I mean, I can fit my fist in my mouth. Am I really looking to swallow anything larger than that?

So… I’m naked on the internet now. I’m sure mum’s super proud. It was done on my own terms, with my consent. It’s not a remotely sexual thing and the only motivation for me was to work on accepting myself, working through those body issues I mentioned in passing recently. This link is exactly what it sounds like. If you’ve got no interest in seeing me naked, then don’t click it. It’s as simple as that. The idea is to be accountable to myself and start to pick apart these issues in whatever capacity I’m capable of. Here goes.

I’m naked on the internet.

The shot wasn’t a pose, it just happened to catch me mid-movement. I mentioned the Body Pride (NSFW warning. More nudity) event I went to recently, an intimate event involving a handful of people naked in a circle. Wine and snacks were on hand and we went around the circle talking about our experiences with our bodies, childhoods, sexuality and relationships with others. It was a chance to unburden ourselves of issues in a supportive, welcoming environment. Reflecting on our own troubles while hearing those of others was a humbling way to gain perspective on our own hardships. Commonalities emerged, while helping to trace potential roots of deeply held concerns and insecurities. The event sought to encourage a sense of appreciation for oneself and one’s body, backed by the knowledge that others were listening with good intentions. Stacks of warm fuzzies and laughs were shared and I think everyone’s heart grew three sizes that day. Then after hours of talking, we had a naked dance party photoshoot to keep those warm fuzzies flowing. If you’re in Toronto and feel like it’d help you, get in touch. The next session (sans cis-men) is on Friday May 22nd.

So, did it help? Well it didn’t fix everything, but I certainly didn’t expect it to. I think I’m still processing how it’s made me feel. At the moment I look at myself naked and just think ok, that’s what I look like. I still see all the things I don’t like, the parts I want to change. I see bits that are thicker than I’d like, but I don’t know that I’m seeing them with the same urgency. I think I can look at myself and acknowledge hey, I don’t look that bad. I’m not at a place yet that I like what I see, but I don’t actively loathe what I see. I’d chalk that up as progress.

At this stage my uphill hike starts with trying to build up confidence around myself and how I look. I can objectively see there’s nothing physically wrong with me, but it’s a much harder concept to grok. Self-acceptance isn’t merely skin deep, It lies in the pound of flesh closest to my heart. I’ve got a supportive partner and a great community of loving people around me. Maybe if I listen to them and- as a friend suggested- try actually believing that my friends and loved ones mean what they say, I might be able to come to terms with the way I look and actively come to like it. Stranger things have happened. Did you see the snake devouring that crocodile a few weeks back? If that can happen, feeling comfortable and confident in the “me” I put out there isn’t unfathomable. Like the snake, it may just involve digesting something quite hard to swallow. Then unburdening. Because who would I be if I didn’t end on a poop joke?

Could I be a cat that’s simultaneously in the hat and the box, but not?

Is it a sign of adulthood when you wake up just before your alarm would be set to go off, except it’s a weekend?

I swear sometimes your brain is just trying to mess with you at the behest of your best intentions. That last sentence had some badass assonance. Just sayin’. It’s now about the time I wanted to get up, except I’ve been awake for 2 hours. On one hand I’m impressed that I’ve taken the time that would’ve been spent frivolously wasting the day away. Instead I’ve frivolously wasted it catching up on TV and the internet. Concurrently my eyes feel heavy. I’m doing nothing to shift the bags under my eyes, something that I’m resigned to admit are probably here to stay, despite best efforts to aim for 8 hours sleep a day.

BORING. For fuck’s sake, surely I’ve got more going on here than insipid mundanity.  What’s on my mind? I just need something to latch onto…

Okay. Someone just posted a comment on my previous entry. Passionate! #Thetrainer. Am I an asshole? Or is this meaningless drivel that some dude or algorithm has written in an attempt to drive traffic to his site? I don’t get it. Well I do, but I don’t. I understand why it was done, but I can’t empathise with these motives. From what I do understand (and that’s very little), wordpress seems to be a mélange of personal blogging and SEO/SEM driven clickbait. People either want to Google bomb, express themselves or somehow hit the big time and go viral. Hitting the big time is finding a way to make this a viable income stream. Going viral seems akin to being an actor and getting plucked for a major film/TV role out of nowhere. It’s unexpected, but can lead to untold exposure and rewards. It’s that rainbow coloured pot o’ gold that everyone seeks, but few find.

That’s hard though and that success seems to be contingent on a confluence of talent, timing and luck. Those things are hard to come by and the great unwashed on here will likely never come by them. Myself included. It’s not a big deal to me. I never started this looking for exposure. It’s nice having a repository for errant thoughts, a font for festering creativity and failing anything, somewhere to vent about shit. Sometimes literally. Yes, that was a poop joke. Because most people on here, like the many actor/waitstaff in LA, know they’re probably not gonna hit the big time, they try to hedge their bets. There’s a community on here, but one gelled together by attempted social climbing and leveraging peoples desire for validation into personal exposure. People like other people’s posts, follow others in an attempt to drive traffic back their way. I might be entirely wrong, but so much of this site seems to be unflinchingly insincere. I’ve had a few neat conversations in the comments section, but they’re the exception proving that I rule. Dumb. This is clearly why no humans follow me.

It’s a bummer, that’s all. I’ve never aimed to be part of the community (I just don’t have the time or inclination. We’ll save that for once I finally accomplish my New Years’ resolution and finish Seinfeld. I haven’t watched in 3 months. That‘s how well it’s going), but from what I’ve seen I don’t really want to. The romantic part of me would hope that there’s genuine compassion and desire to see people succeed, to congratulate people on their work and foster a well-meaning sense of genial support. But people will ever be people and people will ever be driven by selfish motivations, questing for validation and craving people to tell them they’re worth a damn in this world. It’s hard to offer that in a faceless message delivered on a computer screen with total sincerity. If your motives can’t be seen, it only seems to encourage this kind of mentality.

For all I know though, I’m just the eerie curmudgeon literally and figuratively masturbating in the corner. “The yooves” have their clique and I refuse to be a part of a community that isn’t effortless to be a part of. I can’t tell if I sound more like a grumpy centenarian or entitled child right now. Tell me Schroedinger, which will it be?

To be interesting you should be interested in what’s happening around you. As I proved, there are limits.

Another day, more work food. I’m surprised nobody’s pulled a muscle patting themselves on the back but hey, I can’t argue with the results. People here know how to put on a spread. There was a small shindig for our new department head who, I’m to understand, is a dauntlessly hardworking woman and thus won herself an award for the aforementioned things. To celebrate, a host of cheese platters, mounds of dessert and plates stacked with wine were arranged in the kitchen. Our team dug in, despite the host of publicity/PR people showing stalwart discipline over their food intake. It’s an image-centric industry, sucks for them that they don’t want to/feel like they can’t eat. Greeeat for us.

It’s been a good, breezy day all things considered. I’d worked ahead to give myself a bit of Friday room to breathe. Consequently I felt no qualms taking an hour off to go across the road for physio. Thanks to work benefits I’ve got regular restorative personal training sessions and frankly it’s nice to be able to use my lunch working out. Because benefits are paying the cost. That aspect seems almost farcical. Benefits afford us unlimited physio, so all of this training is on the house. Checking my benefits billing, I can see that each session costs $108. Holy shit, that’s obscene. If it wasn’t inclusive there’s no way I’d ever pay it. Still, while someone else is footing the bill I don’t have any qualms. It’s a nice fusion of professional muscle stretching, TRX and balance stuff, lots of core. It doesn’t work me nearly as hard as the crossfit stuff has been, but it’s swell to be saving a bit of money on the side while getting my long-standing knee injury looked at.

Fuck, ok. I’m getting bored writing this, I can’t imagine how taxing it must be to sit there wasting your precious time on this drivel. Good news, there’s plenty more writing out there, either on this very page or dispersed upon the manifold pages of the internet. You can go read that, because everything that’s preceded this sentence has been lacklustre to say the least. Then again, what happens if you skip out now and it gets way better. I understand your qualms. I’ve been obstinate enough to begrudgingly finish my fair share of texts purely because I started them. What’s with that mentality? You’ve invested time in something and it’s not working out for you. You don’t really enjoy where it’s leading but you feel like not finishing it would invalidate the time you spent consuming it. So your answer is to spend more time consuming that thing you’re not enjoying. Isn’t that just wasting more time on the off chance it turns out well?

Then again, I’ve had a bunch of things that felt like a waste of time and resulted in something I aggressively enjoyed. Bojack Horseman was a show I just couldn’t enjoy for the first 5 or 6 episodes. It felt bland, with milquetoast Hollywood humour that seemed like it wanted too hard to grab the mantle of good Adult Swim shows. Problem was, it felt like it wasn’t remotely as subversive as it thought it was. I heard an endless refrain from friends extolling its virtues. I stuck with it and, maybe 6 or 7 episodes in, shit got dark. It became enthralling and enticed me to stick with it, resulting in a show I really love. Mad Men seemed like insipid pumpkin pie american domestic sphere bollocks. It took me 7 episodes, but I fell for it and fell hard. The Malazan Books of the Fallen and I have an existing love/hate relationship, but I can’t say I regretted my time and energy spent. For everything I find that I couldn’t stand about that series, there was something affecting to counteract it.

That being said, these are the outliers. It’s also hugely dependant on what rings your bell, what makes you tick. Maybe the last two paragraphs actually appealed to someone out there and they weren’t considered a colossal waste of time. If you’ve gotten this far, it’s also entirely possible that you wish you still had those 2-5 minutes. Just think of how many Buzzfeed articles you could’ve read in that time. Now try not to lose yourself to regret.

In 2002 I downloaded mp3s without listening to them and burned a Disturbed CD. In the end 7 of the tracks were Remember.

For the last few days I’ve been going quietly nuts. I’ve had something on my mind, which has been twisting and turning like intricate intertwining mobius strips trying to come up with one simple word. I’ve been trying to remember what one of my ex girlfriend’s favourite flowers was. Naturally if I can’t remember what a word is, my brain tells me that it starts with a “p”. In 9/10 cases it doesn’t. I remember being hamstrung for about 2 weeks trying to remember the term that began with a “p” that had something to do with memory. Nostalgia Trip ended up being that  “p” word. Thanks brain.

Still, I couldn’t remember this flower and it was stressing me out more than it needed to. I didn’t care because I thought I’d have contact with her ever again. I wasn’t feeling forlorn or wistful. I wasn’t thinking of the time we spent together, I was thinking of how shit my memory has become if it can’t recall a simple flower that held some semblance of worth in our relationship. I hate the idea that I have knowledge with no way to access it. It’s like having a delicious cake behind a thick pane of glass. So close you can almost smell it, but licking the glass only leaves a sterile, empty taste in your mouth. Trust me, I was an inquisitive child. I tasted many weird things before I knew any better.

It wasn’t good enough for me to accept that some things just drift off into the aether. I remembered what it looked like. For her 21st birthday I once found a beautiful gold pendant in the shape of this flower. It was a slam dunk, I’d gone out looking for exactly that piece and it happened to be in the last store I looked. It was at a time that we were really solid and had fallen deep. With inevitable post-breakup Facebook profile watching, I saw that she was still wearing it. It kind of affected me how much it clearly meant to her. That the sentiment and memories surrounding it were enough that she wasn’t ditching it just because we’d split. Quid pro quo, I still have things she gave me that I loved. The dissolution of the relationship hasn’t diminished the love and spirit with which they were given, so they’re sticking around. Memories can be beautiful things, irrespective of the times that followed.

With a memory of what it looked like and the misguided notion that it started with a “p”, I drew a picture and passed it around my team at work. A white, reasonably large flower with 5 petals. A yellow centre. How hard could it be? Too hard with that small amount of information. There are many many many flowers. I know, because I went through a number of Wikipedia articles with lists of flowers, waiting for the name to pop out at me. It wasn’t a rose, that one was easy. Not a crysanthemum, not a pansy or daisy, orchid or lily. I was out. I tried image searching “white flower 5 petals”. Usually Google can handle nebulous requests like that. In this case it gave me a tons. Tons of incorrect answers anyway. I can’t blame it, it’s a pretty good algorithm that doesn’t know my history well enough (yet, right?). Its memory, while impressive, doesn’t have emotion attached like mine does. It knows simple facts and contextual links, but the only answer was looking deeper into my psyche to fish this out. I don’t know why it was bugging me so much, but I had to know.

Really though, I do know why it hit me so hard. We’re human and fallible, that I can accept. The part I have a harder time accepting is that with everything we’re doing here, so little of it really makes a mark. So much can happen in a week, a month, year or decade. How much of it do we actually retain? Like it or not, I’ve lost years of my life because my brain hasn’t deemed those memories worthy of sticking around. It’s like looking at mp3 compression, how it keeps the larger waveform, but takes out the minutiae in order to cut things down to a manageable, accessible size. How do our brains decide what the minutiae is? Why was an important and even a little formative detail in a relationship that was both of those things to me deemed to be ephemera? How many years of my life have been lost to the aether in the name of efficiency of memory? It’s heartbreaking to think that we do so much, the smaller elements of which rarely make it through. Or is that just because we like to ascribe meaning to our actions, our interactions and interrelationships between the two? We want to be known, remembered and admired for the things we represented, because that tells us we meant something to someone somewhere. If we can’t even recall the seemingly inconsequential details that brought us to where we are, what was the point? It was a lot to have in my head fighting consciousness in the name of slumber. A wonder I even got to bed at all. When I awoke, one word crested my mind:

Frangipani.

A missed opportunity to talk exclusively about blooming onions. I’m not crying.

“Hey [insert coworker’s name here], top of your head, random topic”

“Flowers.”

On Earth Day too? That’s some harmonic convergence.

Right. Flowers. Not to be confused with flours (yes flour(s). Off the top of my head different flowers I can think of extend to coconut flour and rice flour. I’m not well versed in baking, despite my predilection for crafting vulva cupcakes out of from the box mix. But I’m getting off topic here (for a change? -Ed)). I don’t actually have a favourite flower. I guess as a Magic the Gathering nerd fo lyfe I’d have to opt for a Black Lotus. Aside from those rare and valuable artifact flowers that give you 3 mana of any colour, I’m right out.

I get it though. Having your environment flush with colour can really help lift a mood. Having a permanently stuffed nose, scents don’t do much for me, but I’d be hard pressed to be dour staring at a rainbow bouquet. I don’t really know much about buying flowers either. I’ve done it a few times, but rarely with authority. I kind of look at the array of colours around the florist, tightly grab them by the hand and say “please, help me. Make it pretty. You’re my only hope.” The last time this happened was en route to watch my girlfriend perform. I’d never seen a loved one perform publicly. It was kind of a big deal for me to be trusted with being welcomed into that part of her life and I hoped it was a big deal for her.

I went into a small florist in Kensington Market. Nobody was around. Suddenly the Asian body double of the Village People’s construction dude appeared. He asked me what I wanted and I basically told him that I was expecting to spend x amount and just wanted something pretty. In a blur he grabbed a bunch of different flowers, some little bud things and, at my request, a few orange and blue roses. Pulling out the shears he tidied them up, before grabbing a big roll of colourful paper and tying a few lots of ribbon. I gave him my money and he went back to sitting out front, eating his leftovers from a styrofoam container. Multiclassing, eh? Must be a tough economy.

I feel like romantic comedies give an overinflated image of what flowers should be. I like giving flowers, but not as a catch-all. I love celebrating stuff, but I love giving people something they can use, something that actively enriches their lives. It took me many years to realise that my mother really did love having flowers around, that going out and grabbing a bouquet with her favourite flowers accomplished just what I’d been wanting. When a person has the means and gumption to just go out and get something if they need it, a kind gesture can mean so much more.

That being said, I don’t like using flowers in place of an apology. Maybe it’s internalised values, but using flowers as a stand-in for important words that need to be said seems problematic. If your sentiment is what needs to be given, then why try sweetening it up and thereby cheapening them with a physical gift. Giving something pretty doesn’t mitigate any indiscretions. It seems strange to conflate those two things. *Shrug*.

I don’t like to give them all the time. So often if I do buy flowers, it’s out of the blue. Wanting to do something nice for the sake of it. Gifts don’t have to conform to specific times or days, right? As I said, I like celebrating almost anything I can, but just because I was thinking of you gifts hold the kind of sentiment I’m fond of expressing. Flowers fit this, but I’d hate for them to become an expected gift. Because what fun is it to be in a relationship if you can’t keep your partner on their toes?

Heh, the word “daffodildo” just popped into my head.

A moment making lips, another on them. My hips speak truths.

I think I might be addicted to sugar. It’s not a revelation that comes as any surprise to me, but it’s something I feel right in acknowledging. Since I’ve given up coffee (which is, as always, a soft cessation) I’ve found myself supplanting that caffeine addiction with sugar, chocolate, just anything sweet. This wouldn’t be such a problem, if it wasn’t in such steady supply. Our coffee machine doubles as a hot chocolate fountain. At the simple press of a button, delicious milky chocolate droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven into my cup beneath. Much as I tell myself I don’t need it when I arrive at the office, the reality of cravings make this easier thought than done.

A problem shared is a problem halved though, right? At least this helped during celebrations for Cake and Cunnilingus Day last week. Baking up a bunch of cupcakes with a friend, we dressed them up then took them along to the live Tell Me Something Good event to impart the love to others. Not gonna lie, it was strangely unsettling “playing God” with a bunch of cupcakes. When you’re sculpting human parts, you get a bit of a messiah complex, as if you’re creating life of your own. When you’re creating human parts that help create humans, it becomes some kind of ridiculous Russian doll type situation. Once that abated and it sunk in that we were really just making cute treats, it got a lot easier. They didn’t come out too shabby either. More than once after creating so many abstract facsimiles, I lost myself to thoughts of do I even know what a vagina even look like any more? Pink frosting, chocolate drop pubic hairs and little cherry clits meshed together beautifully with the side effect of tasting great. In any case, it was a fun way to kill an evening while sharing the love.

Sugar is everywhere. Even just working in this office, there is no escape. This morning held a leaving party for a staff member (packed with cookies, cupcakes, donuts, scones and mimosas) and in 10 minutes we have a surprise baby shower for a staff member. The wise idea would be to hold some responsibility. I could hold back and restrain myself, dipping in without pigging out. I’ve never claimed to be a wise person though. Things that are delicious always seem like they’d be happier in my belly. So really, I’m doing it for their sake. Or is that just the messiah complex kicking in again?

I think I’m just setting myself up for a crash. This afternoon will be a wreck and this evening will be a write off if I’ve got nothing but sat fats, high fructose corn syrup and wheat in my belly. Looking through my benefits, I discovered that I’ve got a $1000 budget for a nutritionist per year. Maybe that’s what I actually need. Someone to help me create meal plans that are easy to stick to. Maybe the shame of doing a food diary then having my excesses recorded for posterity will keep me accountable. I mean, I know how to eat well, it’s just tough to find a combination of incentive and discipline to stay on the straight and narrow. Can a professional tell me these things in a way that’ll help me adhere to them?

At the end of the day, the onus is on ourselves and to ourselves to keep things running well. I can’t and don’t blame anyone else for my inability to prioritise health over desire. There’s no devil whispering sweet nothings into my ear, telling me just how good one of those artisan cupcakes will taste. I are the demons. I just wish this particular bugbear would find someone else to piggyback on. My shoulders are getting tired. Maybe they just need some caffeine…

Hirsute Yourself 8: Canadian snipper.

I think the only reason these entries keep happening is my hunger for continuity. I don’t really care that much about my hair, as evinced by constant reformats (re-fur-mats?) and alterations. Most of the time, a haircut just works and if it doesn’t I can just wait it out. 2 weeks between a bad and good haircut, my dad always said. I’m gonna trust the judgement that came with his lustrous locks in his twenties, rather than his less ample plumage as of late. As I said though, most haircuts suit me well enough without too many issues. I’ve always wondered why this was, but just chalked it up to luck.

Not so, avid reader, not so. I have science on my side.

I don’t even know how I came across it, but somehow stumbled onto the knowledge that different types of heads suit different haircuts. I think I heard the thunk of every female reader facepalming as soon as she’d read that sentence. I’m sure for someone raised in a world of fashion advice and general nouse, face shapes are a given. It should be clear by now, that I’m not that kind of someone. To me, face shapes were a revelation. You mean I can use science and logic to divine how things will suit my head? This is doing little to disprove my theory that science is magic.

Anyway. I have an oval shaped head, which means I’ve got a buffet of styles to choose from. According to most of these sites, I can go for any kind of haircut that doesn’t involve a long fringe. Any haircut I wanted, EXCEPT for the exact style I happened to have. I told you I’m not good at this kind of stuff, guys. So armed with this newfound knowledge (therefore power), I marched into my usual hairdresser and told him what I wanted.

An aside. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to promote my hairdresser and it probably won’t be the last. I found him entirely by accident and chanced it. I have yet to walk out the door remotely unsatisfied. He knows what he’s doing, does all the texturing things with those toothed scissors and is an unflinchingly lovely, pleasant guy. He’s really central, close to Dundas Square. Finding a spot that’s just on the rougher side of Jarvis Street means he doesn’t get as much foot traffic as he needs, but every customer I’ve seen there speaks fondly of him. I’m always happy to “give props” to anyone excelling at what they do and his service is exemplary. $15+tax for a great male haircut is cheap as shit and worth the cost. If you’re not stoked with your current hairdresser and you’re on the hunt for someone new, give this guy a shot.

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I decided for a radical change. For a while I’ve had this strange insecurity of a receding hairline that’s in truth pretty unfounded. To deal with it, I’ve just stuck with a long fringe that hides all evidence. As part of this eventual self-acceptance movement I’m putting into place, I resolved to own it and just show what I’ve got. My eye-length fringe and heavy locks got shorn right back to a more modern, manageable level. I wasn’t worried about how it turned out, but did cared more to test this scientific hypothesis of oval shaped heads and haircut compatibility. Because Science! Turns out people know things about stuff and whatnot. The haircut looks better and without a heavy fringe, my face seems less squashed. Whatever issues I happen to have, even I can admit it’s a pretty slick “do”. Next step is harnessing this science to buy new glasses, since my future’s so bright.