Does anyone know how old Gizmo is in Gremlins? Is he really old enough to drive?

I just realised that I’m convinced I’m still 28. Part of me wonders if I’ve always been 28 and didn’t know it. I can do the basic arithmetic between 1987 and 2016. I know how birthdays work and I vaguely understand how time passes (I still find the “after midnight” time frame in Gremlins a little problematic. This is one of those times when specificity is next to godliness. Just say “do not feed between midnight and 5am.” It’s always before and after midnight. That’s how days work). That being said, whenever someone asks me my age I need to do a little mental correction before giving my answer (strange, because I so rarely think before I speak). I know I’m 29, but I don’t know I’m 29, maaaaan. It’s like that fugue state you enter at the start of each year, how muscle memory keeps writing down the previous year instead of the new one. I’m doing that continually, but six months down the line. I’m not sure if I actually remember that I’m 29, or if it’s simply lodged in my brain that I’m turning 30 next year.

Is there anything deeper to this? I’ve always been fine with ageing, but is 30 the point where my long dormant fear rises up like a kraken and smashes my frontal lobe into teensy tiny bits? Am I clinging to my 20s out of desperation? Hoping to cradle the crumbling promise of youth until the light fades to naught? Am I thinking of the endless stream of parties playing out in my head? Snapshots of friends, costumes, bands with diminishing relevance? Times when I took risks or pushed myself to breaking. Working hard before learning how to work smart. Burning the candle at both ends towards breakdown to the tune of lather, rinse repeat. The joy of discovery, new experiences with old friends. A litany of clichés glorified through film and television.

Much like my strange predilection for thinking I’m 28, isn’t it peculiar that I’m assuming the above activity is exclusively the domain of my 20s? There’s no reason why I can’t continue to forge new experiences as I age. Hell, I certainly intend to. If anything, the nature of my behaviour will change only because I don’t really desire the things I did six years ago. It’s not even that I’m too precious to rough it anymore. I’ve just learned to weed out the bullshit instead of taking it as a necessary cost. If I’m to question anything, it should be the mental delay that’s causing me to stall instead of driving on towards the next milestone.

I’m 29 and that’s alright. Things were good before. They’ll get better now. When I think about it, who would I rather have driving my body? The 30 year old who crossed the world and flourish in an all new country? Or the 22 year old who couldn’t parse punching up from punching down?

Jeebus, the stories I could tell about my early 20s idiocy. That’s a topic for a whole different entry.

Things that would’ve made for a better metaphor: Steamroller, anvil, gravity, dropbears.

If today taught me one thing, it’s that I’m no longer on holiday. After taking three days off work, a metaphorical tsunami caught me in the undertow (let’s be real, what were the chances of a literal tsunami washing up? That was a fucking dumb metaphor). It all started at 6.30am.

For some unknown reason, I couldn’t sleep. Was it excitement for my return to work? Not bloody likely. I have no issue with my job, I’d just rather stay home. Wouldn’t most people? Of course, I also would’ve rather slept in, but no dice. I got up and loaded up my computer. Then I realised that today was the day we were launching The Air Bud Pawdcast. You’ve heard me blab on endlessly about it, well it was time to put my money where my mouth went: Into a microphone, digitally recorded, processed and mixed into a convenient audio package. With no desire to just sit on a good thing, I went and spread the gospel to friends and family. Facebook doesn’t let you mass invite any more, so I had to click on each and every friend to send them our page. I wrote a couple of posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and posted the link in all its glory. Hell, why withold any longer? If you’ve been curious about this Pawdcast I’ve ranted so much about…

Here’s the iTunes link. Rate and review us, subscribe if you’d like to hear more. I don’t know why my co-host wants to push the iTunes link more, but maybe it’s so we can more easily ascend the ranks of comedy pod-dom with our essential and glorious addition to the annals of history.

If you hate iTunes and just want a straight link, however (and I don’t blame you. I had trouble finding the link myself), here’s our bare bones, blue collar Springsteen style honest to pod link. I just want people to listen and enjoy. To be honest, I’m pretty stoked with how it came out.

Still, that does not alone a tsunami-esque day make. Before I left home, I made sure to delete excess emails. I’d been gone for three days and had no concrete idea how many emails I would’ve gotten. As a vague estimate, we probably get 200-300 emails per day. Considering this week is a short week (happy Canada Day), emails have been flowing thicker and faster. Thankfully, webmail condenses emails with an identical subject line, so I only had 300 or so emails to delete. A mere 20 minutes’ work.

Work was… Well a little bit shite, in any case. I’ve been away, so I’d be slightly behind in any case. This isn’t any normal case. The aforementioned short week meant work had been piling up. Not only that, the absence of two team members next week (losing two team members from a team of seven is a big deal when we’re already stacked with work) has amped everything up to 11. Well fuck, Emily. We had to Get Shit Done by drastic measures, which meant not only catching up, but getting ahead.

While this was going on, I got a call from a prospective job. It’s been a while since I found a job I’ve been really keen on. This is one I want and no amount of asking the universe will do what interviewing well can. Strangely enough, they did the interview right there over the phone. Unconventional, yes, but we’re a big company split between two buildings. It’s kind of hard to expect people to ferry back and forth, especially when it’s this fucking busy. Instead I found myself a small room and pretended someone was sitting across from me. No shit, I even tried to map out appropriate facial responses in the hopes that it’d make my voice sound more professional. I think my interview was fine, but I can’t help but have felt unprepared, messy. I gave some answers I wouldn’t have been impressed with if I were on the listening end. At the same time, I made sure to stay warm and jovial. She said they were looking for someone who’d be a part of the team and I hope I managed to convey that. I wasn’t stuffy, I made it evident that I had a personality, but knew how to buckle down when the situation called for it.

It’s a pity that she wasn’t watching me work for the rest of the day (aside from the creepy voyeuristic implications), because that day went on for hours. Rihanna would’ve been impressed by my werk-load. Pushing forward to get as much done as possible, time flew by. The system was having a shit-fit, causing everything to take exponentially longer than it should’ve. Files that usually take three seconds to open were taking six minutes. I spent about two hours doing what should’ve been ten minutes’ work. Because those hours piled up, by the time I left it was around 8.30pm. 11 hours after I arrived.

Good thing Friday’s a holiday. By the end of tomorrow, I’m gonna need one.

If I was fishing for something here, I’d be talking to the “reel” you.

This time last year, it was all too easy. Sprinkling a dusting of anecdotal references upon a mound of romantic sentiment. Flowery, evocative language to form a picture larger than life. Letting you know how you lifted me, that my toes forgot how the cold, firm ground felt. My love as light, wonder, transcendent and immaterial. My emotions flowing freely towards you. Not pushed, but longing, yearning to be as one with your skin, your heart, your mind. All of the above without a hint of irony. Total sincerity and earnestness, love being the transformational force that it is. Easy, direct and true.

This year it’s not so simple to fall back on fancy and wonder. Not because anything is lacking, but because it became real.

I remember thinking of you as someone plucked out of dreams. That wouldn’t do. Dreams fade with waking. This time around, you’re much more realised. Ill content with the domain of reverie, you’re still there when the dreams fade. You’re the first thing I see when I rise and the last thing I see before falling back to sleep. Feeling your warmth beside me. Hearing your breathing gradually slow. Feeling those silly little twitches your body makes as you drift off. It makes me feel at peace. Safe. Loved.

In the morning after running through my morning routine, I slide back in bed with you. We snuggle, chat and joke. It could be five minutes or fifteen. If you’re too tired, it could be no more than an “I love you” before slipping out the door. Then each and every night before we go to sleep, we look into each other’s eyes. It doesn’t matter how we’re feeling. Every night it’s the last thing we do. We never go to bed angry, because we don’t go to bed until we’ve talked things through. We don’t fight, but that doesn’t mean we never disagree. It doesn’t mean we have no conflict, but you’ve taught me how to use my words. You’re the most emotionally honest and true person I’ve met. Looking into your eyes before the light goes out is my favourite part of every day and I hope we never stop.

Despite my hesitations, you assured me that living together would be the right step. You allayed my fears of lost independence, of being stuck in a situation I couldn’t get out of and I haven’t regretted a single day. You made things real, in a way that fancy and wonder couldn’t touch. This past year hasn’t always been easy. Neither of us are perfect, but time after time we’ve made it work. The gaps in our fears and insecurities fit together as neatly as our bodies do. We both face different struggles and use this to lift each other. We share the burdens as we share our lives. We’re there for each other because we want to be and I for one can’t imagine a life where I wouldn’t.

I love you. The real you. The you that few get to meet. I wouldn’t trade her for any other.

I love you Lioness. Happy anniversary.

Are we budding prodigies? We’ve definitely gone long and put in the hard yards.

I’m sure you’re tired of me talking about it, but The Air Bud Pawdcast is set to launch. We’re days away from something that’s gonna be all types of excellent. The first episode is wrapped up with a neat little bow and we’re just awaiting iTunes approval. It’s crazy to think how much work has gone into getting this far. Doing a podcast seems like such a simple thing. Maybe it is. Perhaps we’re just crazy and putting far too much effort into it. We could just care enough to be deemed insane. In case you haven’t been following or are just curious as to what goes into making a podcast (with this level of fastidiousness), here’s ruff-ly what we did:

  • I made a Facebook post about the absurdity of the Air Bud franchise. Demanded a podcast partner.
  • Friend responded. Lots of enthusiasm. Vague commitment.
  • A year passed.
  • Friend actually began planning meet ups, did something rather than just talking about talking about it.
  • Found a producer.
  • Brainstormed. Did a SWOT analysis without strictly calling it that. Drank beer. Talked about comedy.
  • IMPORTANT: Scheduled a follow up meeting.
  • Followed up and met. Set a recording date to cut down on excuses.
  • Co-host and producer made sure they had adequate gear.
  • Missed the recording date. Set another recording date.
  • Recorded the first episode. Set a follow up recording session two weeks later.
  • Producer thought about editing things, but got busy.
  • Co-host made a Facebook page, Twitter page, Instagram.
  • Co-host followed 700 odd people on Twitter.
  • Time passed, second recording date got close.
  • We each watched the movie. I took down six pages worth of notes.
  • Research research research on IMDB/Wiki.
  • Recorded the second episode.
  • I got antsy and started gathering editing hardware/software from Craigslist/Kijiji.
  • Another two weeks, watched another movie.
  • Recorded another podcast.
  • Producer started to edit episode two.
  • I installed, updated, deleted, installed updated and finally ran Pro Tools successfully.
  • I began editing episode one.
  • Co-host ordered more mics.
  • Producer started working on the theme song.
  • The fourth episode date came up. We stuck with the date despite the backlog.
  • Forgot to tell producer we were recording.
  • Recorded the episode anyway.
  • I edited 90% of episode one. Awaited re-recorded bits from producer.
  • Producer delivered re-recorded bits. Garageband had auto-processed, rendering the audio unusable.
  • Producer re-delivered the re-recorded bits.
  • Producer delivered the theme song. Emphasis on delivered.
  • Added the re-recorded bits to episode one. Added the theme song.
  • Mastered/mixed down episode one.
  • Co-host made an FTP. Sorted RSS feed. Created WordPress page.
  • I installed Hootsuite in preparation for launch.
  • Installed Hootsuite and Instagram on my phone.
  • Co-host created a logo. Producer and I did the requisite poo-pooing to get him to try harder.
  • Co-host knocked the logo out of the park.
  • Wrote up the podcast caption/description.
  • Co-host uploaded the first episode.
  • I edited the episode description.
  • I tried to submit to iTunes. Lacked an Apple ID.
  • Co-host submitted to iTunes. Submitted to Google Play Music and Stitcher while he was at it.
  • We got Google Play Music approval.
  • Co-host’s mics finally arrived from China. The shipment had all the supporting peripherals, but lacked the mics themselves.
  • I realised the weight of all this social media marketing dump. Promptly regretted each and every aforementioned step.

It’s been a crazy ride so far and it’s only gonna get bigger. I’ve listened to the first episode many times. You know what? It’s fun. It’s a good listen. We’ve put work in and created something, and that means something to me. Wherever it goes from here on out, I’m happy at least that we’ve put out a product I’d be happy to consume had I not created it. That’s gotta count for something.

In a sense, this whole site could be a relic someday.

Biding our time this afternoon in Roncesvalles as we waited for Barque’s All You Can Eat to begin, my girlfriend and I stumbled upon an antiques store. This is far from uncommon for the Roncy/Parkdale corner, but a rare experience for me, in any case. My curiosity was piqued by a few metal suitcases (which I fancied as Magic the Gathering carry cases). Walking in the front door gave a greatly expanded perspective. Maybe it was The Smiths rattling out from the in store speakers, but I had a feeling in my gut synonymous with home. I couldn’t put my finger on what precisely triggered it, but I felt comforted. Settled.

Trinkets and treasures ranged across cultures and decades. Strewn across the store were a 12 rows of seating lifted from a cinema. My girlfriend pulled out a telescope that could’ve served in a crow’s nest. An old lamp with a thin filament bulb stood atop an weathered glass cabinet. A tiny pedestal held an archaic bowling ball with etched rings. There were moose antlers and bull horns. Several typewriters of varying sizes. Vintage sunglasses and an array of dresses that spanned seasons. A set of opaque orange dishes of an unknown material. Crime novels and kids comics, salacious stories from yesteryear. A shiny lion sculpture with a dark blue hue.

I wandered through the store touching things, picking up these relics of unknown history. Often I’d pause and contemplate the life of a piece, how it came to this exact store. Was it an estate sale? An elderly family member downsizing when moving into a home? Collectors giving up the ghost and moving on? How many lives had these artifacts touched? How many other hands had clutched them in the same manner I had? Who had I indirectly come into contact with through non-linear time?

A few objects sparked memories of my childhood. A rotary phone spoke to one that hung in the entranceway to our home. My friends and I used to wind the crank, pretending to call one another. A rusted blue vice hearkened back to my father’s workbench, where we’d stand around as a family and crack macadamia nuts. Other family relics flashed through my head. The gilded Asiatic room divider we passed from family member to family member. The ring my brother inherited from my grandfather. Inlaid with some gem, any light caused a star pattern to stretch across its blue surface. The limestone bear sculpture I carried with my from flat to flat. So heavy, but so fragile. Despite my best efforts to swaddle it in blankets, each move brought with it new scars.

I cast my mind ahead to the future, imagined what, if anything I would pass on. Do I own anything I’ll still own in ten years? Twenty? What in my life has value enough to continue to hold onto? What does “value” even mean to me?

I guess that’s for time to tell.

Caboose or cabooze? In any case lokomotion was in abundance.

Steel Rails 2016. With almost zero idea of what to expect beyond some art(s) and a wild rumpus, we’d bought in to this crazy Waterloo art party idea. In previous years its elevator pitch was an art party on a train. This year they’d outgrown the capacity of a train. As my friend so aptly put it, this year’s event would either be known as the year that Steel Rails reached a new plateau or the one year that wasn’t held on a train.

Arriving at our hotel with all of 40 minutes to get ready (possibly justifying the surprising lack of a whirlpool tub we’d expected), we got straight to business. Drinks were poured as we prepped and primped. I don’t want to gloss over that first detail. Drinks were poured. I don’t think we even intended to bring that much alcohol, but things snowballed. Someone mentioned they’d picked up a bottle of Manischewitz, someone else said they’d grabbed a few beers. I felt bad about only bringing a small water bottle filled with Kraken and coke, so the girlfriend and I stopped off at a beer store. The Beer Store is generally a tragically under-stocked, shitty foreign owned outlet that has a poor craft beer selection. The one leg up on the LCBO they do have is that they stock the perfect beverage for a locomotion themed event. Which is how the Lokoschewitz came to be. Fruit Punch flavoured Four Loko with Manishcewitz. The surprising compliment on everyone’s lips was “I expected worse.” A winner indeed.

We piled drink upon drink as we hastily tried on different configurations of outfits. Without knowing too much about the event it was tricky to establish the requisite level of class. If we were lacking in the slightest, the Lokoschewitz gave us renewed vigour and confidence to compensate. We ordered an Uber and strutted downstairs to meet Sangim, our chauffeur. I was probably about four or five drinks deep at this point, so I was in a chatty mood. Upon seeing a doorless Jeep, Sangim mentioned that they used to drive those in the military. Immediately I shifted into interviewer mode and tried to discover as much as I could. He mentioned that military service felt a little like an office job. After it became the norm, it just felt ordinary. Middle management strutted around, while the infantry generally kept their head down and did the work. After a 15 minute cab ride, we arrived at the ticket checking venue and said a tearful goodbye to Sangim, our new mate.

The ticket checking venue, Chainsaw, felt like the human evocation of a feeding trough. Everything you’d imagine a small town bar to be. Neon lights, a few pool tables and foosball tables. A stage with a local band doing covers. Cheap beer served in large bottles or pitchers. The staff wore T-shirts with the bar’s name and motto emblazoned across the chest. “Chainsaw: We live here.” The darkest timeline indeed. After getting our tickets scanned just after 6pm we crammed into a school bus and headed off to the real mystery venue.

We arrived shortly afterwards at an old railway yard with a massive warehouse. The theme this year was summer camp. Shipping containers littered the yard, each with a different activity attached. There was a choose your own dance party (plug in your phone), a table with food/celebrity magazines that encouraged you to make your own food/celebrity puns. I made Ryan Goslinguini, an inspired choice if I do say so myself. Another container had a stack of styrofoam and wires out front to be used for sculpting. A bunch of hay bales surrounded a faux fireplace where people told stories and performed bluegrass tunes. A tent was set up for tarot readings, the line stretched right across the yard. The concrete floor of the warehouse was covered with picnic blankets and tables. The tables were stacked with coloured paper and pens, inviting people to write a letter for their parents back home.

Food and alcohol vendors were everywhere, the cost being voluntary donation. Like most people, I dropped a $20 in the bucket and went nuts. There were artisan ice-blocks, gourmet mac and cheese, pulled pork or eggplant sliders, rice dishes with lentils or shawarma. There was a metric fuckton of booze. Things got loose pretty quickly, but everyone was giddy and excited. The douchebag quotient was zero, as far as I saw. Like a planetary alignment of goodwill, people looked out for one another. I didn’t have a single encounter that was anything less than enthusiastically friendly.

The performances were strange and manifold. Two gals squirmed their way into the undersides of these large inflatable art pillows that’d been lying around. They writhed and wriggled around to a nightmarish tempo shifted Bee Gees “Staying Alive”. Two costumed fellows on stilts, one with a horse getup and the other some papier-mâché Dionysis type, roamed around the venue. There were flag dances and drum circles and a neon garbed local band (on loan from Chainsaw perhaps?). Lemon Bucket Orchestra closed down the night with an on foot performance that migrated from the stage to the hay bales. Things closed down around 11pm and the bus headed back to Chainsaw.

What happened in Chainsaw? Well that stays in Chainsaw.

Is that what they call a mange à trois?

I’m on holiday! I think. I’m having trouble figuring out how to do this holiday thing properly. I woke up before my alarm would’ve gone off at 8am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was too preoccupied with how to do holiday type things with my day off. So I got up and read. I finished my book and fed the cat, then fretted over how to relax. I paced for a little bit, before realising that I could just get up and go for a run. It was a nice way to get out of the house and look at things with an added slight motion blur. I saw what looked like a 20th century segway tied up to a post. It had collapsible leather handlebars and looked more grunty than I’d expect a motorised pedestal to be. I saw a number of other joggers coming the opposite way. Across the board they looked aggrieved, foreheads well creased. They had fancy running gear and mp3 player armbands. Seriously, all five of them. I wondered if I’d missed the memo. I was just enjoying listening to “An Awesome Wave” for the first time in years.

Davenport Road was choked up with traffic and the fact that I was moving at my own pace really settled in the notion that on any other day I would’ve been at work. I ran up the stairs to Castle Loma and almost collapsed in a sweaty pile. Walking it out to catch my breath, I realised that my legs were a little sore from correcting poor form. I walked it out some more then eased back into it. I saw an old couple walking hand in hand, stopping to say hi to a friend of theirs. A guy got off a bus with three French sticks and I wondered just how much garlic bread one man really needs. The sun was blazing and I gave a silent thanks for the shitty white promotional Rdio glasses I’d picked up from work. Walking in the front door felt like entering a cave. There was a cool wind blowing and everything seemed pitch black. The contrast between outdoor radiance and subdued interior was staggering. I staggered around a little as if blind and stumbled into my bedroom. My vision slowly ebbed back in and I rushed to remove everything clammy and sweaty.

Reading about Brexit was disheartening. Seeing the disparity between old and young voting habits even moreso. I don’t know what mix of blind nostalgia, nationalism/xenophobia and shortsightedness caused older generations to disregard progress made since joining the EU, but I guess the younger generation is stuck with the fallout. In solidarity with all the heartbroken citizens of Great Britain that voted against Brexit, my girlfriend and I had beans on toast. It was fucking delicious.

And now I’m easing into the swing of this holiday thing. We’re off to Waterloo to attend some mysterious railway themed art party called Steel Rails. We know there’s a party, but not its location. We know that in previous years it’s literally been on a train, but this year they’re taking things in a different direction. We know that booze is purchasable by donation (which probably means small donation, big tips) and that one of our friends has a bottle of Manischewitz ready for pre-drinking. We know that we’ve rented a place with a whirlpool tub, so it’s gonna be a fun night no matter what.

Is this how relaxing works? Quick, I need three French sticks, stat.

In which I lose my shit in all manner of speaking.

As I was walking down the street (technically north, so maybe up?) about two minutes ago (though likely hours or days ago by the time you read this) I saw a discarded microwave. No big deal, right? Thing is, this microwave looked old. Like, grew up riding penny-farthings old. Or hipster. This microwave had clearly seen some shit. It reminded me of the old Panasonic Genius we had for years. We would’ve gotten a decade out if that thing, easily. By the time we retired it, it wasn’t the most powerful household nuke around, but it was still carrying its weight. I bought a microwave two years ago. I’m not convinced it’ll last another one. I remember my parents’ first coffee machine. They loved the fucking thing. It was noisy enough to teach me to accept (tolerate? Deal with? Endure?) mornings, but it made a great cappuccino. I used to do my own fluffy hot chocolates (which Dad dubbed the “chococcino”), so I learned to love the thing too. More expensive and effective options were released, but as far as my Dad was concerned, it still made a damn fine cup of coffee (even if it did rattle constantly and the handle fell off if not gripped just so). They got over 20 years out of that machine. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was higher on the family member hierarchy than I was. I couldn’t make a decent cuppa.

I often contemplate how disposable our society has become. We progress, upgrade and outgrow the past with a voracious hunger. The new iPhone comes in rose gold? Hold the phone! Wait, ditch the phone, get a new one. People are replacing powerful technology as often as they change their sheets (please don’t judge my terrible hygiene) and it’s as absurd as it is understandable. We’re so often told not only what we need, but what we deserve. We should have the quality of life we desire and quality is defined by what we have not what we do. If temptation doesn’t work on us, fear is the next great motivator. How can you be everything you want to be if you don’t look the part? Oh Christ, do I sound like a teenager ranting against the evils of capitalism? I swear I’m going somewhere.

The world has changed to a place where holding on to the past seems unsustainable. Evolve or become obsolete. We don’t know how to take care of things any more, because that’s not part of the sales pitch. Use it until it’s refuse. Discard, acquire. I’m saying this from a place of experience, because I do the same thing. I wish I had the ability to maintain anything, but I’m part of a generation with very few practical skills. If something breaks, the thought of nursing it back to health seems like all too much work. I don’t know how to repair a vacuum. My sartorial skills are limited to small stitches along seams. If my microwave broke I’d resort to cannibalism in under an hour. Time is such a commodity and if I don’t know what to do with a product, the ordeal of bringing it in to a specialist then forking out 70% of the initial price seems more costly than buying a new one. Hell, I can order it from my rose gold phone with a few clicks (jokes. My phone is clunky as shit), why would I expend the effort?

The answer really is that value is a fluid concept and has changed with the passing years. Time means everything. It moves too fast and it’s something you just can’t buy. Money comes and goes. Time is finite. Everything ages at a rapid pace and modern life seems like a struggle to out outrun it. If it seems like I’m making this into an undue crisis, it’s entirely self-perpetuated. I’m the one with a problem, manifesting my own fears into this absurd societal view. I’m afraid of living in a disposable reality. Afraid that I’ll cease sticking with things if they seem too much to deal with. Afraid that I’ll become so obsessed with getting everything done that I’ll forget to make memories along the way. I’m afraid that I’ll mistake quantity for quality and my life will be poorer for it. I’m afraid that maybe I’m the disposable one and I just don’t know it. Am I building anything to last? Am I heading anywhere with purpose? Or will I end up discarded once my worth has diminished?

To be honest, I think I’m just mopey because I for real shit my pants today. I gambled on a fart and lost. Senility has already struck.

Why yes, I do have carry on to declare.

It’s late, I’m at work, let’s get’er done. I’m taking a few days off at the end of the week for what constitutes as my only holiday this year. Because we’re criminally understaffed, a holiday isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A holiday means a select number of days I don’t have to be in the office. It has no bearing on the amount of work I need to do. By the time I leave, I still have to complete all the work I would’ve done for those days had I never left, but on those days preceding my vacation. In short, I have a ton more to get through. In a normal day I’d have five logs to fill. I did 14 today. This kind of quantity makes the work tiring and repetitive, but hey, podcasts still exist. I’m not losing my mind, instead I’m focusing on people who are smarter and funnier than me saying insightful and witty things while I politely chuckle (read: openly guffaw. To the disgust and annoyance of the rest of my open plan office floor, I’m sure). So what’ve I been listening to?

The most recent This American Life really struck a chord with me. It’s probably one of the best personal accounts of what being fat does to your psyche. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve dealt with weight issues for most of my life. I was a fat kid and it made me miserable. Don’t get me wrong, I had a pretty good childhood, but being taught by society to hate myself wasn’t my favourite part of it. I lost weight over time by a combination of physical exercise, dieting and increased nutritional awareness.

At 15 my mum brought me to the gym at 5.30am before school three times per week. After some time I took my exercise into my own hands and kept up with it. I tried boxing and regular gym sessions. I did crossfit consistently (up to 6 times a week by the end of it) for a few years. I saw my base weight drop every few years and my goal weight shift with it. From 95kg to 90kg. 87kg, 83kg. A drastic dietary change brought me down to 78kg. An extended period of extreme caloric cutting (1400 kcal per day with 6 hours of exercise a week) got me to 74kg until I eventually settled around 76kg. You know what my goal weight was? 70kg. Do you know what I’d have to do to lose six kilos at this point in my life? I’d probably have to kill a guy, engage in a Faustian bargain or, like, stop drinking for a year. This wasn’t some quick fix, it was a total overhaul of lifestyle that brought with them incremental changes. Going from 95kg to 76kg took about ten years altogether and it was a struggle the whole way.

One thing “Tell Me I’m Fat”, the This American Life brought back to me was the change in the way I was treated. As one of the episode’s guests mentions, people look at you differently. It wasn’t until I found people smiling back at me on the street or in customer service interactions that I realised it was a new experience. Women would actually look at me, which was a world away from how I’d always lived. It was a double edged sword. On one hand, the validation was amazing, the respect, even. On the other, I mourned for all those years of feeling less sub-human, knowing that in part the sentiment came from a place of truth. I felt pretty disposable, as if who I was mattered less than what I looked like. Even now, trusting people’s good intentions can be a nebulous thing. It’s still hard to believe that partners even want me, and if anything rocky comes up in the relationship I assume it’s because they no longer do. Would they really give a shit about me if I was carrying another 20kg? They didn’t before. It’s not rational, it’s an instinctive emotional response based on outdated information. If only that stopped it happening.

I still find the forgiveness in self-acceptance to be elusive, and I wish it were any other way. I wish I could look in the mirror and see the amazing things my body does, not the ghost of what I wish it was. Maybe one day. Until then though, I’ll be searching old tomes for demons to resurrect.