook is at a reasonable height, proceed.

Is there a working lock on the door? If not, find another stall. If yes, proceed.

Does the toilet have an auto-flush, or does it have a handle you need to depress? Is it a handle that you can reach with your foot? If yes, proceed. If no, check length of sleeves. Proceed.

Double-check amount of toilet paper.

Are you alone in the bathroom, or is there another woman in another stall? If another woman is present, is she in the midst of doing her business? If you do not hear anything, give her a courtesy flush so that she may continue, which would then allow you to start. If you hear that she is in full stream, feel free to proceed. If you hear that other things may be occuring in the stall, give her a courtesy-noise flush, and then proceed. If you are alone, proceed.

Did someone just walk in? If yes, stop process to suss out situation.

Is the other woman going into a stall? If yes, proceed. If no, pause the action until she has finished checking her hair/applying her lipstick. Proceed once she leaves.

Is the woman who just walked into the other stall pausing, or proceeding? If she is pausing, you should proceed with some haste, as it is apparent that she may need to do things that could cause a disturbance. If she is proceeding, so may you. Note: if the woman gives herself a pre-flush, please hurry through your process during the noise the toilet makes, as she is doing this for your benefit.

Pause before exiting the stall to listen if another woman is exiting at the same time you are. Exit the stall, and scope out the sink with the full AND working soap dispenser. Wash hands.

Is there a woman in the stall, but she is not making noise? Please hurry through the hand-washing process, and cough and/or hum every so often to let her know that you are still in the room. Some women have performance anxiety and may not feel comfortable proceeding while you are there. Also, it really sucks to have to hold it while you’re sitting on the very receptacle that allows you not to.

Either dry wet hands with towel, or use them to touch up your hair, and wipe the lint off your black shirt.

Check hair.

Check teeth.

Check butt.

Adjust boobs.

Check hair.

Lean in and check hair.

Exit, and enjoy a happy Wednesday!

xo

As is the case where you live, I am sure, my city has a plethora of restaurants, bars, cafes and whatnot that cater to pretty much every type of person and every group there is. However, in Vancouver, we have a place that has tipped the scales of awesome, and tossed a whole ignored faction of this city into a Sarlacc pit of joy.

The Storm Crow Tavern is located in the rather trendy, coffee-snobby part of the city known as Commercial Drive. Now, thanks to Storm Crow, Commercial Drive is quickly becoming a full-blown, dork-infested Nerdville. Billing itself as “Vancouver’s Hottest Nerd Bar”, The Storm Crow has filled the perfect niche in a city filled with gamers, programmers, and Game of Thrones addicts. For people who pew-pew-pew!-d their youthful days away, and sat reading Choose Your Own Adventure books until mom made them turn the light out, The Storm Crow is the new clubhouse.

B-movie props, oversized axes, and ray-guns litter the walls in this old-timey-lookin’ tavern, and you’re never far away from a point-and-laugh reminiscence when your eye catches this action figure, or that meme. From cats in cubes, to gauntlets and crossbows, you’re never going to be bored here. (And as an added bonus, you’ll find comfort in knowing that the staff at Storm Crow are guaranteed to be velociraptor-attack-free while on shift. It’s nice to support an establishment that truly cares about its employees. Bravo, Storm Crow, bravo).

And hey, if for some strange reason, you DO get bored (*cough*LOSER*cough*), there are TVs playing  terrible  great movies, and tables of nerds just like you who are playing  terrible  great board games. Sure you can grab a chess set or a Mind Trap game, but really, we all go for the same reason: Cards Against Humanity. They’ve got a few sets on hand, but they get snagged quickly by horrible people. Good thing you can drink yourself into a stupor and eat good, cheap eats as a way to drown your pouty sorrows.

Now, I’m a fan of Storm Crow, obviously, and I think they’ve nailed it when it comes to ‘know your audience’. But they recently took things one step further when they heard what their customers were saying, and made the phenomenal decision to open for brunch. Now, the standard brunch fare will be hard to come by at Storm Crow, but my god, you’ll have access to all the Eggo waffles and tiny boxed sugary cereals that your mom only let you have when you went camping. Camping be damned! Go brunching instead!

From Alien to Zardoz, The Storm Crow has it covered. So hop on your Tauntaun, and be prepared to go beyond Thunderdome as you destroy a plate of chickpea fries and shoot Fat Tug out your nose when you spy that can of unicorn meat on the shelf.

Happy Friday, all – see you at the Storm Crow!

xo