This Never Went to Press

Emily & Cody - Olivia Bee

Emily & Cody - Olivia Bee

I am forcing myself to write this, which makes me angry, because I feel like this shouldn’t require an effort.

I’m stretching myself too thin again, and its making me feel overwhelmed and uninspired, and I don’t even want to leave pieces of myself here, because it feels like too much to give away right now. But I feel guilty for not writing, and angry at myself because it isn’t coming to me naturally.

I’ve always enjoyed coming into a person’s home for the first time. I think it’s fascinating, the way people reveal their private world to you, and I think our homes say so much about us. The tiny artifacts we choose to display, the messes we hide, or clean, and the messes we feel are acceptable left in plain view, the state of our refrigerators, the art we select, the things on our fridge door, how many plants we can maintain, or not, the colours we choose – these all speak to our character, I think.

When someone comes into my home for the first time, I’m very at ease. I’ve become much more comfortable on my own turf than I am anywhere else. I like to make sure they have snacks, and then it’s usually carefully selected music, and good conversation, with a sleeping animal somewhere near by. I try to be very aware of how my apartment smells. I’m paranoid that it smells like cat. I hate the carpet leading up my stairs, I need to paint my landing and a couple of doors, and I need the help of a burly friend to clear some old planters and furniture off my patio. I need to hang a couple of pictures, and a mirror, and some curtains in my bedroom. A once over with the broom to clear the cobwebs from the overhead rafters would also be a good idea. I love my home though. It really, really feels like home to me.

I think it’s beautiful when you come into someone’s home who isn’t used to having company. Typically, these places are really fascinating. They are usually neatly organized, and filled with interesting bits of personality and history. Friends who are used to solitude, who invite me into their space typically want to reveal something of themselves to me, and I love this. Old photos, family keepsakes, favourite albums, travel stories, snippets from favourite movies. There are so many things we can give each other that are free, and so valuable.

This weekend, I was at the home of a new friend, a remarkable friend who I find endlessly fascinating. He pulled out the guitar he hadn’t touched in a while, and I noticed he’d grown his fingernails. I was really surprised that he wanted to play without me having to convince him. He strikes me as incredibly shy, so it suddenly was clear to me how deep and comfortable his relationship to music must be. He played beautifully, and I hope he’ll continue to play more frequently now. I wonder if he had any idea what such a gesture meant to me? I could listen for hours to someone with such effortless skill.

I haven’t had anyone here who I have played music for. I haven’t dragged out my box of old photos, or my scrapbook of my artistic history. I haven’t shared stories of old hankerchiefs, or let anyone feel the fabric of the costumes I’ve made. I haven’t let anyone really come into my space.

My home has been filled with friends, and food, and music, and this has all been lovely of course, but theres’ a box filled with newspaper clippings, faded letters, and sepia photos that continues to gather dust, and I can scarcely bring myself to look at it some days.

Some people believe that there is no such thing as fate. That the people who enter our lives do so merely by coincidence, and that these meetings are completely random. I believe that each person who touches us, who has impact on us, is there because they have something to teach us. I believe that we in turn have something to teach them too.

Am I open to the lessons that I ought to learn?

Should I consider home schooling?

The Birthday Phone Calls


Randy Mantooth

I can’t recall which birthday this happened on, but one year when I was a little girl, my mom thought it would be really funny to have my aunt and my grown male cousin call me and pretend they were various characters and celebrities that I admired.

I received birthday wishes from the following:

The Wicked Witch of the West
Miss Piggy
My Imaginary Friend Jenny (I was not fooled by this one. I knew Jenny only spoke in my head.)
Bo Duke
Luke Duke

And this last one, which really rocked my (maybe five year old?) world:

Johnny Gage from the show Emergency

I must have had a wicked crush on Johnny Gage, because this is the very first time I ever felt butterflies. I didn’t want to come to the phone because I was too nervous. My mother had to coax and cajole me. Then, when finally on the phone, I uttered a few words and had to give the receiver back to my mom. I think I remember crying because I was so upset and embarrassed.

I couldn’t understand why someone so handsome and awesome would call me, and I felt incredibly confused and unspeakably shy. I remember allowing myself to feel very special for about one minute before completely caving under the weight of my own nerves and tossing the phone at my mom.

Today if some handsome celebrity crush were to call me (heh) I would feel the same butterflies, but now I would have the adult ability to picture him in his boxers (or briefs? I’d bet on boxers…) and this would give me the edge I needed to carry on a semi-intelligent and definitely witty conversation. Celebrities are people too, right?

What the hell was my point in all of this?

Oh, right.

Briefly today, I allowed myself to reflect on my ideal man-mate. He looks a bit like this:

Stylish in a very casual, effortless way that makes a statement about his personality
Mad about music. If he can sing or play an instrument, this is a plus. Also, his musical knowledge should span several decades, and he should have a thing or two to teach me
Passionate about his work
Eager to share the things he loves with people he gets excited about (imagine late night vinyl listening-parties interspersed with fierce make out sessions)
Hungry for the world
Independent – values the hell out of whomever he decides to love, but has his own very full life, circle of friends, favourite motorcycle routes (he’ll go for really long rides and come home smelling like sweat, leather, and road dust)**
Thirsty to experience as much as possible
Active in arts and culture
Vibrant sex drive
Slightly rough around the edges – bad boy with a heart of gold
Smart – not necessarily book smart, but quick witted, clever, and hungry to learn more about interesting thing and people
Loves animals and nature
Healthily (mostly) in touch with the Dark Side of the Force

** I still firmly believe that men who love motorcycles have a deep, restless spirit, and this should be seen as a flag, because I believe part of them really wants to just take off and never return. I secretly love motorcycles, but they also terrify me.

So, the above list is great, huh? Well, here’s the thing. It occurred to me today (and not really for the first time) that although it would be great to be happy-ever-after with such a dude, it would be even better to BECOME that dude. Obviously, I’m not talking in the literal sense. I quite enjoy being female, thank you very much. What I’m suggesting is that by using this as a checklist of things that I myself wish to embody, I will likely end up feeling more fulfilled.  I mean, I’ve got a real handle on most of those things. It will just take a little bit of focus to really fine tune, and beef up some of the others.

I’m going to embrace my own inner dude. My own XY who is kind of aloof, and sometimes complicated. Who prefers to be alone, but likes to share his space with someone every now and then. Who can date any chick he wants, so is in no hurry to settle down because there is no ticking of anything except the engine of his (insert bad ass motorcycle brand here) as it cools after a long ride chasing the sunset. I’m adjusting my package, cracking my neck with a good shake from side to side, and jumpin’ into the ring.

I’m not going to date you. I am going to BE you.


Monday Poem:

Edgar Guest

I have to live with myself, and so,
I want to be fit for myself to know;
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I’ve done.

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of man I really am;
I don’t want to dress myself up in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to think as I come and go
That I’m bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me,
I see what others may never see,
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself- and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.