In it for the long run.

Oh hey y’all!

Long time, no write.

And I must express my sincere contrition.

Now, I know I sound like a broken record every time I return after a long wordless sojourn, full of the same old platitudes – “Life is so crazy!” “Time seems to be slipping away all the quicker every day!” “Why can’t I ever keep track of where I leave my hairdryer!?” – but, in my defence, these inanities are sincere.

TO WHERE THE DICKENS IS TIMING SLIPPING AWAY!?

And it’s not as though I don’t want to be engaged with the blogosphere. I am always very aware that I want to be writing, and get frustrated when I am not.

I miss feeling my fingers fly across my laptop’s keyboard, tap-tap-tapping out a tale or two about the banality of hair removal, or the injustice of fast fashion (and my inability to restrain myself from consuming, and therefore sustaining this industry) or the life-altering qualities of a really good lipstick..

I miss interacting with other writers, and kind commentators, and thinking about my next scheme, or post, or story.

Last night Marc and I cooked up a pasta feast and enjoyed a candlelit dinner, taking turns reading to each other from Catullus’ complete works of poetry.

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In between my laughter, I continually croaked, “THIS – THIS IS NOT A POEM!”

Bawdy stuff there folks.

BAWDY AS HECK.

Afterwards, we watched a pretty mediocre movie on the 4 Deserts Ultra-Running Race Series (racers run through the Atacama, Gobi, Sahara, and Antarctic Deserts) which we thought would be awesome, but left us feeling pretty lukewarm at best.

(Unlike the weather conditions in any of those places.)

However, despite the film’s shortfalls, I was completely jazzed just watching each of the runners take on such insane distances (250 kilometers) in downright torturous conditions (unrelenting heat, windstorms, sharp drops in temperatures, freezing rain.)

And I wanted to something similar.

I wanted to push my body to do something it had never done before.

Even if I couldn’t wake up this morning and race across the Gobi Desert, I wanted to do something, anything so to feel a connection with these amazing, fearless racers.

So when I did wake up, I decided to run from my house in New Westminster, to the Broadway/Commercial Skytrain station in Vancouver.

Now, technically speaking, this run would take me across two cities and past eight skytrain stations -which seems like a really long way to run!

But in reality, it only clocks in at sixteen kilometers.

Which seems incredibly short!

(Yet such is truth, spoken by the infallible gospel of Google Map My Run.)

However, in the end, it was a pretty bonkers route, with almost 350 meters of elevation gain, a battery of rogue crosswalks and the odd sketch individual or two, where the only thing rushing through my mind was “don’t want to know what’s being decided upon in THAT interaction!” as I motored on past.

Also, before I left, Marc told me that it very cold outside (due to the amount of fog that was blanketing our house and its environs) so I made the tragic mistake of wearing a tight, long-sleeve fleece, over my wicked (also long-sleeved) running shirt.

Marc’s note: “It WAS cold! I went out running an hour and half before you!”

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Thank goodness I forwent the toque.

By kilometer four I thought my head was going to blow right off of my body, leaving the remains of my cranium looking like modern day Vesuvius.

I feverishly tore the fleece from my body and immediately felt the cool relief of the morning’s breeze make its way across my steaming torso.

Then I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to run the remaining twelve kilometers with my shirt tied about my waist.

Now, I’m not sure exactly what it is that bothers me so much about clothing tied about my midsection, but since childhood it has driven me to distraction, and I especially hate it when exercising.

I guess I have always (erroneously) equated (or conflated it) with non-serious runners, and prided myself on knowing how much clothing to wear at any given time, on any given run.

However, this silly theory of mine was completely obliterated on my run today, as I went on to spend the majority of my time, waist cinched, simply flying through Burnaby and into East Vancouver.

So, I’ll be the first to say it – I’m still learning.

And I hope to heck that I never stop.

Just like those ultrarunners.

So hang tight. I’ve got but two hundred and thirty-four kilometers to go.

Stranded in a fog of words, loved him like a winter bird

Riding the elevator down to the ground floor, I am overcome by a simple, yet supreme sadness. As though nothing will ever be good again in the world.

I have been administered a Dementor’s kiss, only I feel hot and clammy, instead of bone-numbing cold.

That horrible sensation of a full-body blush.

Once outside I feel like sitting down on the sidewalk.

Once outside I feel like crying.

Walking to the bus stop, I watch as a group of pedestrians take turns stepping over a sleeping homeless person. His body but another piece of broken and unwanted sidewalk detritus.

He is empty Starbucks containers and dirty sleeping bags (but also daydreams, loves, hopes, and fears.)

He is humanity ground down to a small dirty sign that just reads, “Help.”

I feel like throwing up.

My eyeballs are scratchy.

I’m desperate for tears that, for some reason, won’t come.

I try to phone a friend but she doesn’t pick up.

Waiting for the bus, I feel deeply embarrassed about talking so highly of myself in the office (and also for telling a very uneven Michael Fassbender joke.)

But mostly I just felt awkward and stupid for bragging (boasting?) about myself.

Even though I know it wasn’t.

I was just talking about my life (and my daydreams, loves, hopes, and fears.)

So for the next 40 minutes I stand and just think about why I feel this way.

I think and feel.

About feelings.

I wrote you everyday for a year

Hello blogger friends!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I very much apologize for my absence.

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AND!

I very much apologize even more, if said absence lead any of your to believe that some kind of tragedy had befallen either myself or my loved ones.

The truth of the matter is – life happened.

And it happened a lot.

This summer has been one of intense happenings – change, growth, learning, happiness; sadness, athletics, adventure, beauty, love, and, of course, fun.

All the fun has been had.

But I am also at this point where I feel the need to pack a bag, head to YVR, grab Marc’s hand, and buy a pair of the farthest away one-way plane tickets we can afford.

We’ll fly off into the wide-blue yonder with nothing but a change of undies, our running shoes, and a bag of peanut butter M&M’s (purchased from Hudson News. It’s a tradition.)

POOF.

We’ll be gone.

It’s weird.

I often forget about the aging process.

I think much of this has to do with the fact that Marc and I have now been together now for ten years. (August 16 marked this milestone in our relationship.)

I was eighteen when we first got together, and there is a strange little part of me that still thinks that we are still those same people: that I am still that silly and starry-eyed first year undergraduate student, and he is the suave, and self-sufficient third-year classics major.

And sure, there is some truth to that – those people still very much make up a part of our characters, our souls.

But any way you slice, it – we’ve changed.

We are changing.

We are maturing – both inside and out.

And it’s something that is happening every single day of our lives.

And I don’t begrudge this happening.

In fact, I love it.

I like life a heck of a lot more now than I did as that undergraduate student.

It’s just that I don’t ever really reflect on these changes unless I am confronted by this fact – maybe I’ll see someone I haven’t seen in quite a long time; or I’ll start to realize that I am outgrowing older friendships.

Outside of my immediate self, I notice this most when I see the other loves of my life also changing, and adapting.

I see it when people have babies.

When people get sick.

When people get married, and when they get divorced.

When they buy property, when they move away, when they stop eating meat, when they start reading Kant –

And it’s good.

Because without this movement, this incessant striving, this going forward – we just die. We become stagnant and morose; we stop asking questions, we stop engaging in dialogue, we stop progress.

We can’t properly appreciate life.

The only trick of the matter is – how to find a balance between this constant striving and the ability to sit back and enjoy the aging process?

How do I keep moving but not to the extent where I feel the need to run away because life has reached a new level of overwhelming activity?

This is, of course, a topic I’ve written about quite a bit here at Rant and Roll, but seeing as though I have yet to answer this question, it will most likely be something that I keep revisiting as we head into the Autumn months (and no doubt beyond.)

There are so many good things to look forward to: Powell River in the Fall, running the Fall Classic 10k, Nova Scotia in November, playing soccer with Marc, fireside nights with a good book and our beauty cat.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, I want to make sure that I take the time to appreciate everything this summer had to offer.

And so I present to you –

July and August, by the numbers.

4 Weddings

3 Bridesmaid dresses

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1 pair of killer heels

1 half marathon

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250 kilometers ran soley for the love of running

1 1000 kilometer drive (in one night)

3 Hikes

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5 Inches of hair cut off

10 Amazing books

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10 Stand-up Shows

1 New job

2 Radio shows

Countless tears shed

Countless laughs laughed

All the lessons learned.

All the lessons left to be learned.

I’m back WordPress.

Thanks for letting me take some time off.

I’m looking forward to it.

I’m moving.

I’m moving forward.

The naked truth

So here’s a thing.

Up until two days ago, I wore foundation or concealer (or some combination of both products) every single day (give or take a glitch or two in the algorithm that is my life) for the past fourteen years.

FOURTEEN YEARS.

That is over 5000 days of wearing makeup; makeup that covers up and paints over my natural skin tone, my freckles, my pimples – everything that makes my face, my face.

I wore this makeup on runs, to the beach, to work, to work out, to school dances, to graduations, to family dinners, to the grocery store, to job interviews – I wore it everywhere.

And two days ago, I stopped.

I thought – enough is enough.

I am twenty-eight years old.

It’s time.

This is very representative of how I operate in life. I won’t do something until I have completely made up my mind.

However, once the decision has been made, I will never renege, and I will never look back.

I first started wearing “pressed powder” when I was thirteen years old. I had just started grade eight, and I was very self-conscious of the patch of acne that had sprouted atop on my forehead over the past year.

I wanted to make a good impression, so what better way to do this that spackle six dollar Cover Girl all over my skin?

(The answer: be really, really funny.)

Grade nine brought even worse skin, so I graduated from just the powder, to bottle foundation (that I supplemented with the powder.)

Looking back at photos of myself from that time, I can only laugh. I wore so much of this product that I looked practically a ghost – pale as anything, with super dark red lips, and thick black eyeliner.

I was pretty much a dead ringer for one of the Twilight kids, only ten years too early.

Over the years, my use of foundations and concealers has waxed and waned.

I wrote previously on how this tied directly to my eating disorders – in times of health I used less because my skin was much clearer, and in times of sickness I used much more.

But even at my happiest I always used it.

Everyday.

But two days ago I was out at the park, running myself ragged, doing my favourite combination of sprints, push-ups, pull-ups, squats (and all their ilk) and I just felt so incredibly strong- so alive and powerful.

So confident.

So much so that when I arrived home and showered, I stood in the bathroom and just stared at myself for a long, long time.

For many years, I would do this same thing, but in a highly critical sense. I would scrutinize everything about my body – my skin, my hair, my teeth.

I would pick myself apart, and leave the pieces scattered, broken on the floor.

But this time, however, I marvelled.

At the strength of my muscles, and the glow of my skin; the length of my hair, and pulse of my heartbeat.

And I thought – I will face the world as I am.

Which is not to say that I won’t wear any other makeup ever again.

I love playing dress up too much for that.

But I won’t wear any more skin cover up products.

I’ve got a strong enough foundation as it is.

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Today. Post-run. Strong.

Making it up as I go along

There are times when I think to myself, “Will I ever grow up?”

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Sometimes it is when I am speeding along the highway blasting some terrifically terrible pop song du jour, or buying sluprees at midnight, or laughing so hard that I snort.

Snort repeatedly.

(Because it’s either that or pee my pants.)

Will I ever grow up?

I don’t know.

And what does this even mean?

For all intents and purposes, I live a relatively “adult” life.

I am married.

I have a mortgage.

I have a BA and an MA (although I am missing the PhD to complete the trio.)

I am gainfully employed.

I pay my taxes.

But then again, do any of these things actually constitute “adultness”?

Or is it just evidence that I am, on paper at least, a compliant citizen?

And in the end, isn’t it this all [picture me gesturing about the place] just play acting?

When we were little girls, my sisters and I lived in worlds of make believe.

While Jessi and I got to inhabit the kookiest of characters, Kate, being the eldest, was always saddled with the most vanilla of roles, which usually included “Owner” or “Nanny Kate.”

(For whatever reason, our otherwise shockingly powerful imaginations seemed to run out of steam when it came to her parts and their accompanying monikers.)

In one iteration of our fantasy world, Jessi and I played Shampoo (pronounced Shaum-poo) and Squirt, two extraterrestrial creatures who lived with Owner.

Shampoo (in my imagination at least) was part bulldog, part Tasmanian devil, part vacuum cleaner. He was a little ball of fury, always tearing about the house, and to the best of my knowledge, foaming at the mouth.

Jessi (who never had very complex speaking roles with any of the characters she portrayed) mostly just made crazy guttural gnashing sounds to communicate Shampoo’s feelings.

Squirt was long, blue, and strangely collapsible. As we walked to school in the mornings, Kate would press down on my head, and I would chirp, “SQUIRT!” before crumpling down into a low squat.

(I always pictured his body as the middle part of an accordion.)

Squirt was from a pacifist alien tribe, and never wanted any trouble. Thinking back, I’m pretty sure the only thing I could say whilst in character was also just, “SQUIRT.”

A couple of budding linguists we were not.

Now Shampoo hated Squirt, and was always trying to eat him. So as you can imagine, most of the game involved Shampoo running after Squirt, with Owner every so often stepping in and playing intermediary.

(I think this was Kate’s genius idea to let us play 90 per cent on our own, tire ourselves out, and then step in when the time was right for a brief hang out.)

And what can I say?

It worked.

Let’s flash-forward to grade five.

I really liked Sailor Moon.

Like, a lot.

After watching the latest episode on YTV (best Canadian youth television channel EVER), I would dress up in my highland dancing outfits, and then creep upstairs to my parent’s bedroom.

There I would sneak into their closet, and dig out my Dad’s old tai chi swords from behind my mom’s many shoeboxes and Hudson’s Bay Company shopping bags, (and other miscellaneous OLD PERSON detritus that was lying about).

Then I would choose between the long, thin blade and the fat, curved sabre.

I normally went with long and thin.

Fatty Curve (copyright) always seemed like something the bad guys would use.

From there I would race about my house, pretend-battling alien evil-doers, and then quasi-make out with my hand (in lieu of a real-life Tuxedo Mask.)

This was the main difference between my world and the television show: I never needed a man to come and save me at the last minute. I did my own butt-kicking, and saved the disguised suitor for kissing (and other general pretend-boyfriend duties.)

Jump ahead twelve years.

I am twenty-two years old and I am walking home from the gym.

It’s summer, and therefore quite warm. I can feel the sun baking down on my sweaty, salt-licked skin.

I am listening to my “I JUST FELT LIKE RUNNING” playlist, which basically consists of any and every song that makes me want to get up and dance.

Pretty much anytime I am going anywhere listening to music I imagine that I am in a movie, and whatever song I am listening to turns in the de facto score of Miramax’s newest release: MY LIFE – THE FILM.

As I near my apartment building, Metric’s Poster of a Girl begins to play.

I try everything in my power to not dance.

I kind of shuffle a bit, and maybe side step once or twice.

I even try to speed up my pace, thinking that the sooner I get home, the less likely I am to break it down in the middle of the Ukrainian church parking lot.

No dice.

My body is physically incapable of not dancing to this tune.

So I just give in, and dance like I am in the credits of some absolutely ridiculous teen comedy, (probably titled “Gym Nuts!” or something equally as trite.)

After a little while, I manage to regain my composure and continue my walk home.

That is of course, until I realize the painters working on the building next to mine have been watching me the entire time, and burst into spontaneous applause after I finish.

I am torn between pretending nothing happened and running away.

Instead, I curtsey.

And then I run away.

Now I’m pretty sure that I am still all three of those people – SQUIRT, Sailor Moon, and mad-dancing gym nut.

And I don’t think any number of “adult” qualifiers will ever change that.

I mean what, my friends, would be the fun in that?