So in order to help resolve the first factor, I need to be asleep in 7 minutes.

I’ve got another counselling appointment tomorrow. Prior to the last time we met (was there a more concise way to say that? Where’s a writer when you need one?), my homework was to write a list of factors I thought contributed to my fear of failure. I did that here.

We went through some of those factors during our session (after a cursory comment led to spending 50 minutes talking about some of my relationships with women. I would fail the male equivalent of the Bechdel test. The counsellor said it was helping him build up a more solid picture of my personality) for about 10 minutes before he assigned me more homework. I was to go through the list I had compiled and find 3 factors that I thought were the easiest to work on. Once again, I’m using this space like a homework desk, because I can.

Let’s see where I can start…

Lacking the order I used to have.

This one is probably a more actionable choice than any other. Stemming from a “make it happen” mentality I had when I was down (in more ways than one) in Rotorua, I resolved to get shit done, to not make excuses and complete whatever needed completing. In an organisational fashion, this meant I’d ensure I was constantly on top of tasks, domestic and otherwise. At some stage this fell by the wayside. I got lazy and became more prone to leaving things till they needed doing rather than doing them before they could stack up. Some tasks are larger and more draining than others, but to break this into something I should be able to handle, it means cutting down on procrastination. Doing dishes and washing things regularly aren’t difficult tasks. If I take 10 minutes here and there rather than waiting until I’ve got an hour’s worth of things I don’t want to do (then putting that off for longer), that makes sense.

The other part of this would be regularly trying for 8 hours of sleep. I’ve always had difficulty committing to this, but perhaps I need to start putting a foot down and giving myself a curfew. Since writing is my largest mode of procrastinating, effort can go into ensuring I sleep enough, which hopefully contributes to a more alert, rested mind. Also less coffee, which wouldn’t hurt.

Difficulty acknowledging/accepting compliments.

If someone compliments me my first reaction is to assume motive. Either they’re just being polite or what are they angling for here? Whatever they say, I have trouble believing what they’re saying comes from a genuine place. I’ve heard that the proper response to any compliment is to say “thank you”. That’s it. Don’t reject or minimise it to throw it back in their face. Just say thanks and move on. That’s not egotistical, it’s acknowledging they’ve said something. I think I need to bring myself to frame incoming compliments as coming from a good place, regardless of whatever doubts immediately jump to the surface. I may run into one or two disingenuous people, but if it means I have an easier time feeling accepted without being cocky, then that’s positive progress. Maybe I’ll even start to believe people when they say I’ve done something well, then believe I can do things well. Stranger things have happened.

I should be able to succeed on my own. In some small way I see taking help as failure.

Even writing this I knew it was dumb. Still, something innate tells me I need to forge my own path. Concurrently I realise I’ve been helped along in my life by innumerable forces both visible and not. For me to assume any momentum is solely the sum of my own actions is foolish. So yes, let’s accept that people will help and that’s ok. The solution is not to shun this help, but embrace it and ameliorate this privilege by offering help to others when I can. I feel fine extending a hand to others, so why am I reticent to accept one in return? This resolution could also be penned “don’t be a hypocrite.”

So is this another motivational push that I’ll retain for all of a week? Let’s hope it’s a productive week at least.

Snow day, snow problem.

A storm is coming.

Well, it’s here already. Aside from feeling intoxicatingly seer-ish, my portent comes with the tidings that we might finish work early today. I’m ready to pack up at a moment’s notice, which is why I’m killing time by typing here. We were given a nudge to work ahead and consequently I am ahead. It’s funny how these things align. If the alignment falls further in my favour, the girlfriend and I might go see What We Do in the Shadows. What better way to celebrate a snowstorm coinciding with cheap Tuesday movies is there?

Well if we were in the US, National Pancake Day would be an option. Unfortunately here in Toronto I’d have to IHOP all the way to St Catherines, seeing as IHOP (though International), isn’t common this side of the border. St Catherines hardly seems worth the trip though. What I saved in gas I could just spend at Golden Griddle on $5 unlimited Tuesday pancakes. Wait, “could”? I should. SHOULD celebrate. Ever since I was a kid, cartoons have built up this imaginary stack of thick flapjacks to mythic proportions. Now when the world “pancakes” enters my mind I see visions of delicious sweetness, lathered with maple syrup and topped with a bulb of butter. Dreamy.

Oh sweet Jesus, it’s 3pm and we’re good to go. GO GO GO. I’ll report back in later.

*** Later ***

Success, What We Do in the Shadows seen with Girlfriend. Charming movie with a few familiar Kiwi faces. Familiar as in known from TV, not actual mates. New Zealand’s not that small. That being said, an ex-girlfriend here in Canada once looked up some Facebook friends from Wellington to see if we had any mutual acquaintances. “C’mon, it’s still a country of 5 million people. We’re not tiny enough for 2 degrees of separation.” We were. 6 friends in common with one of hers. Okay, so the country isn’t massive. As for the movie, it was cute. Okay, that sounds condescending. It was enjoyable and melded traditional vampire lore with modern technological advances and a healthy dollop of obviously improvised material. The movie was buoyant, didn’t drag and unearthed (couldn’t resist) fun new terrain for exploration. How would vampires respond to The Internet? How do they get into clubs? Interact with other supernatural beings within the regular quotidian occurrences of their average day? It’s a refreshing break from Hollywood blockbusters.

Also if you’re looking for another great New Zealand mockumentary, check out Peter Jackson’s 1995 classic Forgotten Silver. An exploration of the works of “late” New Zealand film pioneer Colin McKenzie. Lovingly crafted with a deadpan humour, fanciful historical rewrites and subtly laid jokes. It’s an ode to the indomitable explorative spirit of the film-maker, coupled with the enduring No. 8 wire mentality. Since Flight of the Conchords launched NZ culture out into the living rooms of the wider world, the wider world seems to have grown hungry for it. If you’re at all interested in seeing what Peter Jackson did before Hollywood grabbed him, Forgotten Silver is a bloody good place to start. If you can find it.

I don’t get it, I don’t even have drapes. I must be blind.

I think I might have a case of The Mondays.

My co-ordination seems to be off something chronic. At the cafe this morning I dropped my debit card twice on the way to the cashier. Pre-caffeine jitters? Or just ineptitude? I burst through the rotating door to work too keenly, enough that I smacked my head on the glass. Later in the kitchen I went to wash a dirty knife. I dropped it, then banged my head rising after picking it up. Am I having a stroke?

Actually, back to the cafe. If I’m paying $5.00 for a coffee and the barista does a shit job, am I within my rights to give the coffee back and ask them to try again? I’ve started going to an establishment that was slightly more expensive than my normal cafe. It’s nice coffee and I usually end up with a smooth mocha, but one of the baristas doesn’t seem to give two shits about her work. She’ll froth up the milk too much, then just leave the steam wand in the frothing jug while she goes off to do something else. Then rather than getting rid of the bubbles and swirling the milk, she’ll just pour it straight into the cup. no attempt to sink the milk, measure the pour and craft a pleasant drink. I figure if I wanted something artless I’d just go to Tim Hortons or Starbucks. It’s only her, the other baristas do great coffees. So what’s the best course of action here? Do I speak my mind and let her know that I’m dissatisfied? If she already doesn’t care, wouldn’t she be most likely to begrudgingly do another shitty coffee? Or is there any way I can ask one of the other baristas to do it instead? Social etiquette is tough.

I got swindled yet again by the Longos salad bar. Then again, if you’re well aware of the grift is it really taking you for a ride? Or are you just consenting to the ill-balanced equation? The whole thing is based off weight and of course the most delicious things are heavier. Because that’s how life works. This results in a piece of avocado, plus 4 small pieces of bocconcini costing $3.50. By the time I’ve bought my sardines and a bread roll, I’ve paid $5.00 for a sandwich I made myself. I can’t blame them, I’m the one who’s done this enough times that I should’ve learned. I’m paying for convenience and variety, which runs counter to value for money. If I’m willingly engaging in capitalism, I can’t really be disappointed when I get exactly what I expect.

Nobody at work has mentioned my lack of a beard or newly acquired red hair, which tells me that either a) it’s not that noticeable, b) my co-workers don’t pay attention or b) the above two options are incorrect and they just don’t care enough to bring it up. Maybe a d) is possible and people just have work to do. To be honest I don’t always see it. I notice it when I’m in the elevator, because it’s brightly lit and you’re flanked by mirrors on all sides. It’s pretty difficult to avoid. So far life as a redhead has been 100% non-eventful. I’m having a hard time working out what the fuss is about. Also it’s weird having to not wash my hair every time I shower as a method of extending the vibrancy of its colour. I now have concerns I never had to consider. Then again some people don’t wash their hair every day anyway. Maybe I can just write this off as wearing another man’s shoes. Or hair. Like a wig of my own creation.

In a discussion my co-workers were horrified by the idea that growing up I’d go barefoot around the neighbourhood. Or on planes. They were mortified, even. It always seemed natural to me. Being without constricting footwear meant a pleasant breeze rolled over my feet. If I’m on a plane for 12+ hours, the thought of my feet gradually growing sweatier and sweatier seems abhorrent. Why not let them air out? To be realistic, if they’re exposed to air and I haven’t been wearing shoes while doing strenuous activity, it’s not like they’re gonna stink. They mentioned how disgusted they’d be to see the feet of a fellow passenger. I wondered why they’d be spending so much time looking down when they could be sleeping or watching/reading something. What’s the deal with people being grossed out by feet? Why the taboo? Is it similar to the Thai “Head High Feet Low” mentality? That seeing as feet are closer to the ground, they’re dirty and intrinsically low? Then again, I’ve always wanted my feet to be versatile, to potentially function as backup hands. I can often open door handles with them, which seems useful when I’m holding a bunch of stuff. Feet are pretty rad. Despite the obvious height differential, maybe people shouldn’t look down on them so much.

That’s the first time I’ve used the phrase “sharing my genitals”. Watch this space. The site, not my genitals.

In a problem running counter to an increasingly dated Miley Cyrus reference, I can’t start. As with most Sunday evenings, I’m drained and have little in the way of inspiration to call from for writing’s sake. This is a pity, because I desperately need to sleep. In order to more readily encourage this action (and at the behest of the reader), I’m gonna rattle off whatever random tidbits float through my mind.

I may have overstated my transformation yesterday. If you strain your eyes, you might be able to notice the lighter sheen to my hair. I don’t know if club denizens from last night could. Which kind of sucks, because the central purpose of the change was to help sell the costume. It looked fine otherwise, I used nail polish to detail a belt with the Black Widow symbol and had a bullet belt wrapped around my wrists that’d fall off once every 10 minutes or so. The surprise dance floor smash hit that launched the crowd into a frenzy was *NSYNC‘s Bye Bye Bye. Never underestimate the pure strength of nostalgia. I never do, but then again I regularly reference 80s Viewmaster cartoons that I can’t seem to find on Youtube. I’d link it here, but obviously I can’t seem to find it on Youtube.
I’ll admit it, I’m running pretty flat here. A girlfriend with a cold coupled with onset environmental allergies (triggered by quickly changing atmospheres. It’s cold outside, then heated houses are anything but. It’s funking with my system) and a lack of good sleep mean that cobbling together even these meagre sentences is taking all I have. Who says I don’t work for you guys? I guess it’d help if interesting things were happening in my life.
Well I guess this is something. I might be going on a date this week with someone other than my girlfriend. Because after a while I guess something was bound to happen on this poly front. I’ve been talking to someone online who (yet again) made the first move. If we can find time in my week between gig reviewing (something I’m starting back up again) and spending quality time in my current only relationship, we’ll grab a drink and see if there’s mutual interest. I don’t know how different this kind of dating will feel from dating while single. Will monogamous instincts kick in and weird feelings of guilt start to surface? I’m not doing anything unjust here. I’ve already talked to my girlfriend about it and she’s happy I’ll be putting myself out there and trying the lifestyle.
In case it didn’t sound like it, I am too. I’ve intentionally not been trying to seek someone similar to my girlfriend. What would be the point of that? I have zero qualms about the ways she makes me feel. If I was to search for someone like her, they wouldn’t be exhibiting personality traits my girlfriend didn’t already showcase. It makes more sense for me to find someone quite different, someone that unlocks different aspects of my psyche and pushes/pulls at untouched threads. This other girl is definitely a marked departure from my beloved, which is great. I’m in no way looking to replace her, just supplement her.
Who knows if this will work or not? I could be building up a massive Jenga tower that’ll spectacularly crash to the ground, leaving me surrounded by wreckage. Or I could reach a higher plateau with a refreshing new view. This other girl is experienced with the poly lifestyle, a huge draw card. I feel almost guilty approaching poly girls as someone without experience in the lifestyle. I’d feel weird sharing my genitals with someone low on sexual experience. I can only imagine that for someone well-versed, accepting a newbie in the ways of polyamory could be tiresome or frustrating. Judging by my constant weirdness surrounding dating and expectations, opening myself up to more people may be the worst idea I’ve had in a while. Fortunately for you, if it does happen to be a fiasco, at least you’ll have a front row seat to the action.
Maybe pack a raincoat in case of splatter. The first few rows could get a little wet.

Hirsute Yourself 7: Fie rebirth.

I have undergone metamorphosis. I have undertaken a journey of strange new worlds and emerged a different entity. Kafkaesque. For clarity’s sake, I’m not a cockroach. There’s a change I’ve always wanted to enact. Try something outside my common experiences. I had a costume party to attend and I figured now was as good a time as any for a revolution.

Okay, let’s quit it with the grandiose imagery and be real for a second. I dyed my hair.

I’m a redhead, a ginger, a carrot top (without a propensity for props), I’ve got beet-roots, y’all.

It’s something I’ve had an interest in for some time. I’ve always been locked into my dark locks and thought something different could be nifty. I’m not a bright redhead, we didn’t go the bleach route. It’s more of a two-tone thing, like those snazzy cars. If light shines on my mop, the red bursts through. It’s a change that I’m getting used to. I keep catching myself staring into the mirror, captivated by the new person who stares back. As part of the costume, a beard shave was beneficial, so I’m staring at a new person who also looks 23. Quite the trip.

The costume in question is for a superhero costume dance party. I settled on a gender bent Black Widow. I know there were more than enough male heroes to choose from, but Black Widow’s a total badass. She’s efficient, intelligent and a slick brawler. What’s not to like? I’m going with my merino thermals, some bullet belt wristbands and a customised belt. Also the red hair, helps sell the image. I thought about holstered guns, but at some point if you’re wanting to shake your ass, peripherals start to get intrusive.

So I’m a redhead now. I don’t feel any different, but it feels like things should. I need to start compiling a list of proper redhead decorum. I guess I should be fiery? Passionate? Quick to anger, action or agitation? Sleek and seductive? Bold and impulsive? Seeker of adventure, experience and stimuli? Courageous? Lively? Confrontational? Did I suddenly switch from a Capricorn to an Aries? A leopard can’t change its spots, but can a goat become a ram?

Not that I’m one who subscribes to zodiaccessorising. I am who I am (and that’s not a ram) because of the ways I choose to react to the world around me, not by buying into mythical woo woo telling me who I should be. We all control how we affect the world, not the inverse. That being said, I could always do with letting a bit more chaos into my life. Going with the flow and following impulses for a while, regardless of my hair pigment, couldn’t be the worst outcome. If I use this change as an excuse to see things through differently tinted lashes, then surely that’s not gonna kill me.

 

Get it? Because it was a dye job?

More like, in groan here.

This has gotta be one of the weirder positions I’ve come to you from. More parts ludicrous than lewd, I promise. Sitting cross-legged on my girlfriend’s bed, I’m typing on her laptop while she investigates my back. That in itself sounds unusual, but I don’t know if the truth is more or less peculiar. Do you love ingrown hairs? I love ingrown hairs? Non sequitur? Non quite. She’s working over one of mine.

Tee em eye? You know how I feel about TMI, fuck TMI. There have gotta be so many couples doing strange stuff out there and I’d rather sit down and commit weirdness to the page rather than pretend it doesn’t happen or withhold due to fear of social ostracising. It’s entirely consensual and no duress is involved. She just finds them as oddly captivating as I do. It’s almost simian in a way, as if hunting for lice. There’s something about the thrill of the hunt, looking for a hair that’s so deeply embedded, but still even just barely visible. It’s a challenge, but oh so satisfying to chase after. Armed with a pair of tweezers, it’s possible to make short work of them.

It wasn’t always that way though. I went many years without the proper tools and I’d just use my fingernails. I’d sit there for minutes- many minutes sometimes- aiming to pull out something barely on the edge of visibility. I’ve had a number of spots that are often ripe for harvest. One on my right forearm, one on my left bicep and one just above my right shoulder blade. Usually with the aid of a mirror and an awkward pose I can get ‘er done. There’s built up scar tissue after years of picking, but it’s at the point where it’s almost a pastime.

I was once late for work purely because I got fixated. Sitting on the edge of my bed, bent over my forearm, fingernails pinching tightly together but so often coming up grasping nothing but air. Pre-tweezer days, obviously. The odds weren’t too dissimilar to a claw machine, but the prize was more of a moral victory than a substantive plushie totem. After about 20-25 minutes of this helpless clasping I finally gained a solid nail-hold and pulled free my Excalibhair. Coming out of my fugue state, I realised just how late I was. Work at this point was 4 minutes and 36 seconds walk from home, so I had no real excuse. Somehow my boss noticed my tardiness (we flatted together, he knew how close we were) and inquired as to why I didn’t make it on time. I started coming up with elaborate excuses in my head, then blurted out “I was picking at an ingrown hair.” You can’t make that kind of stuff up. He quirked an eyebrow and replied “Well, I guess that makes sense.” Done.

His flat out acceptance made me consider that it mustn’t be that strange. I’m sure we all have our own eccentricities, but I get the feeling that this ingrown hair thing pulls more people in than you’d think. I’ve met a few people, had a partner or two even, who didn’t find it particularly bizarre. Our bodies are absurd platters of flesh and organs with a sprinkling of curious toppings thrown on there for good measure.

Regardless of its biological function, hair is odd (just try imagining all humans existing without eyebrows. It’s a trip). It grows in small patches according to heat distribution. It’s unique to each person. For some reason I’ve got a natural soul patch on my chin, hair just doesn’t grown on the areas beside it. We have so many hairs, but they fall out constantly. We shape and style, cut and colour the damn stuff at our own whims. If we’re not satisfied with the mop we’ve been given, society has found many ways of getting the look you want, regardless of natural style. I’ve never completely coloured my hair, but it’d be a pretty fun thing to do for shits and giggles.

Maybe I could give it a try if I didn’t spend so much damn time on a few small ingrown ones.