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I’m just a girl in the world

Of late, I’ve been listening to a lot of Taylor Swift.

Well, only one song really, but let’s not mince words. Blank Space is a bloody pop masterpiece of the highest order, and no one will ever be able to convince me otherwise.

Don’t even try it, ya jerks!

Because you all might as well resign yourself to the fact that, inevitably, we all must bow down to T. Swift, bubble gum goddess that she is.

So get your shin pads out.

The future is here.

I’m not sure about any of you, but I just listen to this stuff and immediately I am once again eighteen years old, filled to the brim with cusp-of-adulthood angst, heart-wrenching love, and mind-boggling lust.

The compulsion to jump in a car and just drive as far and as fast as I can is almost too difficult to control. So mostly I dance about the house in the most ridiculous and flamboyant of fashions, with Marc and Nymeria taking up the rear.

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They’re good partners in my insanity.

I’ll tell you, another thing that makes me feel like a confused, silly teenager is having the brilliant luck of finding my diary from grade 10, 11, 12, and my first year of undergrad.

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Holy hell was I one heck of a kid.

I spent about an hour yesterday reading excerpts aloud to Marc and just generally laughing my face off.

Marc too got a huge kick out of my daily captures of what it mean to be Vanessa Woznow, seventeen years of age.

Choice entries include:

June 2002

Holy shit Friday is just never going to come. I seriously am going to go completely insane (I am already halfway there, I can feel it!) Soon I will be sitting outside in a lawnchair and throwing spoons at all of the people who pass by, cursing them for their new fangled ways. EDADS. I talk like Mr. Lodge in the Archie comics. Call the medics I tell you!!! I miss Mark [ed. note: high school boyfriend], and I just want to get my damn vacation started with. [Redacted] gave me a ride to my socials exam. Made me feel bad about never phoning him. I really hate that. I got 90% on my math final, so I ended up with 88% in the course, which isn’t too bad. My socials final was so funny, some of the questions really killed me. I laughed really hard and was so tempted to put down that sexism was one of the causes of WWI. 

There were some questions on the test that I was just like WHAT THE FUCK!? How are we supposed to know THAT? I even asked Ms. [Redacted] whether or not she had taught that subject in the class and she just looked at me said “No.” before smiling and walking away. That killed me too. That’s classy as hell. I am really going to miss having [Redacted] as an English teacher. She’s really hilarious! I think I might buy her Chicken Soup for the Teacher soul. I think she might like it.

I’ve realized that sometimes my writing really reflects that of Holden’s in Catcher in the Rye. LOVE that book. Old Holden gets my goat, he is just damn hilarious.

JUST DECIDED. Going into writing when I graduate!!!

p.s. What to do for six month anniversary??

I also used the journal quite a bit as a scrapbook, for all of the ticket stubs and play bills of either the shows I went to, or acted in myself.

IMG_20141130_093531There is also a lot of BAD poetry.

IMG_20141130_092251(I can’t actually bring myself to publish a large photo of this gut-busting rubbish.)

However, I did kind of dig this little ode:

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I actually remember writing this ditty in my grade 12 math class. For a laugh, I used to always write poems for one of my best friends. Rosy was (and still is, to this day) one of the most beautiful, caring souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I always wanted to either make her laugh, or make her smile, and as such, was compelled to write her stuff like this.

A large portion of the book is dedicated to my falling in love with Marc, and the early days of our courtship:

IMG_20141130_092548 IMG_20141130_092455 IMG_20141130_092417I can tell you, I absolutely loved that sweater. I actually get the goofiest smile just thinking about it, and I swear that my heart is beating just the littlest bit faster.

Unfortunately, there is also a large (VERY large in fact) portion of the book dedicated to chronically my eating disorder. In no uncertain terms do I take any pains to disguise this reality. Many pages are just lists of what I ate, how much I exercised, and how much of what I ate ended up in the bottom of a toilet bowl.

Scintillating reading it may be not, but still, it serves as a salient reminder of what it meant to live with this illness, and how far removed my present-day life is from these very real, and very hard struggles.

IMG_20141130_093439My heart too beats a little faster seeing these pages, for of course, incredibly different reasons.

Still, it’s all one. This is the girl who I was.

If she hadn’t existed, I wouldn’t be the person (girl, woman, epic pop-loving running champion of life) that I am today.

And I wouldn’t trade this for the world.

And if I had to put a wager on it, I bet Taylor would feel exactly the same way.

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Nothing to fear, but fear itself. (But also dying. That too.)

Want to know a secret?

This past week I ran away.

Well, not really.

On Tuesday night, I left behind the rainy streets of Vancouver, in exchange for the rainy shores of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

(That’s a paradox, no? A rainy Sunshine Coast?)

For the next two and a bit days, I camped out in front of a fire and wrote, ran, read (and Netflixed) my little heart out.

It was the VWOZNOW solo retreat extravaganza of 2014!

You see, at my job, (which I love), I accrue quite a bit of overtime, and I am lucky enough that I am able to bank these hours and take them as time in lieu.

Which means that before the bell strikes twelve on December 31st, I am required to use up all of this vacation, lest it all be for not.

So being that time was a-ticking, and knowing how much I love the wild woods of our province’s eerily beautiful (and desperately sodden) temperate rain forest, Marc suggested that I take a bit of this time and have an adventure or two on my own.

Sad of course that he couldn’t join me, I did quite like the idea. I mean, how often is it that you are gifted with extra days off, combined with the chance to do all of the things you love so dearly?

So, after work on Tuesday, I jumped in our little car and drove to Horseshoe Bay to catch the 5:20pm ferry.

I arrived a little early, so I bought a chai latte and walked around the village, marvelling at the strings of Christmas lights, twinkling along the darkening waterfront.

Clutching my umbrella and trying my best to dodge the many puddles freckling the almost-empty streets, I wished that I had brought a pair of gloves and that I had thought to wear better shoes.

Once back in the safety and warmth of my car, I engaged in some Twitter tomfoolery with the CBC’s As It Happens, and was for a brief moment, a social media superstar.

When I arrived at the Langdale terminal an hour or so later, I hit the road in earnest. I swore it could have been two o’clock in the morning, what with how dark the evening had fallen. It was also raining like a raining thing, which forced me to be extra careful as I drove.

I stopped briefly in Sechelt to purchase some stuff for dinner and breakfast, as well as a bottle of wine and a bag of G.H. Cretors Chicago Mix popcorn, because, alas, I am addicted to this crack-cocaine (disguised as popcorn) life-ruining snack.

ADDICTED.

Anywho, I was soon back in the driver’s seat and on my way to the cabin. I had made three mixed CDs for the trip, and in between my loud singing jags, I listened to a number of interviews on the on-going botch-up of Veteran’s Affairs here in the Great White North.

(Hence the need for the loud singing jags.)

Eventually I made it to my home-away-from-home around seven o’clock, and I set about to settling in.

Unfortunately I was met with two, how shall I say, uncomfortable and unforeseen circumstances that needed immediate attending.

The first was that both of the cabin’s fire alarms were out of batteries and they were going off at different intervals.

Now, anyone who has ever before heard a fire alarm knows that their sounds are incredibly jarring and weirdly disturbing. Plus, one of them had a voice that kept announcing the same phrases over and over again: “LOW BATTERY – DISABLE” or “CARBON MONOXIDE – MONOXIDE DE CARBON” or “FIRE – FEU”.

(You’ve got to love living in a bilingual country as it affords you the curtesy of having the crap scared out of you in both of our official languages! I look forward to thanking my parents for all of those years in French immersion come the day when I burn to death in a very unfortunate Dark Souls-related candle accident.)

Anyways, the other unfortunate factor was that when I entered the kitchen – after putting my bags into the bedroom – I noticed that the second door (the one that opens into the kitchen) was about five to six inches ajar.

Meaning, open.

To the night air.

YIKES.

I stood there, frozen, feeling my blood run cold.

“SERIAL” and “KILLER” I think were the first two words that popped into my head.

Let me tell you, the fact every thirty seconds two separate fire alarms kept going off, announcing my impending and immediate doom, was one thing I really could have dealt without (especially at what seemed like a very critical juncture of my life.)

Grabbing my phone, I texted Marc.

He didn’t understand what I was talking about, so I phoned him and explained the situation as succinctly and as quickly as I could.

As he voiced his concern, I tried to find a sharp, easily wieldable knife.

“What are you going to do?” he asked.

“I am going to go room by room with you on the phone. With this paring knife,” I explained.

I looked down at the small blade in my hand.

“Good luck,” I told myself.

In hindsight, really, not that brilliant of a scheme.

As the hilarious Jackie over at Ambling and Rambling put it when I afterwards told her of my cunning plan:

Oh, so, [Marc] could hear you being murdered by the man who disarmed you?

To which I replied:

EXACTLY.

Anyways, I managed to swallow all of my thoughts of Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees, and searched the entire place.

Once convinced that I was, indeed, alone, I set about to finally quieting the damned fire alarms.

An electrician, folks, I am not.

However, I did eventually manage to silence my bilingual nemesis. I then made a giant fire and turned on the first Neil Diamond record I could find.

By this point I was pretty hungry, but between my shattered nerves and ringing ear drums, every single notion I had about cooking a meal had flown right out the window.

So I just opened the bag of popcorn and poured myself a giant glass of wine.

Which, all in all, was not a bad way to kick off a relaxation retreat.

(Oh, and the popcorn and wine helped too.)

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